I thought of our buddy Kyle Mooty the other day when I was out for an early evening walk and a lady I didn’t know called me over to her driveway. She was holding a big rake, which she thrust into my chest with these instructions, “There is a big snake under my car and I need you to kill it.” I could still here her screaming at me to “Come back here you big chicken,” as I sprinted around the corner at the end of the block.
Kyle, as I’m sure you all know by now, doesn’t much care for snakes either. I don’t have a yard these days like he does, and I wish him all the best as those slithering devils make their way out of hibernation. The last yard I did have became an Amazon Jungle wannabe this time of year.
I remember one day I was out working when my neighbor Brian came by, which was a good reason for me to take a break. We were on our second beer when Brian asked me if I’d seen any snakes yet. Behind our houses were hundreds of acres of woods, which was a wonderful thing, but it also got us the occasional critter who strayed out of the wild. I told him I hadn’t seen one yet, and then recalled the big fat Copperhead story from a few years ago. He came out of the ivy just long enough to send me in for the day. Brian knew the story from other days standing there by my garage fridge. Then he told about the 12-foot ugly black snake that was hanging on his son Tanner’s jungle gym one day. “I turned and there he was, his face just inches from mine. He was smiling at me.” When I first heard the story, it was six feet long and he saw it from across the yard. But my Copperhead had grown over the years too.
I asked him what he did next and he said, “what any good snake-fighter would do in that situation, I ran like hell, got my shotgun and marched back to the yard to do battle. But he was no where to be seen.”
“Probably down in the ivy, biding his time.” I said.
“Yeah,” Brian whispered. And we both stared silently out at the green ground cover, like Two Sheriff Brody’s, looking out to sea from the safe shore of Amity.
I got another beer, knowing full well that KM would put me on KP, or latrine duty when she pulled up in her Jeep. “Did I ever tell you about the time I was playing golf in Scottsdale?” I asked Brian, handing him another beer. Of course I had, but he, being the polite garage-guest, said, “I don’t think so.”
“Well, we were playing one of those desert courses, where if you hit it out of the fairway, you’re in the desert.”
“Do you ever hit it out of the fairway?”
Knowing full well Brian’s not a golfer, I lied. “Not often, but on this day I hit a wild shot. Probably someone talking in my backswing.”
“Oh,” he said. Giving me his full attention.
“So I was out there, among the rocks and sand and cactuses.”
“Cacti,” Brian corrected.
“Whatever. So there I was, in the desert. The other guys were moving on down the fairway and I still hadn’t found my ball. So I started jogging. There was a medium-sized boulder just ahead, and rather than go around I jumped. I cleared it without a problem but to stick the landing, I saw to my horror, I would have to land on top of a huge rattlesnake.”
“Oh no,” Brian said.
“Yeah, oh no. All I could do was try and bounce off it, which I did. And just kept going.”
“Wow, you’re Batman.”
“I know. Grab another brew, they don’t cost nuthin.”