of Big Santa Anita Canyon


By Slick
as told to Billy Orville Taylor
I want it made clear right off that I didn't write this.  It's my story all-right, but I don't have the where-with-all to write.  I could type, but it gives me a headache.  Any mistakes are those of Billy O and his word processor.  I'm innocent, at least this time!

My story and the story of my family must be told.  We have been put-up-on, maligned and bad-mouthed ever since time began.  It's time for our side of the story to be made public.  You may not agree with my views, but please listen.  Have a little compassion, kindness and consideration in your heart for our situation.  It's not all of our making.

To help you understand my plight, I should begin by introducing myself.  My friends and family call me Slick.  I make my home in Big Santa Anita Canyon, as do my family and friends.  Also, I should tell you up front, I'm a snake!  I know!  I Know!  Some of you just dropped through your under lovelies when hearing the word snake.

Your reaction is part of our problem.  To you, snake is a scare word.  Why?  You people are the rulers of the world, or at least you want to think so.  You freak out at a little five letter word.

You have four letter words that are absolutely disgusting and can cause more problems than the word snake.  We don't panic at the word people.  Some of us do have a "hissy fit" when you're in our neighborhood.  Nobody wants some clown to plant a size 14 triple D in the middle of their back.

Our bad press started a long time ago in a garden.  I will admit one of my ancestors did err by giving some bad advice.  That should have been the end of it!  Right?  Wrong!  The story was passed along for years until it was written down.  Now, the whole world knows about it.  My kind doesn't even like apples, that's why my ancestor was so generous and suggested, mind you only suggested, the lady should try one.  Apples, big deal!

If, in your business dealings with your own kind, you end up with the short end of the stick, you say the other guy is a, “Snake!”  Maybe the other guy is just a lot smarter than you!

Your people say, "Snake in the grass."  We never say, "People in the condo."  Get to know us, take a snake to lunch, introduce us to your family, friends and neighbors.

 Your media is filled with the term, cold-blooded.  As used with murderer, rapist, thief and other behaviors only your kind exhibit.  Cold blooded isn’t that bad.  The condition is very energy efficient.  When it gets cold, we go noddy-noddy and sleep until spring.

Who spends all that money for warm clothes?  Who uses all of the trees to build those big, fancy houses, apartments and condos?  Who is using up all of the energy to heat their digs?  It ain't us!

In all my life, I’ve never been invited to the country club as a guest, nor have any of my immediate family.  I do have an aunt that lives in the rough by the fourteenth fairway. I don't think she’s ever been in the pro shop.  She does tells me, some of you have an awful slice.  She suggests, "Get a proper grip."  I think that's a golf term.  That’s just one of the problems that comes up when you have fingers.

That's something else to think about.  How would you eat if you couldn't use your hands or fingers?  Think about that!  In the parlance of your political correctness, Mom Nature left us digitally deprived and foot challenged.

Consider the disadvantages of having no feet, hands or fingers.  To hold something, I must put my whole body into it.  Try making love without holding on.  It's a wonder we have any progeny at all.  The only advantage is when changing skin.  Can you imagine getting all of that stuff off of your knees, elbows and out from under your arm pits.  Yuck!

Another thing!  That story about the guy with the flute who drove all of us snakes from the little island west of England, you know the place.  That story is balderdash!  When the ice age was ending and the rising water was about to cut us off from Europe, we split.  Why would we want to stay in a damp, windy, and cold place like that?  About the only thing to eat, in the foreseeable future, was potatoes.  Potatoes taste as bad as apples!  We all went to the south of France.

The flute player was just trying to get some publicity and further his musical career with that press release, and you people bought it.

Also, we’re used as an excuse for at least one of your unsavory behaviors.  Just the other day, I was relaxing in the black berry patch behind the outhouse at Roberts when two hikers came by.

The male said, “I think I have been snake bit!  Look at that spot on my leg.”

“Looks like a freckle to me!”  The lady hiker said.

“No, I’m sure it’s the bite of a one fanged Pacific Rattler.  There’s a snake bite remedy  in my pack that I use only for medicinal purposes.  A few treatments should fix me right up!”

An hour later they returned on their way up the trail to Chantry Flat.  Maybe the guy was right after all!  The way he was staggering he had been poisoned by something!

 I hope you don't think I am feeling sorry for myself, 'cause I'm not.  It's just that things are hard for me and my kind most of the time.  You've moved in and your trails, cabin sites and camp grounds have taken over the best neighborhoods.  Ever think of what's happened to the property values?  Nooo!  Moving is not fun, my family has done it three times in the last four years.  I don't even have a pot to hiss in, let alone a window.

You and your’s couldn't starve if you tried, your government would force feed you whether you liked or not.  We don't have a social safety net.  If I don't work, I don't eat.

Here’s one more!  Why do you all think we are going to eat you?  You have us out weighed 500 to 1.  The other day, I had to get out of the way of a pimpled faced teenager with his cap on backwards.  There is no way I could have eaten that fat kid.  He would have choked an alligator.  One must be concerned about total fat grams, ya know.  You and your’s may have an ego problem.  Your not such hot stuff, no body I know wants to eat you!  You probably taste worse than potatoes.

We go out of our way to avoid you people.  Some of us even have a beautifully built-in butt buzzer to let you know where we are.  That's its only purpose, early warning.  What if we were to yell, "Stay away, I'm poisonous."  There are some of you that would say, "Don't believe them, they speak with forked tongue."  We can't win.

The ancestors of the bunch that uses the forked tongue line just got here only 10,000 years ago.  My ancestors saw them wander down from Canada.  They were lost!  Their leader said they had found a land bridge while looking for a polar bear.  What ever that is!  Land-bridge?  There goes the neighborhood!

They have the honor and distinction of being called indigenous. We were here first and we have the honor and distinction of being whacked with a stick when ever you get the chance.  Now really, does that seem fair to you?

Some of their tribe members started using us in their ceremonies.  Did they ask?  Nooo! Being carried around a big fire and waved in the air half the night, is not a fun evening out.  We don't like to dance any better than we like apples.  You ever hear their music?  It has a good beat but the melody needs work.  I don't care what they tell you, they can't sing, either!

Some of you would be just as happy if we were removed from Big Santa Anita Canyon.  Don't forget, our favorite food is rodents.  If we were not here or were to go on a hunger strike you folks would be in rats and mice up to your crouch.  Try that mental picture for a comforting thought!  Are you starting to understand why we should try to get along?

 Our needs are simple.  Please, leave me and my kind alone and we’ll return the favor.  A mouse a week, that's all we ask.  A nice warm flat rock on which to spend the afternoon and a little peace and quiet.

While you’re hiking, watch the racket form your boom-box stereo, loud yelling, throwing rocks, etc.  Think of the delicate sensibilities of your neighbors, fellow hikers and all of us other critters.

Mom Nature isn't making any more dirt for any of us.  You people are multiplying like locusts and causing twice as much destruction.  Forgive the comparison, but it’s true.  We'll try to stay out of your way the best we can.  But please, give us a break, cut us a little slack in this thing called living.  Let's all try to get along!  Thanks for listening.

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