15 minutes ago, I was about to trundle some garbage to the burn ring (I'm house cleaning today, as it were) when I heard the driveway alarm squeak and Sierra the Dog barked alarm.
Looked out the kitchen window to see who it was. It was friend Margaret and her 10-ish year-old niece, both whom were climbing out of her Ford Explorer.
Admonished Sierra the Dog to "stay'" inside and I stepped to the front porch to greet Margaret and her niece.
"Hi!" and I stepped off the porch ... I was wearing house moccasins.
My step landed on something that went squish.
Looked down ... RATTLER!
You've never seen an old man levitate to 10 feet away like I was in the Star Trek transporter.
Tumbled when I landed, with the old man grunt.
"Ed!" from Margaret.
Pulled The Judge from my holster and put some 410 No. 4's into the snake.
"You okay?" shouted Margaret.
The three of us studied the mangled snake.
The niece started to reach down to it...
"DON'T!" I shouted.
"It's head is still alive," I said.
She looked at me with big eyes as the wind blew her cap off.
Twenty minutes later I had fixed Iced tea for us and we sat on my porch, enjoying the vista and the cloudy sky and making small talk.
"You always carry a gun?" Margaret asked.
"Why?" asked the niece.
As I rocked in my chair, reaching for my iced tea on the nearby table, I said,
"For snakes ... of all sorts."