Monday’s Rune: Sudden Snake Story


Watch My Step

On a recent sunny Spring morning I walked comfortably along the yellowish-brown path of a meadow trail. I thought I saw a snake stretched calmly across my path. The trail ground cover and snake were much the same texture and color. I removed my sunglasses, moved closer, and looked directly at whatever it was.

Sure enough, a three-to-four-foot-long Texas rattlesnake, one of our ten species, was calmly holding its head up and making eye contact. It was not coiled-up or making threatening rattle noises. I noticed its tongue sensing the air. Otherwise, it was motionless.

I decided the snake was probably a female, not that I could tell. I’ve always had better luck with female mammals, why not reptiles? It’s difficult to determine a snake’s sex unless you are an expert, a snake, or have a sexing kit. They cost about $70, if you have a need to know and are willing to get more up close and personal with snakes than most folks are, be my guest. That optimistic conclusion helped to keep me calm.

However, I was shocked when the snake spoke to me. She said, “Please, don’t make me move. It’s early and I’m still cold.”

I stepped back and looked around. I tried to speak but I only stammered stupid nothings. I wasn’t afraid and thought it might be a trick. Imagine speaking to any animal. My skepticism must have showed.

“Oh, please,” she hissed, “everyone knows snakes talk. The Bible? Eve? Don’t make me do that bite thing. Humans taste like soap. We don’t like doing that.”

No way! A talking snake. Unbelievable (except biblically).

I hoped no one would hear me, “So, what is your name? What should I call you?

She seemed to smile, “Call me Metaphor. We don’t use names. But, since I’m blocking your progress for a while, it’s apropos, don’t you think? What is your name?”

Holy shit. A philosophical, talking rattlesnake.

“I’m Bill. Do you want me to leave?”

She answered, “Not really. If you’re uncomfortable, walk around me and get on with your life. I’ll do the same. If someone else comes by, it may not go this well. But if you have a few minutes, let’s talk. Think of it as a game.”

Good grief. A fucking philosophical, bible-wise, talking lady-snake who wants to play mind games with me.

She seemed to like me. Other than Eve, who has ever encountered a talking animal? Ok, maybe the fish in that Hemmingway book. Wait. No, never mind. Now that I think about it, talking animals are everywhere in literature, TV, and movies. I couldn’t just up and leave without regrets.

She asked, “Which do you fear more, other humans, aggressively growling dogs, or snakes?”

I admitted it. Snakes scare me. “No dog has bitten me since childhood. People seem safe enough.”

“Why is that?” she asked, “Have you ever been harmed by a snake?”

I could see where her ‘game’ was headed. “I don’t know why. That is how it is with most people. No. I’ve never been harmed by a snake.”

She asked, “Has any human being ever harmed you in any way?”

“Of course.” I said, “Many times. We’re not very kind to each other. Humans have harmed me or threatened to do so.”

Then she asked, “Of the three, you fear least your own species even though they are the ones who have harmed you most?”

“That’s true. But most people seem harmless. I feel safe, most of the time.”

“How many people in your life have been killed by dogs?” she asked.

I replied, “Certain breeds and certain dogs can be dangerous. Most animal pets are innocuous, including pet snakes.”

“That’s my point, Bill. Some dogs, people, and snakes are dangerous. But everyone and everything is not out to get you. I can tell you are not worried about me, nor need I be concerned about you. It’s called discernment. You do that with people and dogs. Try it with snakes. Now we both better get going before someone comes. I enjoyed our little game. Goodbye, Bill.”

We maintained eye contact as I walked around her, getting no closer than she was long. I turned and walked away. It’s always best to let nature, dogs, snakes, and other people do the talking. When I listen, I learn.


Look both ways crossing meadows and encountering other beings in life.
Mind the gaps and learn your lessons well.

Friday Fictioneers for April 22, 2022

Mistress Rochelle, the colorful manager and FF maven of artistic madness, prompts us today, with the aid of a Carole Erdman-Grant photo of an abandoned building with a marvelous paint job.

PHOTO PROMPT © Carole Erdman-Grant Click on the picture to zip on over to Rochelle’s page for all the news and graphic rules.

Genre: Family Fiction
Title: Overheard Gen Art
Word Count: 99

“Mom! Look at that! It’s beautiful. Let’s get dad to buy it.

Julie, that is junk. It’s sad—the worst of gang graffiti. It’s ugly.

Mother, you have no taste. That rocks—it is the fucking bomb. That’s great urban art.

Sweetheart, that is not art. It’s gang turf tagging and watch your language. This was once a nice place to eat. Now look at it: a concrete canvas for bored morons.

