Sunday, November 14, 2004

Evacuate the area

This is in response to reading about a snake falling from the ceiling while some poor woman was having a shower (just can’t thank you enough for the horror of reading that article, Kent @ Dock of the Bay...)

I have an abiding fear of snakes, and already this summer season have seen three (venomous) brown snakes. There are also (venomous) black snakes around here, and we also have carpet snakes or pythons, a baby one of which I once found curled up here in this very room... (Please hum some ominous music now.)

I opened the cover of a lever-arch file which was sitting on the table, and there, coiled up into a 30cm wide circle on top of the papers, was a snake. I slammed the cover closed, stepped back and gulped out a "Hoh!" noise. I stood there hyperventilating for a while, trying to get my brain back into gear. A snake. In my folder. On the table. A snake. I started to wonder if I'd only imagined it. (Huh?) How could there be a snake in here? Surely there wasn’t. It was an hallucination or something. (Huh? I now say again. Talk about clutching at straws...) So I took a look under the cover from the side, but bad news: it was there. This is about the time I started with more of the “Hoh!”s, and shaking, and clutching at my chest in a very good parody of the classic lady-in-distress. What the hell was I going to do? It was late at night, no-one to call, it was Me versus the Snake, and there'd only be one winner. The snake wasn't moving, so I raced around to find two long barbeque tongs and a cardboard box. Then with 2-metre-long arms (they stretched as an emergency response) and the tongs, I picked up the folder, put it into the cardboard box, carried the whole thing onto the verandah and dumped it, and jumped back inside to peer through the screendoor. And nothing happened. No little face appeared. So I tiptoed out and pushed the box on its side, and jumped back behind the screendoor again. This time the snake had been raised from its slumber (and thank God it hadn't been before!) and it slowly moved across the verandah floor and dropped down onto the garden.

I still don’t know how the damn thing got into this room, though I suspect it might have fallen in through a gap around the woodstove chimney (which I promptly taped up). Just thinking of it now makes me want to put my feet up off the floor, in case there’s something else lurking about. Pythons aren’t venomous, and won’t kill you - unless they wrap around your neck and suffocate you or something. And with that hideous thought now hanging in the air, this post ends here, quickly.