Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Live and Let Die
Devoted snake lovers might want to sit this one out:
As a young lad growing up on the farm, I had regular contact with all sorts of verminous creatures. One morning as I was walking down to the road, I met a copperhead snake slithering up towards the house. I'm generally a "live and let live" kind of guy, but in my book, poisonous snakes hanging out in the yard is strictly an "us or them" affair. I turned around, walked back up the driveway, went to the toolshed, and grabbed a hoe. I walked back down to the snake, and, with a swift thunk, chopped off his head (this wasn't hard to do - he was taking his own sweet time).
Now, if you've ever beheaded a reptile (and, really, we've all been there at one point or another), you'll know that things get kind of weird once the head is gone. It kept going, sans brain, up the hill. At first, it maintained its former pace. Then it gradually slowed. Twenty minutes later it was still inching along (naturally I watched it the entire time), and finally it stopped.
With the hoe, I carefully picked up the head and carcass and walked back up the hill, intending to throw them on the roof of the chicken house where my dog, Prince, couldn't dig them up and eat them. First, I lobbed the head onto the roof where it landed with a tinny plink. Then, I heaved the carcass onto the roof. Suddenly, reanimated by the hot surface, it sprang back to life, violently surged forward off the roof, landed in the grass at my feet, and headed straight towards me.
I leapt back, emitting a high, girlish yelp, grabbed the hoe, heaved it high over head, and frantically chopped the snake into little bits. Like a scene from a horror movie, the pieces briefly wiggled and twitched, then died. Panting and bug-eyed, hoe at the ready, I watched them. For a long time.
The pieces didn't inch back together and reform as an unstoppable zombie snake. They didn't each turn into a new snake and swarm me. They were dead. Finally, convinced of this fact, I individually picked them up with the hoe and tossed them back on the roof.