Snake in the Grass


I don’t like snakes. Let me rephrase that – I hate snakes.  I don’t think you understand yet – I really hate snakes.  They are the devil’s spawn, his playmates, his friends, his compatriots.  I've never established any kind of enjoyable relationship with a snake except one - it dies and I live. 

Actually, there haven’t been very many snakes die at my hands. That’s mostly because if I see one I give up all pretension of being manly and brave and run in the opposite direction trying not to squeal like a little girl. I can be in a car driving 70 MPH, see a snake on the other side of the road and every hair on my body will stand on end; chill bumps will pop out looking like small mountains; I stop breathing for a few seconds; I am embarrassingly unreasonably, uncontrollably afraid.
I’ve been told there are “good” snakes. Somebody once tried to convince me there are snakes who eat other snakes. I doubt it. That’s probably an absolutely false story propagated by poor misguided foolish people who think all creatures are equal.  Give me a break. Look at a cute little puppy or an adorable little kitten. Now look at a baby snake. Difference!  There’s not even a sweet little name for a baby snake. A baby dog is a puppy. A baby cat is a kitten. They conjure up images of sweet little adorable balls of fluff. A baby snake is a snake.  I've never laughed at the antics of a baby snake.

So the other day I was in the back of the house pulling flowers from one of our weed gardens.  Actually it’s a grass garden, but don’t get the wrong idea; Bermuda grass is what I’m talking about. I water, fertilize, trim the grass in the yard and can barely keep it alive most of the time, but the patches in the former flower beds can go months in 100+ degree heat with no water and still flourish; growing densely up to my knees in deep, dark green.  With the amount of neglect we heap on those beds, one would think nothing would grow in them, but one would be wrong.  Every now and then, I get a bee in my bonnet about making the beds into flower beds again and for a few days attack the grass and weeds like a man possessed. It usually lasts for about a week or less until my back hurts from bending over hour after hour, my hands hurt from pulling handfuls of tough, stubborn grass/weeds and I have a bunch of cuts on my arms and hands from the few wooden stemmed flowers and bushes hardy enough to not have died yet. At that point I declare the beds to look better than they did and beat a hasty retreat back into the air conditioned comfort of my abode.

I was in the 3rd day of my weeding frenzy, wearing thick gloves to assist in gripping handfuls of grass for pulling, tugging, and yanking. I reached into a particularly dense clump, back where I couldn’t see, grabbed a good handful and pulled. I felt some break, but some held so I pulled again and then a third time when the clump came loose. And that’s when I saw that along with a few blades of grass, I had grabbed a huge, squirming, man-eating snake! It was in my hand, slithering!  I’m telling you, it was about the size of my arm and that’s just the part I could see!  I wondered why there were not as many dogs in the neighborhood as there had been in years past and now I knew why. Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure there are a couple of teenage boys missing too! I’m not overly religious, but oh my Lord God Jesus Mary and Joseph I've got a *%&$# snake in my hand!!!

Blink your eyes. Go ahead and blink them as fast as you can. Pretty fast, huh?  Well that was glacier speed compared to how fast I threw that snake down. I threw it down so fast it didn't have a chance to rear up, unlock its lower jaw and eat me whole. In my mind I could see it above me, its mouth open, coming down around my head and slowly working its way downward, swallowing me agonizing inch by agonizing inch. So yes, I speed of lightning quick flung it down, down and away from me, and off to the side.
I breathed a huge sigh of relief and started to turn back to the task at hand when oh blessed Jesus the damn thing starting slithering back toward me! I cannot believe this; it really is coming back at me!  I had a pair of grass clippers right there beside me so I quickly grabbed them up and brandished them at the evil monster. I warned it. I swear I did. "I have clippers and I’m not afraid to use them!" It fazed him not. He continued slithering through the grass right at me. I do believe he had only one thing on his little snaky mind and he was not looking for a best friend.

So I did it. I held my breath, extended the clippers toward him and quick as a guillotine, scissored the blades together, cutting it neatly in half, 3 inches on one end, 3 inches on the other. And I felt no regret. The monster had been dispatched and I had once again somehow, someway, cheated death.