One evening, a woman in Brisbane, Australia, sat down on a toilet and was promptly bit on the rear by a 5-ft carpet python that was curled up in the commode’s water. She called a snake handler who said, “The customer was calm and handled it like a champ, with a sense of humor the entire time.” 

Handled it with a sense of humor? I could see that if say, she was shooting heroin just previous to the encounter, but then this man went on to blather something so fictious I wanted to put him in a choke hold until he confessed to being a fibber. I kid you not, he said, “The snake had gotten just as much of a fright as she did.” Pffffft, no way. You could never make me believe it. I’ve never heard a snake scream, not once, but I’ve heard me scream lots of times upon seeing a slithering serpent.

A woman flew home to Scotland from Australia and while unpacking her suitcase, found a spotted python curled up in a shoe. The article’s author nonchalantly wrote, “The woman was really surprised,” like she’d noticed she’d brought her mother’s bedroom slippers by mistake. In actuality it was more like, “The woman, upon finding a snake in her footwear, proceeded to slam shut the lid, open the closest window and throw the parcel as far as humanely possible, shrieking delightedly when a semi-truck and trailer smashed it flat by running all 9 left-side tires over it.” I love a happy ending.

Headline: Woman vacuuming office in Australia, opens cabinet drawer and finds dangerous snake. Perhaps the point at issue isn’t snakes, but Australia, a continent I couldn’t happily inhabit. 

A couple summers ago, a coworker was pulling weeds in our client’s garden when alongside the handful of foxtail she was clutching, was a little garter snake. This gal didn’t even yelp. Nope, cool and composed, almost bored, she put the snake back in the grass and went on pulling weeds. Last summer I was in that same spot and my brain reminded me of that incident. The fact that there’d been a snake there was enough for me to guess there was one there now, which is why I wasn’t pulling weeds, I was using a weed-eater. I’m not real bright, but I’m not real brave either, so it all works out. 

So, here I was trimming around the garden, minding my own business, when suddenly, slithering in front of me was a little striped garter snake, about a foot long. You could probably guess what happened, but I’ll tell you anyway, I screamed like a girl, “Ack!” Then for good measure I shouted twice more, and louder, much louder. Then I yelled a string of words that I don’t think helped in scaring the reptile at all. It did however teach it a new language. Given the appropriate moment, I have a surprisingly extensive vocabulary for curse words. 

About a week later I was watering plants near the same location, forgetting God has a sense of humor, when a 2 ft snake slithered between the flowers. To be fair, he was minding his own beeswax, but I’d decreed never again to tolerate a snake in my midst without a fistfight. I abruptly turned the nozzle and took a direct drenching aim. Seeing him disappear, and being convinced I’d won the tussle, I put the hose away and skipped into the house whistling a catchy tune. I walked through the porch, up the hall and as I entered the living room, there was my archenemy curled up resting, which is what I’d have done after a blast from a firehose. A friend was standing close to me and I considered climbing onto her shoulders, but I outweigh her, plus she wouldn’t make a stirrup with her hands. I’ll remember that. She did take pity on, either me or the snake, and opened up the side door, shooing him out. Here’s how God’s jocularity played out. When I was being rude and waterboarding the reptile, he and God pranked me. The snake came along the garden wall, exited through a crack in the porch and then, what a stroke of luck, the storm door was open with a slit, just snake-wide at the corner of the screen door. What good fortune. What providence. God must have been doubled over, red-faced, tears running down His cheeks, slapping His knee and holding His stomach. “Very funny,” I mirthlessly muttered.

Trena Eiden trenaid@hotmail.com