“Hey! Psst. Over there. Do you see it? My wife would love to have that in her biology classroom. Let’s get it.”
‘You think I’m going to pick that up? You have to be crazy. You pick it up,” said George.
Terry and George were working in a field near the plant. Both men were environmental engineers and had to look at various land sites to determine any contamination. The specimen would be something different and would add to the excitement of the science classroom. Now it was only a matter of getting “the prize” into something so it could be safely taken home. What would work?
The lunchbox! George carried a lunchbox to work each day and Terry thought that it would be the perfect way to transport the item home. George wasn’t enthralled and said in no uncertain terms that this idea was totally unacceptable. Food, and only food, would be carried in the lunchbox. Somehow Terry convinced George to help put the object into the trunk of the car.
My involvement didn’t begin until my husband came home that night. He parked the blue sedan in the driveway like he did every night. He came through the back door eagerly waiting to tell me about his day.
“Honey, you won’t believe what I found today. It will be perfect for your biology classroom. Come outside and take a look,” said Terry.
Together we walked towards the car where my husband opened the trunk to reveal what had excited him all day long. But there was nothing inside. Okay, I haven’t a clue as to what is going on but if there was anything in the trunk it had disappeared or someone had neglected to actually put it in the car.
The next words out of my husband’s mouth brought everything into perspective. He had found a beautiful green milk snake about three or four feet long at work. Since George had refused to let the snake hide in his lunchbox (truly a smart decision) the only alternative was to put it into the trunk. What he had forgotten was that a snake doesn’t stay in one place. His idea to open the trunk and find the snake curled up inside had one flaw. The snake had slithered into the dark recesses of the trunk and probably gotten down between the car seats.
I stood there in shock because not only did I not want a snake in my classroom the “critter” was slithering around in MY car. Yes, my car! No way was I getting in that car to search for the milk snake. Not in this lifetime did I want to come face to face with a reptile with a forked tongue. I might want company along on a shopping trip but this type of companion was not welcome at all.
After discussing the dilemma, the consensus was that we should keep the trunk open and hope the snake would just crawl out on its own. Every once in a while we looked out the window. At one point I did indeed see a green head with two black eyes looking around to see where it was, but I never saw the snake abandon his new home. The trunk stayed open all night so that we could give him a chance to disappear. But in the morning there was no way to determine if the snake had indeed left the car or whether it was still lingering inside.
Now what to do? After some thinking and considering several alternatives, Terry came up with a plan that was ingenious. Close the trunk, take the car into a service station and have them check it out! Early on Saturday morning Terry made the trip to the service station. No one there found anything humorous about the situation and we were the first people to ever bring a car in for “snake removal.” I’m not sure if the mechanics ever serviced the car but their initial inspection didn’t locate the predator.
I don’t remember exactly how or if we ever verified that the snake was really gone, but I didn’t get back into the car for quite some time. We never talked much about the snake episode after that. I worked on lesson plans and biology class continued during the semester with no more unusual specimens except for the frog which was promptly dissected.
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