The Ring of Fire

When I was a kid I used to make miniature gladiator rings in my backyard by digging a ring in the hard-packed dirt and filling it with water, so the gladiators inside the ring could not escape. The gladiators, of course, were ants, because ants are just badass. I used to hold these fights between red ants and black ants, in a ratio of about 10:1 because the red ants were so much bigger and stronger. The black ants basically acted like a bunch of sissies until the red ants started tearing them apart – then the group mind thing would kick in, and the black ants would swarm the red ones all at once, throwing themselves on their much larger and aggressive attackers.
The red ants could bite the black ones in half when they could get a hold of them, but the black ones would ride on their backs, out of reach. Pretty soon there would be a stalemate because the red ants didn’t try to help each other out. Which is where the Beam of Death (via my trusty plastic magnifying glass) and Ring of Fire (lighter fluid in the “moat”) came into play. The creed of the Ring of Fire was of course that All Must Die. All Must Be Purified with Fire (spoken, you will note, like a true pyro).
Back then, the concept of karma was still pretty much unknown to me. But it still felt wrong, somehow. Not as wrong as watching my friends shoot songbirds off of telephone wires with BB guns. Nor as wrong as the time this guy I was walking to the bus stop with threw a big rock at a horse, hitting it square in the chest, and stating afterward, simply, “fucking horses,” but still – wrong on some inexplicable yet instinctive level…
It is interesting that I wrote this post with a completely different ending in mind, but fitting that it shall should end like this.

3 Replies to “The Ring of Fire”

  1. Justin,
    That was disturbing yet amazingly similar (although much more involved) to what my cousin and I used to do to ants….in feeling only. My animal torture pales in comparison to yours, it would seem. We would just fill in their ant holes with sand and water to see if they could climb out and then squish all the remaining survivors who were left on the surface. Little did we know at the age of 4 that ants could live underground.

  2. somehow remorse, sorrow and all that stuff are either figments or fluff about one’s childhood. destruction is meaningless without value. habits never go away – they just get suppressed. wasn’t ‘ring of fire’ a song by some country singer?

  3. You grew out of that “Lord of the Flies” mentality unlike some disturbed souls. And yes, let’s thank Mr. Johnny Cash for his darkly poetic song.

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