"'Tell them how they'll have to do it today...' The Big Face speaks but his bass words are muffled by the euphonic woodwinds and my own fears.

"If there is a bottom to the moat, I have never seen it. As hard as I try to peer, to gaze, to focus, all I can see is fog below. Dipped into the fog like donuts to steaming hot coffee, a row of rings - 'ancient rings,' the Big Face calls it - hanging by a vine."

"'When Kirk gives the signal...' the five most horrifyingly scary words, six syllables. The Jovial Hosts asks Big Face if he's ready. 'Yessssssss,' he lazily draws out, in a manner that suggests his bloodlust would fit well only among the most sadistic of mortal souls.

"'On your mark, get set,...' I don't hear 'go,' but I do see the splashes. My companion goes first, followed soon by me. As I wait, though, I see a Silver Snake struggle, trapped in a harness of three rings, his arms sifting wildly through the mist. I never saw him make the other ring. In fact, I never saw him again in all the years since the event - though admittedly, I haven't been actively looking to recount my experience or seek painful reminders."

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