The Python

ă Jennifer Giandalone, July 25, 2002


          “Did somebody spike my coffee?”

          Jenn asked the question even though she knew the answer.  She had to be seeing what she was seeing, but it was hard to believe what she saw.

          Sunning itself on her woodpile was an extraordinarily large snake.

          “Is the dog inside?”

          She couldn’t take her eyes off of the snake.  It had to be 9 feet long.          The color was striking.  Banana yellow. 

          “As soon as I know where the dog is, I’m going to decide this is cute.”

          It looked friendly.  She wondered how quickly it could move.  Was it as agile as the little garden snakes that often startled her in the grass?

          She heard Sam trounce down the stairs and “shooshed” him.  “Don’t scare it!”

          “Scare what?”  He followed his step-mother’s stare and couldn’t decide which was the stranger sight: a huge yellow snake on the woodpile, or the smile of amazement on Jenn’s face.  “Peanut Brittle’s sleeping on my bed.”

          “Good.  What do we do now?” she asked.

          “Call 911?” Sam offered.

          “Do any neighborhood kids keep snakes?”

          “Anyone I know who had a pet like that would be bragging about it.  We’ve got to call someone.”  He handed her the phone.

          “I’m calling your father.”

          John fought back laughter as he listened.  Broken pipes, suds spewing from the washing machine, the dog stuck in the old well.  He thought he had heard it all, but a huge yellow snake on the woodpile took the prize.

“Where’s the dog?”

“She’s right here.  John, you should see this thing.  It’s stunning! What is it?  Do you know?

“It sounds like an albino python.  Some people keep them as pets.”

“You mean it’s used to being held?”

Visions of injured birds, baby chipmunks, turtles, stray cats, the litter of orphaned puppies came to him.  “It’s used to being held by somebody who knows how to handle it, and that’s NOT YOU!”


“We’re not having a python in the house.”

“We can’t let it roam the neighborhood.  What about the Thompson’s cats, or the Bagley’s chickens?  We can put it in the bathroom. Then we can find its owner.”

Sam videotaped her as she approached the snake and lifted its head into the crook of her elbow.  The snake was surprisingly calm, and easily stretched across both of her shoulders, down her other arm.  He listened as she called different pet stores and veterinarians.  He braced himself for the possibility he’d be sharing a bath with a 9 foot snake.

Jenn made one last call.  “What is your emergency?” 

“It’s not my emergency, but someone out there is missing a very large beautiful snake and I expect they’ll be calling you when they discover it’s gone.  It’s safe in our bathroom, waiting to go home.” The dog fixed itself at the door and stared at it.

          Jenn knew the snake wouldn’t be staying long.  Its owner would miss it immediately once he or she found out it was gone.

They sat down to supper and filled their plates with a summer casserole.

A series of objects tumbled in the bathroom and bounced around in the tub one after the other.

Sam blew on his steaming fork as John said, “There go the shampoo bottles.” 

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