The kid saw it first. Everyone else was busy talking and sipping tea when the kid suddenly cried out,”Snake!” The father leapt up, swift, like a Maasai Moran. “Where?” “There!” At the end of the kid’s pointed finger was the grey wall and on the grey wall, above the window and next to the door was a long, black thing slithering. Against the wall was a table the father leapt upon with all the young blood pounding in his veins. “Get me a big stick!” he yelled. The mother was out and back in a second holding a long wooden pole and handed it to the father and all the hidden talent for warfare that the father had came out in the open when he handled that pole with utmost skill and a surprising dexterity, driving it into the head of the snake as though it was a part of his arms, like throwing a punch, and the snake fell of the wall and onto the floor and the father jumped off the table and pushed out the snake with the opposite end of the pole and someone said, “Watch out!” but the father was fast and he leapt back as the snake’s head lashed at him and he brought down the pole on the snake’s head and he pushed it out with all his might and it soared through the air, out the door, and onto the ground, raising a small cloud of dust. “Make sure it doesn’t get onto the grass,” someone said. “Once it gets on the grass you won’t see it, it will zip off like a flash of lightning.” But the father was somewhere else: in the zone he raised the pole, with both hands, over his head and commenced to bring it down upon the body and head and tail of the snake even as it tried to lash back, beat it mercilessly till it was battered and dead and the skin peeled off in certain places, beat it till its head was like chewed up meat. “Let’s burn it,” he said. The mother went back in and came out with a can of oil and a red lighter, the father handled the snake on the opposite end of the pole and everyone followed him to the rubbish pit where the oil was poured on it and the fire caught upon it and its snake skin came alive and twisted and coiled as it broiled and burned and everyone felt very, very good especially the father and the kid who were the heroes of the moment, the kid for his keen eyes, the father for his leap into action and his brilliance with the pole and everyone trooped back into the house and a fresh thermos of tea was brought in and everyone poured it into their cups and chattered about the moment, the emotion, the action and the aliveness that they felt.

 

The Snake was first published in 2015 in an anthology titled Flash Fiction International: Very Short Stories from Around the World.

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