The snake convulsively curled and uncurled around the mass of pulped organs that used to be its stomach.
It wasn’t a big snake, maybe a foot and a half long at most, which probably explains why it lost so badly when it went up against a car tire while trying to cross the road.
I found the snake at the end of the nose used by Buzz, The Garbage Disposal That Walks Like A Dog, as he sniffed his way through his latest walk.
The snake didn’t look good at all. Most of its middle was smushed along one side, as if the car had only crushed one side of it as its massively heavy weight rolled over the small reptile.
My heart broke for the snake.
I’ve always had these strangely timed bouts of empathy. Which goes a long way toward explaining the Incident Of The Flounder On The Floorboards.
See, I’d gone river fishing in St. Augustine with my Dad and a dude I’ve known since grade school, who I’ll call. . . um. . . John.
Anyway, we were pretty successful and managed to pull in a couple of pretty good eating fish. The prize of which collection had to be the nice flounder I pulled off the bottom of the river and into our boat.
To keep the fish alive, we slid a twine into their mouths and then out their gills, effectively leashing them to the side of the boat, while still allowing them to breathe enough to survive. Eventually, we’d caught enough fish and headed on home. We put the string of fish on the floorboards in the car and headed out.
And I kept looking down at the Flounder and it kept staring up at me. With both eyes at the same time. Flounder are creepy that way. My heart broke for the flounder. So I took a wet towel and dropped it over the flounder, not to hide its face from me, but to give it enough water to keep it alive for a bit longer.
To keep it alive. I was trying to keep alive this fish that we were about to gut, then cut off its head and then fillet it before cooking it and eating it. No, I didn’t think it through all the way, that’s for sure.
All of which flashed through my brain when I stepped up next to the snake. There was no way the reptile was going to make it, especially considering that the midsection of its body was, essentially, glued to the cement by its own body gunk.
The only thing it could do was to die slowly, in agony, writhing on the hot cement of the roadway.
Buzz, The Garbage Disposal That Walks Like A Dog, was bored. Since I wasn’t going to let him eat the snake, he had wandered off to sniff some bushes and maybe scent a few himself.
I stayed with the snake, lending it some of my shade, and thought about the flounder. Buzz tugged at the leash harder and harder, impatient to get going.
I picked up my foot, ready to turn and leave, when the flounder’s face flashed through my brain again. Good? Bad? Indifferent? Right? Wrong?
Did it matter in the face of a short lifetime’s worth of unending agony? My heart broke for the snake.
I slammed my foot down onto the road, crushing the snake’s skull.