The Black Snake Under the Dogwood Tree

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Pulling up at my brother’s house, I was parking my Ford Maverick (a car that only broke down when I was in the middle of nowhere), when I noticed my nephew and niece looking at something below the pink Dogwood tree.
It was a big black snake, curled up and ready to strike.
Sam, my five-year-old nephew, was taunting it with a stick.
I yelled, “Get away from that snake!”

I had just smoked some weed, so I was thinking clearly. Snakes give me the heebie-jeebies, but sometimes you have to be a hero. I got a broom and handed it to eleven-year-old Jasmine. I told her to hold the snake’s head down, and I would grab it.
With deft precision, she did just that, but when I was one inch from grabbing it, the snake wriggled free. It opened its mouth and wrapped its head around my index finger. I jerked my hand back, and the fangs slid out of the tip of my finger.

Unlike the hero I had tried to be, I let loose some sort of a high-pitched shriek. This scared the kids and the snake, which retreated into a bush. I was standing there dumbfounded, watching a drop of blood swell on my fingertip and heard my precocious niece yell, “Well, go inside and wash it.”

Good advice from someone so young.
I kept thinking that I just had a snake’s head wrapped around my finger, and it felt like a wet plastic bag.

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