The Pet Boa
A man wished to impress his wife by finally proving to her how much fun his pet boa constrictor could be. This was because the wife had been complaining about how unfriendly the snake was, and how little fun.
The man took the boa from the large aquarium he kept it in and proposed a game with the snake. He looked the snake in the eyes. He said, “First, I will try to swallow you, and then you will try to swallow me.” The man glanced at his wife, wishing for her approval, but she just shook her head. The boa constrictor, on the other hand, gleefully agreed to these conditions.
So the snake and its owner began their game. To practice, the man opened his mouth wide several times and then did some deep knee bends. The snake asked, “Are you ready?” and the husband said that he was. The husband took the snake in his hands and opened his jaws and tried to put snake’s head into his mouth—he failed. He found that he was able to put only the snake’s blunt snout into his mouth, but not the rest of the head, much less the rest of the snake. Frustrated with himself, he said, “Shoot!”
Now it was the snake’s turn. The snake did not bother practicing. Instead, the snake curled its tail around the man’s neck and brought the man towards its open mouth. Its jaws then became unhinged and the snake put them around the crown of the man’s head. Slowly, the snake began to work its mouth down the man’s head, and then down his neck. The man was giggling a little bit as this happened. He said, “OK, you are certainly winning.” Over the course of an hour or so, the snake had swallowed not only the man’s head and neck, but also his arms, chest, and torso now.
Eventually the wife noticed that the man had stopped moving, which alarmed her, even if she found the whole display frankly exasperating. Getting up from her chair, where she had been reading through a backlog of revolutionary magazines, she asked the snake to relinquish her husband, but the snake refused, arguing that by doing so it would be violating the game’s rules.
The wife considered what to do—again her foolish husband had found a way to ruin her afternoon. The snake was on the ground attempting to swallow the man further, when the wife startled the snake by straddling it. “What are you doing?” the snake asked. “Hold still,” she said, and she began to cut at the snake with a large knife she’d gotten from the kitchen. The snake wiggled against her knife thrusts, but the wife was skillful with it—nothing the snake could do would stop her. The snake said, “Why are you doing this, I was only playing a game.” “Snakes and men should not play games, I’m sorry,” she said. The snake made a few more futile thrashings, and then expired.
The man stood in the middle of the room, amidst the dispatched snake, panting. “That was not fun,” he said. “Also, I did not know what I was getting into. I will never do that again.” But his wife did not answer him, as she began to mournfully discard the snake’s remains.
BEAU GOLWITZER‘s writing has appeared in Kugelmass, Hobart, and Spork Press, amongst other journals. He lives in Chicago.