As May turned into June, I had two weeks to decide whether to join the newly incorporated survivor firm, start my own firm or do something else entirely. Of course, these were the same two weeks when I received comments from my editor on the short story collections. Adding to the fun, my parents sold their house and moved across Florida, and my trial schedule didn’t leave me anytime to breathe - much less take a trip to help them move. Thank goodness my older brother lives in Florida and could (and did) take time to help them.
Before I knew it, the 4th of July had rolled around. My boys (you know, the 11, 13 and 43 year-olds) built a sail boat in our pool. No joke. They really did it. And I have the picture to prove it. The month passed in a haze of trials and office move hassles.
The dog-days of summer found us panting in nearly 100 degree heat and similar humidity. It also found us without camp plans for our oldest. So, one day, I was working at home to keep an eye on him. The night before we’d made s’mores with giant marshmallows. Sadly, two met their ends on the ground. Anyway, I was diligently working (no really, I was) when my son announced he was going outside. We live on a 5 acre horse farm and about 1,000 yards off the road. Going outside is just fine.
A few minutes later, he came back and said, “I think there’s a snake stuck to a marshmallow.”
This seemed to me a binary statement. Either a snake was stuck to a marshmallow or not. Also, snakes are large in the country and marshmallows are small. I was having a hard time envisioning such a spectacle.
Wary, but curious, I said, “Okay . . . show me.”
Sure enough, on our front stoop rested a half-eaten marshmallow with a baby black ring-neck snake stuck to the bitten side. The snake’s head was smaller than my pinkie nail, and the body as slender as a piece of straw, and about four inches long. Only the head was free, and that just barely. The rest adhered to the marshmallow. She’d probably slithered up to eat the ants crawling over the marshmallow, and gotten stuck to it in the process. Now the ants crawled over the candy and their would-be-predator.
Baby snakes are surprisingly springy. I’d tease her loose and she’d snap back to the marshmallow. Sigh. And snakes are not very helpful in this situation. I didn’t want to grab the snake for fear of hurting her. Using two sticks like chopsticks, I tried to peel her away from the confection. Every time I succeeded in getting part of her free, she’d wriggle (trying to free herself presumably) and get enmeshed again. Another interesting fact I learned is that once stuck to a marshmallow snakes are sticky. EWWW.
Hoping to dissolve the marshmallow goo so the snake didn’t stick to something else, I dribbled a little water from the hose onto the concrete slab. Dragging the snake through the puddle proved the concept. The back half of the snake, which I’d been edging loose with the sticks, came free. A few wriggles from her – man, she did not like the tepid water – and chopsticks moves, and she came free. We resettled her under the azalea bush, and watched her slither off.
Mission accomplished. And with that, my son and I decided it was time to go swimming and enjoy the rest of the summer.
About the Author:
I was born in Boston, MA but moved to Virginia for college, and never left. I wish someone had told me that I could write professionally. It would have saved me a lot of years of closet writing. In my day job, I'm a partner in a small law firm based in the Washington, D.C. Metro area. My practice is mostly business law and litigation. I finally get to write after 9pm when the kids are in bed and the critters have wound down for the night. My life is hectic, but I wouldn't trade it.
Stories about characters that live . . . and love.
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