Snakes follow rats, and rats follow the sewer!’
They were the worst kind of rats to ever walk on this beautiful earth. Two friends who would do anything for money.
As they tipped off the radioactive material into the hole which was essentially a tunnel into a pit housing an abandoned African python, Wacky Smith and his friend since first grade, Draven Taber, kept a watchful eye on the dark spread of swampland. They had parked their white van close to the hole they chose to dump their load into, hidden by bushes from curious eyes. The night was dark, the sky spread out as if a black blanket had been thrown over the city. All around them, the swamp was alive, loaded with a myriad of sounds from the creatures feeding and mating in the dark spread.
To their east carpets of swampland gave way to the sea and a biting wind swept in an occasional dank breath of the ocean beyond. The solitary light came from the glow on the northern spread where the entire area was lit up by the lights from beachfront condos and high rises, all crowding for space. Any other light in the dark night would send the pair scurrying for cover. They had a keen eye for the law and a remarkable gift of evading the police since the time they held up a bank in Uptown, Miami and got away with thirty-six hundred dollars cash.
The money had changed their life forever. For several weeks it was an under the counter prescription drugs Christmas party for the two. They smoked weed, popped pills and consumed just about anything that came their way: cough syrup-soda mix like Sip-Sip, Purple Drank, Sizzurp and Poppers; bath salts like Cloud Nine and Vanilla Sky sold over the counter with a tag, ’not for human consumption’ and synthetic marijuana, mainly Black Mamba, and Bombay Blue, and the herbal mix Spice … Sometimes they poured vodka directly into their eyes, Eyeballing, to get a quick high, something they had done since the days before they dropped out of high school.
With the change from the robbery, Wacky and Draven bought a white 2005 Ford Transit van. They set up business as Anything for Hire. They moved anything, legal and illegal, developing a clientage of sorts until they soon turned professional anything, illegal movers. They were always paid in cash and became popular with illegal prescription drug suppliers. Things cooled a bit when Draven Taber hooked up with a girl called Tracy White and turned their two bedroomed bungalow at the end of Moore Street into a threesome drug party of a sort, with the sole reprieve being a trip to the drugstore and hypermarket to restock.
Tracy was expelled from school for ‘tampon alcoholism’. She had led a gang of rebellious girls who were always rowdy and bubbly with slurred speech and red cheeks. The school authorities were suspicious, but they could never smell alcohol on any of the girls’ breath. The girls’ secret method was to soak new tampons with vodka and insert them into their vaginas. Their bodies would instantly absorb the alcohol and give them a high all day as if they had drunk the alcohol. The result was three times as potent as drinking it, minus the inconvenience of vomiting.
One chilly morning Draven volunteered to go and get their weekly fix since he wanted it so bad that he couldn’t wait for anyone else to go and fetch it. He had been gone for an hour at most. Usually, he took longer, two hours at least, preferring to hook himself an extra fix before returning to their little hideout. On this day, however, he chose to come back early since it was damn too cold to do much pissing around.
Draven got the shock of his drugged mind’s life when he found his girl naked and giving his childhood friend head.
“No!” he cried out and let the grocery and drug goodies hit the floor. He jumped on the surprised couple and blindly hit whatever he could punch as the tears rushed down his sallow face and the sobs followed as if there was a funeral going on inside his drugged head. The whole scene became the more comical, with his naked girl insisting she finishes giving Wacky some head. When she finished, she kept saying it would be just cool if the three of them could do a threesome and bring some fun into their lives. It was all up to hurt-filled Draven to do the difficult thing called letting go. The choice was either he loses a friend together with his whoring girlfriend or he could be cool about it, let it pass and join in the fun.
It took Draven the better part of a drug-induced cold day to agree to this crazy but cool idea. Turned out Tracy had been giving Wacky Smith some head for a while. And they had shared a secret affair all along. Tracy confessed several drug intakes later, that she kind of preferred doing both friends, not because she was a whore, but because she said it made her feel she was bonding with both of them. So, threesome it was in Wacky Smith and his childhood friend Draven Taber’s little love nest.
