Back in the lean days, I used to room with my friend, Zelda. And I ain’t kidding, lean doesn’t begin to describe those days. It was the old living on beans and rice and Kraft Mac n Cheese. Know what I mean?
Anyway, we lived in this little ranch style that had seen better days. The inside had been made pretty livable but the yard was – well, let’s put it this way – to call it a vacant lot would be flattering it. Okay? Vast wasteland. So, we decided it would be a most excellent idea to start a garden. We were broke but not without imagination. We would grow our food. Yes indeed, we would return to the fruits of the Earth just as our ancestors had. And besides it was a whole lot easier than trying to seed a lawn.
We got a bunch of seeds from the bargain bin at the local home center and off we went. Sowing seeds, left and right – right and left. We dug, we raked, we hoed and we even ho-hoed. Then we got one of those cheap twirly style sprinklers and knew in our hearts, our garden would be bountiful.
Well stuff started to grow all right, but it was mostly weeds. Still we persisted and eventually we started to get a sort of lawn sprouting. One day, I saw something strange and exotic on the ‘lawn.’ It was beige-ish and sort of marbled. It scared me. Yes, I admit it was spooky.
I called out Zelda and pointed to the ‘thing’ and said, “What is that?” Well Zelda didn’t want to go near it either. We stood at the edge of the patio and contemplated. Finally, Zelda got a shovel edged near it and scooped it up with a bunch of dirt. She put it in a box and we examined (from a reasonable distance) it. I had a big light go on in my noggin and I realized, “It’s a snake egg!”
Our eyes got wide. Ooooohhh, a snake egg. What would we do with it? We didn’t know, so we left it on the back porch for a couple of days. When we came out again, we noticed another snake egg had been laid and was in the lawn waiting for us. Zelda grabbed the shovel again, scooped it up and gently placed it next to its sibling in the box.
We went inside and pondered what to do with the eggs. We didn’t want to destroy them but didn’t want to grow snakes either. Can you say eeeeooooowwww? So we called the Wild Life Station, reasoning they’d be happy to come out and take the snake eggs off our hands. Nope, they weren’t interested. Neither was the Human Society, nor the local pet store. And then the ‘aha’ moment came to us. We would call an exotic pet store to see if they wanted it. Somewhere along the line we decided that it must be the eggs of a mama boa constrictor or some other really big snake cuz those eggs were ginormous. Bingo! We called the only exotic pet shop we could find and the owner was very interested.
Oh how thrilled we were! We were going to sell some wild snake eggs to the exotic pet store owner and order pizza. Maybe we’d even have enough for a beer or two! Yipppeeee!
We waited and waited. He was an hour and half away and it took time. Finally he arrived. We let him in the house in absolute glee at the thought of a double cheese, pepperoni dinner. My mouth was watering as we took him to the back to the little home we’d made for our little baby snakes. He went straight to the box, picked it up, examined, put his face practically in it. We held our breath. How much would he pay for them? Could we get two pizzas? Our heads spun. Finally, he put down the box and looked at us.
We nodded to encourage him to speak.
He shook his head and smiled ever so slightly.
“Well, what do you think?” we asked.
“Ladies,” he said, “these are mushrooms.”
“What?” we cried in unison.
“These are mushrooms, ma’am.”
We were quite shocked and apologized profusely for having brought him out for mushrooms and off he went. I’m not sure, but I think he was doubled over his truck for quite a while before he left.
So much for being of the earth and its bounty. What sad excuses for farmers we were! We would not be growing food or even snakes any more. Drat! Drat! And double drat!!!!!
We were damned pissed! (actually we were laughing our asses off) We wanted that pizza. We really wanted that pizza!