It is 11:40 pm and I have just come inside from a rousing confrontation with nature. You should understand my views on nature and animals. I don't camp. I will fish so long as I am not required to touch any fish. I don't hunt. But not because I don't believe in killing animals, it's just that you have to carry so much gear and walk so far and I think camouflage clothing is a requirement. I don't do camo. It's not in my color scheme. If "hunting" is going to require more of me that just slipping a .357 out of my handbag, it's not for me. When I hear "PETA", I think triangular bread for my hummus. When my friends forward me adorable pictures of chinchillas doing oh so cute things, I wonder how many it would take to make a sweater and can I just shave them or is skinning involved? Not that I'm opposed to skinning. I'd just have to get all the knives sharpened first. I like to be prepared and think ahead.
But on to my last few minutes of existence. I leashed the family Basset hound, Roscoe, and set out for one more leisure sprint as he threatens to dislocate my shoulder finding every spot he's already peed on four times today. We made it as far as the end of the driveway when I noticed something long and thin lying in our path. Roscoe is known to eat small frogs, moths, lizards, flies, bees and gave it the 'ol college try at a Japanese beetle. The last one didn't end so well for him but I found it funny. I immediately thought, since we've had considerable rain, a long earthworm had stranded itself on the concrete and was faced with two options: being dried out by the blistering 90 degree weather we're sure to have tomorrow or being eaten by a lazy hound. I decided his fate and pulled Roscoe away. I don't want the dog breathing on me later with worm breath. But the "worm" wasn't appreciative. In fact, the bastard came at us and not in a "Hey, let's be friends" manner. It slithered at us and even pulled itself up off the driveway to lunge at us. For others of you out there less informed about nature than me (I'm jealous!), worms don't slither. And they sure as hell don't lunge! With a break-neck jerk (seriously...I may have to have the vet look at the dog's neck), I pulled the dog, ran inside and woke my soon-to-be-ex husband up. (Don't ask. I'm fine. He's fine. It's fine. Any finer and it'd be frog hair.)
"James! Come kill this snake! It looks like a baby copperhead!"
We have those here. We saw a dead one several months ago. Not far from our street light. Granted, I'm no Jack Hanna, but I felt it reasonable to panic. I'm demanding a half asleep man who wouldn't move at a turtle's pace even if his ass were on fire to run out the door, find a suitable weapon, race to the end of the driveway and commence with the killing. I knew the likelihood of the snake idling away before he would get there. So what does the father of my children do? He walks to the end of the driveway. WALKS. And what's worse? He walks empty handed. What's he gonna do?? Beat it with a boat shoe?? Upon reaching the snake, which is miraculously still there but managing to inch closer to the yard, he says "Come down here and watch it while I get the shovel."
Watch it what? Slide away? And do what? Give a play by play? "Oh he's in the grass. On to the neighbor's yard and rounding the azalea. He's SAFE!" What the fuck?
"No...YOU watch it. I'll get the shovel!" Unfortunately, it's dark, I'm balancing my brain functions between holding a cigarette and staying in my flip flops all the while accepting that ever pine needle, piece of straw or stick that touches my foot is a snake bigger and deadlier than the one NOT being eliminated in my driveway. "I can't find a shovel!!"
Then he's at my side saying "Right there!"
Me: "That's a SNOW shovel."
James: "Well I don't think they make SNAKE shovels."
Me: "They should! Even those spade tipped shovels are shit! Your aim has to be perfect to hit a target that small and can fling itself at you and latch on."
James: "The snake isn't big enough too latch on."
Me: "That shovel is less than useless with snow. How is it going to kill the snake? I'm getting a hammer."
James: "We don't need a hammer."
Me: "I'll tell ya what we don't need. We don't need a snow shovel that takes 7 minutes to dig out of a shed when it snows once every 5 years and we don't need a fucking poisonous snake in the driveway."
Right. The snake. That NO ONE is watching now. I run to snake, slowing down when it's apparent that it's still lying there. Obviously toying with us. As James meanders down the drive, I begin giving precise directions on how to kill it. "Slam it! Slam it! Slam it! Cut it's head off! It's not dead til you see guts!"
The killing of a one foot pencil thin potentially venomous snake with a snow shovel takes approximately just as long as it did to find and free the snow shovel...only louder. It sounded like he was digging up the road and laying asphalt. I asked him to drag the carcass into the light so I could inspect the eyes and markings. Move over Jack Hanna!
As we walked back into the house, both damp with perspiration - him from spanking a snake to death and shoveling it down the storm water drain and me from trying to keep from ashing on myself whilst cheering loudly at the demise of a deadly snake, I reminded him that we must be on the lookout for more. The boys can't be in the yard and happen upon one.
As things settled, I logged onto Google and searched common North Carolina snakes. Conveniently, there is a site dedicated to just that with detailed pictures and information. Turns out he bludgeoned a non venomous water snake like it was a 10 foot black mamba, which, by the way, AREN'T indigenous to North Carolina or even North America for that matter. But if they feel like making an appearance, we're ok. We've got a snow shovel.