SMOKE AND MIRRORS
“Kevin, look what I got. You’re not going to believe this,” Raja says. She’s holding a plastic container in one hand and a shopping bag in the other.
I take a step closer. Raja is very impulsive. She once came back to the apartment with a foam pad she found on the street. It was her mattress for two years.
“Oh no,” I say as I close the distance. Raja holds the container out to me. A corn snake writhes inside, tapping his nose against the plastic futilely.
“Isn’t she pretty?” she asks.
“She’s awesome,” I say. “It’s a corn snake, right? How old is it?”
“Yeah, she’s a baby. I think she’ll get to four feet, I don’t know. Six feet. I have a six-pack of frozen mice that I’m going to have to feed him.”
Raja was raised vegetarian. I’m surprised that she’s alright with feeding the snake.
“I’m going to keep it in the living room. I bought a terrarium to put into it.”
Together we set the terrarium up. There’s a few cacti, a bronze tray, a bowl for water and a large chunk of amethyst. The floor is covered with wood chips. Once the light is switched on, we put the snake in.
She stands still at first. Her tongue flits in and out, tasting the smoky air. The snake can sense that it is trapped. She taps her head against the glass again, but gives up after only a few moments. The snake streaks across the cage and dives behind the cactus, hiding in the shade. She waits patiently for eternity to come.