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Sex and Venom

Snakes and evil go together like peanut butter and jelly

By Jack NanuqPublished 2 years ago 4 min read
Sex and Venom
Photo by Jan Kopřiva on Unsplash

“Pleeease…In the name of Sweet Jesus, explain to me what just happened.”

I looked across the room at my captain and took my time answering. The space between us was thick with the smell of cordite, fear, and adrenaline. The room was decorated with shattered glass, vegetation, and snake parts. A wisp of smoke leaked from the muzzle of my shotgun. Eight spent hulls littered the floor like giant plastic and brass tootsie rolls. More than 200 BBs had decimated the aquariums, or whatever snake habitats are called.

This wasn’t the first snake I’d ever killed. When stationed in Afghanistan I killed so many they started calling me St Patrick. But now I was in the States serving my hometown as a local cop.

“Well sir…” I said, in my most respectful manner. “One of them was escaping.”

This was bullshit and everyone knew it. They knew I hated snakes, but not the reason for this deep-seated emotion. One of the other cops broke the tension by sarcastically asking, “Was it trying to make a run for it?” The five us burst out laughing. My laughter was fake.

As my compatriots enjoyed this moment of hilarity, I was transported back 18 years to the demise of Mr. Radler.

When I was a teenager Frank Radler, AKA: “The Rattler” was a local Insurance Broker who did these cheesy TV commercials. At the tail end of the commercials, he would hold up a Mojave Rattlesnake, the deadliest in North America, and say, “This rattler don’t bite!” The implication being he had the best car and home insurance rates.

He kept an assortment of snakes in his garage. I knew this because he was also the stepfather of my girlfriend. But who, as my captain might ask, “in the name of Sweet Jesus” keeps snakes as pets? Only bad guys I’m sorry to say. At least that’s been my experience.

The night before my prom I learned the true depths of Mr. Radler’s depravity. Missy came to me and said she couldn’t go with me. She was crying and said her stepdad told her no. But he wasn’t going to be the bad guy in this story. She was told to make up a story about having food poisoning.

I kept mumbling, “Why, why?” She initially said, “I can't say…I just can’t say… but it’s not you, it’s me…” This made no sense, and I could not stop mumbling “Why…why?”

She finally broke and cried, “He makes me take naps with him…he doesn’t want to share me with anyone…He threatened to put my hand in the snake cage if I ever…if I’m ever…you know…”

Although she never used the word sex, I immediately understood what she was saying. As a teenager, you tend to think the world revolves around you, but at that moment my universe exploded, and I understood everything. I had a revelation on par with Einstein’s E=MC2.

I held her until she had cried it all out. I had no idea what I was going to do but I was going to fix it. I knew… knew in my heart of hearts I was going to fix this. I wouldn’t get it done before the prom, but I would get it done.

Three days later I skipped school. I borrowed my father’s leather welding jacket and a pair of heavy leather gloves, and then snuck into the Radler home. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, but as most teenagers everywhere I assumed everything would work out. And by everything, I thought that simply meant getting away with the crime. I had no conception of the burden I would carry after that day.

At 2:45 p.m. Missy and her younger brother got off the school bus. When they entered their home, the kitchen was in shambles. Mr. Radler was dead on the floor. The death was ruled an accident.

The police report, which I got my hands on later, said it appeared “The victim was bitten by one of his snakes. This may have occurred during a venom extraction process known as milking. Bite marks, bruising and swelling, on the throat indicates the point of attack… It appears that in his haste to get to a phone, or help, the deceased tripped on a power cord and flailed about, further ensnaring himself…Death due to neurotoxin poisoning.

A handwritten sticky note in the file read “Vile of anti-venom found crushed, in front of fridge. Boot pattern on linoleum does not match deceased shoe????”

I was at Missy’s side three days later, during the memorial service. That was as close as I would ever get to my true love. I never told her what I did but, she knew. And that knowledge was like an invisible barbwire fence between us. Each barb a conflicting emotion; guilt, freedom, pain, happiness, sorrow, relief, etc. Five weeks later, after graduation, she left to be a song writer in Nashville.

Rudderless, I too left, but for a stint in the Army. Six years later I returned home to civilian life. When I went into the Army, I was an angry teenager. When I discharged, I was a less angry young man. I’m a cop now, but how I made it through my background and polygraph I’ll never understand.

So that brings us too today. Our Department had just served a search warrant on a local meth cooker. During our pre-raid briefing we were reminded the suspect had an assortment of snakes in a basement mancave. The other guys on the team parodied Indiana Jones, “Snakes, why does it always have to be snakes?”

I knew why it had to be snakes. Because snakes and evil go together like peanut butter and jelly.

I knew what I would do, if given the opportunity. Tomorrow's population of snakes would be less than yesterdays. Let’s pray I never hear about the Cooker threatening his kids with snakes.

fact or fiction

About the Creator

Jack Nanuq

Mr. Nanuq makes his living as a Private Investigator, hence the avatar and pen name.

Author of “Parabellum; When you Live in Peace, prepare for War”

Writes, just for the hell of it.

Enjoys walks in the woods, with a chainsaw

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    Jack NanuqWritten by Jack Nanuq

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