One time i caught this snake, a banded water snake. He was about two feet long and mean as hell. He was beautiful though, all shiny black with bright orange, yellow and white bands on him. He was th’ most beautiful snake i’d ever seen, much less caught. But i couldn’t really pick him up and hold him like i could with all the other snakes i’d caught. Most snakes will calm down if you hold them right, keep them long enough, but not this one. I’d had him for about a month and he still hissed and thrashed and tried to bite no matter how or how long i tried to hold him- he was unbreakable.
Then one day he got out of his tank. And being ten, th’ first thing i did was go ask Mom if she knew where my snake was, that he’d gotten out of his tank. Now, if you love your mom, don’t ask her where your missing snake is, especially th’ one you’ve already let her know was untamable. She turned into a crazy lady- jumping at every sound or motion out of th’ corners of her eyes. Scared to open cupboards, or closet doors. Checking couch cushions before sitting down. Wondering aloud why she ever let me keep snakes in th’ first place.
I finally found him, about a month later. He was coiled up in my closet under a hat i never wore. He hissed at me when i picked up th’ hat. I grabbed him, got him behind th’ head. He wrapped his body around my arm and squeezed. ‘Mom, i found my snake!’ i announced. ‘Get that thing out of here right now!’ she yelled. This time i was happy to oblige.
I took him back to th’ bayou where i’d caught him and let him go. He lay there on th’ shore and hissed at me one more good time, just to let me know what he thought, then slithered off into th’ water. I stayed til th’ ripples calmed down, then went back home and told Mom she was safe. ‘Yeah, but what about the other snakes’ she said. ‘Don’t worry about them,’ i said, ‘they’re nice snakes.’