Sneaky Snakes and Mars Rocks
Saturday, July 7, 2012
Have you ever read a story about Mars rocks being found on earth, like this
, and think, “How do they know it came from Mars?” and then wonder if it was some prank?
Some years ago, after an afternoon hunt in the Ogeechee River Swamp, your Arrowflinger was walking down a clay road through some South Georgia live oak forest – after dark, with a powerful light, but one which quickly drained its battery. He would shine the road, then cut his light off and walk a ways. The Arrowflinger had just flipped his light back on when a shuffling noise came from right over his right shoulder. When he swung the light around it rested on the form of a monstrous rattler, which apparently had slid down the road bank upon his passing.
After regaining his composure, old Arrowflinger started looking all around for a stick to kill the snake with. The road had been freshly graded, leaving only bare ground and some dirt clods. (Do you remember what a dirt clod is?) Nearby was a clod about the size of a basketball. It was beyond belief that this was the only thing available to kill the snake, who had probably crawled over his bow and arrows getting there. The clod was sun-baked and was sufficiently hard to break the snake’s spine. There was only one problem – the object was too big to hold with one hand and the other hand was needed to hold the light.
In the meantime, the rattler began to crawl away. Kicking some loose clay on him succeeded in getting him to stop and start rattling vigorously. Holding the light between his legs, your nervous Arrowflinger hoisted the dirt clod to his chest, then heaved it toward the reptile. It missed, shattering into fragments, leaving the larger piece about the size of a volleyball. Fortunately this piece had rolled away and was no longer within striking distance. The intensity of the rattling at this point was unnerving enough, when the unthinkable occurred. The 150,000 candlepower light was down to its last 50,000 candles and those were fading fast! After kicking his “weapon” away from the rattlesnake to retrieve it, and trying to focus the dying light on what was a tremendous snake, the Arrowflinger prepared for his final toss. This one found its target, breaking the rattler’s spine. A third attempt permanently disabled it. Then the light died completely.
Your near-snakebite-victim pulled his deer stand out of the edge of the woods and sat on it there, alone in the dark with his scaly friend, waiting for his brother-in-law to come and pick him up. Every minute or so the rattler would start a faint buzz with its tail. Eventually some headlights appeared in the distance. It was Robbie, coming down the twisting road. He immediately pulled the truck in position to shine its headlights on the animal. Upon jumping out of the truck, he exclaimed, “This snake is not dead-only stunned!
” Upon retrieving a piece of pipe from the truck, he promptly dispatched the reptile.
Next to be picked up on that dirt road was John, a guy with a tremendous fear of snakes. Robbie said, “Put that twitching snake right there in the corner by the tailgate on John’s side of the truck.” That done, the truck of hunters headed off to get John. Sure enough, John went to set his beltpack inside the truck and felt the still-moving scaly reptile. He let out a shriek, followed by a stream of less-than-adoring or complimentary description of our ancestries.
The snake stretched from one side of the pickup tailgate to the other. We took several pictures of it upon our return home. It was late, so there was no time to dispose of the carcass.
The Arrowflinger was hunting the next morning in Lincoln County, about 100 miles to the north. At the time he owned a tract of about 100 acres there. Upon going in the gate, it was realized that the dead snake was still in the truck bed. It was before daylight. He started to toss the snake in the bushes, then had a thought, “Maybe I can have a little fun with this snake!“
You see, there are almost no rattlers, other than pygmy rattlers, in that part of Lincoln County. This snake was really big! There is little industry in the county and most of the residents have to leave early to get into Augusta to work. So there were going to be a lot of cars coming by in the next half hour.
Your Arrowflinger picked the snake up and stretched him across the outbound lane, then hid in the bushes by his gate. Action was not long in the making. A car came around the curve, went WHUMP-WHUMP as it passed over the snake, and flashed its brake lights. They must have been late for work. A minute later Car No. 2 made the WHUMP-WHUMP noise, squealing its tires shortly thereafter. The driver stopped for a minute, then proceeded on. The driver of car number 3 must have had his morning coffee. It was an old, dark-colored Thunderbird. The driver slammed on the brakes to kill the snake, sliding by it in the process. Slowly he backed up until his headlights rested on the snake. He stopped the car, got out, and pulled something from the backseat.
The engine was still running, so he could not hear your trickster laughing. Then the arrow flinging practical joker heard a metallic noise as he approached the front of the car. Suddenly the Arrowflinger realized that the joke was on him! This guy was going to shoot the snake and guess who was in the line of fire! The Arrowflinger!!! Quickly diving for cover just as the trigger was pulled – BLAMMM! – he heard bird shot ring through the trees over his head. Then the man picked the snake’s body up, put it in the trunk, turned that car around and took the snake back home. The shaken bowhunter dusted himself off, plucked numerous briars from his flesh, wiped away the blood and went hunting.
Well this story was not over. Your wayward archer was working on his fence the next July, when an old, black Ford Thunderbird pulled off onto the shoulder of the roadway. An old fellow got out and said:
“Mistuh, You sho bettuh be careful aroun’ ‘dis place. My bruther whut live down ‘dis heah road, he killed de biggest, meanest rattlesnake what ever been killed up heah in Lincoln County! One mawnin – Ah do believe it wur las Septembuh – he whur headed fo wuk down to Shapiro’s meat packin plant down yonder in Augusta when dis here rattlesnake crawled into dis road rightchere. Bo – he be my bruther – slammed on his brakes and tried to kill Mr. Rattlesnake, but dat only made him madder’n a wet hen! Dat snake threw hisself into a qurl and started to singin. Ole Bo he be lucky he had his ole 410 in de back o dis car. He shot de snake in de hed and brung him back to sho me. When he opened de trunk Ah dang neah went into a swoon. Dat snake he were a MAN! He looked lik he been eatin plenty o possums and rabbits. Ah do believe he wuh big enough to swaller a coon. So mistuh, ole Jake don’t wanna tend to yo bidness none, but you sho outta be careful around dis place heah. Dat ole big snake has a momma ‘roun heah fo sho’, ‘an you sho don’t wanna be bit by no snake dat big!“
Fighting back tears, the Arrowflinger thanked Jake for his advice. He got into his car and drove away. It was hoped that he did not look into his rear view mirror. The Arrowflinger collapsed, howling, before he got out of sight. The sores on his tongue went away after about a week. He never thought that a dead snake would cause such an uproar and exaggeration. The Arrowflinger even heard about, “Dat big rattlesnake ole Bo kilt‘ up at the local store one morning.”
Could this be what happened with the Mars rock?***