06 Nov There’s a Snake in my House.
Full disclosure – I hate snakes. I’m terrified of snakes. They are at the very top of the list of Things I Wish Were Never Created. (A list which includes mosquitos, centipedes, brain parasites that live on lettuce salad, and Celine Dion’s song ‘My Heart will Go On’.)
I grew up believing that Samoa had no snakes. That knowledge gave me great peace and comfort. Then I learned that actually Samoa DOES have snakes. Two kinds in fact. The Pacific Boa and the blind soil snake. Did you know? If you didn’t, now you do and yes, you can join me in screaming silently into the void now.
However, I have successfully survived 4o+ years without ever having to confront a serpent in this country. Until the day my children, my own FLESH AND BLOOD DAMMIT, opened the door to my snake apocalypse. Let this tale be a warning to all those contemplating parenthood. Don’t do it. You sacrifice everything so your children can exist and then they betray you.
It all started when the children and their father took apart the corpse of a decrepit trampoline in the back yard. The trampoline we bought five years ago so that these children would spend less time on the Xbox and instead take their lazy butts outside to play. It didn’t work because I’d forgotten two vital facts. My children are kinda grown up. And Minecraft is so much more exciting than a trampoline. Immediately after buying the trampoline, Child One moved to another country to go to university. Child Two soon followed. Child Four went to boarding school on another island. Leaving Child Three who said she was too old to play on a trampoline. And Child Five who wanted to play on a trampoline but found it rather dismal all by herself. Which left the trampoline to get rusty and sad until my dogs discovered how fun it was to jump on it and chew it to bits.
So I finally gave up on the fantasy of happy energetic children jumping on trampolines in the golden sunshine, and harassed the Ironman to please get rid of it. Which he did. Except while they were carting it away, they found something in the nasty shadows underneath it.
A snake. A little blind soil snake to be precise.
Any other intelligent, responsible and good citizen of earth would have done any of the following: – chopped the snake in pieces. Screamed and fainted. Run a mile in the opposite direction. Fetched gasoline and carried out a scorched-earth policy on the entire backyard AND the neighbor’s yard too just to be safe. Called the police. Called the fire station. Called the snake catchers at SPREP or MNRE. Or maybe possibly, they would have caught the snake, blindfolded it, put it in a glass box, driven 50miles in a confusing doubling back route so the sly beast would never find its way back, and let it go free
in their worst enemy’s yard in a lush forest somewhere.
Did my children do any of these things? No they did not.
They brought the snake inside, put it in a plastic container with some dirt, and joyously announced, “We have a new pet! Meet our snake!”
This is why I miss having small children because in the old days, I could just say GET THAT SNAKE THE EFF OUTTA MY HOUSE! BEFORE I WHACK EVERYBODY’S BACKSIDE AND SEND YOU ALL TO BED WITH NO DINNER! And even though the small children knew nobody’s backside ever got whacked, just the mere thought of what that might be like would be enough to send them running out into traffic in a desperate haste to get rid of the snake. But now, they’re Big. With opinions, attitudes, viewpoints, and dangerous ideas about sinful things called democracy. They argue, debate, plead, cajole and wheedle their way out of anything. Sometimes they win just because I’m too damn tired to keep fighting them. But I tried.
I said no, snakes are dangerous. They said, ‘This is a blind soil snake. It’s tiny. It’s like a worm! So little. So gentle! So friendly! It eats ants. Google said it’s harmless.’
I said no snake is harmless. What if it’s a mutant soil snake? Which means it will grow twenty times bigger than Google says it’s supposed to. And it will be hungrier than a regular soil snake and not content with eating ants. It will eat humans. It will start by eating the humans that live in the same house as he does.
The children laughed derisively (but tried to pretend it was with fondness). Oh silly mother, what an imagination! That will never happen!
I said, What if it escapes from the container? Snakes are escape artists. That’s why they don’t allow them in any zoos in NZ. They can escape from anything, anywhere. I don’t want a snake creeping around in my house. No matter how harmless it is. They said, “It’s too weak and defenceless to escape from this container, way up here on the kitchen bench. The soil snake is blind and can only live in dirt. If it somehow falls out of the container, then it will die without dirt. It won’t make it more than a few feet away. We will easily recapture it!”
Finally I said, I AM YOUR MOTHER AND THE BOSS OF THIS HOUSE! I SAID NO SNAKES IN HERE! I CAN’T SLEEP OR BREATHE EASY KNOWING A SNAKE IS IN THIS HOUSE. I WILL DIE! They said, “Chill out mum, why do you have to be so dramatic? Fine. We’ll just keep it for a few days and then Bella’s going to take it to school for News Time.”
I said, Bella will take it to school TOMORROW and gift it to the class. It can be the school pet.
They whinged and complained, but I stood firm. No. Tomorrow the snake will leave this house forever.
The next morning the snake was gone. It wasn’t in its dirt. Or the container. Or on the kitchen bench. Or anywhere on the floor. “Maybe it’s hiding in the soil?” the children said hopefully. I strained the dirt with my sifter. Nothing. “Where’s our snake?” they wailed. “How did it get out of the container??”
I’ll tell you how, I said. It escaped because it’s a mutant soil snake, with advanced crafty intelligence and super snake strength DNA. It’s somewhere in this house, lurking, hiding, plotting evil. Eating ants and then it will graduate to cockroaches and lizards. Then to rodents and other mammals. Then it will weasel its way into the ceiling crawlspace and get fat on unwary birds, and spy on us as we go about our daily lives. You think its blind but it actually has infrared night vision combined with sonar echo navigational awareness. It can see everything! And one day, when we least expect it, the mutant soil snake will uncoil itself and descend with lightning speed to rip off our heads. Then enjoy a buffet feast on all our family.
The children said, “Don’t be ridiculous mum. It’s probably dead somewhere. It will show up one day when we’re cleaning the house.” Just like that, they forgot all about their once-beloved snake pet and went to play Minecraft.
Leaving me to scour the house, find no snake, and now I nurse my constant fear that it’s here somewhere. Under my bed? In the wardrobe? Sliming in the drain of the shower? Am I going to trip over it when I go get a drink of water at 2am? Am I going to wake up one night with it coiled around my throat, squeezing the life out of me? What if it has BABIES?? A nest of mutant serpents pouring out of holes in the wall and coming up through the floor???
Full disclosure – I think I hate my children. I hope the mutant snakes eat them first.