As the afternoon wanes it is always with a sigh of relief that you made it through the heat of the day. I begin to stir and stretch out of my panting, and sweat covered nap. I pull on some shorts and as I walk out onto the deck, gulping from my bottle of water, I turn the corner and run into my husband looking sweaty, frazzled and pale. With wild eyes, the only words out of his mouth are, “I need a fucking beer.”
He turns on his heel and begins walking up to the restaurant in search of a calming and cold beverage. I’m to be filled in as he slugs back his first beer and begins to relax with the second.
“So how do feel about snakes?” Kim asks, as he and EJ stand outside a bodega full of piled and drying wood. Both of them stand relaxed, arms crossed, clad in board shorts and unshaven faces. EJ shrugs, and makes a non-committal sound.
“Ok cool, cause our caretaker said there was a really big snake living in here, but I haven’t seen it.”
As Kim says these words he is simultaneously climbing up onto the woodpile and jumping up and down, making a general clamour. Meanwhile in EJ’s mind he is thinking, “Is this guy nuts?”
Kim steps off with a last glance and a point, “Your boards are at the back, I have to take off. Good luck!” Leaving EJ staring at the boards and beginning to sweat.
Yes it’s hot, but that’s not the issue at hand. The one thing in the world EJ is not of fan of, is snakes. More like scared shitless, but since the move south he’s trying to come to a peace with interacting with them, let’s say a wary and respectful co-existence.
“The caretaker is a local Nicaraguan, and he thinks it’s really big… What the hell does that mean?” EJ wonders as he sizes up the pile. Images of a giant man-eating Anaconda conjured up in his mind.
He breathes deep, thinking, “They are so close yet so very, very far away.”
Being a project manager, as well as a climber and mountaineer, has taught EJ to fine tune the art of assessing risk.
“OK so the car radiator is acting up and if I get bitten how the hell am I going to get help.” He wonders.
Walking across the yard he jumps in the front seat of our beaten up car, turns it facing down hill and directly in the dirt track. He sizes it up, and then decides to go fill up a jug from the rain barrel to top up the water in the radiator.
Feeling like he’s done all he can to prepare for the worst, he steels himself at the entrance. Taking a good look around the inside he spots a broom, and quickly grabs it for his defence. He glances at the ceiling beams, and thinks if it came to it, he could jump up to hide above and out of reach of gaping jaws.
With a few more deep breaths, he slinks inside and slowly climbs onto the woodpile. He reaches toward the board bag but can’t pull it without letting go of the broom. Deciding to slide the bag towards him slowly and as gently as he can, he tosses the broom, jerks the bag full of four boards and gear, and makes a run for it. Mid escape he is glancing over his shoulder imagining a slithering, fanged beast chasing him out.
With nerves frayed, he watches the entrance until feeling safe enough to turn his back and load the surfboards onto our car. As he drives away shaking his head and wiping sweat off his face with his t-shirt he mutters, “Only 6 months more of this crap to go.”