I am selling my house. It’s either that or burn it down, but I’m not sure the insurance will cover intentional arson. So if you’re in the market for a charming country home, call me. I’ll make you a sweet deal.
I made this decision a few days ago. It was a lovely day, and I had some writing to do, so I took my Macbook Pro out to the front porch and leaned back in the Adirondack chair with the new blue cushion covers I sewed just last week. The wind blew a soft breeze on my face as I typed; the ducks wandered through the yard, squirrels played in the trees, and a wren serenaded me from a low limb. For a workday, it was pretty close to perfect.
I heard a plop! behind me, but there were so many other outdoor sounds, it kind of blended in with the symphony. I nearly ignored it and kept typing, but something prompted me to investigate. I craned my neck to look behind my chair, and there, curled between the brick porch wall and the chair legs was a six-foot long snake. It took all of two seconds for my brain to register what just happened; I nearly had a snake fall on my head! If I hadn’t been leaning forward, typing on this very keyboard, I might be dead now. Cause of death: heart failure.
Shock and fear propelled me out of my chair, clinging my Macbook in front of me like a suit of armor. I screamed, over and over, in a bout of hysteria that, if played out on the big screen, would have earned me an Oscar. Except I wasn’t acting.
Of course, my husband was in town running errands at the time, but my son was home, chillaxin’ in the living room. He flung open the door. “Mom, what’s wrong?”
I couldn’t form words, only screams, so I pointed.
He looked at the thing, and a slow smile crept across his face. What is it with boys and crawly things? Then he turned from teenager to drill sergeant. “Get in the house. I’ll take care of it.”
I obeyed. I’m a terrible mother. I admit it.
I went in the house, shut the door, and pulled up the window blinds so I could see onto the porch. FJ made a wide circle around the porch, to the garage, to get whatever tool he planned to use to obliterate the thing. That’s when that ssssneaky, ssscaly creature ssslithered up the Adirondack—the one I’d been sitting in—and across my new cushion covers. He slinked up the back of the chair and slipped through the wooden slats, across the gap to the brick wall, and started sliding toward the window. His tail end was still curled below the chair, with his body flung across it, and his nasty little head turned the corner of the brick to the window and looked right at me, as if to say, “You can run, but you can’t hide.”
I’m not lying. I’m not even exaggerating. I can’t make this stuff up.
That’s when the FJ comes running around the corner of the house, holding his pellet gun, and aims it at the window.
“No!” I shout. “Not at the window!” I pictured shattered glass, followed by the snake pursuing me again.
FJ moves, so he’s shooting at an angle. “I got this, Mom. Trust me.” Then I hear a pop! The snake freezes, then lays its head over to the side, and a tiny drop of blood drips on my porch floor. The rest of the snake’s body still clings to my wall, my chair, my cushions.
FJ gets one of his golf clubs, lifts the thing up, and hauls it off to the yard so he can measure it and take pictures.
I collapse in a heap of mush and wonder how many years have been deducted from my life span.
Now, you know I always try to have a moral to the story because, what’s the point of going through something if we can’t learn from it? But all I can think is, I hate snakes. Hate them. Don’t even try to lecture me about the fact that it was a harmless chicken snake. Harmless to whom? He nearly caused my heart to implode. Instead of this article, you could be reading my obituary right now.
Snakes are evil, y’all. Don’t try to convince me otherwise. And they are everywhere—even on my porch, trying to get the eggs out of a bird’s nest in the corner. We’ve got to be alert, and ever watchful, because they’re sneaky and slithery and quiet, and if we’re not careful, we’ll end up with one of them falling on our heads. Fortunately, we have a Protector who’s an ace shot, and when we call out to Him, He’ll obliterate that evil son-of-a-serpent with a single pellet.
But I’m still calling the realtor and packing my winter coat. I don’t think they have snakes in Iceland.
Renae Brumbaugh Green is a bestselling author and award-winning humor columnist. She lives in Stephenville with her handsome, country-boy husband, nearly-perfect children, and far too many animals. Connect with Renae at www.RenaeBrumbaugh.com.