Monday 10 February 2020

Fear of Snakes

by Jim Bates

raspberry tea

We'd been dating for a about a month when Lorrie got a bull snake as a pet and brought it over to my apartment. "Here," she said, pushing the writhing reptile toward me. "Her name is Julie. Want to hold her?"
            No. Not on your life.
            But, I liked Lorrie a lot and wanted to make a good impression so I attempted to work up some enthusiasm, "Sure!"
            Bad idea. Julie was heavy and cold and thick and she curled around my arm, stuck out her tongue and maybe some more stuff I'll never know because I fainted. I came to on the floor with a warm blanket tucked around me and a soft pillow placed under my head. Lorrie and Julie were both gone.
            I stood on shaky legs and called Lorrie right away. "Please come back. You can even bring Julie."
            "You sure?"
            "Positive," I gulped, suddenly weak in my knees, wondering what I was getting myself into.
            "Great. We're on our way."
            "Fabulous. See you soon!"
            Oh, oh. I didn't even have time to think before my reptilian world went spinning around and around and around. I fainted once again and crashed to the floor.
            A little while later, Lorrie's concerned voice brought me around, "Jerry, Jerry. Are you okay?" I sat up, rubbing my eyes. "Yeah, I'm all right. I just...wait a minute!" I panicked, scanning the room frantically, "Where's Julie?"
            Lorrie smiled and kissed me. "She's not here. I didn't want to take a chance on..."
            "...on me fainting again?" I completed her thought, feeling not only sheepish at my inability to deal with reptiles in general and Julie in particular, but also relieved I wouldn't have to, at least not right then.
            "Yeah, something like that," she grinned.
            I felt bad. I didn't want this woman I really cared about to think I was being a jerk for not liking her pet snake; her beloved Julie. Also, there was that male ego thing. I wanted to prove to her I really wasn't all that afraid.
            Next thing I knew, feeling a burst of confidence that came out of nowhere, I stated, "I'll tell you what. I'm willing to give it another try." I remember distinctly trying to keep the tremor out of my voice.
            "That's so sweet," she hugged me."Really?"
            I took a deep breath and let it out. "Really."
            "Well, that's great. I'll go get her."
            "Wait a minute! What do you mean? Now?"
            "Yeah. I left her in my car. I'll be right back."
            Oh, my. What had I gotten myself into?
Five months later and I have to say that things are working out good. Lorrie and I get along great and are still dating. I'm getting used to Julie. We even play together sometimes. She's not so bad, although she's kind of heavy. Lorrie feeds her once a week. I won't tell you what, but let's just say that I leave mealtime to her.
            But, when it comes to love? Well that's a different story. I care for Lorrie a lot and I'll do just about anything for her, even learn to like Julie. But please, don't let her start buying any more snakes, even one as likeable as her pet. I'm not sure I could handle it, because, believe me, as far as me and pet snakes are concerned, one is more than enough. 


About the author

Jim lives in a small town twenty miles west of Minneapolis, Minnesota. His stories have appeared in many online and print publications. His collection of short stories Resilience is scheduled to be published in 2020 by Bridge House Publishing. All of his stories can be found on his blog:


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