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Posted by SNYDER on May 09, 1998 at 11:20:38:

It is said that there are three kinds of people:
Those who don't like you, mean to harm you, and DO hurt
you. Then there are folks who are completly indifferent to
you; and, they hurt you also. Finally there are people
concerned for your welfare, who do their very best to help
....Case in point: I was on a construction job in Maryland.
One afternoon we poured some concrete. As we were leaving,
a great big black snake (Coluber constrictor constrictor,
Northern Black Racer) nearly six feet long, struggled up
through the fresh concrete. Cement causes alkaline
"burns" and the snake was covered with it. The only
water on the site was in the water cold. I
caught the exausted snake and used the drinking water to
wash some of the cement off. The snake did NOT seam to
appreciate this. So, with the approval of my two (male)
roommates, also working on the job, I put the snake in
a bag, took him home to the apartment we shared, and
washed him off in the bathtub. He went back into the bag
while we cleaned up. Then, thinking that an overnight soak
would help remove the rest of the cement before we released
him the next morning, I put some water and the snake in the
tub and closed the sliding glass door. The bathroom door
was too tight to allow escape, so we were sure we had a
doubly redundant enclosure. Sweet dreams?
....NIGHTMARE! At about 3:30 the next morning the lady
in the adjacent apartment screamed in a way that brought
me bolt upright in bed and woke the dead all the way back
to Adam and Eve. I heard more screams, a man's shouts
crashing sounds, very loud thumps, and crying (adult
female and baby). Then the front door opened and slammed
shut. Somehow I knew. While the crying continued I went
to our bathroom. The door was shut. How the snake got
over the tall sliding glass door I still don't know.
But the snake should still have been in the bathroom.
Except that.. well... three guys living together, the lid
on the toilet was up.
....We saw the snake outside our neighbors' door the next
morning on the way to work---smashed to a bloody pulp.
My roommates and I swore each other to silence. When we
got home that night we surely got an earfull.
....With a woman in the house our neighbors' toilet lid
was kept down. Let me ask you, when you go to sit down
on the toilet in the middle of the night, do you look in
the bowl each time? This lady did not! She lifted the
lid, sat down, and started to do her business. This
disturbed the snake. He left his comfortable hiding place
through the only opening available to him...the space
between her legs.
....Now I dont care if you are a herpetologist with thirty
years experience, handle rattlesnakes and king cobras
on a daily basis, and in general just love snakes. To
have a BIG BLACK SNAKE bolt up between your naked legs
while you're sitting half asleep on the pot in the middle
of the night would be a startling experience. This lady
was no herpetologist. She left the bathroom. The snake
also left the bathroom. Upon meeting the lady and her
husband in the hallway, the snake made the sensible
decision to go the other way...this was into the baby's
room. Can you blame the man? He grabbed a baseball bat
and killed the snake (and a couple of lamps, some furnature
and various items of glassware). To calm his wife the dead
snake had to go out the door.
....Its been almost ten years. They might have recovered
by now. I can only offer my sincerest apologies-to the
lady, to her husband and child, and to the innocent snake
who paid with his life for more people, more construction,
more concrete...and my good intentions.

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