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Thursday, June 02, 2011

I Have Had it With These Monkey-Fighting Snakes on This Monday-to-Friday Plane (Subtitle: 911 is Not a Joke)

Thursday, June 02, 2011 By

Augusta, Ga. - It was a morning like any other. Hahaha! Who am I kidding? None of my mornings are like any others!

I woke up at 4:30 for absolutely no reason and decided I would start my day. "This is awesome! I'm gonna be early to everything!" I thought, and toddled down the hall to go potty.

And then I noticed that Emmie had left her iPod earbuds in the floor - because at 4:30 a.m. to a nearsighted person not wearing her glasses, hot pink headphones and a brown snake look exactly like, amIright?

Wait, a snake?!

Yep. In my hallway, pressed up against the wall in an 'S' shape, was a snakey snakelike snakeiful mcsnakerson.

It looked like this:

This is a venomous copperhead. Not usually deadly, but it can cause severe tissue damage.

This is not a photo of the actual snake. My Blackberry was beside the bed. In my bedroom. Where my child was sleeping. And the snake lay between the two of us. That was not ideal.

"I'll just sneak to the bedroom," I reasoned. I've read that snakes would rather freeze than fight. They prefer to play dead or blend in. So I smooshed myself as far into the wall as I could, and slid down the hallway.

"Ooohhh, bleep bleep bleep!" I whispered. Only I didn't say 'bleep.' I didn't say 'bleep' a lot.

Turns out, it wasn't such a good plan. The snake - which was well within striking distance in my narrow hallway - did not freeze, or play dead, or try to bite me, or apologize profusely in a British accent and offer to show himself the door. All of those would have been preferable to what the stupid snake - which had obviously failed serpent school in the House of Slytherin - chose to do: shoot directly into the bedroom where Emerson was sleeping.

Bleeeeeeeep! Oh, bleepbleepbleep!

It gets worse. We moved in only a couple of months ago, and the mattress and box spring are still sitting on the floor. I have the bed frame, but there are bolts I need and something-somethings and I haven't gotten around to doing that crap yet. Point being: Snakes follow heat sources, and the only source of heat in the bedroom was my sleeping child.

This was the scenario in my head. Who is impressed with my awesome photo editing skillz? It looks totally real!

Sleeping child. Low-lying bed. Deadly viper. These things do not inspire a chorus of "Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy."

At the doorway, the snake stopped, and turned. And it made a face like this:

I swear, y'all. This is what it did. Then it chuckled and licked its chops.


"Emerson!" I called loudly.

"whhuu?" she answered, sleepily.

"We have a problem." From the hallway, I felt her mood change. "Turn on the light. But don't get out of the bed."

The nightstand lamp clicked on. The snake paused in the doorway, confused. I saw my shot. And in 3-D, slow-motion, Eterna Vivid 250D 8546/8646 with special effects by Wetta and audio from the $6 Million Man, I leapt heroically.

(Pity I was not wearing the cool mom jeans.)

I landed on the bed and grabbed the telephone as the snake slid under the armoire.

"Wuss wrong, mama?" Emmie asked.

"There's a snake in the room," I said, and bravely dialed 911. Yes, people, I called emergency services. Because when there is deadly wildlife in my house, I totally panic.

Emmie scrunched behind me, moaning softly. "Is it poisonous?" she asked.

"Actually, the term is venomous when referring to snakes," I said. Yes, I am a giant nerd.

"It is vemmonous?" she asked.

"I don't know," I answered. "Could be. Probably not. But we're going to be careful, just in case."

"911, what is your emergency?" the operator answered.

"Girl, there is a copperhead in my bedroom," I blurted.

The operator, who is surely accustomed to more terrifying situations, made a noise like this:

(That is what Willis was talkin' about, y'all!)

I'm pretty sure that isn't protocol.

"Are you in immediate danger?" she asked. Suddenly, I realized there were probably better courses of action I could have chosen...

Nope, nevermind. Don't care. "Yes," I replied. "Although it's possible that it's not a copperhead. I didn't ask it. So your officer might show up and laugh at me."

"They won't laugh at you."

"Ma'am, have you met your officers? They will laugh at me, and I will deserve it."

"[snort] ...Okay, where is the snake now?"

