Ah, but the Mighty Mongoose has its own Lawdog Tale, to wit:
Many, MANY moons ago (don't even ask, 'cause I won't tell you) when I was still a pup, the family lived in Nigeria. We had a bungalow at the Odibo Estates, out near the Biafran border. Every evening peddlers (called 'traders') used to walk up and down the main road, offering to sell or trade various knick-knacks and merchandise.
Ali Cheap-Cheap was one of the busier traders, and he spent a lot of time on our front porch haggling with Mom. Now, Ali Cheap-Cheap was very proud of his ability to get just about anything you might want or need.
One evening, Mom was visiting on the front porch with the visiting wife of one of the English engineers. Said wife had never been outside of London before, and as a consequence, loathed Africa. She and Mom are chattering and griping when along comes Ali Cheap-Cheap. Old Ali Cheap-Cheap doesn't have anything Mom or the English lady want, so, before he wanders off, he asks if, "Madams want for anything?"
English lady gets a funny look in her eye, taps her snakehide purse and says, "I want one of these."
"Yes, madam," replies Ali, and off he wanders.
'Bout three weeks later, Mom and the English twit are on the front porch, and along comes Ali Cheap-Cheap. With a friend. Ali and friend have a cane pole slung over their shoulders with a burlap bag hanging from said pole.
Now, on the front porch, we had a Mongoose-a-minium in which lived our pet kusimanse (Pygmy mongoose). This Mongoose-a-minium had a PlexiGlass ceiling which Dad had assured us was unbreakable.
Up to the porch comes Ali Cheap-Cheap and his buddy.
Mom is eyeing the burlap bag with some trepidation, having had some nasty experiences with what the locals tended to store in burlap bags, when Ali and buddy proudly lift the burlap bag and announce, "Oh, madam! We have your beef!"
I should interject here, that "Beef" is bush slang for any animal. Wait for it.
Mom has risen to her full height, and is about to order Ali to get his beef away from her house, when Squeaker (the Pygmy mongoose) wanders out of his apartment, and screams in sheer rage. (It was always amazing how much sheer volume that little hairball could put out) Ali and buddy are startled by the shriek and drop the burlap bag onto the Plexiglass roof of Squeaker's residence.
The 'unbreakable' Plexi shattered and dropped the burlap bag into the Mongoose-a-minium. Inside said burlap is one 15 foot, rather scared python. (Did I mention that he was still alive?)
Squeaker, who was about the size and girth of a tennis ball, offers up a brief prayer to the Mongoose God for the meal he is about to partake of, and latches onto the snakes tail, with tooth and claw.
The snake has discovered that he has been dumped into a place which reeks of mongoose, panics and pours himself up the side of the Mongoose-a-minium and down to the porch--with Squeaker not only still firmly attached to his tail, but bracing all four legs to prevent his meal from getting away. I should probably mention that the snake was approximately fifteen feet long. However, Squeaker didn't even slow him down.
The snake hit the porch floor with Squeaks gnawing away at his tail like a chipmunk on speed, and notices that the sliding glass door in the front of our house is open about six inches (for ventilation).
Yep. You guessed it: in goes the snake.
Now, Dad and one of his Brit buddies were sitting in the house, drinking whiskey-and-sodas. Brit buddy looks down and sees several yards of snake whip by, shrieks, and makes a flat-footed, sitting-down leap from the sofa to the top of the bar. Whereupon, he begins to utter genteel curses at the top of his lungs.
Dad looks down, lifts his feet, insures that his drink doesn't tip over, and watches the snake haul scales with bemused interest. (Dad didn't ruffle easily) In one corner of the living room was The Chest. The Chest was a great huge hand-carved teak box, that weighed approximately the same as an early 60's Buick. Guess where the snake went?
Yep, slithered under that chest slicker than grease (knocking Squeaks off in the process), wrapped about 13+ feet of coils around the solid teak legs of The Chest, tucked his head back into the darkness and muttered nasty things.
Mom sails into the house at full speed, Ali Cheap-Cheap and buddy hot on her heels.
Mom (as she scooped up Squeaks): "Where is it?"
Brit Buddy: "Under the bloody chest!"
Ali Cheap-Cheap: "Dis beef, 30 Niara!"
Mom: "Get it the hell out of my house! 30 Niara? I don't want the damn thing!"
Dad: "It'll probably leave on it's own after things calm down..."
Brit: "Good God, the thing is bloody huge!"
Ali: "Oh, madam, you take the food from my childrens' mouths! 25 Niara!"
Brit: "25 Niara for a snake?! Are you daft?!"
Mom: "OUT! I don't want the damn snake!"
Brit: "I should say not. Must be charging by the pound."
Ali (tearing at clothes): "20 Niara! Not a kobo less! You are evil woman!"
Squeaks (translation): "As God is my witness, I'll never go hungery again!"
Mom: "Get. That. Thing. Out. Of. My. HOUSE! Ali! Get out of my house!"
Ali (much offended): "Madam, you have my beef. You give 20 Niara."
Dad: "Thief man, this beef 10 Niara--no more."
Ali: "Ah! Boss! Is good juju--make you strong like bull! 15 Niara!"
Brit (still on top of the bar): "I say, do you really think so?"
Dad: "Well, Tom, if you've got 12 Niara, you can find out."
Mom (dreadfully quiet): "Why is that thing still in my house?"
