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BOOK 3. Witch Creek…Rattlesnakes And Scorpions…

BOOK 3. Witch Creek…Rattlesnakes And Scorpions

Sula knows that I am as broke as sin, so when I went to see her this past Sunday, she pulled a can of salmon out from under her couch and insisted that I take it home with me, she said  “Yes Scottie mahn, yu  jus chop up a lil’ bit of onion, tro in de vinegah, de lime an de black pepah”

As I was “choppin up de vinegah” I came upon the backbone, which looked exactly like the backbone of a rattle snake.

I was first introduced to the backbone of a rattlesnake on a 4th of July picnic platter in Ramona, Ca.

I was very careful to take no more than the tiniest nibble because my unspoken deal with them (and  sir shark) is “I don’t eat you, you don’t eat me”. I realize that I may be double porked or gobbled before I even know the deal’s off, but just not being the one that “started it” allows me just a little less paranoia in the water and the wild. 

 I have had to dispatch a few rattleboys back to rattlesnake heaven for recycling (I hope none as a shark) But that had to do with the safety of my little ones, and I expect that any rattlesnake would try to do the same, which I of course,  understand perfectly…

 The fact is rattlesnakes give me the “screeping williegobbles”

Being from the bongo Isles where the mongoose took care of the snake threat long ago, I am used to passing out ..ah, ah I mean, plopping down, anywhere in the bush or on the grass with out a care. However, I have run into enough rattlesnakes in California, to be extremely wary of that beautiful golden grass, don’t you dare plop yourself down carelessly there.

 The children’s pony was bitten right  next to  the house, and got “sick as a dog”, the doggies were  bitten  on the head over and over again, their noggins would swell up like  watermelons, it was awful.

 The little ones and I had a defensive plan for rattlesnakes that went like this. We see where the blasted thing is, and then we get as far away from it as fast as we can. No, no, I’m only joking. (or we would have been living up in the trees and the raggle snakes would have owned the house and the grounds all around).

 So, while strolling in the wild wild west, I always carried a shovel. If a snerk showed up (at or around the house) the children had the job of getting way back and jumping up and down while making as much noise as possible. That would get the raggy snerk’s attention, then I would get in as close as possible and grab it by the tail and start swinging it around in the air while yelling Yippie Ki Yo Ki Yay!

No, no, I’m only joking. I’d get in within a shovels length and dispatch the poor thing by inserting the tip of my trusty but rusty but strong, farming and mining implement, firmly and precisely, into the molecular structure connecting the head to the tail, approximately where ever the heck I could! (ah…often repeatedly) while jumping from foot to foot yelling Yikes! Yikes! Yikes! (And no, I’m not joking)

The fact is I’m “scared to the heckles” of rattlesnakes, but we had to deal with them…

And scorpions too…

One day as I was working on a tune up in the cooling house (traditionally where fruit was stacked and kept cool until it went to market, and more recently, where I wrote tunes and made my demos) Annie came screaming up to the door and nearly yanked it off the hinges, she said “Oh My God! A giant black scorpion stung me right on my chest! And I’m dying! HELP ME! She was every bit as white as a freckly faced, red headed maiden of  indian descent could get.

 Ok! I said, “Ah…Ah… LETS CALL POISON CONTROL!” ” I knew she had to stay calm and I told her so. “ARE YOU CRAZY” she screamed,” STAY CALM? ARE YOU CRAZY? OH GOD, OH GOD, OH GOD, MY POOR BABIES!” (expressing her concern that after she expired, I would be the one left to take care of them) by then we were down at the sleeping house where the phone was, I sat her on the couch, and called poison control, to see what we could do to make her last few minutes on Earth most comfortable.

I reported what had happened, and the voice at the other end said.”Hmm..A big black scorpion? It stung her”? Dear Lord, I’m thinking… Annie’s right, she’s done for. Lucky the children are in school, so  they won’t have to  witness the flailing and frothing seizures that are coming up next.

“Aw”, the voice said, “that’s no worse than a bee sting, it’ll be sore for a coupleadays. You’re lucky it wasn’t one of dem little sandy colored ones. Dem’s the one that’ll kill ya.”