Several miles away, deep inside the hole where the two friends Wacky Smith and Draven Taber had gone and dumped the radioactive material, an abandoned African python had made this hole his home. He now found himself covered a foot deep in the waste and he did what he had learned living with humans. To taste all types of food. He ate his way out of the radioactive stuff and discovered it had a taste. A tolerable good taste.
He ate the rest of it and stayed there for weeks, digesting it. The radioactive material took some time to get absorbed into the serpent’s system. By the end of the third week, things were happening to the snake. It grew faster than it had ever done before. Its senses became sharper, and it developed a sixth sense. The python found it possessed more powers than it could have cognized. And there was more to it. It gained more strength than ten of its kind could muster. It was a remarkable change that left the serpent supercharged and dangerous. And the python was still growing, as it lay there in the cold depth of the Miami swamp waiting to go out and fetch its next meal.
In the beginning…
Imagination fuels everything we desire…most of all, it fuels change. And gives a purposeful meaning to life.
THE BACHER RESIDENCE, IN OTTERBEIN SUBURB, MIAMI, FLORIDA
Timothy Bacher, age ten, sat in his room on his Batmobile bed. His books and bag lay next to him, his homework untouched. He had not even changed and still wore his jeans and striped maroon shirt. His brown eyes were fixed on the praying mantis in front of him.
The light from the bedside lamp threw shadows against the wall, painting a grotesque image of the mantis and the grasshopper which was trying to escape from its clutches. Tim’s attention was focused on this, intently. He was busy feeding his newly acquired pet praying mantis, Kingfu, the Warrior, the grasshopper he had found in the grass on his way from school.
The bedroom door opened slowly behind him. His thirteen-year-old sister, Elizabeth, silently entered Tim’s bedroom. Tim was so engrossed in watching his three-inch tall mantis battle to overpower the desperate two inches long grasshopper, he didn’t notice his sister had entered his room. She was now standing behind him, her sea-green eyes narrowing curiously, as a hand pushed back the lock of brown hair from her chubby moon-shaped face. Tim realized Elizabeth was in his room when she spoke.
“What are you doing…?” At the sound of her voice, Tim froze. He sighed.
Elizabeth stopped in her track, having realized what was going on. She winced, “Oh yuck, this is disgusting…”
Tim kept his eyes on his pet, watching it make a meal of the grasshopper.
“Don’t you have anything better to do than coming in here and disturbing Kingfu eat?”
“Who the heck is Kingfu?”
“Kingfu? What a name for a creepy creature -.”
“Better than Elizabeth, if you ask me -.”
“Yeah, very funny.”
“And Kingfu isn’t creepy…”
“Says who? How can you be so cruel as to feed a live grasshopper to that creepy thing…?”
“Kingfu isn’t a creepy thing. I keep telling you not to come into my room without knocking...”
Tim sat up. A lopsided smile crept onto his pulpy face. He hastily ran a hand through his brown hair.
“What’s your favorite meal?”
“What?” Elizabeth toyed with a frown, thin lines forming on her forehead before she sighed. “Why do you always have to ask such dumb questions?”
“What does Elizabeth like to eat?”
“What has that got to do with that cold, creepy thing?”
“I know you love deep-fat fried chicken.”
“And so what?”
“Well, ever wondered how that chicken got to your plate?”
“What do you mean?”
“I know mom buys the chicken all dressed up at the supermarket. But did you ever wonder where the poor chicken came from? How it found its way into the supermarket?”
A grin settled on Tim’s face. The mantis has just about finished its meal.
“I don’t want to hear any more of your weird stuff, ok. Mom asked me, well, she says, since your birthday is just two days away, she wanted me to find out what you would like as a birthday present…”
Tim turned to face his sister. His grin widened to fill his face.
“Tell her a pet python would be great!”
Elizabeth’s face contorted in horror as if Tim had slapped her. She took a step back, her eyes dilated.
“Oh no, you wouldn’t dare! You know how much I hate snakes…!”
She stormed from the room, banging the door behind her. Tim turned around to attend to his pet. A smile settled on his face and widened as his thoughts deepened to entertain the idea of owning a pet snake!