So when I pulled up on my way to visit Suzanne and he flagged me down and said they had the snake in the truck I wasn't sure whether to play along or keep driving. But if he was serious, and I was starting to believe he was, this was not something I wanted to miss. After all, how often do you get an invitation like that?
I took a peek in the back of the truck and saw an ominous and tightly sealed box labeled "EXPLOSIVE PROJECTILE."
This was gonna be good.
We followed his pickup to the Salem Primitive Baptist Cemetery because that's where Aunt Ida is buried and it was on her grave that the reptile was going to get her first taste of freedom in several days. Aunt Ida, it seems, had once told Glen that if he ever made anything of himself she would "s*** in her bonnet" which is why her grave was designated the perfect place to let the rattlesnake loose. It was also in the middle of nowhere, which can be a good thing at a moment like this.
The snake in question was a timber rattlesnake that had got herself caught in a chain link fence near an art studio in Gordo. I didn't ask how she got from the fence to the box, or even how they knew she was a she. Some things are better left a bit mysterious.
When Glen opened the box, with a little coaxing, she came out noisily demonstrating her namesake. This was the first time I had ever seen or heard a rattlesnake. My last encounter at the Natural HIstory Museum in Santa Barbara, California, about 45 years ago (you pushed a button to make the tail of a stuffed snake rattle) pales in comparison.
So there she is, slithering across Aunt Ida's grave.
And this is why I want to be cremated when I die.