The Shadow Knows, again


“This week we introduce Shadow, the newest addition to our staff of writers and contributing friends.  With roots from radio shows dating back to the 1930’s, The Shadow is an action character noted for  “Always knowing what evil lurks in the hearts of man”.  Then pursuing and destroying it.


Shadow recounts the story of a friend, along with his brother-in-law and nephew.  Doing some fishing at Council Grove reservoir recently and slowly trolling along the shoreline, the three observe a snake following their boat at a casual distance.  It was a big snake.


Brother-in-law Jon was driving a sporty nearly-new boat, its transom setting low in the water by design.  Time passes as Matthew and Mike stand over the transom, visiting and enjoying  the view.  More time passes and scanning the shoreline, they notice that the snake was still following and encroaching on the previously observed safe distance.  Matt glances at Mike and says jokingly that that snake wants in the boat.


Mike, fearful of snakes, begins watching the snakes’ every slither and gyration.  Now able to see the snake’s eyes and observing its rise in the water and increasing speed.  Mike and Matt share a glance.  Unspoken by either, they assess the impending possibilities.  The snake crosses the 20-foot line and Mike, maintaining eye to eye contact, says “that snake is coming”.  No one affirms his comment.  It was a big snake.


The snake raises its body in the water further as if to be preparing for something.   Mike say louder, that snake is coming.  It was a big snake.


Fifteen feet away and the snake is picking up speed.  Spoken loudly with quickly spoken words, Mike again says, “that snake is coming”.


Mike is using a crappie pole eight feet long, a weapon sufficient in length to push the snake away well before it reaches the boat. At ten feet Mike lowers the tip of his pole, in-line with the snake, preparing to joust.  Voice wavering and broken, he says crisply and more loudly that “that snake is coming”.  It was a big snake.


Matt stood ready, though with a short, wimpy pole unsuited for the moment.  At ten feet and now coming even faster, Mike pokes the snake with the tip of his pole.  The snake becomes agitated, turns over several times and thrashes through the water as it comes on with the speed of a train.  Mike and Matt, with wide, vibrating eyes are flailing around relentlessly whipping at the snake with their poles.  At three feet, Mike is jumping up and down and uncontrollably beating at the snake.  He’s now less worried about being bitten and more about being eaten.  It was a big snake.


At the last split-second Mike and Matt land blows on the snake; Matt breaking his pole.  Not sure why no one  paid attention to his previous pleas, Mike yelled at the top of his lungs, his voice bleeding with fear and breaking so badly that it was nearly inaudible, “That God Damned snake is coming!”  Profane words forever branded into the ears of Matt and Jon who have lived their lives in a home where profanity is uttered maybe twice a year; three in an election year.


The snake abruptly turned and headed for shore.  Attributable, everyone thinks, to the injection of “God Damn” into Mike’s last exclamation.  The story was retold a dozen times, embellished a bit every time, through the rest of the day, ending with “That God Damned snake” chanted in unison over an exhausted camp fire at the end of the day.


Shadow ends her lengthy story there, reminding us that profanity is irreverent.  But also noting that “it was a big snake””.


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