The air is brutally cold when he leaves the pet store. The man hurries to his SUV in order to get his new pet out of the cold. The snake hardly moves.
The children love the snake. The little girl fearlessly picks it up and rubs the back of its head, marveling at its texture. The snake obliges. Later, the girl slithers around on the living room floor acting like her new best friend; the man and his wife watch in amusement. The snake, in a very short time, has become a part of the family.
Tonight is the true test, though. After the man tucks away the little girl and rocks the baby to sleep, he creeps to the snake’s cage. The owner of the pet store suggested he place the snake where the man had seen the rat in previous instances. The man places the snake beind the couch, he figures there might be a hole in the wall because it seemed as though the rat always found its way back there.
He turned the heat up slightly and lay the snake on the cold hardwood floor. The snake immediately went under the couch and, now out of vision, out of the man’s worries. He slept confidently. He dreamed about Charlize Thereon watching him from the press box at Yankee Stadium. He hit a home run; the crowd went crazy. In his dream.
During the night the snake made its way around the house, curious and ravenous, yet unassuming. The snake waited patiently for his prey, which he could see now, making its way into the kitchen. The rat stopped just before the refrigerator. The snake could move any time now, but it didn’t. There’s a certain beauty attained only by something so helpless. Its defenselessness makes the prey look pure and harmless, like a flower waiting for the blades of the lawnmower.
The snake saw this beauty, this vulnerability. And it watched. Then, it made its move. The rat didn’t have a chance. The snake was too powerful, too fast and too smart.
The man awoke before his alarm clock sounded. The owner told him to be patient, but this snake was different, he thought. He approached the couch cautiously, only to find a bare floor and a couple forgotten toys underneath. He was surprised when he walked back to the kitchen to see the snake resting in its cage, motionless, with a large object protruding from his lengthy body.
Even though he anticipated this, the man was surprised. He ran back to his room to wake his unsuspecting wife. He yelled her name, but she didn’t budge. He decided to let her sleep; she had a long day of work ahead of her. Her alarm clock would be sounding any minute now anyway.
He looked behind the couch for signs of anything that maybe once was.