Tuesday, July 10, 2007

“It will have to be shot”

July 4, 2007
Hohoe, Ghana

Help! Can anybody hear me?

I know my voice must be muffled by this cobra’s esophagus that I find myself so rudely half-inserted into, but still: if anyone can hear me, help a brother iguana out. For the sake of all that is decent and sacred, come quickly, and bring a crowbar. Or better yet, a machete.

This is not my fault, let me assure. I was merely relaxing in the shade of this small mango tree, digesting a fine repast of flies and others from the insect world — creatures that, incidentally, you humans consider pests — when suddenly this savage black serpent sprang at me from out of nowhere and swallows my upper torso.

Aagh! The pain from her fangs is excruciating! Each one punctured the skin behind my forelegs, what you humans would call the ‘armpits,’ thus eliminating any chance I might have had at fighting the beast off or running away. Now her venom has paralyzed me and I can feel my head being slowly digested.

O! Won’t someone come to my aid?

What’s that!? I can hear you! Someone is there, a witness to this criminal assault. Humans, talking. Surely they’ll intervene; they are said to practice morality. For pity’s sake, please save me!

I am melting, and the voices don’t seem to be getting any closer. Perhaps the humans are afraid. Can they not see my desperation, that the cobra has her maw full of me at the moment? They have nothing to fear. Just step up, swing a cutlass, cut her in half and pull me out. I’ll just scuttle away, as always, but with a promise never to utter an ill word about humans, if one of you would kindly pry me from these jaws.

AAGH! She’s done it now: clamped down with those merciless throat muscles, gave a brutal twist and snapped my spine. Even if I could have recovered from her poison, I’m doomed now. I’m snake feces.

She is pulling me deeper into the long cavern now, fleshy and dark, the tunnel of my death. My ears are slowly melting in digestive acid, but I can just hear the words of one of those pitiless, voyeuristic humans watching this terrible display. Judging by the accent, he sounds like a local. “It will have to be killed,” he says.

I presume he means the cobra, not me. For I am already dead. I’ve had a good life, I suppose, for an iguana. I just hope those wretches watching know that one day the cobra will come for them, too. The cobra gets us all, in the end. (G)

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