"Under the armoire- no, wait, it's coming out from under the... no, it's going back - aw, crap. It's right by the door." I pointed it out to Emmie, and then had to stop her from going over to make friends.

"Can you get out of the room to let the officers in?"

"I wasn't planning on ever getting off the bed! I could climb out the window, but then we'd all be locked out. Can't they just shoot the lock? Or burn down the door with a flamethrower?"

As it turns out, shooting locks is not standard protocol. And the Richmond County Sheriff's Department does not issue flamethrowers to its officers - a gross oversight. Finally, I agreed to try. I snuck towards the door with Emmie behind me. I thought about dwarf-tossing her into the hallway. But the snake retreated again. I picked her up and swung her gently through the door and into the hallway, where she landed gracefully. Me, not so much...

"Are you out of the room?" the operator asked.

"Emmie is."

"Where are you?"

"I'm near the door."

"Can you get out?"


"Why not?"

"My legs won't move."

"Why not?"

"I think they're scared!"

I heard her chuckle. Emmie motioned from the door: "Come on, Mama! You can do it!"

I would not be upstaged by my 6-year-old. "Oh, bleepbleepbleep!" I said, and jumped again.

We ran down the hallway to the sound of the operator's laughter (I liked and appreciated her humor), unlocked the front door and jumped onto the couch. We stood there - on the couch - until an officer showed up.

"You got a snake?" he asked. "I like snakes."

"You like vemmonous ones?" Emmie asked. I thought it a practical question. He grinned and I pointed the way. He was relaxed and interested. I got the feeling he rather wanted to find the snake - and that made me very happy.

A second officer showed up. Oh, how I love the RCSD.

"You got a snake?" he asked.

"Yes. Enormous," I answered.

"Spittin' cobra?" he grinned.

"Hell, yes," I answered. He chuckled and moseyed down the hall.

I was a little concerned. These guys - I'm going to call them Poncho and Lefty because of their cowboy-like resolve - seemed utterly unfazed by the situation. They were dripping weaponry and Kevlar, but their ankles were totally unprotected. I have it on good authority that snakes LOVE ankles.

Good morning. I am going to bite you, paralyze you, and eat you alive. I will only be momentarily annoyed by your bulletproof vest.

Just then, a third officer stuck his head in the front door and peeked around. Seriously, if you ever need anything done at 4:30 in the morning, call the RCSD. I have a feeling they'd have shown up for a cockroach. And I like that about them.

"You got a snake in your house?" he asked.

"Yes, sir. The other officers are in the bedroom," I replied.

"Uh-uh, I ain't goin' back there," he said. And I didn't blame him, because in my mind it was now a 20-foot-long black mamba with a laser gun attached to its head.

Please tell me someone else gets this joke.

"Are you skeered?" Emmie asked him.

"Yes, I am," he replied, without embarrassment.

"Hey, come on back," Poncho called. The third officer - whom I'll call Curly - shook his head with resignation and walked very slowly to the bedroom.

The snake had slithered out from under the armoire, and I could hear the officers moving things around to find it. Drawers opened and closed. Doors slid. I had dumped out almost the entire contents of my underwear drawer looking for a pair of socks yesterday, so I'm sure they went through those, too. Great. At least they were clean, Mom.

Poncho came out: "You got a broom?"

I pointed him to the utility closet.

"Hey," Curly peeked out of the bedroom. "I think we found it."

That was fast! I skipped down the hall, Emmie behind me.

"Is this it?" Curly asked - AND THREW THE SNAKE AT ME!


I screamed and jumped and shrieked and ran. My neighbors are probably still in GRHealth, recovering from the heart attack I gave them. But Curly had not really thrown a snake at me, which would - in my opinion - have justified me picking up my sofa and bashing him to death with it. He had tossed one of my belts. Emmie knelt on the floor, laughing so hard that her stomach hurt and she couldn't stand.

I chased him down the hall. He ran from me, laughing at his cleverness. Oh, so hilarious, officer! I smacked him in the arm.

"It's a good thing you're wearing a gun or I would murder you!" I exclaimed. Then I apologized, because that is not a smart thing to say to an armed officer whom I just assaulted - and totally got away with it, too. He was too busy laughing to notice. Yeah, just keep it up, chucklehead.