Ali: "13 Niara!"
Does anybody know how big a fifteen-foot python is?
I can hear the chorus now: "It's fifteen feet!" Yes, but do you realize how big around a fifteen-foot python is? It's bloody huge.
My brother and I had been attracted by the up-roar and, as boy-children will, immediately converged on the snakey parts sticking out from under the Chest.
Dad murmured, "Watch the sharp end, boys" as he pushed the chest out from against the wall, then knelt down and peered under it from the back side. Upon seeing something, Dad promptly slid his arm under the chest and began to feel around.
Squeaks, fed up with the wait-service, banzai-ed off Mom's lap, hit the floor and in one bounce shot under the chest, shrieking a tremendous mongoose war-cry as he disappeared: "Hah! Feel my wrath! Here is your doom! Prepare to be devoured!"
One of Dad's eyebrows kind of slid up, and he pulled his right arm out from under the Chest, revealing Squeaks clinging to it with all four sets of claws whilst delivering the dreaded Mongoose Death Bite(tm) to the back of Dad's wrist.
"Honey," said Dad, mildly, "Your rat isn't helping all that much."
"Are you sure you need the boys help?" inquired Mom, as she sat back in the chair, with Squeaks firmly anchored to her lap.
"Hmm?" mumbled Dad's voice from behind the Chest.
"Too right, Jim, old boy, I mean, that is a predator after all," chimed in Tom, helpfully.
The head of the python appeared over the top of the Chest, with one of Dad's hands clamped around its neck, "I've got the pointy end. Boys, see if you can find a tail on this thing."
Chris and I began to root about happily under the chest, and with the aid of a couple of Dad's walking stick collection, we pried the south end of the snake out from under the Chest.
"Dad, we found...oh, yuck."
Now, the Discovery Channel will tell you that, when disturbed, some species of snake will: "Secrete a noxious substance from their tails."
Folks, I'm here to tell you that if a snake "secretes" that noxious substance, then a firehose "secretes" water. Got a hell of a range on it. Enough range, as a matter of fact, to reach out and paint a mother from her eyebrows down to the mongoose retching in her lap. And her with waist-length hair.
"Eep," said Chris, rather eloquently I thought, as Mom slowly scraped black/green grease off her face with one taloned hand.
"Bad luck," murmured Tom.
Dad popped up like a prairie dog. "What?"
"Dad, it, uh, sprayed..."
"Did any of it get on you?"
"Ah, hmm. On us? No, but, umm..."
"Good, good. Don't let the hind end get back under the Chest. Ali, come here."
Ali Cheap-Cheap, who had been watching all of this with intense fascination, jumped and pointed to his torso, "Boss?"
"Yes, you," One of Dad's hands reached out and got Ali by the front of his dashiki and pulled him behind the Chest. "Hold this. When I tell you, I want you to drag this end towards the door. Boys, when I lift the Chest, drag the tail out from under, okay?"
Dad got his fingers under the edge of the chest, puffed a couple of times, and then lifted what I swear to God was half-a-ton of hand-carved teakwood.
"All right, pull."
"Boss, you say 'pull', nah beef, he say 'no'."
"Pull the snake, Ali."
"Bush man, I swear, if you don't..."
About this time, Mom levitated some three feet off her chair and, a bit like a Roman candle, exploded in a flaming mass of eyes, hair, grease and claws: "Pull the blankety-blank snake..."
...Ali took off like he'd been goosed with a cattle prod...
"...you blankety-blank son of a blankety..."
...Tom's eyebrows crawled up into his hairline as he regarded my rampaging mother...
"...blankety-blank mother of a blankety-blank goat..."
...Ali got to the end of the snake with approximately the same results as a running dog hitting the end of his chain, but he moved the snake about three feet...
"...Blankety-blank snake blankety-blank IN MY HAIR!"
Dad vaulted the Chest, grabbed the python in the middle and heaved him onto the front porch, where he bounced twice and skidded into the yard.
Watching the snake haul scales in the general direction of Port Harcourt, Dad sniffed reflectively, dusted off his hands, turned around and the first thing he saw was Mom.
"Honey," said Dad, somewhat bemusedly, "Why are you covered in grease?"
Mom glared at Dad, whipped around, and with Squeaks still firmly clenched in her hand stomped into the back of the house, muttering explosively and gesturing wildly. Crashing sounds drifted back.
"Redheads," opined the worldly-wise Tom.
Ali was practically dancing in rage, "Boss! Dis beef, fifty Niara!"
"Ali," murmured Dad, as he poured two glasses of Mr. Daniels finest, "You have gold?"
"Ah, Boss! I have gold necklace. A necklace such as only a princess could wear!"
"Oh, Boss! Seventy Niara is taking..."
"Trader man," Dad contemplated the bourbon, "Madame has gone for to fetch her machete."
"A blessing on your house, Boss." Ali traded the necklace for the money, bowed once and hot-footed it out the door.
Dad gathered up the necklace and both glasses of bourbon, and began wandering in the direction of the destructive noises emanating from the back of the house, "Bye, Tom. See you at the office tomorrow. Boys, go play. Stay away from anything with an appetite."
Et voila! The snake story.
This is not by our own Lawdog, by the way, but a Texan sheriff's deputy named Ian who talks like a Limey because he grew up in oilfields all over Africa and the Middle East. Good guy.
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