I’ve entered Max’s lair to announce dinner.
Cassie: Hi, hon. Did you feed Larry?
(I refer to Max’s new pet, the Black Rat Snake, which coils within the massive cage that Max proudly designed and built at the end of the summer.)
Max: Yes, I fed him.
Cassie: Did you wash your hands? Did you wash your hands? Did you wash your hands?
Max: Yes, Mom.
(Audible hiss of a sigh from Max. Pun intended.)
Cassie (walking toward the snake cage, which sits, heavily, atop an Ikea desk): He’s essing!
(“Essing” is when a snake coils and the top portion of the body, near the head, forms an “S” shape. This little presentation is a warning from the snake before it strikes you, as in bites you, with sharp fangs.)
Cassie: That’s very unnerving. Why is he essing?
Max: Back away from the cage, Mom.
Cassie: What?! I didn’t even do anything!
Max: He gets pissy after eating. Don’t stand so close to the cage. You’re bothering him.
Cassie: I’m not bothering him.
Max: You are, and if you don’t stop and he gets too riled up, he’ll start the process of regurgitating the whole mouse. It takes a long time to regurgitate…and then I’ll have to go buy another pinkie mouse and do the feeding again. I have a lot of homework.
Cassie: The snake pukes? That is extremely gross. Can you imagine having to watch the whole process in reverse? Snakes actually vomit. Isn’t that something?! Not!
Max: Mom! It’s a defense mechanism. Out in the wild, if the snake has just eaten his prey but suddenly senses danger, like a predator, he has to get rid of the lump of food so he’s not slowed down and can escape by slithering away quickly.
Cassie: But if it takes a long time to regurgitate, wouldn’t that prevent a speedy escape?
Max: I know…it’s not quite logical…but it’s instinct. Anyway…why are you in here? I told you, I have a lot of homework to do.
Cassie: Time for dinner. I decided to come in and tell you instead of yelling up the stairs.
Max: (chuckling) That’s actually a little bit funny…announcing dinner after we’ve just been talking about how Larry could throw up.
Cassie: Snap! See? I said something that made you laugh a little.
Max: And now the humor is gone. That fast. Gone.
Cassie: What?! I said it right. Snap!
Max: Mom, you don’t talk about your joke. You just have to let it rest. Besides, you really shouldn’t say “Snap” at all. Ever. It’s not right. You’re almost fifty.
Cassie: I am NOT almost fifty. I just turned 46, you….you puke-y snake owner.
Max remains silent, refusing to react with words to my immature name calling. He rolls his eyes, shakes his head. A loud guffaw-puff of air erupts from his lips.
(The air-puff might have been a laugh, but I can’t tell for sure.)
Cassie: Well, time for dinner.
Max: I heard you.
Cassie: Did you wash your hands?
(Sometimes, I’m as evil as a snake.)