Rattled

Ed – In my past life I tried to write humorous things. Sometimes I succeeded; Sometimes I failed. This is the last one I wrote, over 3 years ago. It was never published anywhere, never got to the editing stage, and I soon forgot about it. I found it tonight, so this is its moment of glory. Enjoy. Or not. 

There I was, sitting in my recliner.

I imagine that most of my stories could start this way.  After all, I spend approximately 94.3% of my free time sitting down.  I love it.  I have literally been studied for my love of sitting.  I’m not kidding.  When I was in college I took some psychology classes requiring participation in various studies.  I did not mind this.  They paid us.  It might have only been a few dollars, or preferably a candy bar, but it was well worth my time.

Once I was led to a room, told to wait; and someone would be with me in a few minutes.  It was a large, empty square room with what was obviously a 2-way mirror.  I walked inside, went to the corner, and sat down on the floor.  Immediately a man walked in and told me I could leave. He gave me $5 dollars.

It turns out that the entire study was to see how long someone would be willing to wait in a room before their need to sit down for personal comfort overcame their social awkwardness of looking like a moron.  Most people lasted about 10 minutes.  I was instant.  It was a proud day for my family.

So yeah, I’ve been known for my love of sitting.  Sitting feels nice.  It feels relaxing.  It feels safe.  I cannot name a time in which something bad happened to me whilst sitting down.  This is why people ask you to sit before delivering bad news.  When I found out that my best friend had impregnated my girlfriend, I didn’t care at all.  I was seated.  You basically can’t feel any sort of pain while seated.  That’s why we kill people in electric chairs.

Therefore when I arrive home from my low paying job into my lonely, messy, empty, and did-I-mention-lonely apartment, with only the sweet, welcoming sounds of the couple fighting next door, I sit down. It feels good.  It’s the little jolt of happiness I need that enables me to fantasize about living a happier life, such as one where I am married to Bobby Brown, or another where I have to read the entire list of Facebook quotes from moronic people that think they are original and genius for writing their own couplet to the song “Call Me Maybe.” Those would be far better than facing my own personal reality.

As fantastic as sitting is, I learned the hard way that sometimes you can have a bad experience when seated.

There I was, in my recliner resting comfortably and watching TV.  My cat, jumped on my lap as she often does.  Now what is important to know about my cat is that she was born in the wild.  She only lived in the wild for a few weeks before she was taken in, but I am very convinced that those early weeks have forever shaped her personality.

By that, I mean that she is a classically trained assassin.

I don’t know what happened to her out there, but somewhere along the way she learned that she could easily and within minutes kill a mature moose if such an opportunity presented itself.

I have tried hard to domesticate her.  She is almost 4 years old now, and she can be the sweetest, most loving and caring kitten that has ever crossed your path.

Don’t believe it for a second.  It’s a trap.  She is planning to murder you, and not in a nice, you get to sit in an electric chair, sort of way.  She likes to make you feel pain.

I cannot tell you how many times I have woken up in the middle of the night to find that, without any actions of my own, I am in a full out wrestling match to the death with her.  She apparently wanders into the bedroom at 3AM, sees me, and thinks to herself, “There is the nice man that cares for me.  I am going to kill him.”

My point being that my small brained pet has only a few modes: Eat, Poop, Sleep, Attack.

So when she jumped into my lap and started whacking something in the crack of the cushion, I wasn’t the least bit shocked.  She has been known to get into colossal hours-long battles with balls of fuzz.  Honestly, sometimes I am impressed with how well the fuzz does.

However, this one seemed different.  She was still a killer, but in this case she was a curious killer.  Like this was some sort of ball of fuzz she had never seen before, but still wanted to kill.  This alarmed me.

Sure to not move anything but my eyes due to an ever growing fear of insects, I peered down in the general direction of her swats.  There was some object stuck in the couch.  At first I thought it was a pretzel log, which would have been very concerning because that would have meant that someone broke into my house carrying snacks and rudely dropped entire pretzels into my chair.

Figuring this to be slightly unlikely, I started going through alternate possibilities.  It couldn’t be my remote or my phone, for this thing was too skinny, but it also wasn’t a pen or pencil that had fallen out of my pocket.  It was a familiar shape, but for whatever reason I couldn’t make out just what it was.

Then it moved.

I realized what it was before my brain could make out the words.  Only one thing in the world moves in such a way.  Suddenly the shape made perfect sense.

I was sharing a recliner with a freaking snake.

