October 12, 2018

that thing I was saying about the interconnectedness of all things

Beware of kitchen
implements, dude.
It doesn't extend to poisonous snakes.

When my son was five, one of the copperheads that infest the woods across the street from our house decided to sun itself on our asphalt driveway.  I saw it and considered my young child and our dogs, constrained only by an invisible fence at the time (the dogs, not the kid), and promptly grabbed a flat-blade shovel from the garage and violently decapitated it.  My son watched.  I explained the entire time why I was killing said snake.  He was the kind of kid who always needed an explanation.

Ten minutes later, we found him in his room, tying some token possessions (mostly Pokemon toys) up in a bandanna and attaching it to a long stick, straight out of a Tom & Jerry cartoon, in preparation for running away from home.  I sat on the floor and talked to him about it, and he said that when I did that to the snake, he felt like I did it to him, too.  He said he felt a jolt inside.  I held him and he cried, then put away his toys.

After that, I had to adopt a non-violence policy toward anything that didn't come into the house.

Which did not apply this morning.  Our text conversation:

The Kid:  "Guess what I found in the basement?  A snake.  I'm only telling you this to help prevent this, but not to send you into panic.  Probably just to escape the rain."

Me:  "WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA?  Um, appearance?  Black I hope?"

The Kid:  "No.  Golden.  Brownish."

Me:  "Copperhead.  I know you love animals but you get a flat shovel from the garage and kill that motherfucker three times."

The Kid:  "Dude.  I bashed its head in with a pair of tongs."

Me:  "Wicked.  Style points."

The Kid:  "I got blood on that shit."

Me:  "I approve."

The Kid:  "It was less than a foot from my feet next to the couch."

Me:  "Um."

The Kid:  "NOPE."

Me:  "Shoes.  We like shoes.  God-damned garage doors are new and supposed to be tightly sealed."

The Kid:  "Oh."

Me:  "Oh?"

The Kid:  "I sort of left the garage door open yesterday.  It must have hidden in there."

Me:  "Ah.  Oh well, it ended well.  For you.  Not the snake.  Floods do that, wash them out into the open.  Fucking hurricane."

The Kid:  "LOL"

So I guess that instead of rolling my eyes at clumps of people at work talking about hurricanes and forecasts and damage and all of the stories they heard and what their neighbors said they saw yesterday, I have my own little hurricane story to tell.  And it slithered.  Past tense.  NOPE.

I have only one question:


UPDATE:  Paul Harvey came along and pissed on all the mystery.  I didn't even get half of the story at first; a sixteenth would be more accurate.  It wasn't a copperhead, it was just a brown garden snake, and a baby one at that.  The Kid had P.J.'s help and by way of employing superb problem-solving skills, he was about to head back down to the basement to deal with it holding a wad of paper towels.  P.J. suggested picking it up with the tongs to move it from carpet to a solid surface so it could then be executed properly using something that wasn't tongs, but they seem to have worked, so that's how tongs came into the picture.  They both felt guilty because it was a harmless snake (but not that guilty because it was a harmless snake in our basement), and I have to wonder why it wasn't just tong-escorted outside into the grass somewhere, where it could get on with being not-a-copperhead, which is a good thing to have around.  Also, mice.  See?  This is why I don't real mystery novels.  They solve the mysteries at the end, and it's never as rich in possibilities as one had imagined.  It was way better when I didn't understand the absurdity of the tongs.

However, I am happy to report that the basement has now been twenty-four hours snake-free.  We should hang up another sign, beside "piss-free" and "poop-free" and "katydid-free".


  1. Soooo???.....stopping off on the way home to purchase a new kitchen tongs? yes? Will you be checking them for weight and Copperhead killability?

    I absolutely agree with you - major points for style ;)

  2. Lille,

    Kids are so nice when they grow up enough that they're willing to kill snakes for you and, yet, still leave some of the mystery. Tongs? Sure. Why not! Mona

    1. It's the paper towels that worry me. He was totally going to use them. Like it was a spider or something. And I'm teaching this creature to drive?!?