I grew up in a malecentric world. Sandwiched between two brothers and with numerous boy cousins (all much older than me) I learned to perform young. My latent Lily Langtry was my ticket to inclusion in boy games whence otherwise I would have been barred. I remember one Autumn day, damp and musty my brothers and I were playing in the front garden. My father re-gravelling the drive, we were probably supposed to be helping. But my older brother had a better idea. It involved a rubber snake. I was briefed, repeated back my instructions to ensure I accurately understood, little brother confirmed that father was unable to see big brother planting the ductile serpent in the undergrowth and once all was point perfect I took my cue and ran out of a copse of trees screaming hystrionically at the top of my voice. My father instantly rushed to my aid and I stammered sssssnnnnnaaaake whilst pointing melodramatically at the glimpse of viper in the grass. With not a smidge of hesitation dad swung the spade and smashed the snake with all his might. Over and over again. We were quite helpless with laughter as it’s rubber body twisted and writhed and indeed bounced. When entirely satisfied that it was properly dead he took a step forward and picked up it’s stretchy corpse. The head was utterly flattened like a dimpled pancake. We were helpless with laughter. He was thunderous with rage. We were sent indoors to our rooms. It was worth the punishment.
The prompt is beneath my feet … it almost was as I clambered over a rock close to home:
PS: Kaa the snake in Kiplings Jungle book anthropomorphisised so brilliantly by Disney hypnotised Mowgli as he murmured his song ‘Trust in me …. just in me’. My dad was the man I could always trust to protect and defend me from all foes including, crucially, rubber snakes.