Murder on Christmas Eve

There is always something extra to do on Christmas Eve. For instance, this year I published books for the three youngest grand children. They have sat on my desk for a month, but here I was at the last-minute rushing to wrap them. To get some work space I disappeared to my workshop in the basement. There I would have the space, materials, tools, and desire needed to wrap the gifts in solitude. The job took all of fifteen minutes, and I had peace knowing it was done. It was time to clean up, and to put the paper back in the pantry. Upon returning, I noticed a funny black rope like thing on the floor just five feet from where I stood wrapping. A closer look revealed the rope was alive. Oh S__t! ISIS has invaded Frankfort  (Illinois Snake Inside Shop).

IMG_1606

This is the fourth time in nine years I have had to deal with one inside. Each time it is in the winter, it is in the basement, and each time it rattles me. The previous three times the snakes were small, only about a foot long and the diameter of a pencil. This time the damn thing was two feet long and much bigger in girth. It was also much scarier. I am still in a quandary about how they get in. One theory is that they enter from the sump pump water storage hole. In the midwest we place a large plastic pipe filled with holes around the perimeter of the house foundation. It allows ground water to seep into the sump instead of seeping into the basement. There is a pump in the hole which lifts the water out into the yard away from the house. I envision the garter snake using this pipe system as a winter den and following the water into the sump. We had a heavy rain two days earlier and most likely the snake washed into the hole. At least, that is one plausible explanation.

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My mind raced with solutions for getting the snake out of the house, and also from my mind. I recalled a story from my book Jun-e-or(available from Amazon in eBook format). I wrote a vignette titled “Scream” in which I describe my mother’s dislike for snakes, and how she dealt with them.

I made a quick trip to my tool box to find a weapon, and stealthily walked back to the slithery creature from behind. There was no way I wanted to scare this thing into some dark recess of scrap woodpiles scattered about my shop. I had visions of picking a piece of wood for a project and uncovering a mass of twisted yellow striped squirming bodies in a hibernaculum. The image of my mom’s method for dealing with a serpent played wildly in my mind, and in a second it was over. I used my putty knife to decapitate the poor thing. I walked away filled with pangs of guilt thinking I murdered one of God’s creatures on Christmas Eve.

By the time I got a dust pan and a bench brush to sweep the corpse up, he was coiled on his back exposing his under belly, a pool of blood oozed from his body, his head joined by a sliver of skin. It took a quick brush onto the pan and a dump into a plastic bag. I walked upstairs past Peg sitting on the couch reading. She looked up and said “what have you got in the bag?”

“Just a last minute gift for the kids,” I said. I took it immediately to the trash can in the garage and disposed the evidence.

 

One Response

  1. Quite something…

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