In college I lived in a large duplex in the U-District of Seattle. One half was inhabited by myself and some friends, while the other housed a group of pot-heads and their many random pets. These boys were so high most of the time that getting into conversations with them was like wandering into the middle of a David Lynch film. When it came to naming their pets, they had gotten very creative.
They had a skinny, mangy-looking tabby cat named Kitty and a turtle named Shell (which they couldn’t pronounce without falling into a fit of hysterical giggles).
and of course
A snake, whom they called Snake.
A quick note regarding me and the snakes of the world: we do not get along. I see one, and I run screaming. I see a picture of one and I cringe. I once came across a garter snake breeding ball (check wiki-it’s just as disgusting as it sounds), and stood paralyzed in terror as they slowly untangled themselves. So yes, it is probably the most classically boring of fears-but I am petrified of snakes.
So it was with joy that I received the two potheads standing on my front porch one afternoon, red-eyes twinkling with pleasure as they showed off their ‘friend’ Snake. The red and white stripes twisted around the hands of one as the other rolled a joint, both giggling in delight at the latest addition to their domestic zoo. Needless to say, I was not as ecstatic about this as they were. I distinctly remember telling them that the thing was sure to escape, and being a duplex-that was going to be a problem. The other problem was that despite their antics, these boys were incredibly hot, so they tended to get away with murder. They were so hot that one of my roommates and I frequently knocked on their door in the summers and had them open up their side so we could bring out the grill and watch them take their shirts off. In addition to their hotness, and despite their mental capacity, they were really nice guys. But not even their adorably dude-like nature could warm me up to the idea of Snake.
Skip ahead two months and several parties to the fresh arrival of summer. The morning of my 22nd birthday.
I’m lying in bed, waking up to the sunshine spewing through my window when it happens. My roommate is getting ready for work and she suddenly starts screaming like a madwoman. Thinking she has seen a moth (her greatest irrational fear), I begin to get up and remove the flying ‘terror’ from her bedroom. However, I am mid-roll when I hear her scream out
My bed was considerably farther away from the front door than she was, and I managed to pass her on the stairs in what had to be the fastest I had ever moved in my life. Having just gotten out of the shower-she had found the slimy creature underneath her heaped towel in the corner of her bedroom.
So there we were. Two girls, one in towel, one in monkey p.j. pants screaming various obscenities on our front porch at seven in the morning. Hands pounding furiously on our neighbors door and windows, desperately trying to wake them from their smoke-induced slumber. After about ten minutes, one of them opened up.
Looking us over through squinted, tired eyes, he chuckled, yawned, and said ‘sssuuup ladies, want me to make pancakes?’
A cluttered mess of disgusted yelling ensued in which we managed to portray to him that his snake was currently residing on my roommates floor. His eyes lit up at the mention of Snake, at which point he smiled and said
‘Cool man, he’s been missing for a month’
A month. Snake had been roaming through our connected homes for a month. As this notion sank into our brains-the disheveled neighbor asked us if he should retrieve Snake from the premises.
‘Yes, that would be fantastic’
A few minutes later, the scruffy boy from next door came up our stairs, holding Snake in a disgusting father/son reconciliation. As he passed us in the front doorway, both still waiting the return of normal heartbeats, he said:
‘Hehehehehe, Dude, Snake’s back in action’.
Needless to say, I couldn’t quite bring myself to return to bed that morning.