Between the Lines

Killing the Invader

I first saw it lying right under the fence, stretched out a good eight to ten feet long.  A rope?  Did I put that there?

In the next moment I realized what it was.

When I moved out to Sonoma County’s “wine country,” I knew there’d be wildlife—you know, birds, and maybe a few raccoons, and then of course there are all those horses in the field across the street.

But where the heck am I, I thought—the wilds of Africa?—as I stared at the giant snake, now stretched out in the entrance to my home, just as relaxed and nonchalant as if he owned the place.

In that moment, my city persona returned in full force.  I hadn’t blinked when the well pump broke, but simply called the repair man and paid the hefty bill.  I’d gotten used to the smell from the horses, and found invigorating the constant weeding, watering, and all-around maintenance that my little Ponderosa demanded.  But this—this thing, thick as two of my wrists, its tongue flicking in and out in a threatening manner—was too much.

Get me the heck out of here! I said aloud, as I picked up a nearby brick.

The snake was quick—quicker than me, at any rate.  I heaved the brick, but the snake darted deftly out from under it in a whiplash motion, and then coiled up to face down its attacker. ...

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