I did go play* outside** the other day [*play = sanding baseboard heater pieces; **outside = in the garage with the doors up].
While happily sanding (before the electric sander went kaput), my mum tapped the work table to get my attention.
“I found a snake,” she said. In the pile of cardboard and wood scraps next to the house that we let sit there (it was kind of hard to remove from under two feet of snow… and then it was wet… and then we were busy…), a little gray striped snake had made a home/found a mouse hunting ground. It was only about a foot long, but as I stared at it, and it stared back, its head raised, tongue flicking, I realized it did not think it was too small to feel indignant at having been disturbed.
I thought I was brave enough to pick it up with a pair of long tongs, but the tongs weren’t as long as I remembered. The hoe was longer, but not angled conveniently for snake-scooping. I managed to chase the snake out of the pile; it undulated itself against the foundation toward the gate – until it noticed the giant, fanged, clawed barking creature on the other side and folded back over itself toward the cover of the scrap pile. I chased it around a bit more, trying to get it to go out to the woods (it wasn’t poisonous, so I figured there was no reason to kill it), until Mom got fed up with my lack of snake-catching abilities and had me hand over the hoe.
“Don’t kill it!” I whined.
“Why not?” she asked.
I turned away.
But then, a group of six or seven high school boys walked by. Mom called out to them:
“Do you boys know anything about snakes?”
Only one was an avid Nat Geo watcher, but they all decided they’d better come take a look. One of them picked it up while I hid behind the dog, I mean, while I kept the beast calm.
“You can have it,” I said. One boy laughed,
“She said, ‘You can have it!’” Yes, I did. What were we going to do with it? Mom made our intrepid hero promise not the scare any girls or his mother with it, and then off they went, down the street, with a snake.
I don’t know the end of the story. I can’t ask the snake; they don’t have ears.