It’s metaphorical, Mom. You’re so shallow. If dad doesn’t buy it, I’ll kill myself.

And if he does you won’t have to because I’ll kill you both.”


Look both ways for all that is seen and felt.
Mind gaps and don’t touch the wet paint.

Click on Mels (sic) drive-in from the American Graffiti movie to find more fictioneering.

Friday Fictioneers: My Sold Soul

Many thanks to the wonderful Rochelle for herding us cats on Friday Fictioneers. We write micro-stories inspired by a new photo each week, provided by very creative and imaginative compatriots. Here is the photo and my story for this week.

Click on this week’s PHOTO PROMPT © Douglas M. MacIlroy to link to Rochelle’s Blog.

Genre: Satirical Epistolary Fiction
Wordcount: 100


Dear Mr. Bill,

Back in 1969, you agreed to our soul safekeeping if you got lucky with one Fancy Fox.

Enclosed herewith please find your damned, odoriferous, devil-moth eaten, blackened, rotten soul.

Our Diabolical Board of Demons directed soul safekeeping be returned to original owners since repossession is inevitable.

Due to Texas PowerGrid uncertainties, the ravages of our dark virus experiment, and subsequent chip shortage, we are terminating soul safekeeping, forthwith.

Please store your stinking, grain alcohol-soaked spirit in a warm, damp, moldy place until we confirm by certification your final demise.

Insincerely,

Wormwood Chinaski,
Human Soul Safekeeping Division


Look both ways, keep smiling,
mind the gaps of the damned, and ride the soul train.

Click on Mr. Wormwood to link with all the other stories for this week.

Sammi’s Weekender #226 (yard)

Click graphic for Sammi’s Blog

My Fantasy

Like old, faded white, torn, photographs
faces with names I forget, family
I never met. Dead people still
physically and mentally part me.
Memories. Pulpy puzzles without pieces.

Forgotten years of backyard child’s play
where I fell for the girl next door,
Tootie, older than I at three or five,
my first fetish. Desires I never
understood or confessed till now.

Grass, dirt, fences, porches,
clothes drying, neighbors.
My first snowman.
I remember her name,
how I felt, nothing else.
No Tootie photo.


Look both ways.
The past equals no future.
Mind the gaps and fill them with memories of whom.


 

Friday Fictioneers 7/31/2020

Many thanks to Rochelle @ Rochelle Wisoff-Fields-Addicted to Purple for herding us through Friday Fictioneers, even while on a vacation visit. The challenge is to write a story based upon a photo prompt, today by Jean L. Hays.

With fewer than 101 words we are challenged to contrive a beginning, middle, and an end.

Photo prompt © Jean L. Hays

Title: Whisperer Bay
Genre: Animal Fiction (Allegory)
Word count: 100


I rowed my skiff into the bay and leaned against the seat to vegetate under the stars.

There was a nearby splash. Something bumped the boat. Then again.

Then a voice. “Relax. Don’t talk. Just make sounds.”

I could barely see the head of a dolphin looking at me.

I spoke. “You can talk?”

Again, “Don’t talk. Make sounds. I don’t understand speech. I cannot talk.”

I thought, I must be dreaming.

“No. Some humans understand echolocation sounds. You do.”

I thought, I understand you and you me.

“Come back this time tomorrow. Plan to stay longer. I’ll explain then.”


Relaxed attention sees both ways and perceives concealed secrets.
Mind mental gaps.

Click blue frogs for link to inlinkz

NaPoWriMo: 30 poems in 30 days (day 6)


Day 6 prompt: write a poem from the point of view of one person, animal, or thing from Hieronymous Bosch’s famous, bizarre triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights. After spending too much time searching the five-hundred-year-old hallucination on wood, I decided on one of two snakes from the left panel.


Blame Game

They could have blamed the moon,
or that unicorn, which never existed,
but no. Let’s go low, they said.

Talking creepy crawlers, snakes,
and fruit peddling serpents make
splendid scapegoats. Why not a goat?

We can’t talk, bark, purr, or bleat.
She points to me, he believes her,
and all hell (right panel pun) happens.

Pin it on snakes, they said. Scary,
but defenseless. Look at panel two’s
big party of naked fruit eaters.

We got the rap for all of that. Sinners
should blame monkeys. At least they
look and act like you people.

And what’s with the guy
growing flowers out his arse?
Who does that that? Not us.

So, what do you get? Panel three.
From a diluted old man
with bad acid in his enema.

Time now to get over it.
Past post-medieval art is fine,
slithering snakes are silent.


