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Article Specs

VxAcct: 1

Article ID: 6830

Section: wrenwalker

Age Group: Adult

Posted: November 9th. 2003

Views: 11483

New Year Writhing

by Wren

Life is full of doors that don't open when you knock, equally spaced amid those that open when you don't want them to." *

It was two days after Samhain. I was busy at my computer searching for late-breaking Pagan related news items and so perhaps I was a little less than attentive the first time that Fritz mentioned it. "Uh-huh", I muttered and typed another key word into the search engine.

"No, Wren, I mean it."

"Uh-huh." Giving the enter key a final jab, I turned around in my chair. Fritz was standing half in and half out of the doorway. Hovering, I think they call it. It was obvious by the look on his face that he was not going to either come completely in or go completely out until he got to finish whatever it was that he was saying. Stifling a rude sigh, I put on my very best spousal "listening now" face and waited for the punch line.

"But this had better be good, " I thought.

And -- to be fair -- it usually was pretty good actually. Fritz is a very funny guy and he makes me laugh every day. That's one of the reasons why I fell -- and stay -- in love with him. Okay then. The news can wait for a few minutes. So let's hear the rest of the joke.

I blinked. Tried to look suitably expectant. Blinked again.

"Wait for it." Sim whispered. "Wait...for...it...

Sim, by the way, is one of those voices that you hear in your head while you are talking to yourself. I just happen to give mine names. Sim is the 'Snippy Inner Muse' voice. She's the one whose sardonic little quips cause me to laugh out loud in the grocery checkout line. Sim has been banned from most of the major supermarket chains even though I still believe that the "Have you ever looked, I mean really looked at broccoli, officer?" defense was quite plausible considering the circumstances.

"There is a big, black snake under my chair," repeated Fritz.

I gotta give it to him; the man is good. His eyes were a little 'darty' (if you know what I mean) and there was just the right tinge of awed dread in his voice. What a performance. This was gonna be good!

"Uh-huh... And...?" Oh, I was really interested now.

"For the gods sake, Wren! There is a big black snake in our apartment! And all you can say is uh-huh?"

He was serious? "Let me get this straight. There is a big, black snake in our apartment. And it's under your chair? Right now?"

"THAT'S what I've been trying to tell you for the last five minutes!" Fritz looked more than just a little put out. "I caught a glimpse of something long and black come around the corner of the balcony and I stood up just in time to see a black snake tail disappear under my chair."

I see.

"Well, actually you haven't..."

Did I mention that Sim talks in italics? Apparently, it's some sort of a 'muse thing'.

Fritz and I walked (rather carefully) into the living room. I peeked under his chair. I didn't see anything but that stupid dust guard thingie hanging down to the floor. Still... "Well, how big was it again," my inquiring mind and instinct for self-preservation wanted to know.

"At least four feet long. It was BIG, I tell you. It is one big (insert proper expletive here) snake!"

"Excuse me." {Practical Arts Muse -- a.k.a. Pam -- butting in here.} "Well," Pam mused calmly in my voice, "The office opens in fifteen minutes. Fritz, why don't you go down and see if they have someone who does snakes?"

"And what will you be doing?" he asked.

"Good question, Jane of the Jungle..."

(Shut up, Sim. Pam and I will handle this.) "I'll lock the cats out on the balcony and keep an eye on the chair so that it doesn't slither out and take off into the bedroom or something."

"Chairs can slither?"

(Knock it off, Sim. You know what I mean. Muses can be such a pain sometimes... Oh, not you, Pam. You stay right here!)

"And if it does?" Fritz seemed rather reluctant to leave me alone with the snake under the chair. Then again, he didn't actually volunteer to be the one left alone with the snake under the chair either.

"I'm a country girl, sweetie. I'll just grab it and put it back outside."

"You'll grab it? Actually pick it up?" He almost looked impressed.

"Yep!" So Fritz went off to the office and I sat down on the ottoman to watch the chair. Nothing slithered. A few more minutes went by. Still no slithering. So I did what anyone would do in a situation such as this: I got up and went into the kitchen and brewed a pot of coffee.

While the coffee brewed, the Practical Arts Muse and I discussed the situation. "Well, I'm not reaching under there and grabbing anything until I get a good look at the thing that I'm about to grab. There are good black snakes and bad black snakes and I want to check out colors and head shapes first. Maybe it will just leave on its own..."

"When snakes fly."

"Excuse me, Sim, but Pam and I were discussing..."

"Need I remind you that this is a third floor apartment?"

And so it is. We indeed live on the third floor. With a fully enclosed screened-in balcony. So how the Hel did whatever was under the chair get under the chair anyway? Well, that was something to think about. But not right now.

By the time that my coffee and I got back to the ottoman, something had slithered.

A small and slender black head was peering out from under the chair. Yep. It was a snake. A black racer. Not poisonous, but still capable --as all snakes are -- of getting in a good bite given the chance.

"EEEEEEEEEEEEEEE...!!"

Sim does a great Dave Barry imitation.

Snake and I looked at each other. Neither one of us moved. Then Snake's tongue tested the air. I sipped my coffee. It was all quite civilized.

Snake disappeared back under the chair. I got up and put my coffee cup in the sink.

When I got back, Snake was out on the other side and heading for the fireplace. I grabbed him/her. He/she was a good four-and-a- half feet long. A real beauty, too. Shiny black scales and bright little eyes. I held him/her carefully and headed down the steps. Once outside, I put him/her down on the outdoor walkway and after whipping down the first three stairs, he/she literally jumped over the side and down the remaining three feet into the bushes.

I didn't know snakes could jump like that.

"And I'll bet you didn't know that four-and-a- half-foot black snakes could get into a third floor apartment either, did you?"

No, I didn't and I still don't. It is quite strange. And since my "people" don't have that much indigenous folklore about snakes available from the old ancestral gene pool, I asked my Tsalagi friend, Don Waterhawk, what he thought it might mean in the spiritual sense. "Change, unexpected gifts coming your way..." he said. "Transmutation..."

"Oooo.... Like the Death card! Good thing it wasn't a happy squirrel under that chair, eh?"

Sim also watches way too many reruns of The Simpsons. But I think that they are both right.

In the past (snake-free) week, we have unexpectedly heard from three friends with whom we haven't talked with in many years. I found (on eBay of all places) a little very obscure and rare antique piece that I have been seeking for five years (It's a gift for someone, so I can't say any more about that little miracle right now!). And I have the oddest feeling that something ...uh... wonderful is about to happen.

"(Drum.drum.drum.) ...Ta-da...ta... DAH! (Drum. drum.drum.) Theme song from 2001....tah-DAH!"

This is the time of renewal. It is the birth of a new year and of a new season. The potential of the future is about to unfold.

And so, it is perhaps also a good time to remember that the Universe still works in very strange and mysterious ways.

Happy New Year and Merry Beltaine, Everyone!

Wren Walker
Co-Founder - The Witches' Voice
Monday, November 10th., 2003

* Roger Zelazny; Blood of Amber




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