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Inspirational Reads

MJenks versus the Wyrm

March 24, 2010

Sorry, everyone. I've been sick the past couple of days. I'm not sure if it was the dreaded norovirus, too much shrimp 'n grits, or walking several miles in a downpour on Sunday. Or a combination of all three. Anyway, I've been down the past couple of days, and by "down" I mean in my bed fantasizing about you naked resting.

Except on Sunday night and into Monday morning, when I had been up most of the night, trembling under the guileful hand of fever and doing my best not to puke, because, shrimp 'n grits? Good going down. I'm guessing monsterously unpleasant coming back up.

So, that was the fall out from my weekend in Charleston: two days of recovery from the plague. Or shrimp 'n grits. I'm not sure which.

Today, I was able to rest and recover, which was nice. I helped get the kids out the door this morning, wrote an email to my boss saying I was staying home, and went back to bed. Monday, I wasn't nearly so lucky.

My mother-in-law was coming Monday night to visit and to take the kids with her back to South Bend for two weeks while they are on vacation. My wife, as per usual, had to work the butt-ass-early shift on Monday, which left me to get the kids on the bus. My plan was then to rest some more and clean the house up since my mother-in-law was coming for a visit.

Peculiar thing about when my mother-in-law visits. It seems that, a day or so before she shows up, we get an unwanted visitor. A couple of times it's been mice. Once or twice we've had Palmetto bugs, which are like roaches from fucking Krypton, in case you've never had the pleasure of making their acquaintance. And believe me, you don't want to make their acquaintance. A roach big enough to set off a mouse trap and survive? Fuck that shit.

Once we even had a lice scare, but it turns out it was just dandruff. We still scrubbed and sprayed and cleaned the bedding like you wouldn't believe.

So, I was just waiting. What would it be this time? More mice? Some houseflies? Perhaps more Palmetto bugs?

My answer came Monday morning when I was preparing breakfast for my son while my daughter was getting ready to shower. I was walking across the kitchen floor when I glanced down and said to myself, "Hmmm. Look there. One of Cookie's (my daughter) brown hair rubber bands. Oh, huh. It's broken. And it's all curled up on itself. And it has eyes."

And then my brain registered: "HOLY FUCKSHIT!!! THAT'S A SNAKE!!!"

Like all red-blooded, true American males, I have an unhealthy, crippling fear of snakes. I reacted in kind, by shrieking and running around the house thinking that the end of the world was here upon us.

Actually--and I'm being quite honest here--I have recurring nightmares about motherfucking snakes in my motherfucking house. And, here was my nightmare playing out, right in front of me, on my kitchen floor, with my mother-in-law only a scant five hours away.

So, I strapped on my spear and magic helmet, and went to work on the snake.

First, I called my son, Tank, over to take a look. Figuring all small boys love snakes, he'd be fascinated. Instead he ran screaming up the stairs. My daughter, however, came and looked.

I sent one of the children to fetch me the the trashcan from their bathroom, which had high, plastic walls, high enough that this reptilian fiend would find it difficult to scale on his own if I kept the trashcan upright. Once it was brought to me, I put it before the snake, thinking to urge the sinuous demon into the opened, plastic maw.

The snake, cold-blooded and cruel trickster that it was, had other intentions. It lashed its head to side, clearly in an attempt to disarm me, or at the very least to drink my blood. I took a new phone book that had arrived but days earlier (thanks, Verizon!) and tapped the snake on the backside. It was unamused and spun on me, hissing violently, its soulless, reptilian eyes fixed on me, preparing itself for the final attack. It coiled its body, the length of its sinuous, ribbon-like form tensed and ready for battle.

While it was preparing itself, I scooped it into the trashcan with the phone book. It landed with an audible thunk on the bottom of the can. I looked down at the bottom of the can and the snake lay there, defeated and ashamed. Once again, the mammalian brain emerged triumphant!

And let me tell you, ladies...I am 100% ma-male.

Victorious, I showed off my prize to my children before admonishing one of them to get into the shower and the other to finish his jelly toast. I then took the trashcan to the front door and, in one fluid motion, heaved the beast into the front lawn. I watched as all four inches of it slithered away to places unknown...places unknown which didn't happen to be the middle of my kitchen floor.

Like a panoply of heroes before me--Perseus, Apollo, Sigurd, St. George, Neville Flynn--I had disposed of the serpent and now I sought my reward in the form of a maiden fair. So, I called my wife.

"Do you want the bad news first, or the good news?"

"Good news, I guess." She claims she wanted the bad news, but I ignored her because this response was funnier than just informing her that we had a snake in the kitchen and that oh holy hell, what was a fucking snake doing in our kitchen in the first goddamned place thought she said "good news".

"I threw the snake out in the front lawn?"

Cold silence. Then, "Uh, what?"

"I threw the snake out in the front lawn. The bad news is, we had a snake in the kitchen."

*insert keening scream here*

"What the hell was a snake doing in the house?"