Look both ways, or with triptychs, three ways.
Mind the gaps, it’s where the story’s told and the pictures fold.

Click for link.

Poetry: Mr. Bill’s Dream Logic (NaPoWriMo) Day Twenty-one

My poem challenge today was to write a poem that incorporates wild, surreal images. I was to use writing that doesn’t make formal sense, but engages all the senses and involves dream logic.

Well-known strangers speak
without talking, to us much younger
than before when it was me,
but not I; colors of unseen
monochrome images of unlimited
limitations. Chases by odorless fears
of panic unharmed—yelling out into
this empty reality of unfolding challenges
without beginnings or ways to an end.
Movement without effort, watching
as space and time pass unchallenged
by a pointlessness of futile efforts.
Yell out! Why? The dogs.

A colorless kaleidoscope of
meaningful meaningless images,
sounds unheard, spoken with
windless breaths. Fear seeing
through closed eyes, hearing with
deaf ears, brown hair on bald men,
run, kick, yell, stop, breathing.
Fight back!
Awaken,
let go. Rewind. Dream On!
Dream real.

© Bill Reynolds 4/21/2019

Is this a dream within a dream?
Look both ways for unseen meaningless threats, gapless gorges, and mindful mindlessness.

 

Poetry: The Price of Refuge (NaPoWriMo) Day Nine

Today, I’m supposed to write a list of things, a poem, in the style of Sei Shonagon. I decided that my list will be a poem in a series of lines taken from the lyrics of some of my favorite songs. I let a theme emerge as I quickly selected lines jumping out at me.

I’m glad these prompts are not graded.

Fantasy could never be so giving,
Oh lord, make it shallow so that
there’s no turning back.
Such are promises, all lies and jest.
Live and learn from fools and from
sages still a man hears
what he wants to hear.
Honesty is such a lonely word
when I’m deep inside me,
the road is long with many
a winding turn,
but listen carefully to the sound,
there’s battle lines being drawn,
this rage that lasts a thousand years.
Every form of refuge has its price,
everybody’s got the dues in life to pay.
It’d be easy to add up all the pain,
the dark is too hard to beat.
Everyone goes south every now and then
to forget about life for a while,
strange how the night moves,
with autumn closing in.
Life’s bigger.
Nobody seems to care and you
can’t find the door
when logic and proportion
have fallen sloppy dead
on a cold Nebraska night,
but try to understand, try,
try to understand.
What does it matter?
Nothing really matters to me.

© Bill Reynolds 4/9/2019

Look both ways in the magic, music, and song.
Mind gaps in the lyrics that matter.

Poetry: Possibles (NaPoWriMo) Day Six

Today, I’ve been challenged to write a poem emphasizing the power of if. I wrote a poem so-titled last September (read it here). This is different. It’s less personal – more philosophical and asks a lot of questions.

The Possibles (of Impossible Ifs)

If lives were perfect, would they be?
If not for night, would we know day?
Does pain delight then go away?
To live forever, would be okay?

Abraham would be a joke, see
Joan of Arc would be alive.
If life was perfect, would I survive?
What if I were you, and you were me?

What if we felt neither sad nor woe?
Where the hell would happy go?
If this might be, could you vote yes or no?
Or do banal waters float your boat?

Everything is possible. If that, why so?
Would perfect make me want to go?
In a perfect world show, what is not?
If the answer’s here. I want to know.

Leave the gaps. Let’s not be saps,
When we die, they’ll still play Taps.

There’s something here, I clearly see,
This imperfect world is alright with me.

© Bill Reynolds, 4/6/2019

Look both ways, imagined and real.
Mind gaps you see, for honest sex appeal.

 

Poetry: March

Since March was the first month of the new year in ancient Rome, some historians believe the Romans named March after Mars, their god of war.

Time for a poem – warning ADULT LANGUAGE. If you’re easily offended, don’t read it. (Now you’re really curious, right?)

Man of March

Kiss me goodbye said Winter,
his eyes a-twinkle and a
guilty smirk, we find the
month of a Roman god, of
the lion and lamb, the
time of dancing transition
from the hard cock of cold
mister Winter to a soft sweet-
smelling moist pussy of
Spring, when even the
fucking pear look lovely
dressed with flowers and
the promise of new life
born of Spring, before
the Dragon swoops down
with heat and fire after
April, the last of the Kind
before October’s dance
(at 73) of fest and feast.
Hello, March, Man of
Venus and Lover
of Spring’s Pleasures!

©Bill Reynolds 3/4/2019

The best time to look both ways is when we are between the times. Mind the gap.