|Dylan's terrified. Grady grabbed his BB gun.|
"Hold on a second, Sean," I said to my buddy on the other end of the line.
"Sounds serious," he said.
"I doubt it," I replied.
"It's a rattler, Dad," she repeated. So doubtful I was of her claims -- I mean, come on, we've lived here nearly 18 years with hardly a Garter snake in the petunias -- that I went outside in my bare feet.
And there it was. A genuine rattler. In the yard. And a big one, too, mad and buzzing away. "Oh, shit," I thought. Our pets are so unfamiliar with venomous snakes that the cat crouched on one side of it, ready to pounce, and the dumb dog lay on the other, ready to ... who knows. Bite the dog, I whispered. "Huh?" asked Grady. "Nothing," I mumbled and went inside for the shotgun.
This bastard was big. His belly was lime green and he was as big around as a beer can from stem to stern. His rattles were broken off so it was hard to guess his age, but after I dispatched it with a 12-gauge, I flopped him over the yard fence and it touched the ground on both sides. The shotgun did quite a number on it. I never did find the head and I later wished I'd just killed it with a shovel so I could have skinned him out for an awesome, I don't know, sash (?) for Regina. Plus, I've been on an Eat-Whatever-I-Shoot kick (minus ground squirrels), but there wasn't enough left in terms of edible meat. But then again, there was no way in hell I was getting close enough to kill it with a shovel, so really the shotgun was a good choice.
It's not uncommon to have rattlesnakes on Hartstrand. Hell, my brother has found them curled up in the shoes he left on the porch, but just not at our house. So, for the rest of the summer we played outside with our shoes on and always let the dumb dog take a lap around the yard first, before we ventured out.