I have a pet snake. The only time I talk about her is at parties. Someone will tell a cat story, and then they'll look at Josh and me and say, "But you don't have any pets, right?" and Josh will say, "No pets," and he'll fake-frown. Then I'll remind him we have a snake. Josh will say, "I always forget about the snake."
I bought the snake from a pet store that was nice and clean. They had a tank of baby snakes. I said I wanted to buy one, and the clerk reached her hand in the tank and pulled out a bunch of baby snakes like they were gummy worms. She put them on the store counter and said, "Which one?" I picked one that was white and pink with red eyes. The clerk said, "She looks healthy." I agreed, though I had no idea. The clerk put the baby snake in a paper bag and stapled the top so she couldn't get out on the way home.
The snake bit me the first time I fed her. She was being picky, and I was being stupid. Her fangs went in like sewing needles. She chewed on the heel of my hand. I'd read what to do. I pushed her head forward with my thumb so her fangs slid out of my hand instead of breaking off inside. We have been respectful since. She's a young adult snake now. She eats every two weeks. If I don't feed her right away, I'll have dreams she's biting me. She stays in the spare room in an escape-proof tank built for venomous snakes. She's not a venomous snake.
Once upon a week in August, I guest-edited for SmokeLong Quarterly. The story I picked at the end of the week was called 'Boy Cylops.' It was written by Helen McClory. It's on the SmokeLong site now. READ IT.
You may remember Molly Laich as the writer sitting next to me at one of the off-site AWP readings. Someone came up to her and said, "You stole my seat." Molly got up and ripped that someone's teeth out. She put the loose and bloody teeth in the seat she'd just been warming. She said, "There you have it," and then she did a curtsy and left. I wasn't drunk, but I was drinking. I never saw Molly again in person at AWP, but we are Internet friends. We are both Tauruses, and we should probably only share the same physical space every once in a while. We share some video space at Story Tapes. WATCH IT.
Someone always makes a joke conflating my snake with my penis. No one who's seen my snake or my penis ever makes this joke.