This may have happened some time ago, but it is never too late to tell a heroic tale is it? While visiting my sister (Julie), her husband (Duane), their kids (Duane Jr., Katelyn and Keith), et al on the tail end of the Southern Exposure Tour a story of epic dimensions unfolded – featuring questions of life and death, heroic bravery, tender mercy, moral quandaries, good versus evil, fire-breathing serpents and more.
Once upon a time… Actually, last year, my brother-in-law and I were lounging on the couch watching something on TV after a long day when my sister announced that she was going out to get the laundry in the garage or some shit like that. Either way, she was going to the garage.
After several minutes she returned, flushed and without the laundry, and burst out, “Didn’t you hear me screaming?”
She went on to describe a massive snake laying curled up on the doorstep that she had almost stepped on.
Now, the way she described it, I expected the dragon snake to be breathing fire and stretched half way down the block. So, when I actually saw it and took a picture of it, I was a little disappointed. However, in the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that if I had been casually stepping out into the darkness and almost put my foot down on this bad boy before he hissed at me, that I certainly would have reacted strongly as well – particularly as the clever bastard hid his tail, leaving the rattlesnake possibility on the table. And, at first glance, he does look rather rattlesnakeish…
If it had just been me, I would have simply gone back into the house and let the snake slither off to take care of his business as he was obviously just taking a break and enjoying the warmth radiating from the doorstep. However, this was not good enough for Julie who demanded immediate action to remove the snake so that she and the kids could sleep safely at night without having to worry about the colossal, fire-breathing dragon snake smashing into the house to consume us.
My brother-in-law issued a death sentence on the snake, but as I like animals, I opted for a more gentle method of contending with the snake “problem” – capture and release in a location more palatable to my sister. You see, dear readers, your editor chose to do what was right rather than what was easy. And, as I was willing to do the work, my approach was adopted. The snake may not have been venomous, but despite my swashbuckling confidence, that doesn’t mean I’m going to go around picking up snakes. They still have teeth and they can certainly bite. So, I attempted to scoop my new buddy up with a rake. However, he wasn’t having it and a snake that doesn’t want to get scooped up with a rake, is not going to get scooped up with a rake.
Seriously, it isn’t easy.
Eventually, after about twenty minutes of work (no exaggeration) herding the snake with a hose and using a shovel and rake as chopsticks, I was able to get a firm, but precarious grip on the snake (not easy to hang onto a thrashing, squirming snake) and transport him down the street to a location deemed acceptable by Julie where I gently released him to continue his journey.
So, there you have it… I saved my sister and niece and nephews from a certain (and certainly horrible) death, but also showed mercy to the malevolent evil that threatened them.
Perhaps I should add the title “All Merciful Conqueror Of Dragons” to my curriculum vitae? Does this perhaps represent a new era in human/reptilian relations?
I’m not sure, but I took a final picture of the snake before we went our separate ways.
The face of gratitude?