Memoir, Writing

Snakes and Blood and Sticks

You think my snake stories are over? Not just yet:

Arizona.

The mountains in California have rattlers but in Arizona the rattlers are in the mountains and down low and everywhere in between.

At my high school boyfriend Woody’s place we went looking for rattlers just for fun, cause it was like fishing in a stocked pond–they were always there.

And this was sad, but, they always got shot. We didn’t know any different. We didn’t know any environmentalists. Even my dad the Hare Krishna had that rattler under our porch killed; that’s just the way it was with rattlers [to us].

The fattest, longest one we killed just off the gravel driveway under a yucca and that big boy didn’t want to die you could see it in his eyes. But Woody had a younger brother and that’s how he (it wasn’t my idea) justified it. That and we were three towns from a hospital so we didn’t want anyone gettin bit.

We found a rattler in the tool shed and shot him too. Not me. Woody.

One night after dark I was heading over to his place for dinner and I parked my car and skipped up to the porch to ring the doorbell. Along the way I stepped over a long, thick stick and I thought that stick must be something Woody’s little brother picked up in the wash and then the motion light kicked on, I rang the doorbell, looked back at the stick and saw that it had the most intricate diamond-shaped pattern–it was a rattler.

Woody’s mother opened the door, I pointed at it, she screamed and the snake recoiled into the, by this time familiar to me, cow patty position.

Woody’s mother snatched a garden shovel out of thin air I guess and she pinned that giant snake to the gravel beneath it.

Someone handed her a rifle and she handed me the handle of the shovel, said Terah for god’s sake keep that thing pinned down.

She hefted the rifle up to her shoulder–closed one eye and met her target.

Oh I can’t do it she said and handed the rifle to Woody.

Agh I don’t want to do this I squealed and Woody’s mother rolled her eyes and grabbed the shovel keeping the snake pinned as Woody blew through the thing’s body in one clean shot.

I stood to the side shaking.

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