"Visiting, probably. I'm guessing he came in on our shoes last night when we walked through the yard."

Long pause. "Okay. But it's gone. That's good. Everything else alright?"

"Yeah. I'm sick. But, the kids are getting ready for school."

"Alright, I'll talk to you later."

I hung up, got my kids ready, drove them to school (after waiting fifteen minutes at the bus stop), and then returned home where a quick inspection showed the kitchen was still blissfully devoid of serpentine intruders.

I sat back, basking in my victory, my spear soiled with the blood of the serpent, my helmet aquiver with magic, thinking about how I managed to face my fears and rid my motherfucking house of that motherfucking snake.

And then I went upstairs and cried myself to sleep.


BigSis said...

OMG, I HATE snakes. I will certainly have nightmares about this story tonight.

I also ADORE shrimp and grits and am sure they would not do bad things to you - must have been the plague!

Moooooog35 said...

Extra points to you for the Elmer Fudd spear and magic helmet reference.

Joshua said...

And I now have images of Elmer Fudd and the singing phrase "spear and magic helmet" ricocheting through the inside of my skull. Well done.

I had this same kind of thing happen when I was visiting my parents one time. Except that it was 2am and I was walking barefooted to the kitchen to get a drink without my glasses on. Something caught my attention across the floor with the light from the window so I turned on the light. That's when I learned that rattlesnakes don't like light. FYI - they also don't like fireplace shovels that decapitate their motherfucking heads off, scoop them up, and drop them into a bucket of water outside for several days as a safety precaution.

Good times. Welcome to the club.

Scope said...

I used "spear and magic helmet" as a phrase just the other day, too. LOVE ME SOME "WHAT'S OPERA DOC"!

Maybe your kids are destined to be
House Slytherin. If Tank would have used parseltongue to tell mini-Nagini to shoo, you would have been impressed.

And I'm guessing: Bad shrimp. That will mess you up for a couple of days.

erin said...

My girls all love snakes. Whenever a present giving opportunity comes they'll ask for a 'corn snake'.

Whatever the fruck that is.

And then they threaten me with, "Dad said we could eventually get one!"

Good for him! As long as he keeps it at his house and I never have to see it ever, he's the better parent.

mo.stoneskin said...

Sorry about the snake. I probably shouldn't have let it loose in your garden.

You are ALL man. I would have freaked out and if it had been a large spider in stead I would have run away. Or asked you to come and rescue me.

Mala said...

4 inches? Are you sure it wasn't just an obese earthworm? With a 'tude?

Nah, you're probably right, it was a snake. You know, a baby snake. Probably just wondered away from the nest... where his Mommy, Daddy and dozen or so siblings remain... somewhere in your kitchen.

Chemgeek said...

4 inches?

*insert penis jokes here*

Were you scared or intimidated by its girth?

Elliott said...

Ah, yes. Good times.

Palmetto bugs aren't all that great, either. It's why I have an exterminator lay down a moat of poison around the house every few months. That, and the spiders.

kate said...

Dude...I would take a flood of snakes in my kitchen before a single Palmetto bug. My parents live in Georgia - the first time that I saw a Palmetto bug in their house, I nearly wet myself. Those things are horrible - HORRIBLE - I tell you!!

Bev said...

THIS is why I don't live in the South. E-fucking-gads.

SkylersDad said...

Snakes don't bother me at all, because I am so manly like that. But just let a grasshopper jump up on me, and I will run down an old lady with a walker screaming like a girl to get away.

EmcogNEATO! said...

That's a great story and all, but you didn't spend enough time on the tears. :)

Also, has your MIL considered exterminating as a career. Sound like she could single-handedly keep herself in business.

red said...

Dude, you are sick a lot. You need to take more vitamin C or something.

Also, come to my place and tell me all about Charleston, plz!

Jeney Peney said...

This totally reminds me of the time by brother had a leech on his foot and passed out while I pulled it off him.

Shrimp n' grits, eh? I don't remember that one on Bubba's list.

That Baldy Fella said...

I couldn't hate snakes more if I tried. My one, true fear. This story filled me with a horrible creeping dread.

Also, I spent Sunday with a rather nasty stomach bug.

This comment is factually correct yet strangely uninteresting. Will do better next time.

Cora said...

I'm shocked (SHOCKED) you didn't even try Parseltongue. What the eff is up with that????

Oh, and nice Spongebob reference. :-)

MJenks said...

@ BigSis: Come to find out, my brother-in-law had the plague a few days before coming to Charleston. Also, that big ship that recently had the big norovirus outbreak? Yeah, it was sitting in Charleston all weekend.

@ Moooooog: You know, I've busted out the Spear and Magic Helmet reference before, and no one got it. Forum boards are lame.

@ Joshua: My mother-in-law asked why I didn't squish it. Since (I'm pretty sure) it wasn't a poisonous species and because I didn't want to clean up dead snake, I just tossed it outside. But, yes, your scenario is more like the nightmares I have; what I deal with? Not so much.

