I started this the week after this actually happened, and then forgot about it. So I finished it. And published it. I bet you feel whole now.
Whenever I am startled and let out one of my infamous squeals, a little rational voice inside my head speaks up as soon as the sound leaves my mouth: You idiot. That's technically not an axe murderer who just entered your bedroom. It's your husband. Shut. Up.
But on Saturday, I was startled by something so great and terrible that the voice inside my head actually told me to just keep on screaming until help arrived. And help did arrive--in the person of the Kona Ice Man. Yes. The Ice Man cometh.
I had just enabled Ainsley's shaved-ice addiction and was turning back toward the house when I stepped on something that felt like a stick, but not really. It gave a little and I shivered because whatever had just gotten underfoot gave me the distinct impression of being...alive.
And it was. Very. For what I stepped on then began slithering down the driveway and into our open garage.
I let out a startled scream. And the voice of reason inside my head, instead of saying, "You idiot," said, "Ho-ly mo-ly SHIT what the f*** is a snake that big doing in Kentucky oh my God oh my God OHMYGOD!"
For it was not the width that shocked me so much as the girth (that's what she said.)
My scream bounced off of the walls of the adjacent houses and I just stood there, frozen. I am not particulary afraid of snakes. Unless they are huge. And I've just stepped on them. And they've taken cover next to my car in the enclosed space of my garage. Then, I'm not ashamed to say, I'm not a fan.
"Ma'am, would you like me to get it out of the garage for you?"
Yes, random stranger who just sold me a small cup of ice. Yes, I believe that I would.
By this time, the man of my house had come to the door. Now here is a little-known fact: Jason is a wee little bit afraid of snakes. And by "wee little bit" I mean moderately to severely. Snakes are to him what spiders are to me. (Wait, nothing is to Jason the way spiders are to me. He is mostly brave and stoic. But to make this a good story let's pretend he's terrified of them. Because he kinda is.) He will kill them when absolutely necessary but would prefer to not know that they exist inside the perimeter of our yard. I was really hoping to not have to involve him in the little drama unfolding in our driveway, but being a responsible human being, he thought the least he could do was hand the Kona Ice Man our hoe and stay close enough to the action to help but far enough away to run if needed. We are nothing if not considerate of others when the others are ridding our home of unwanted serpents.
I suddenly remembered, in the adrenaline afterglow, that I had a child. Somewhere. Thankfully she had not passed out and seemed fascinated by the proceedings. She had a front-row seat and a snow cone; she looked at me and shrugged and just kept eating. Kids.
The snake was discovered just inside the entrance to the garage, coiled behind the garbage can. My body tensed and Jason and Kona tried to flush him out. When two grown men are hesitant and deliberate when dealing with a creature that's kind of inside your house, you know things are bad.
"I see why you screamed," the Kona Ice Man said. "That's a f***ing big snake."
He suddenly lifted the snake out with the hoe and plopped him onto the driveway. I gasped. At least 5 1/2 feet long, black, and apparently fresh from a meal of fat rodent, it was the largest snake I've ever seen outside of a zoo. I realized it was not poisonous and had nary a rattle in sight, but my legs grew weak just the same.
"Dead or alive, ma'am?"
And with a few quick strikes, the f***ing big snake was dead. The Kona Ice Man, ensuring that I will buy from him every single time he drives down the street for the rest of my life even when I no longer have a child at home, lifted the carcass with the hoe, walked it into our back yard, and threw it into the woods. Then, with a good-humored comment about this being sort of an unusual and memorable day for him, he climbed back into his truck and restarted the faux-island music:
Don't worry...be happy.
And they say chivalry is dead.