The Anaconda’s Tale by Octo G. Enario
Our exercise room is fortunate to have a permanent professional fitness expert. In effect, Puella is our onsite coach. Unlike the coaches in the NFL, Puella, a young woman, has old codgers as clients. She has a sparkling personality and purposefully stimulates social interaction. She makes exercise fun. Unlike most of the seniors, she keeps up with the popular culture news from the media, including the Internet. When she comes across a sensational tidbit she shares it with the crowd. She found such a tidbit in the announcement by some nut-job publicity seeker that he would soon fly to the Amazon and allow himself to be ingested by an Amazon snake—an Amazon snake! The whole feeding would be filmed live. The news worked as Puella had planned, immediately stimulating a variety of reactions, including disbelief, amazement, laughter, and mute head shaking. As a student in our creative writing class with the mantra for novice writers: “Write about what you know, what you experience throughout the day. The stories are out there just waiting to be told,” I try to comply.
A few weeks later, the unprecedented event was filmed live down in the Amazon just as announced. The next day we all expressed our disappointment, having watched the incident on TV the prior evening. Yes, the man did indeed get swallowed, feet-first by the giant anaconda, but we were all disappointed. He was protected by a sturdy harness with ropes attached and was yanked back out the second his entire body was engulfed. He was helped out of his harness and jumped up shouting, “I did it! I did it!” like a reborn Houdini.
Everyone’s interest in this story petered out quickly at the gym. Not for me—I wrote the sequel.
The guys at the watering hole ribbed the anaconda mercilessly. The snake mumbled, “Yeah, yeah. So I’m a celebrity. Big deal.”
Not only his buddies, but the entire world had seen his moment of fame on worldwide TV and the Internet. He made a few bucks for the gig, but he never thought the aftermath would be so socially uncomfortable. He wanted everything to go back to normal. Unfortunately for the oversized reptile, this would not be so.
A monkey high atop a tree yelled down, “Hey, Squeeze, I hear they paid you upfront and that you’ll be getting ongoing royalties, maybe even a free subscription to the Piglet of the Month Club…ha, ha, ha.” All the animals gathered nearby laughed and snickered with glee. The Brazilian Amazon could always use a good laugh. The notorious anaconda should supply humorous fodder for years to come.
The snake was resting next to his friend the aardvark
drinking from the river. He hissed quietly,
“Listen, Double A…I thought the stunt would be a possible stepping stone to Hollywood. You know, like my grandfather who was in all those Tarzan movies back in the ‘30s.”
“I remember you telling me that before the shoot.” The aardvark, as usual was speaking with that awful lisp. That tongue of his always wound up in the wrong place when he hit sibilants.
‘Hey, whathat ringing? It thoundth like ith coming from you.”
The snake looked down in embarrassment. “It is coming from me.”
“Whathehell ith it?”
“You won’t believe this. When that stupid guy was pulled out from my stomach, unfortunately just in the nick of time, he left his stupid cell phone in there. His cell phone…what a jerk!”
Unfortunately, the anaconda was speaking in a loud enough voice so that he was overheard by all the other creatures in the area. All hell broke out: raucous tittering, jovial monkey chattering, and even the teeth clicking from the submerged piranha. How humiliating for the former big gun of the neighborhood! He thought surely he would have to move way upstream where no one knew him.
Later that evening, after things had settled down, the cell phone began to ring, waking him from a nap. Annoyed, Squeeze wiggled and writhed trying to make the darn thing stop—antics that had worked when he tried them before. Except this time, he engaged the answer button. A voice said, “Hi this is Paul.”
“What the hell?”
“It’s Paul, er, Paul Rosolie, the guy who was inside you.”
“Oh, man, this can’t be happening,” said the snake.
“Uh, I’ve been thinking about our little encounter. I have never felt so close to another living being as I did with you. I know it sounds crazy, but that’s how I feel. Umm, are you seeing anybody at present?”
“My god, this is nuts,” thought the snake. “All I wanted was a little something to put on my resume to make my climb to Hollywood easier, and this is what I get myself into.”
Paul continued, “You see I had a very rough childhood. I was abandoned and never loved. That’s probably why I do all these crazy stunts. I think this time though, it’s real. By the way, are you male or female? Not that it would make a difference.”
Just then the connection was severed. The anaconda thought, “I got to get out of this. I got to find the aardvark. I need someone to talk to. I went through all this trouble and pain hoping for a modest payoff, and what do I get…abject derision from my friends, worldwide notoriety, and some nut job after my bones. Hell, I didn’t even get a good meal out of it.”
As happenstance might, the aardvark came lumbering by. The snake said, “Oh, thank goodness you are here!”
“Why? Whath up?”
“I got a call from my stomach.” The anteater chuckled at this.
“That crazy Paul Rosolie guy called me. He is smitten with me since our one-time closeness. Get this—he wants to start a relationship.”
“No, I’m not. He’s serious.”
Double A was always the ballast in the snake’s life. The friend and counselor never jumped to any rash decisions and always recommended looking at all the possibilities of any situation, studying all angles systematically. He said, “You know, you alwath wanted to move to Hollywood. Thith guy juth might have important contactth in the induthtry, and it wouldn’t be bad to date a guy like that. He could help you get your foot in the door.”
“Are you nuts? He’s a human—and a potential meal!”
“Wait now. Didn’t you oneth tell me that there were rumorth about your grandfather and that actreth who played Jane in all thothe Tarthan movieth?”
“There were all those theenth where she’th thwimming around naked in the river…”
“And don’t criticth talk about Mia Farrow’th big beautiful thnakelike eyeth?”
“Well, there is that. Gee, I hope he calls again, because I don’t know how to make calls out on that darn thing in my stomach.”
Unbeknownst to the two, a native hunting party was on the prowl. They favored snake meat, and they had many, many uses for snakeskin. An anaconda would go a long way for these diminutive primitives. Their big problem was locating the large viper, prey that always remained well hidden.
Unfortunately for the snake, the undaunted suitor called again just as the hunters were passing. The hunters took full advantage of this unexpected opportunity. The aardvark quickly ran away, but the poor snake could only lumber slowly, trying to get to safety. To no avail. The hunters killed him and dragged his carcass to their camp in large pieces.