@ Scope: I'm pretty sure it was the norovirus. Uh...let's just say that, in the end, the proof was "in the pudding".

And...I thought about the parseltongue thing AFTER I tossed the snake outside. The way the kid ran, though, I'm guessing he's destined for Hufflepuff. Fucking pussies.

@ erin: Yeah, that's not going to happen in my house, either. One of my co-workers got a snake for his kid, and about once a month he gets a call telling him that the snake is loose in the house again. No thank you.

@ mo: It's okay. Snakes can keep down the mice problem. And, I've killed enough spiders that I'm almost immune to their natural aura of evil. Almost.

@ Mala: Not the way it was curled. Oh, and the eyes thing. And the tongue flicking in and out of its mouth. I think it was either a rough earth snake or a southeastern crown snake. Both of which have babies in late summer. So, I feel much less terrified of a nest of vipers in my kitchen now.

@ Chemgeek: It was a snake. I was terrified of it's lack of legs, it's sinuous form, and the way it offered me an apple.

@ Elliot: Your tale? Far more terrifying. Fortunately for me, this was just a little guy and I didn't actually have to touch him.

@ Kate: Once, while sitting and typing on one of my manuscripts, I looked up at the window and there was a palmetto bug staring back at me. Fortunately, the window was closed and he eventually died. That was my first meeting with them. It's gone downhill since.

@ Bev: I'm thinking of moving back north now thanks to the trauma. Hold me?

@ SkyDad: I don't mind grasshoppers so much. Although, if I think about the sheer numbers of those fuckers leaping on me at once, I get the willies. Big crickets kind of freak me out, though. Oh, hey, we have those here in North Carolina, too!

@ EmCogNeato: I'll run that one by her when I see her again in a couple of weeks. The only problem is, she'd have to get someone else to do the killing.

And, there were many, many tears.

@ red: Strangely, this past year, we've been pretty healthy. And, I've successfully staved off the first two rounds of norovirus that tore through the company, so, win for me!

Done and done. And done some more.

@ Jeney: I had a leach on my foot once. I pulled it off, squeezed it, giggled at the blood, and then swore as the little fucker embedded himself in my hand.

I don't know if it was on his list, but I did eat my second go-round of shrimp 'n grits at Bubba Gump in Charleston (not nearly as good as the fare the caterer at the reception offered).

@ Baldy: Actually, the comments parallel my life for the past couple of days, so I appreciate them. Mostly because I feel your pain and offer my pity and sympathy.

@ Cora: I thought about mentioning that I took that from Spongebob, but I figured it'd be more fun for others to get it. :-D

Sorry, but the freak out that was going on in my head when I realized it was a snake kind of trumped "try talking to it in parselmouth".

Wynn said...

I read "Wynn" instead of wyrm first, and was all like "What have I done to you be-atch!" and got my knucle sammich buttered, but then read it again and realised I was wrong. The knuckle sammich is awaiting someone else's insults in the fridge.

And I can totally get why you cried, if you cried, because I I would if I have had a snake in my kitch-aan.

Nej said...

This post conjures images of the movie The Great Outdoors. If you've seen it, you know what scene I'm talking about. Except...well, you didn't put the garbage can on your head. :-)

It also reminds me of the day my mom (who lived a block away - at the time) came running down the hill to our house...screaming "Mot, Mot, Mot, snake, snake, snake!"

Apparently she was trying to get the attention of my hubby, who was out mowing our lawn. She'd been loading firewood into the trunk of her car, and a snake hitched a ride along with one of the logs. :-)

Amber Tidd Murphy said...

Is it weird that I hope I was the naked fantasy?

mylittlebecky said...

mmmmmmm, shrimp and grits. that's all this was about, right?

MJenks said...

@ Wynn: Wait a second. Is there spicy mustard on the knuckle sammich? If so...I might be willing to give it a taste.

@ Nej: The bat, right? Lord, almighty, I hope that I never get flying rodentia in my house (although they are chiopterans, and not rodentia...)

How big of a snake was it? My serpentine intruder was tiny, like four inches long, maybe five. I only saw him for a moment unfurled.

@ Amber: Hey, scientific experiment time! I'll say, "Yes, yes you were", and then we'll see who kicks my ass first: my wife or your hubby.


@ mylittlebecky: Pretty much. And my desire not to vomit them back up.

Nej said...

Yep, the bat! I used to work at the local zoo....and one of the people in our office had bats that would hang under a towel, hung off the back of her chair. Cute little things. (working in a zoo was never boring, to say the least)

They also had a Madagascar hitching cockroach display that got loose, and took up residence in our office. Not so cool.

Mom's snake was your run of the mill garter snake...about a foot long. She was freaked about it for months...kept imaging what would happen if a snake appeared from under her drivers seat. She was worried we only saw on hitchhiker, but there might have been more. :-) :-)