 On we went, living  life in the wild wild west. Pretty soon we kinda semi forgot about scorpions, they sort of faded out of the foreground and  into our nightmares. Perfectly understandable when you consider all the other impressive things battling for the foreground. Not the least of which were the afore mentioned rattlesnakes, did I mention family dog eatin’ wild coyote packs? Or prim, proper and persnickity New York City Kitties getting up-scounded right off the ground and into Kitty perdition by gigantic stealthy ferocious white owls? (Not once mind you, but many time.. in fact as many times as we  had Kitties  to miss and mourn.

 Did I mention the hoards of peach, plum, apricot and pear pilfering crows, that actually duck sideways and laugh down at you, as you spray the sky with a 22 rifle hoping to at least knock a tail feather loose to teach im’ a lesson and show ‘im who’s the boss? Hoards of flocks of crows who all but own your vineyard when the blasted grapes you’ve just about killed yourself for, are bursting with juice and calling out pick me! pick me!

What a surprise it is when you realize that the grapes don’t care a fig about you, just because you’ve  pruned and plowed, cursed and kissed, watched and watered, whistled and worked and sang your best “Oh Solo Mios” up and down every dusty, rock riddled, hard luck, snake infested row. Oh no, the grapes are calling the crows and every other bird and bee for a thousand miles that will eat your grapes to the point of exploding and at the last possible minute  expel a shower of little seedlets all over you and everything else, from sea to shining sea. (all part of natures plan).

It’s no mistake that Eric The Red named the whole New World Vineland, if it weren’t for the puritans who turned vines into wattling,..the whole continent would be one big squishing vat full of Great Cucamonga.

Did I mention a ball of bees? 50 times the size of the sun? (Yes of course, I mean the size of the sun from your prospective beneath the bushes where you are hiding for your life)

A swarm floating slowly, menacingly and majestically through the air just above your naked head? Dear God awmighty, don’t let them see me, They must know I haven’t been as respectful in my treatment of bees as I have barracuda and bulldogs, consequently, I’ve been stung on the noggin more times than I can count. Dear Lord don’t let this be a time when the big Mama decides to “lets jes get im’ for the heck of it.”

It’s times like these that the little voice opines “Yeah, maybe if you had kept yer flapping mouth shut about the music business, you wouldn’t be in this situation, we coulda been livin’ it up on easy street”

Well with all of that and and yes hungry Mountain Lions in the fore ground, one may be preoccupied as one walks across the road between the kitchen house and the sleeping house and picks up the broom laying on the steps, and slides ones hand along the handle until it is stopped by a burn shot from hell and one  sees that the proud perpetrator of this insult is a dancing little sandy colored scorpion who isn’t satisfied with just having killed you, but wants to fight some more.

My dear friends, I am open to all kinds of deals and negotiations, after all I have been in the music business since adolescence and all my adult life. I do have a few deals in place with the porcine tusker wild boars of St. John, rattlers in the Wild West and perhaps even a shark or two. But I had no deal with the scorpion who has just kilt me, so I confess that the smashing that I put on that dancin’ little murderin’ bugiod was sufficient to transport multiple elements of him into parallel dimensions that are a minimum of eight or nine doors over from our own. And I would have done double that except that I remembered that I had a maximum of two or three minutes to live and it was my responsibility to prepare my little ones for my imminent and immediate demise and to communicate gently and thoroughly all of the important lessons and absolute truths that one such as me deems essential to a full understanding and appreciation of life.

 And of course all important to remember, as I had reminded Annie in her time of instant impending adios, “Ya gotta stay calm baby, stay calm!” Fortunately Annie wasn’t there to repeat that stuff to me or I suspect we might have spent my last moments on Earth in “battling choke holds.”

I called the children,  (Lelia and Archie, they were eight going on nine) and told them what had happened. They knew as well as I that there was next to no time left for sweet farewells and the enormous transfer of information.

We calmly stepped into the front room and I sat back on the bed (yes beds are often in the front room in the wild wild west) and began to speak wisely and sagely. I felt as though I might be having some difficulty in organizing the body of profundity that needed to be communicated, so I grabbed the phone to call poison control to see how much time I had left. “A little sandy colored scorpion?” The voice said, “a little sandy colored one? Aw, that’s no worse than a bee sting, yore lucky we’re not in Arizona, cause in Arizona, the little sandy colored ones ‘ill kill ya!”

 Well we stayed calm and it’s a good thing too. Can you imagine the trauma of watching your wise and loving Dada collapsing into the screaming Mimi’s? And then, go sufficiently flaming ape as to pulverize the stone fireplace with the telephone receiver?

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