|The Neon Cauldrons of Death|
Every weekend, Jimmy and his extended family gather to grill, eat, drink, and enjoy the warm South Carolina evenings starting with Memorial Day weekend. During those gatherings, there are two things that are guaranteed to happen: family members will get drunk and rowdy and bugs will show up. Mosquitoes, Palmetto bugs, Lightning bugs, Kudzu bugs, and Brown Mantidflies have inhabited the Rones’ backyard and it was starting to rain on their parade. That’s when Jimmy decided to take matters into his own hands and build a bug zapper for his backyard. “We had a dozen citronella candles burning in the backyard but it didn’t really help. It got to the point where some of the family members were talking about not having weekend gatherings and that’s when I decided to do something about the bug problem,” said Jimmy.
Rones wasn’t interested in a conventional bug zapper; he wanted to wipe out every bug in the county. First he bought a traditional bug zapper, which has 2000-3000 volts at the grid. After that, Jimmy put a neon transformer onto it and his “Neon Cauldron of Death” was now putting out 7500 volts and 6 amps at the grid. Rones’ bug zapper worked so well that he decided to build a second one and put them on opposite sides of the backyard. “You damn right that thing works,” exclaimed Barry Rones, Jimmy’s younger brother. “It’s like the 4th of July out here and when them bugs hit the screen,” Barry laughed, “it sounds like a piece of gristle cooking on the grill. It’s awesome!”
Not everyone, unfortunately, likes the Neon Cauldron of Death and some anonymous Winnsboro residents reported Jimmy to the local authorities, the Humane Society, and the insect conservation group Amateur Entomologists’ Society (AES). Jimmy was cited for social misconduct, endangering minors, excessive force and cruelity towards wildlife, and destruction to the surrounding ecosystem. Rones initially thought it was joke but when he received his court date, he knew it was a serious matter. “Am I mad? You damn right! These people are taking me to court and trying to put me in jail for killing a bunch of bugs. It’s not like I’m killing cats, dogs, horses, or cows. Geez! We’re gonna fight this. I found a public defender who is going to court with us next month and we’re gonna show them why it’s my right to kill bugs in my own back yard. Haven’t they ever heard of the Make My Day Law?”
As Jimmy waits his court date, he has surrounded his backyard with two-dozen citronella candles to keep the bugs at bay. “With all these candles, it’s like we’re having a Séance or something,” Rones said with a smirk, “but nothing is going to stop our summer tradition . . . not the bugs and certainly not those bug lovers. Once I get the Cauldron of Death back in the yard, everyone will know that the bugs can check in to Fairfield County but they can’t check out.”