10.42am, flies, 38℃ in the shade, and the hangover that killed Elvis.
It took two goes to find where the snake had made it through the fence. Pulling up in the previous night’s vehicle tracks, JJH opened the passenger door of the ute, walked to the side of the tray, leant the shotgun against it, spat on the ground and began rolling a cigarette. The two sheep dogs, brown kelpies, one who believed his name was ‘Go back you bastard’, the other ‘Come here you brown mongrel’ jumped off the tray and began to hunt around. ‘Come here you brown mongrel’ decided to piddle on the front drivers side wheel; ‘Go back you bastard’ found a convenient dead sheep to have roll in, and happily got to it.
“Which way do you reckon it went?” Said NFC, right hand shading both eyes as he did, a little Anschutz .22 held in his left.
“Well, if you open your bloody eyes, you will notice the bloody thing about ten feet in front of your left foot.” Said JJH, his hangover causing his ‘suffer no fool kindly’ setting to be turned to ‘high’.
Through the fence, and indeed a good ten to twelve feet in front of them was an enormous knot of beautifully marked python. Its white underbelly stark against a green back, with greeny yellow striped and vaguely diamond shaped markings running down it. Yet, it was not a neat coil of snake, it gave the appearance that it was either in the middle of squashing the life from some unfortunate beast, or had just stopped doing so. Regardless, it was not obviously moving, but remained in an unruly tangle of serpentine horrors. The largest part visible was the thickness of a man’s thigh, and it’s head was nowhere to be seen.
Being recognised both professionally and socially as one of extreme bravery, NFC began to take a closer look at the massive python by stepping backwards and calling ‘Go back you bastard’ aka – Subi over. The idea being that the dog could go over for a sniff, and to see what happened next. Dog’s, however, whilst immensely loyal, are not stupid. ‘Go back you bastard’, stinking horribly of dead ewe, did exactly what he was told by jumping through the open passenger side window, laying on the driver’s seat, and flatly refusing to come out. ‘Bender’, aka – ‘Come here you brown mongrel’, like his owner, JJH, was quicker on the uptake, and disappeared over a small rise, into a nearby dam.
“Shit.” Was all that NFC could think to mutter under his breath as he began to climb through the fence. JJH followed suit, and in under a minute they stood side by side, nearer enough to the snake to give each other the false idea that they were brave enough to go near the horrid beast, yet were far enough away to scarper if they needed to without injury.
“I reckon it’s buggered, give it a poke with your rifle.” JJH, proving once more to be the brains of the operation.
“Yeah, righto.” Replied NFC, a man with the intellect of a box of hammers. “Hang on, that shotgun is longer than my twenty two, you poke the bloody thing.” This went on for sometime, until NFC, a lack of patience outweighing personal safety, poked the snake with his rifle, and eventually proved it to be dead. Untangling it was the next task, being as slippery as a snake (boom boom) and heavy, it required both young blokes to lift and move it.
“I’ve got an idea.” JJH was an idea’s man. “Why don’t we tie its tail to the ute with bailing twine and pull it out straight? You’ll have to hold its head though.”
“Hang on, it’s my ute. Why the hell am I holding its head?”
“You’re waaay stronger than me.” Lied JJH, tongue of silver soothing NFC’s brain of lead.
“Yeah, I am I guess, you with your Kermit arms and all.”
The ute was backed up until it was pressed to the ringlock of the fence. Blue binder twine was dragged out from behind the seat, and JJH started tying it together, slowly forming a long length of the stuff. Meanwhile, NFC was up to elbow’s in dead snake trying to locate its head.
“Bugger me, come and have a look at this!” Called NFC. “The bloody thing has a chain coming out of its mouth!”
On closer observation, it turned out to be the chain from a rabbit trap, still pinned to the ground in front of a rabbit hole, previously covered by the snake.
“Righto, well I guess you don’t need to hold its head anymore. Give us a hand to lash the string around its tail, and we’ll get it stretched out.”
After a brief bit of mucking around, the pair eventually got it pulled out straight. JJH, grabbing a tape measure from the dash of the ute proceeded to gauge its length.
“The poor old thing is just under four metres long. Big bastard.”
A sizable lump, easily twice the size in girth to the rest of the body stood proud, ending roughly sixty centimetres down the body from the head.
NFC, holding a set of blunt mulesing shears found under the seat between a bottle of Emu Bitter, label worn off, and a packet of shotgun cartridges, stolen, rolled the snake to expose the white underside, and began to cut starting beneath the jaw, he followed the chain, and slowly moved down the body. It was no surprise when NFC reached the spring end of the rabbit trap. JJH leaned over his shoulder and began to pull it. Encountering resistance, NFC continued to cut, JJH kept pulling, and slowly the trap started to move. After a minute or so, the first sign of an animal, obviously caught in the trap, and with no way to escape was subsequently eaten.
“Hey mate, that’s not a rabbit’s foot in the trap.” Slowly said NFC, “it looks like a cat’s foot. It’s pretty big though, and I reckon this is one of the old man’s traps too”
The cutting and pulling continued, to finally reveal a large partially digested ginger cat. A ‘Tom’ with a collar, ‘Ginger’ inscribed upon the disc dangling from it.
“Jesus Christ, that’s Grandma’s cat.” Stated NFC. “Grandpa will be happy, he hated the bloody thing.”
“What are we going to do with the snake now? Skin it?”
“Nah, the pubs open, let’s take it for a beer.”
Click the picture above, one of the very best musical scenes from a movie I have ever seen..
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