There’s an urban myth about a snake. It’s pretty common – I heard it twice before I took in Hex and at least three times since. “So – there’s this bloke, right, and he’s got a snake. Like a pet snake, but not one of those venomous ones it’s like a – you know a constrictor type snake.” “A python?” “Yeah like a python. He’s got a python, and he loves it. You know, he has it round his neck, it even sleeps with him.” (Here’s where it goes off-piste a bit. The guy would have to live in a hermetically sealed box or the first thing a python would do is get under the carpet and get stepped on, get into the boiler and get burnt, get into the pipes and drown, get into the hinges and crush, get onto the windowsill and be picked up by a crow.) “It sleeps next to him in the bed, right. And he loves it. But it starts going off its food.” (This is familiar. I never thought it would be such a delicate thing to feed a predatory reptile, but Hex is not the best eater.)
“So this snake, yeah, it’s been off its food for like ages. But the guy is kind of not that worried because like snakes often don’t eat for a while or something. No so yeah the snake isn’t eating, but that’s not the problem. The problem is what the snake’s doing at night, right. Because it sleeps next to him in bed, right, but when he wakes up it’s like *demonstrate* stretched out really long – like all the way down the bed, ok. Really long and straight. *Demonstrate more* So the guy, yeah he’s worried so he takes it to, like, I dunno, a snake psychologist type expert guy.” (Yep. Snake psychology is a growing field. Why are these people always men?)
“So the snake psychologist knows exactly what’s going on. Get this: the snake – what it was doing was like stretching itself as long as possible so it could actually eat the guy, right? Yeah it was starving itself and stretching itself.. If he hadn’t taken it to get checked then one day… The only thing you can do in that situation is to kill the snake. It’s like it’s become like a killer snake, yeah?”
Hex could probably fit three of my fingers in his mouth if he dislocated his jaw. If you’re on your own and an anaconda drops on you then it’s a problem. An anaconda could kill you even if it couldn’t get past your shoulders while ingesting. And anyway, even if it could probably kill a person, nobody in recorded history has actually died to one. So … this story sounds even fishier. If I wanted to eat an elephant I could stretch myself every night and not eat for weeks and I’d merely end up hungry and hurting. I wouldn’t turn into a nephilim.
Hex is just a friendly crap predator. My downstairs neighbour is absolutely terrified of him. And Mao has become deeply curious about him now. There doesn’t seem to be any antagonism between them, but they look at each other through the glass for ages. And until just now, Hex has been off his food. I worried it was connected.
“Maybe he’s not eating because he’s got his eye on Mao,” I found myself thinking in the bit of my brain that thinks dumb things before the other bit looks at them and dismisses them as rubbish.
No. He’s not eating because he’s half blind and mostly asleep plus I’m not being patient enough puppeting his mouse – I’m snatching moments to do it while the cat is asleep next door. Hex needs more attention I’ve realised. He’s lonely. I’ve been focusing on the other crap predator who just wants cuddles and the destruction of all furniture. So I had a bit of quality time with Hex, then I cleaned out and changed the aquarium water then I did a good puppet show that resulted in a strike and now I’m lying in bed next to Mao burning frankincense and listening to Beethoven’s pastoral. All the crap animals in my home are taken care of apart from this naked ape. I’ll clean out his house tomorrow.