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Upon Discovering Wildlife in My Bathroom
by KJ Hannah Greenberg



I screamed as any self-respecting grandmother might be wont to do. Spiders are one thing, silverfish are something else, but a snake is an entity of an entirely different sort.


More exactly, I did not let out a piercing squeal, but screeched in short bursts. Ordinarily, I do not check to see if critters of the abhorrent kind are slithering on my bathroom floor, especially after I have played too long at my keyboard and urgently need to void. That said, on the night in question, I would have been well-advised to investigate my environs before lowering my underthings.


Turning on the light and separating my clothes from the lower part of my body are usually sufficient to ensure that I have a good outcome. Given the fact that I am now bespectacled, it’s reasonable that luminosity matters to me. As well, as I have been, so far, blessed with two generations of descendants, it’s correct to suppose that I’m potty trained. I am not, however, prepared to greet serpents in the “room where the queen sits alone.”


Later, after my grown son and husband had run to my rescue (and I had made use of our other lavatory), they examined the walls and the floors of our problematic toilet chamber. Wielding a flashlight to illuminate all such egresses, my menfolk found small holes in the bathroom’s window casing (the reptile had been of “slight” dimensions—it could have crawled through one of those openings.)


I immediately charged my husband to spackle to all such apertures wile I went to our living room to clutch at pillows and stuffed toys, and to cry. Sixty is not too old to be terrified by an ophidian.


Whereas my spouse had been carried off the monster, via a long handled dustpan, minutes earlier, it wasn’t until many hours had passed that I was calm enough to describe it to a local snake handler (fortunately, our national park service has a list of such persons and, fortunately, I had mustered enough courage not to dismiss it as “an overly long worm,” but as a progeny of ugly, frightening beasts.) May that serpent controller be blessed with a long and healthy life, a delightful wife, and many children! That expert charitably listened to my tale of woe and punctuated my horror story with limited questions. When I finished whimpering, he gently proposed that I send him a picture of our limbless invader.


I couldn’t oblige him. In response to my palpable dread, my husband had hastily dispatched that scaly trespasser and had flung it into some nearby bushes. Neither the park employee nor I pronounced, aloud, that the scary interloper would have been better placed on the ground. White knights need to be valiant, not perfect.


So, instead of sharing an image, the professional and I discussed color and size. I gave him a vivid report of the creature’s approximated texture, too. My description was only approximate as I never entertained the idea of touching the fiend.


Sympathetically, the snake man pronounced my visitor to be of a nonvenomous sort. He suggested, as well, that since all entrances to our bathroom were being sealed that I’d not receive another such guest. It seems that our visiting snake was of a type that travels alone.


Later, I gathered enough courage to google that sibilating would-be lodger. The biologist had not told the entire truth; the kind of devil that visited my home typically lives in clusters. Perhaps, the man had thought I’d never sleep again if I knew that our snake kept company.


Anyway, at present, whenever I need the toilet, first I turn on the bathroom light and then I open the door. As well I look carefully at all the visible floor tiles before entering. I then shake the bathroom towels and separate the shower curtain from its liner. Only when I am satisfied by the results of my goings-on do I close the door behind me and allow myself the vulnerability indigenous to using the bathroom unaccompanied.


Sometime, though, in the middle of the night, when my mind is still cloudy with the dreams from which my bladder has summoned me, I forget that there had been biota in my bathroom. On such occasions, I passed waste in the same mindless manner as I had before “the incident.”


Going forward, I’m not sure whether I will ever again feel as though our mint-colored room is a sanctuary, i.e., a peaceful place in which to enjoy a brief respite. Rather, when I’m at least partially awake, I’ll probably remain vigilant. That bathroom will remain for me not an oasis, but a place where I’ll continue to check for wildlife.



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