"You can't have that in here."
"Um, yes, I very well can. And, I do!"
As we were navigating our way through the well-traveled corridors of our favorite supermarcado, we came upon a blockage in Aisle Four: an older man with a heavy build, wearing a baseball cap and looking rather red of face. His grocery carriage blocked the aisle completely, and his back was turned to us. However, it was impossible to get his attention, because he was busy arguing with someone. Someone to his right. My view of his opponent was blocked by a stack of peas.
Curious, I dawdled over the frying pans, trying to hear where the spat was at.
"No, you can't," said the old man, his white furry eyebrows knitting together. "It's a health code violation in every supermarket in the county!"
"You don't know what you're talking about," said the disembodied voice. "There's a convenience store next door, and a gas station, too, and I go in there all the time."
"That's not a supermarket," said the old man. "That's different."
"--and I have a permit, too!" said the voice.
"A permit?" whispered Corb. "Does he have a gun?"
A few minutes later, we found out what he did have. Turns out the man with the disembodied voice had a boa constrictor wrapped around his shoulders (unlike Corb, who has a boa constrictor hidden in his pants...), which had offended the old man greatly.
I wonder, who's right? We don't have many men walking around the city of Eldredge, waving their snake for all to see. But permit or not, should Snake Man be allowed to roam up and down the fruit and vegetable aisles with his boa nuzzling up against his shoulders? There's a sign on the supermarket entrance that says, "No pets." And although the sign is probably meant for cats and dogs, isn't a snake considered a pet?
Could it cause other customers to feel nervous? Some people are terrified of snakes. Would it freak them out, to have him walking about? Is that like yelling fire in a crowded theater?
Personally, bringing a snake into a supermarket doesn't much bother me. As long as it doesn't eat my children, I'm totally fine. I might even let the snakey lick them. That is, if they were misbehaving.
In any event, we didn't see Snake man for the rest of our trip to the supermarcado. Or the Old man, either, for that matter. Perhaps the snake swallowed him?
This afternoon, I was telling my friend Leslie about Corb's seizure during the week-end. I had promised Leslie that we would help her move her bridge, but thankfully, she took care of it herself, with a little help.
"But get this, Ted," she said. "We were outside, finishing up the bridge, and I had a handyman working inside the kitchen. Suddenly, he comes out of the house, looking a little serious, and holding his left hand. He said to my partner, 'Can you bring me to the hospital?'"
"What happened?" I asked.
"Well, he was holding his left hand. So I looked down, and I realized that he was missing something..."
"He cut his finger off?" I gasped. "Did you find it?"
"Mmmm, well, I THOUGHT he did. He excused himself and went back into the kitchen for a few minutes. Then he came out, and my partner drove him to the hospital. As she was leaving, though, she told me to go back into the kitchen and get the keys to his car, and when I went in there...well..."
"No shit! The finger was still in there?"
"Kicked into a corner. No word of a lie!"
"What did you do?"
Leslie laughed. "What else could I do? I ran to my next door neighbor and said, 'You'd better get me a bucket of ice, and fast!' And then we ran back to the kitchen, and I closed my eyes, picked the finger up, and threw it in the bucket. Then we ran to my car, and that's when I realized that I had no idea which hospital he had been brought to. So there we are, driving around all of Providence with a finger in a bucket full of ice, looking for the handyman."
"Well...a little less of a HAND-yman..."
"No, a little more! You know what his boss said, later on? You can tell someone's a rotten carpenter if they still have all their fingers!"
"Hmmm. So, does he still have all his fingers?"
Well, the answer was, he doesn't. Although Leslie did locate the right hospital, the finger was severed in a way that didn't allow for it to be reattached.
Which just goes to show you, faithful friends. You may think you're having a crummy week-end, but chances are, somebody out there's having one that's a lot worse!
Credit-Where-It's-Due Department: Photo is a variation on one found at www.everglades.com/snakeshows.htm.
P.S.: I swear, I am not making these stories up!