Exposed to snakes

So apparently we have a snake in our garage.

This was one of the worst nightmares of my early days of youth, right up there with the glow-in-the-dark Dracula model that I’d made and stupidly had displayed on my brother Jim’s desk. Staring down at me eight feet away in this tiny Manhattan bedroom we shared.

Four years old, I used to lie in bed at night and freak out because I was certain that if my arm slid off the side while I slept, a rattlesnake would bite me. Sure of it. My dad would come in, gently sit on the edge of the mattress near my waist so that I’d tilt toward him, feel his weight next to me, feel my smallness, and he’s say, “Howd, you don’t have to worry about any snakes in New York City. Besides, we’re six floors up and how would they push the elevator buttons?”

Today, those calming words dispelling childhood myths are meaningless. We live on one floor, with lawn and wildness outside all doors and windows around us. The house is porous. There is no elevator or 6th floor button to act as buffers. I can handle city muggers, crazy cab drivers, and tourists from Iowa, but snakes I cannot abide. No matter that early reports have the reptile measuring at 9 to 15 inches. No matter that it’s a garden snake. This means nothing. It’s alive. That’s everything.

What’s worse is that after trying to talk through my fears with Karen and telling her about the childhood nightmares again, she tells me that there are reports that “they come up through the toilets.”

“Alligators, you mean? Yeah…everyone knows that New York City myth.”

“No,” she retorts. “Snakes.”

“Snakes? In New York City plumbing?!”

“NO!” She’s laughing now, covering her mouth, hiding either the awful truth or a terrible tease. “Here. In Comanche Trace!”

“WHAT??!! Snakes coming up through our toilets?!”

This simply can’t be. I’m already dealing with hemorrhoids.

This is no time for benign neglect. I must take the fight to the asp in its current home, before it gets me in mine.

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