By the time that thought passed through my head, it was no longer true.  I had long abandoned the chair and was now airborne, flying in the general direction of my bedroom.  This is because my body apparently has “snake mode” where when it realizes there is a snake around, the muscles and organs work together to get my body out of the vicinity as soon as possible. It will let the brain know what happened at some later date.

What was remarkable about this is that my body was frozen in pure fear.  My arms didn’t dare push off the chair to get up.  My legs wouldn’t for a moment risk pissing off the reptile by pushing the leg rest back down.  No, I went out of the chair and into the air purely due to my incredible ability to, when in a moment of crisis, clench my butt muscles.  It was derriere power squeezing together with such an incredible force that I was propelled out of the chair like a child jumping out of a swing.  My cat, who a moment earlier was sitting on my lap, now found herself a victim of my quick thinking keyster.  She was also flying through the air, somewhat shocked, and let out a small “meow” to show her disapproval of unsolicited flight.  I felt bad, but there was nothing I could do.  This is how my body decided to rectum-fy the situation.

I landed near my bedroom door and whirled around to face the chair in an instant, half expecting to fend off a flying snake coming at my face, as this is what horror movies have taught me.  It wasn’t.  I could still see the end of its head just sticking out in the crack of the cushion.  I did the only thing I could do.

Nothing. I stood there.  Because I didn’t know what to do.  What is the typical protocol when a reptile has you trapped against a wall?  My brain went into denial, trying to imagine that it wasn’t a snake at all, I so badly wanted it to be a pretzel but my eyes could find no grains of salt. When I snapped out of it I was in the same position as before.  There was a snake in my chair, and I was the only one who could do anything about it.

My dog, you ask?  He agreed.  He didn’t exactly know what was going on, but whenever it comes to defending or attacking anything, he is happy to let it play out.  The only way he would attack anything is if a giant lump of Kibble came to life, and covered itself in cheese.  Then he would bravely and gallantly would lay down his own life to save me.

The cat was a different story.  She had recovered from her unexpected launching, and had decided that it was time to go back to killing the snake.  She jumped on the chair.

“Huaaaaaaaaaugh!” I screamed, hoping that the random noise that came out of my mouth could be translated into cat as “My dear kitten, I know you are tough, but in this particular case, perhaps it’s best if you don’t get yourself immediately killed. Because if that thing goes after you, it will be easier for me to grab an alternate kitten from the dumpster, then to risk snake fangs trying to save you.”

It worked, but clearly she was truly only scared of my loud exclamations and was surely planning another 3AM onslaught.

Now it was just me and the snake.

“OK,” I said to myself. “OKOKOKOKOKOKOKOKOKOK”

I couldn’t stop myself.  “OK” was all I could think.  I needed something that would calm me down.  “Sing a song,” I thought.  “Sing out loud and it will calm you down.”

“OKOKOK……OK…..OK….”

“I just met you, and this is crazy….”

NO!  Not that song.  Anything but that song.  It is a horrendous song that only the stupidest in society like.  “Maybe” doesn’t even rhyme with “crazy.”  Doesn’t anybody realize that?  How dumb are we as people that everyone had gone insane over such drivel?

My anger calmed me down.  It was time to get the snake.

I starting thinking about what I had that might be able to capture the snake.  I had a cardboard box next to me that I picked up.  It was a good start.  If the snake would voluntarily crawl into the box and close itself in, I was all set.

OK, I was screwed.

Then I remembered.  I had tongs.  Brand new tongs. Nice big tongs for cooking on the grill.  Snake catching tongs.

I ran to the kitchen and collected the tongs and a flashlight, not just for illuminating purposes, but also for their potential use as a blunt instrument.

I returned to the living room, and came up with a plan.

Thanks to my anal thrusting the chair was still reclined, which meant that it was possible I could crawl under the legs of the chair, tongs in hand, and grab the snake from behind.

I got down on my stomach and slithered my way over.  The tongs were extended two feet from my body and visibly shaking.  There was a strange humming sound coming from my mouth, as I was literally unable to keep myself quiet.  If I were in hiding with Anne Frank during World War II, I would have gotten us caught before she finished page 3 of her diary.  I also would have put the moves on her big time.  What else would you do, stuck in an attic with a virgin?  “Hey baby, you’re going to have to get used to showering with others anyway…”

However, I was not in hiding; I was somewhere far worse: My snake infested living room.  Anne Frank was lucky.

