Chapter V: I Hate Snakes

 

Stop. Take a breath. 

 

Establish yourself in a present moment.

 

Now. 

Think back to when you were eleven years old. 

 

What were you doing right now? 

 

Perhaps playing with legos, DND, skating. So many things you could have found yourself doing when you were at the precipice of becoming a pubescent creature. The majority of them seemingly innocent. 

 

I on the other hand, was stealing my parents weed and killin' cotton mouths.

 

The first part of that sentence will be explained later, but the second part is best explained now. 

 

As you well know, when I was a youngster, I fancied myself a hopeful aggressive athlete in the inline skating arena. Much of my childhood was spent outside on humid days below the mason/dixon roller blading around outside until a broken elbow around twelve dashed those dreams. 

Another something that is worth noting about living below the mason/dixon is that the ecosystems there are for the most part filled with snakes. 

 

Now, I have nothing against reptiles. In fact, I find many reptilian creatures to be downright cool, with one exception. Water Moccasins aka Cotton Mouths. 

 

Mean. 

Aggressive. 

Ruthless. 

 

If Satan had hemorrhoids, they would be Water Moccasins.

 

To their credit, and I say this without Googling it but having lived enough life to know this, they don't actually bite people that often. 

 

HOW-THE-FUCK-EVER, like demons, they thrive off of scaring people. 

 

They will gladly stand their ground and even chase you down when feeling threatened by you. 

 

On the property surrounding our home in Florida lived a rather large Cotton Mouth we'd see often slithering through the yard. It kept away from us, we kept away from it, and I knew not to go out skating on days when I'd seen that snake scurrying about the grass. 

 

Arriving home one afternoon from my fAvOrItE pLaCe eVeR, Christian school, I put my skates on, grabbed my CD player that had Chocolate Starfish and The Hot Dog Flavored Water inside and started to play around in the driveway.

 

'IIIIIIIFFFFFF ONLY WE COULD FLYYYYYYYY!!!!"

 

I screamed the lyrics aloud and proud, all the while actualizing the most realistic living stereotype of a millennial growing up in Florida at the turn of the century. Proving no matter how much wealth you had, if you spent any part of your childhood in Florida, you were essentially white trash. 

 

What's more embarrassing is I still know the lyrics to much of the album. 

 

"Don't give a fuckk.......who get's the bla......" 

 

I stopped short at the sight of something in my right periphery moving in the front yard. Gazing into the healthy sea of green, I'd lost sight now that I was directly focusing on trying to see the movement again. Turning back towards my basketball hoop and the other end of the driveway I returned to my music. Spiraling around figure 8's, grinding off the railing that held my hoop upright, I navigated towards the sidewalk to do a speed loop of the cul-de-sac.

 

WOOOOSSSSHHHH, SWOOOOSSSHHH , I WAS FLYING THROUGH SUBURBIA LIKE THE BADASS MOTHA FUCKA I THOUGHT I WAS WOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOO!!!!!!

 

 

until..........

 

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! SNAKE!!!!!

 

Slithering across the gap in between the sidewalk concrete, I couldn't stop myself fast enough and rolled over it as it slowly moved inbetween patches of grass. 

 

I heard a snap, lost my balance and fell forward bracing myself with my wrists. 

They were solid then still and took the brunt of my fall well, and so well in fact I was back to my feet and turned around within seconds. 

 

To my shock it was the snake from our yard, snapped in half, rolled over on his back, belly exposed, writing in pain. 

 

Tears fell. 

 

What do I do? 

 

I can't touch him, he'll bite me. 

 

Fuck, I'm gonna be in so much trouble. Fuck, fuck fuck. I thought. 

 

I started looking around the neighborhood trying to see if anyone was home, had seen what had happened and could help me. To my dismay, I was alone. As soon as the realization that I was alone began to sink in, the snake rolled over and started to dart towards me.

 

Taking off as quickly as I could towards a friends house I pushed myself to get to top speed and didn't notice the snake change direction and cut through the cul-de-sac. 

 

Rounding the corner, getting closer and closer to safety, I realized the little fuck had changed course and was literally heading towards me to god damn cut me off. 

 

No. 

 

Fuck you you god damn aggressive bastard. 

 

I will roll the fuck over you again. 

 

And then...just like that...I did. 

 

The snake's body snapped at another point that it had previously. It's movement slowed dramatically and then stopped all together. 

 

I was safe and that mean little fucker was dead. 

 

Hooray, I won right. And, Mom didn't know yet so I was safe from a scolding for a least a few more minutes so I could compose myself. 

 

As I skated away, shaken to my core I felt the tears fall down my face. Big, fat heavy drops. One's we don't cry anymore now that we're all grown up. 

The unstoppable ones, that lead to a least one deep, shaking breath. 

 

It was all my fault. It suffered. How could I let that happen? What am I that I let that happen? 

 

I was engulfed with guilt. This creature was dead because of an accident and my knee jerk reaction to it's fear for it's very life. This was so unbearably wrong. 

 

I caused death. 

 

I know now that the thought I had that day was wrong, but in that moment I began to believe I was this broken, unbearable, monster of a child my mother had conditioned me into believing I was. 

 

I believed I was a monster. Now I had proven to myself and caused a death. 

 

Even mean, ruthless, aggressive creatures, like Cotton Mouths, have a life valuable enough to mourn over, a life worth treating as equal, this guilt I carried taught me. 

 

What a double edged sword that would become. 

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