Two years ago I had a fateful match with what I thought was a black mamba. They say that upon being bitten by a black mamba, one dies within six seconds (popularized in the greatest action film ever – Kill Bill Vol. 1). When asked the question, what you do with the last six seconds, answers may vary. Mine? Eat the snake. So, with my heart pounding I ended the snake’s life with a large steel hoe. Mutilating what the sleeping reptile (actually, not of the black mamba species), I also destroyed the cement floor beneath the snake. Ashamed of my weakness, I decreed that if I ever had another snake in my house, I would act with more composure and cut the snake’s head clean off. Of course, I planned this with the intention of making a belt afterward (what would you do?). To view this pathetic 2005 account, you can see the story in (more or less) January 2008 of this blog.
As my service in Mozambique comes to an end, I believe that I have matured into an efficient volunteer. Every day I see more and more actions and behaviors that differentiate the old Chase from the new. I am proud to say that after two years of personal development, I have also managed to maintain my composure when killing snakes.
After straying into my room while I was playing the guitar, a hissing snake met its reaper. We had a moment of eye contact and it was on. I can't say that I was immediately composed. I was more spry than anything. I jumped on the bed and secured my guitar in on its rack; I then grabbed my rat-beating stick and lighter, more efficient, machete. The hunter had become the hunted. The snake, seeing the commotion, turned back towards the main room. I put my shoes and headlamp on. This was my chance. I had been planning this for two years and already knew what would be my method. There had been too much day dreaming about this moment to leave any room for failure. The snake, not familiar with my wit and experience, slithered behind the couch. I quickly switched my death-notched stick for a broom. This may sound like an odd choice, but remember, I had a plan. I stood on the table and got a good look at the two-foot reptile as he hissed back at me (notice, snakes are always male when recounting stories). I worked my way to the couch and the slithery devil, unaware of what was above him, searched and searched for his hunter. With the broom in my right hand I trapped the snake right behind the head. Unable to get the machete at a good angle to cut the head off, I jammed the point through the back of his head. Pinned, the snake violently threw his body from side to side. Holding my hand on the machete, I moved the couch with the other hand (it’s wicker) and reached for the kitchen knife. Without any hesitation, I cut the head off and ended it.
And that is how I marked my maturation as a fully formed Peace Corps volunteer. The following are some visuals of the aftermath.