Sunday, June 10, 2007

Why I Call Them Fire Ants

Growing up, I was always scheming up new ways to get rid of the fire ants in our front yard. Then—in the wintertime, while they remained inside their anthills eating the foods they had gathered all summer—I would somehow miss them. Springtime would return, and our bouts would begin again.

Round one went to the ants when I was five years old, sitting and playing near their anthill while countless numbers of them crawled inside my cloths. They waited until I stood up to leave before they began stinging me in unison. That began our rivalry, and over the coming years, many of my attempts at revenge would backfire.

There was the time one of them snuck inside my trousers while I was using a magnifying glass on their anthill. It climbed up to my inner thigh before striking. There was also the time I mixed every toxic liquid I could find inside the house: ammonia, Clorox, Lysol, rubbing alcohol, etc. I intended to pour it inside the anthill, but first, my curiosity wanted to know how it smelled. When I leaned over the toxic mix to take a whiff, before I could inhale, invisible vapors rushed into my nostrils and sucked all the air from my lungs. Desperate, ran around the room trying to inhale, but there was no air. Then I ran outside, walking in circles around the front yard. There was a cool breeze against my face and chest, but still no air for my lungs. I thought I was going to die. Then, near the end of my battle, my lungs; my tired lungs found a short painful breath; one after the other, and soon I was able to breath again. The narrow escape temporally took away my desire to bout with the ants and I poured out the toxic mix.

I was twelve when the ants and I had our last bout. It was summertime, and the grass in our front yard was dry. I figured that gasoline and a match would do a lot of damage—to the anthill. They swarmed when I poured gasoline over their bed. Then I sat the can beside me. It didn’t occur to me to close the gas cap before striking a match. It also didn’t occur to me to note the tiny trickle of gasoline leading from the anthill to the gas can.

The moment I touched the lit match to the anthill, the gas can erupted in flames. I panicked and started kicking the gas can away from the fire, not realizing that flaming fuel was spilling out with each kick. I was nearly twenty feet away from the anthill when I turned around and saw that half our front yard was in flames.

My parents were away, so while I stumped at flames, I yelled for my brother and sisters. They came rushing outside moments later and helped me put out the flames, leaving eighty percent of the front yard charred black.

“Man you’re gonna get it,” said Richard, “I’m glad I’m not you.” He is right, I thought to myself, looking out at the yard. The fire ants were still swarming the anthill, over and around the ones that the flames had killed, while I thought for a solution. Then I convinced my siblings to help me collect green grass from the backyard to spread over the burnt areas. After nearly two hours of plucking and transferring, the yard was still ugly; and nothing was going to get rid of the charred smell. The best I could hope for was that Daddy would arrive home after dark.

I got lucky, and Daddy arrived home late that evening. He didn’t notice the burnt grass until the next day. Then, to my surprise, he didn’t make a big deal about it when I told him what happened. As for the fire ants, we called it a draw.


paisley said...

dang.... and the marines gave you a gun??? you are sooo funny... i loved this!!!!!!!
having lived most of my adult life in florida,, i too hated those little suckers... but i never had those childhood dreams of executing the final solution on them!!!!!!


Eugene said...

lol... i'm glad you enjoyed that!! yes!! and they give me bullets too. ;)

thank you!!

Melanie Faith said...

That is too funny. I can recall my own similar battles with ants, bees, and spiders. Some people would say that insects are not conscious of the war--but they are all too naive. Those evil things know mighty well--they know and they use our ignorance to their advantage! We must remember that it was the little boy who covertly took down the giant--not the other way around. When facing the nefarious foe that is the bug kingdom--well, let's just say it's every man for himself.

blessed1 said...

That's awesome!!! I got attacked by fire ants at five too. I was a ways away from home, and had to run what seemed like miles to get back to my mom. All the while, they were climbing all over me and biting the h*** out of me.
I love this story!

flutter said...

I love this, completely reminds me of the time that my brother set the ENTIRE back yard on fire trying to set a beetle on fire with a magnifying glass. I remember our neighbor's lawn chairs melted into our fence...

Sheliza said...

Wow! You are all BOY, no denying that! My husband is a grown man and still tries crazy stuff with ants, lizards, etc. That was a very good post!