Sunday, April 5, 2009

Things that go bump in the night

We just got home from group camping, and I am pretty darn tired. I spent most of the night awake listening to strange sounds—whistle, honk, growl, snort, moan, rattle and repeat. No, we weren’t being invaded by wild animals. That’s the chorus of noise that comes from very tired adults sleeping on the ground.

One man sounded like an elephant or a weak trumpet. It was unreal. Finally, I asked aloud, “What is that noise?”

To my surprise an answer came back to me in the dark, “I don’t know, but it’s the fourth time it’s come on.”

Actually, I was sleeping pretty well at first, exhausted from a full day of hiking (Our campsite was located on Agony Hill, and to get to Agony Hill one must hike up Agony Trail), helping my son with archery and BB’s, packing and unpacking, and ignoring the large amount of dirt on my son’s hands.

So, when it came time for bed, I climbed in my sleeping bag and went right to sleep. Around 3 or 4 a.m., while I was having an unusual dream in which Donald Trump was trying to court me with diamonds and gold (Okay, perhaps, I shouldn’t have told that one!), I reached over and felt something. No, it wasn’t The Donald’s lush head of hair.

It felt slippery and rubbery and coiled up like a--SNAKE! Suddenly fully awake and alarmed, I grabbed whatever it was and flung it onto the floor. Not wanting to scream and alarm my son and the other snoring campers, I woke up my husband, who was in the cot next to me, and said, urgently, “Give me your flashlight!”

And what do you think he said? (I would love to hear your guesses.)

He said, “What do you need it for?”

“Just give it to me!” I said, growing increasingly frustrated. “Trust me on this!”

“I’m not getting it unless you tell me what’s it’s for,” he said.


He complied, and I shined the light on the floor, hoping it hadn’t slithered into my bag. But, no, it was right were it landed.

Maybe I killed it, I thought.

I’d forgotten my glasses, so I leaned closer and closer. It was a rubber snake.

“WHY ME? WHO WOULD DO THIS TO ME?” I shouted to God and whoever else was in earshot.

I knew my husband and son weren’t brave enough so that left one other culprit—my best friend who has a wicked (or warped!) sense of humor. Plus my son recognized the snake as belonging to her son.

Needless to say, I didn’t sleep a wink afterward. I kept my flashlight tucked under my chin and even turned it on a time or two to make sure the toy snake hadn’t moved. While I was awake, I tried to match the whistle, honk, growl, snort, moan and rattle to its source and planned my revenge--my sweet, sweet revenge.

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