Saturday, October 31, 2009

Coach Whipped and Dog Bit: A Halloween Story

You’d have to know Freddie to really appreciate the story. He was one of those people who assumed if his brain came up with it then it must be something that needed to be done. “Second thoughts” were things Freddie was strangers with at his best. One Halloween, Freddie became very familiar with why the rest of us have second thoughts, and some of us, once we’ve been drinking, pretty much determine almost any thought that seem like good ideas, are in fact, not.
Now Freddie was the guy who dove headfirst into water, at night, unfamiliar. Granted, there were people swimming in the water, but where Freddie dove was not deep. He lost a couple of teeth on this one. Freddie was also famous for catching a Coach Whip Snake which was well over six feet in length. The Coach Whip Snake is not venomous, but universally, as a species, there are animals who do not like human contact. They are not aggressive by any means, but they will attempt to put distance between humans and themselves, and who can blame them? Lacking the flight option, they will try to fight off anyone trying to hold them captive. A six foot long Coach Whip is more than a handful. Trust me, I know.
Years ago, my sister’s roomie, who was taking a herpetology class at the college, had someone drop off a fifty pound size dog food bag with a Coach Whip Snake inside. The roomie, who was terrified of snakes, called me to handle the extraction. The Coach Whip Snake, though quite long have very little girth so when I picked up the bag, I just assumed it was a small snake. I opened the bag and the better part of six feet of very pissed off Coach Whip snake poured out of the bag and into my face.
Note to readers: Size matters.

Freddie secured, for reasons still unclear, a very sizable Coach Whip Snake. This was quite an event since he lived in Atlanta, where wildlife in general isn’t common. Not having a suitable container Freddie took off in his car with a beer in one hand, and a six foot snake in the other. Okay, after reading that last sentence show of hands of readers who thing this is ending well. Uh-huh, you raised your hand, didn’t you? So did Freddie. And not wanting to spill the beer, for reasons unclear, Freddie let the snake loose. Freddie was going down the middle of I-75, on a Friday morning, in six lanes of traffic, drinking a beer and trying to regain control of his car, a truly pissed off snake, and his beer. He went two for three, and the snake disappeared into the dash of his car.
Summer in Georgia is just slightly less warm than Hell, and totally much more humid. The life expectancy of any creature in a car with the windows rolled up can be measure with a stop watch operated by a twitchy speed freak. Yet Freddie would never know if the snake was in the car or out of the car unless he either found the snake alive, discovered the snake had died, and this discovery had a plethora of unpleasant implications, or he flat waited the snake out. Freddie got a lawn chair, a case of beer, some weed, and a collection of Pink Floyd eight track tapes and waited the snake out. After three hours, and after listening to “Wish You Were Here” straight through twice, as well as “Darkside Of The Moon” the snake slithered out of the car, and Freddie was relieved in more ways than one.
But if you remember from earlier on, this is a Halloween story. Freddie and a good friend of his, Cleaver, whose name is a long story in and of itself, had been working on a very scary alien looking costume for Cleaver, and a bigfoot costume for Freddie. The two were a smash at the party, and they were smashed, and at the end of the evening, they had run out of pot, and the only place they knew where any pot was, that would be fifty miles away, at Cleaver’s cabin in the woods. They decided to drive up there, in costume, and on the way there, they began to laugh about how freaked out the dogs were going to be when they saw an alien and Bigfoot walk through the door. Well, Freddie’s brain thought it might be a good idea to freak the dogs out. His plan was to get up on top of the cabin, and leap down screaming in the midst of the dogs, scaring all five of them out of their hides. Cleaver didn’t like the idea. His dogs were pets, not guard dogs, and they would be traumatized. In fact, Old Bob was the only dog with any real size to him, and he was way past his prime for a Doberman. Yeah, there were a couple of Labs, but really, it’s a bad idea to scare dogs, isn’t it?

So Freddie, still in Bigfoot drag, climbs up on the front porch of the cabin, manages to get to the top of the roof, and then slides all the way down, falling onto the deck below, and into the middle of the dogs, who were waiting for someone to open the door and pet them on dog’s heads. A two hundred and fifty pound furry creature was not what they were looking for at all. They did what a pack of dogs will usually do when presented with a prone intruder. They attacked.

Freddie kept the Bigfoot mask so when he told the story it wouldn’t lose any of its...bite. On the left side of the mask is a very large hole where Old Bob grabbed Freddie by his face. Of course, the dogs realized quickly it was Freddie inside, and were apologetic, but Freddie wore the better part of half a dozen stitches just below his left eye.

The fun part about all this is they went back out to a bar and Freddie won first place for his Bigfoot costume because of the realistic blood stains coming out of the mask.

Take Care,