Snakes and Snails and...Shovels!

Like many others, I'm not a spider fan.  I don't scream, I don't jump, but I just plain don't like them, but I do understand that they have a purpose.  No, that purpose isn't scary the life out of us, but as part of the chain in insect life aka they eat bugs.  I don't like them, either.

But what I really, really don't like is snakes.  I lived on a farm for 24 years, and there were several occasions when a snake got in the house.  Not little garter snakes.  Big.  Fat.  Long.  Bull snakes.  During the first memorable visit by a slithering reptile and my reaction to it, my best friend called.  I told her what was happening, and she laughed.  And laughed.  I informed her that someday in the future, I would include the story in a book.  The following is an excerpt from A Saddle Made for Two, Silhouette Romance, July 2001; my second book.

Sticking the key in the lock and turning the knob, she pulled open the door and stepped inside.  She growped in the dark to switch on the light while she yanked her hat from her head.  The hat fell to the counter, and her gaze dropped to the floor.

Her blood-curdling scream, at the sight of the snake curled on the floor, bounced off the thin camper walls.

Thoughts skittered through her mind, but none made sense.  Without taking her attention from the cold-blooded invader, Ellie acted on instinct and eased open the door of the small closet to her right.  After carefully pulling out a newly purchased, flat-bottomed shovel, intended for her horse trailer, she jabbed the edge onto the snake as close to its head as possible.  Praying the critter would stay put, she gripped the wooden handle with both hands and jumped atop the metal.  The snake flipped and writhed beneath the blade, and Ellie realized what she'd just done.  Frozen to the spot in shock and unable to move, except to brace herself with one hand against the cabinet for balance, a shudder shook her body.

Now what? she thought, when the snake slowed its wriggling.  If she got off and it came after her, she'd die of fright.  Mercy, she hated snakes!  But staying propped on the shovel for eternity wasn't an option, either.
All true, I swear.  Except the grain shovel (flat-bottomed and new) was around the corner in the entry that led outside.  It had been (thankfully) left there by my husband, who was, of course, nowhere around.  And I didn't scream.  I was standing on that shovel, the snake beneath the blade and still moving, when the phone rang and my friend called.  The rest, as they say, is history.

5 comments:

Reese Mobley said...

I would have fainted. Or ran.

I would have fainted then ran. And I'd probably still be running. lol

Joan Vincent said...

Great use of an experience, Rox. I too am scared to death of snakes. When my youngest was about 4 she was picking up potatoes as I dug them. As I lifted a shovel full of dirt a snake came with it. I screamed, threw the shovel and ran out of the garden. My daughter screamed and followed me. She stopped beside me and after a moment asked, "Mom why did we scream and run?" She never saw the snake!

Penny Rader said...

Ewwwww. Gives me shivers just thinking about it.

Nina Sipes said...

Rox,
That's just funny, but I understand your reaction. We can get into predicaments quicker than we can get out. I think you showed great presence of mind. The first snake I ever remember was under my bed. I was probably four years old and my sister and I shared a single bed, sleeping feet to feet. I woke up in the morning and heard a sound under the bed so, of course, I bent down over the side and saw something under there. I hollered for mom that something was under the bed. She came, took a look, turned white, ran for a broom, all the while yelling to us both to stay put! Then she swept that poor snake out the front door and took his head off with a hoe. My step-grandmother ran and locked herself in the bathroom, sat on the back of the toilet and screamed her head off in hysterical terror. She was afraid of snakes. I can still see that poor snake all confused and trying to figure out which way was up as mom swept him out. Then she had to break into the bathroom and slap grandma. After that she went through the entire house--moving everything and nailing tin can lids over all holes---just in case there were more snakes. My sister and I were merely interested bystanders to the entire event.

I'm afraid if I had been standing on the shovel, I'd have been worried about where the snake's friends were.

Roxann Delaney said...

Nina, it was just the first of several snakes. Not a small one, either. A nice big bull snake, at least 3 feet long, although I didn't ask him to stretch out and let me measure him.

I went to move the 3-drawer file cabinet in my office and discovered a nice sized snake wrapped around the door handle of the door that led outside.

I'll have to remember your mom's broom trick. ;)