Week 6: February 5 –February 11, 2023
Prompt: A Lunch Date Gone Wrong
“Take me in oh tender woman
Take me in for heaven’s sake
Take me in oh tender woman
Sighed the snake “
From The Snake 1968 Al Wilson
A Lunch Date Gone Wrong
I’m Gracie. Well, that’s what mom calls me. Dad usually calls me “No, Dammit!”
I am doing my favorite thing, riding in the car with mom. The wind blew my long hair back and the smells of the city all around me.
“Nothing better huh Gracie?” The smile is in mom’s voice. I can tell she needs this break. Her smiling lips have been turned down lately and I have heard her crying at night. I comfort her as best I can, but I can tell she needs more than I can do for her. I think this trip will be good for her.
I slide across the seat as she turns the car onto the dirt road leading away from town. I’m not sure where we are headed but it is enough to be with mom.
The woodsy smell tickles my nose. The trees are alive with squirrels, and birds, and the flowers explode in a riot of color. I curl up on the front seat and look at her.
She’s nibbling on crackers, and she passes a bite to me. I gently take it like the lady I am and lick the salt off my lips. We drive so long I fall asleep but rouse when the car slows.
We’re under a canopy of trees with no one nearby. Mom gets our basket out of the car, spreads out a blanket then places dishes out for our lunch. So many different tastes and she shares them all with me. Except for chocolate, which she says I can’t have because it will make me sick.
Normally, I would turn away and sulk, but there are so many other things for me to enjoy.
I drink my water and mom drinks too, but not water. I don’t know what it is but sometimes after she drinks it, she laughs and other times she cries. I watch her cautiously as she drinks feeling relieved when she throws back her head laughing loudly.
We pack up the dishes and walk a bit. There are so many little creatures to see here. Everything moves and scurries about. We walk to a rushing stream. I drink and Mom puts her hands in the water and rubs her them over her face. She moves back and sits by a tree. I move to be next to her.
She pulls out that small square shiny thing with her. She holds it and plays with it mumbling something that sounds like “No Bars” as I close my eyes and drift off to sleep at her side. She must have fallen asleep too because I woke to hear her gentle snore. I’m instantly alert because that sound isn’t what woke me up. I roll onto my belly holding still. Something is wrong
My ears prick up and I lay very still but alert for the invisible. There it is again. I sniff and look around. I bark., I must wake mom up. “Gracie, what is it” she says, sleep still in her voice as she pushes me away.
“Ouch!” she says sitting up as I scratch at her arm. She is moving too slowly. How can she not smell the danger here? I start to bark so hard that my whole body vibrates. She stands now in reaction to the urgency in my bark.
Her movement has brought her closer to danger as the rattlesnake coils to strike. I lunge and bite holding it in my mouth I shake my head to kill the thing that would harm my mom. Mom cries out as she grabs for a large stick but quick as a snake it whips around and bites me. I yip in pain and drop it. Mom raises the stick but stops as the snake crawls away.
She drops to her knees and parts my fur to look at the bite. I smell her fear as she picks me up and carries me to the car. She gently puts me in the back seat and quickly throws all our things in the part of the car way back.
I watch her and feel bad. I whimper softly to let her know it is going to be okay. I am feeling so tired, and it is an effort to keep my eyes open. After a while, I feel mom pick me up and I don’t see where we are, but I know the smell. Vet! I am too weak to protest.
“Gracie, Gracie” mom says. There is warm water dropping on my face. Mom is sad. Mom, it’s okay. When I wake up, we’ll play. I’m too tired right now, but later, when I wake up. I smell mom. She is close and I feel at peace because I know she is safe. Then there is nothing but dark.
I felt my mom’s hand on my head, and I heard her voice. “I never even saw or heard the snake, but Grace did. She was my protector.” Another voice said, “She’s a tough little girl. I think she’ll be alright, but we want to keep her at the clinic overnight just to make sure.” I feel mom’s hand on my head. I want to lick her hand, but I am still so tired. I hear her laugh as I thump my tail a few times. Me and my mom. Things will be okay now.