Wednesday, June 17, 2015
There's a snake in my car.
Sunday evening after stopping for ice cream, my Wife and I walked over to my Blue 1990 Mazda Miata, which I love as much as a person can love the car that is standing in for the Aston Martin one richly deserves but forgoes out of love and concern for ones family, and as we were about to get in, she leaped up in the air, threw out an arm in a dramatic gesture and spooled up to a High "D" which she held, without taking a breath for at least 12 or 13 seconds. She also managed to suspend herself 11 inches(!) off the ground for that little moment in time. The very INSTANT she hit her panic button I thought to myself; "Snake!? How can there be a snake!? There must be a snake!". I ran over, put a hand on her shoulder to calm her and draw her back to earth before she could gain more altitude and slip away, glanced down onto the floorboard of the car and saw the snake that I knew was going to be there but could not believe was going to be there.
Tiny little grey thing, 8 or 9 inches and no bigger around than a french fry. All curled(not coiled) up with it's little paws over it's ears and an astonished expression on it's cute little furry face. Well, if it had paws and ears and fur. It was absolutely as harmless in demeanor and equipment as any creature can be. But having been through all this a number of times in the last 19 years, 11 months and a few days for Cleopatra and I, and innumerable times since "The Fall From Grace In The Garden" for our little serpent, we all knew our parts and dutifully followed the standard script; She, shrieking her lines in that glass-shatteringly calm, matter-of-fact way of hers, stating that she would not be riding home in that car, today, tomorrow or any day before the end of time, Me, standing slope shouldered, muttering, sotto voce, words of common sense and wisdom, uselessly, to the wind, and the Snake? The snake darted off stage via the opening in the carpet for the seatbelt bolt, with a flip of the tail and a cheerful "Later Losers" to the delight of the audience.
So let's just go over our respective roles in this tragic comedy before going any further, just so you can concentrate on the action without worrying about how the plot is going to develop...
Cleopatra, my lovely Wife(and she IS a fabulous Babe, BTW), aggrieved Heroine,guaranteed to end the play recumbent on a pallet of satin cushions, blowing kisses to the crowd who shower her with roses and applause.
The Snake. Noble Trickster, will show itself to be equal in wit and humanity to the rest of the cast, impossible to outsmart and invariably able to turn all attempts on it's life and person back onto it's reluctant assailant with uproarious comic genius.
Me. Shlub. I will end the play barefoot, covered with soot and holding a smouldering steering wheel, spent airbag draped at my feet.
How can it be otherwise? All I have to defend myself is common sense and reason against all the forces of Nature and Culture. You have no idea how my life has changed in 4 days. Absolutely nothing is as vital as proving to my Wife that the snake is gone and will never come back. And I will still have to burn my car to the ground even if I can produce a snake cadaver of the right size and description. I may have to burn her Packard too, as a preventive measure, then buy her another one and possibly burn it as well if that one does not feel sufficiently snake free over time. You see, this is not the first time. This spring in Florida we all watched in disbelief as a 3 foot black snake shot across my In-Laws yard, up the front tire of the knackered old Bentley we bought for our oldest Daughter to drive, and into the engine compartment. I, as the responsible Husband and Father, got the hose, opened the hood, saw the serpent nestled under the intake manifold plumbing and sprayed it with a good blast. Knowing, KNOWING, we were going to see that bad old snake drop to the ground and take off for the everglades. Alas no. It did disappear but it did not drop to the ground and slither off. It just, disappeared.
I, as many of you will know, am a Liar, so you will not be surprised if I tell you that I, for the good of my family, lied and lied and lied over the course of the next 24 hours. "No, there is NO POSSIBLE way for a snake, OF ANY SIZE, to find it's way into the passenger compartment from under the hood", and, "I can ASSURE you that that snake crawled out of there as soon as the coast was clear since it's a SCIENTIFIC FACT that snakes are repelled by the smell of automatic transmission fluid", or, "There's NOWHERE for him to hide! We'd be able to see him if he was still in there!". I'm pretty sure he's still in there. All the way back to Virginia I was dreading the moment when a sleek, glossy, indigo head was going to emerge from a dash vent leaving me speechless and alone in a speeding station wagon, with only my snake and the empty seats and broken windows where my wife and daughters were just before the "Rapture".
Also,We almost had to burn our new house down because there was a wee little 5 foot snaky thing under the dining room table one afternoon a year or so after we moved in. That was an eventful day. I was able to rescue that guy and put him out in the field with instructions to never come back if he wanted to preserve his cool dry skin and high frequency hearing.
You see, I don't mind snakes. I'm not especially into them or anything, for romping and playing catch in the yard with a Frisbee I typically prefer a dog, but I don't have anything against them. I mean, The whole garden of Eden thing is so far in the past, and really, Serpent or no, we were eventually going to get around to consuming everything glossy and bite-sized within the walls of Paradise anyway so let's just shake hands(metaphorically speaking) and give it a rest. Of course the rules are different with venomous types, I'm really going to have to insist you stay a long rifle shot away from the house, but provided you do that I promise to watch my step out in the wilds and not be all injured entitlement if you sink a fang in when I tramp on your tail.
So I really don't want anything bad to happen to this little dude. In fact, if it was just me, I'd leave him alone. Let him stay as long as he wanted, maybe even have a chat and a laugh on a Sat morning going to the market with the top down. He could keep any mice from moving in and prevent me from having to do to my Miata what my friend Bruce is having to do to his, rip out all the seats and carpet AND the dash assembly to remove the mouse nests and tangy smell that accumulated while the car sat idle for a couple of years in a carport. I think it's sort of a settled issue in any case, it's moved in apparently. I've seen it twice since then, once yesterday sunning itself across the rear of the console when I went out to go to lunch and this evening I think I saw it's glittery little eyes peering at me from under the passenger seat as I waited for a light. It gives off a sort of domestic, proprietary air, as if "this is my Home, you know? And why do you have to keep trying to grab me or lure me into little Tupperware containers with the lid propped open with a stick and a string like we were living in some ridiculous "Road Runner Cartoon?"
I've thought about just telling Cleo that the snake is gone, "I totally saw him sliding out the wheelwell with an overnight case and a garment bag", or scouring the road for a dead one of approximately the same description and planting it under the seat or whatever. 'Problem with that is the whole "Everybody knows I'm a big fat liar" thing, so I'm probably doomed to going everywhere in that car alone until she finally drops a match in the trunk herself. What should I do? What would YOU do?
Oh well, time will tell how this play ends. Updates as events unfold...
at 9:08 PM