It is just like that neo-con nightmare: a spontaneous, nationwide terror-cell uprising.
Every year, all on the same day for some bizarre reason, ants grow big and sprout wings. And bugger each other in mid-air. Here the terrorist comparison ends.
Any way, the spectacle is faintly gruesome, as the sight hoards of insects appearing to your eye always seems to be. But ants are ‘clean’ insects, and not bad eating so who cares?
The answer to that seems to be ‘young children’. Let’s be sexist about it: young boys, they love playing with insects. I used to when I was a kid and so did these young tikes in West Kensington the other day:
I know what you’re thinking, and yes it is always a risky business taking photos of children in public. One minute you are photographing your son learning to play football, the next minute there are people holding candles singing ‘burn the stinking nonce’ outside your house. Anyway, these kids were fascinated by a nest of flying ants, and were evidently considering the best way to kill them. One of them was clearly not playing ball:
“Do you believe in God?” he cried mightily
“Yes” replied his colleague
“Well then, why are you killing one of God’s creatures? HA!”
I really liked the ‘HA!’. It was worthy of Torquemada. Bloody hell, you just want to go and kill some ants after a hard day’s work and then someone goes and brings God into it.
But as Gloucester reminds us in King Lear, the gods have their fun too:
As flies to wanton boys are we to th’ gods,
They kill us for their sport.
I was going to discuss it with the boys. But, having already taken a photograph, discussing poetry with them was sure to get me lynched by a gang of scally mirror readers. Anyhow they were more interested in their new game whose rules they were just perfecting. It involved killing the ants with a bottle and a ball, a kind of cross between cricket and divine wrath. I wonder what to-hand items gods use to sport with us? Perhaps a wad of torn-off cloud and the odd aeroplane.