Shining my flashlight, I could see the body of the beast wrapped through the framework of the chair.  I slowly crept forward until my tongs were less than a foot from its body.

It was time.

I started humming a little louder, and began squeezing the tongs to get a feel for the pressure.  I was scared if I squeezed too hard I would cut the snake in half.  I was not looking forward to cleaning up snake guts.

I lay there squeezing the tongs over and over for easily 3 or 4 minutes until enough was enough.  I knew I could delay no longer.  I went for it.

I struck with my tongs and got it around the body.  I let out a little yell as I felt the pressure of the tongs squeezing the body.  I expected something to happen, but in reality there was nothing.  The snake didn’t respond except to latch on a little stronger.  This was not going to be easy.

I began to lightly pull on the tongs and could see the snake start to stretch.  It was horrifying.  I pulled harder.  It’s body began to  thin out like a stretch Armstrong doll. It was horrific, but what was there to do but keep going? Soon, it started to give and I began inching my way out from under the chair.  Then it came loose.

You’d think that was a good thing, but frankly, it sucked.  The snake flailed about wildly like, well, like a snake trapped in tongs.  I had to squeeze harder. With every movement I kept gasping and yelling out, completely unsure of what to do.  My noises must have clued the snake in that I was the enemy because it finally figured out that it could turn around, and even if it couldn’t get free, it could make me pee myself.

It unhinged its jaws and started flinging itself at my hand, biting the tongs repeatedly.  I was still on my stomach but now I was flat out yelling and with the embodiment of the devil angrily snapping at me.  I didn’t have enough control of my body to continue moving.  I was just shouting and praying that I wouldn’t lose my grip of the tongs.

I had to calm down.

“I just met you, and this is crazy….”

NO!  Don’t succumb to it!

NO! DO SUCCUMB TO IT!  THIS IS NO TIME TO BE A MUSICAL SNOB!

“I just met you, and this is crazy, but here’s my number, so call me, maybe?”  I realized then that those were the only words I knew.  I just had to repeat myself.  “Oh my God oh my God I just met you oh my God, and this is crazy….”

I kept vocalizing as much as I could, using my left hand to push myself up while my right grasped the tongs full of angry snake.

I got to my feet and started running down my stairs to the door being led by the flailing serpent.  Along the way the snake did everything in its power to conquer me.  As my momentum carried me forward, it coiled it’s body around the handrail causing my cowering face to nearly run into its waiting cuspids.  I tried to stop, but ended up letting out a yell as my feet flung out from under me causing my body to once again rely on my butt cheeks for transportation as I began to slide down the stairs, tongs and snake overhead.

My sliding meant the snake couldn’t hold the railing anymore and it released as we slipped foot by foot down, the snake lashing at me from above.  Suddenly the snake realized that being above me, it had advantages it had never had before.

Which made me scream louder than ever before.

Because it pooped on me.

I had never seen snake poop before.  I never really thought about it, to tell you the truth.  But snake poop is like something you thought could only be invented in Hollywood.  White and brown at the same time, it’s a long and sticky, gooey substance that isn’t nearly as pleasant as it sounds.  Add to the fact that the snake was using its tail to splatter it all over the floor, walls, and of course, me, and I can comfortably say that this was the worst moment of my entire life.  It was far worse than any loved one dying could ever be.  It makes me look forward to all of the impending pain that will happen in my life. None of it could possibly compare to the constant spraying of snake squeeze.

I leapt to my feet and opened the garage door, singing my song all the while. I hadn’t thought about what to do at this point.  Should I just it on the pavement outside?  What if it comes back in? O.K.  I can be a nice guy.  I can get it to the grass.

I ran around the side of the apartment to the grass.  I have no idea if the neighbors were looking on.  If they were, they saw a waste covered guy running down the street singing a teeny-bopper song holding tongs with a seizure induced snake.

I got to the grass.  Was this enough?  If I let it go here the snake might go after another person.  It might be in danger itself.  The woods were only 30 feet farther away.  I had to make it.

I ran down the hill towards the woods, and as I reached the edge I flung the snake like I was casting a fishing pole.  I watched it spin through the air and crash into the brush, and I turned around and fled the scene.  I was proud of myself for trying to do the right thing even under emotional duress.

I realize I might be a little high on myself for this, but I’m not trying to brag, and I’m not trying to impress you.  I only did what I had to do. Don’t call me brave. Don’t call me a man. Don’t call me a hero. Call me maybe.

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