Emmie was still shrieking with laughter. Somehow, this was not going as I expected. I wanted a platoon of soldiers from Fort Gordon to march up, kick in the door, show the snake their boomsticks, and fill it full of hot lead. 

Poncho and Lefty called Curly back into the room. He reluctantly complied.

I have a photo that I will not post to protect the identities of the three officers whose responses I appreciate so much: Poncho is on his knees with my broom, trying to get the snake out of the closet. Lefty is standing behind him, acting as backup. Curly is hiding behind Lefty, gripping his belt and peeking out with a flashlight. It was an awesome scene.

"We got it!" Lefty called. "For real, this time. Do you want to see it?"

Curly shot out the front door. That's how I knew Lefty was telling the truth. Emmie and I trotted down the hallway. The snake was coiled around Poncho's hand.

"What is it?" I asked.

"I dunno," Poncho said. "I might take it home and find out."

He asked if I wanted a photo (hello, of course), and then slid the snake into a drawstring bag. The officers were on their way in seconds, waving off our gratitude. Curly was still chuckling.

"Bye, polices! Fank you!" Emmie called.

She and I sat back down on the couch and grinned at each other.

"Well, that was an adventure, wasn't it?" I said. Emmie laughed and nodded.

And then someone knocked on the door. It is just a big frickin' party at my house.

"You got a snake?" It was a lady in a khaki uniform, holding a snake pole. Dispatch had also called Animal Control.

"Oh, they just took it," I said, brightly. She glared.

"Who just took it?"

"Um, sheriff's deputies?" I said. She continued to glare. "But I have a picture!"

Tremble at the rabid anaconda with razor claws and wings of flame!

I proudly held up my Crackberry. She looked at me like I am an idiot - which, frequently, I am.

"That is a wood snake," she said, then turned on her heel and stomped off into the darkness. And then it occurred to me that maybe Animal Control doesn't work 24 hours. They probably dragged this poor lady out of bed for nothing. I'd have glared at me, too.

Just then, the alarm went off. Only it wasn't a dream. It was 6:30 a.m., and I was no further along in my day than I was when I woke up two hours before. Of course.

"I can't believe you called 911," Scott said. "I had that python for all those years, and you call the police?!"

"If I'd called you at 4:30 in the morning and asked you to come get a snake, would you have come?"

"Hell, no. I'd have told you to sweep it out with the broom and I'd have gone back to bed," he scoffed.

"And that's why I didn't call you, smarty."

Will I call 911 again if a snake shows up in my house again? Bleep, yes! Maybe they didn't quarantine my home and call in the CDC, or the World Wildlife Fund, or whoever. But they were polite and efficient, funny and kind. And they got the snake.

I did a critter patrol the next couple of days, in case there was a gaggle or a flock or a nest. While I didn't find any more snakes, I did completely overreact and murder Emmie's jump rope with the broom.

Ooh, side note, herpetologists: A group of snakes should be called a murder, like crows.

So what did I learn, boys and girls?

First, it is illegal in Georgia to kill nonvenomous snakes... even if you reallyreallyreally want to.

Second, RCSD is woefully undergunned. Look into flamethrowers, Sheriff.

Finally, never, ever get ready for bed and think, "It's just me and Emmie. Who cares what I wear to sleep?" Because if I'm ever again jumping up and down and running from a snake/belt, I really want to be wearing underwear.

YES, MOM, I DID JUST SAY THAT. And someone, somewhere, is thanking me for it. Probably - especially - the Richmond County Sheriff's Department.


  1. wooohooo! action packed! (and I do know who that gun totin'-patch eyed- scaley Kurt Russel is!)

  2. Action-packed is not how I like to start my mornings. Although it does kick harder than a cup of coffee...

  3. love the visuals to illustrate the drama!

    Snake the Snake Pliskin or however you spell it... I got it. :)

    This version cracked me up as much as the others! I need a belly laugh today. THANKS

  4. Absolutely love it! Sorry about your morning, but the result= a wonderfully written blog= amazing.

  5. This adventure makes all my falling-down-from-my-bike-downhill-in-front-of-busload-of-hot-Germans-adventures not as funny...

  6. I don't know why you'd say that, Natalya. I know I am always amused to see you fall down... even if the image is just in my head. :-P