The Cowboy Gun and the Freaky Snake Dance

Posted: May 20, 2011 in Living on the Back 40
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I haven’t always lived on a ranch, or even in the country…but I am learning. Slowly, painfully, sometimes disastrously, but I am learning.

Yesterday I killed my very first rattlesnake, all by myself!

There was some squealing and jumping around involved, but the end result was the demise of a rattlebug that posed a threat to the critters I’ve collected over the last year. Cats and kittens, two loopy cowdogs (aren’t Heelers supposed to be smart?), a raccoon that steals the shiny things from the garage, and the “funky armadillo” are the critters that have names. Deer and birds are everywhere, but they’re not quite pets…yet anyway. Give me time, I have birdseed and deer corn, I will make friends.

Anyway, back to my rattlebug…

I was driving down my half-mile long driveway (you can’t see my house from anything paved), and saw my first snake of the year. I stopped the Chevy in the middle of the road and sat there frozen, staring into yellow eyes that seemed to stare right back at me. Somewhere in the back of my mind I heard the “old cowboy movie whistle” that always plays when the gunslinger faces his foe.

Thanks to my Country Guru, I had the necessary tools in my truck for just such an encounter. The bed of the truck holds a shovel, a bag of critter food, some wire, a bucket of sand, and a baby walker. Inside the truck are two knives, a roll of toilet paper, and my “cowboy gun.” I call it that because “.22 with snake-shot” just doesn’t have the same ring, and because the gun has a hammer that pulls back and a barrel that spins…just like in the movies. I’ve learned the hard way that there is a trick to spinning that barrel without spinning the gun out of your hands and across a hardwood floor…causing several grown men to shriek like little girls and take cover behind the couch. I’ve also learned that a quick-draw isn’t as easy as it is in the movies, especially if you have boobs in the way.

So there I was with the snake staring a challenge at me, and I’m trying to remember where I put the cowboy gun. It finally takes slowly opening my door and creeping around the back of the truck to the passenger side, where the gun is hiding under the backseat. Handy, right?

Gun in hand; I sneak around the front of the truck like I’m tiptoeing up on a sleeping giant. Right there in front of the bumper, where I’d left the evil creature, was…nothing but dirt. The sudden image in my mind had my snake just under the edge of the truck, sighting in on my bare calf, and that was enough to elicit a squeal and the freaky snake dance that took me high-stepping backwards at a high enough rate of speed that I lost my flip-flop. I swept it up with my non-gun hand and jumped up onto the side of the truck, teetered there for an infinite few seconds, and tumbled in rear-end first.

Thankfully I didn’t shoot myself or put any new holes in the pick-up. I did get an interesting bruise from the shovel though. I took a breath, got my bearings, and got mad! Somehow falling down or losing a shoe taps into that part of my brain that holds pride and ego, and sitting half-barefoot with a sore butt in the back of my truck was just humiliating enough to tick me off.

Gun in hand, I crawled back down from my silver tower and crept up past the bumper again, this time a safe distance from the dark abyss underneath. There was a clear trail in the dirt where the snake had slithered away to the side of the road and under a bush. Part of me hoped to find the evil thing hiding under the bush, and part of me hoped it had crawled a mile away never to be seen again.

Not sure whether I got my wish or not, since I was undecided what the wish really was (other than a fast move back to a place with stores and traffic), but I did find the snake under the bush. I shrieked again and did a milder version of that freaky snake dance, managing to startle the snake into rattling at me. Actually I don’t think my noises startled it as much as the branch that slapped it in the face when I let go of it. Apparently snakes don’t like being smacked in the nose with shrubbery any more than husbands do.

So the snake was rattling, I was shrieking like a little girl (or a grown man diving for cover from a loaded cowboy gun bouncing across the floor), and I’m sure my guardian angel was about to turn in her resignation. I couldn’t see the snake without the branch moved, and I wasn’t risking my toes again to get close enough to touch it…so I leaned, on tiptoe, as far as I could towards the bush. When I caught a glimpse of scales, thanks to the snake for continuing to rattle angrily, I pointed the gun, pulled back the hammer, and fired.

The silence that followed the pop was thick with tension, as I realized that I’d have to move the bush to find out whether I’d hit my target (I wasn’t sure snake-shot bullets would go through a bush with enough oomph to take out something underneath).

It was an eternity before I had one of those moments where you have to slap yourself in the forehead. That is when I went back to the truck, got the shovel, and used it to move the branches around. Apparently, snake shot will travel quite well through a bush, and I managed to use the shovel to drag a very dead rattlebug out into the daylight.

This time, the freaky snake dance was a triumphant one, and I didn’t even care that I lost my flip-flop again. I walked (sort of, considering the one shoe) back to my truck with a newfound sense of accomplishment and the echoes of the western movie whistle in the back of my mind.

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Comments
  1. […] on classic rock. A rebel that thinks straighter on heavy metal. A country chick who carries a Cowboy Gun and thinks Jason Aldean is about the best thing since sliced bacon. A moody poetry-writing girl, […]

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