Saturday, June 5, 2010


My friend Tor had a bad laundry day.

Clothes in the dryer; he's falling asleep and is brought out of his near-slumber by a loud Ca-chunk-a-chunk sound and then total silence. Shit, he thinks, the clothes dryer has given up the ghost and tells himself he will deal with it tomorrow. He allows himself to drift into sleep and no doubt dreams of naked boys and girls with
pudding-smeared nipples and panda masks paddling one another.

Next morning: Wife goes to work and Tor is forced to deal with the dryer situation. He presses the buttons but nothing happens. He thinks to himself that perhaps the lint blower outlet is clogged and detatches it. He scoops out a few mounds of fluff and sees, of all things, a live snake. It's gasping and writhing and not in good spirits.

Tor just so happens to have a pair of snake tongs on hand, owing to his years of keeping them as pets, a splendid note of happenstance much on the order of my encountering an emergency requiring the use of hand puppets.

He uses the tongs to grasp the snake and pulls it free from the ribbed, polyethurane dryer hose. The animal has a hole in its abdomen, through which Tor can see missing flesh, missing vertebrae and in fact would be clean through were it not for
the transluscent layer of skin on the other side. Holding it to the light, it's the reptilian version of a View-Master.

So Tor has a disassembeled dryer, holding aloft a gutted, living snake in some tongs. He realizes the Ca-chunk-a-chunk sound he heard the night before was a snake getting disemboweled by whirring dryer parts. Apparently the snake crawled through the outdoor dryer vent, slithered into the actual machinery and had its midsection hacked out for its trouble.

Tor loves the crazy serpents, as do I. I kept them as pets in junior high, earning me the nickname of "Snake", so much that other kids would call and ask for me as that, a fact my mother couldn't abide. "His name is NOT Snake!" she would hiss, not getting the irony. Of course, me being saddled with the monicker 'Snake' was on par with Adam Lambert being known as 'Cold Steel Fury'. But I kept snakes as pets and loved them, perhaps because I could identify with nature's most misunderstood creatures.

Tor, being the same kind of guy, is filled with remorse at what happened to the snake in his dryer. I mean, if you met someone with a huge honking hole in their stomach, so much so that the only thing you could see was the skin running down their back on the other side, wouldn't you want to help them in any way you could?

So Tor fills a bucket with ice and water. He drops the snake into it. The snake thrashes around a bit, then deliberately swims to the bottom of the bucket. It stays there, on purpose, and drowns.

Nature knows when it's time is up.

The suicidal part of me knows this, too. Stop, quit. I ain't gonna off myself cause I wanna stick around and see what happens. Get your finger off the 911. But still, just to go out when you know you're done is a thing of beauty.

Man, I envy that snake.

1 comment:

  1. Reminds me of the period I was most acutely suicidal. Had the means and method picked out. Knew the belt I would use and which rafter in the basement. Would I have gone through with it? Knowing myself, probably not. But there was a strange comfort in knowing it was THERE.