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Archive for July 9th, 2021

Michal Scott: It Takes A Snake (Contest)
Friday, July 9th, 2021

UPDATE: The winner is…Cheryl!

It takes a snake? I can already imagine your eyebrows and frowns in disbelief as you respond, “To do what?” Like it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a snake to create community. What kind of community you talkin’ ’bout, Willis? The enmity placed between humanity and snakes in Genesis 3:15 is still real. What kind of community could be created by something so villainous as a snake? When I saw one crawling along the wall this week in my backyard I cringed. Yuk and yikes! I breathed a sigh of relief when it slithered away to the front yard. I raked the grounds to make sure there weren’t any others hiding there.

Two days later as I went to get the mail, I noticed a neighbor standing stock-still in front of his garage holding a rake and staring very pointedly at something I couldn’t see on the far side of his car. Sure enough, it was a snake. He didn’t want to kill it because he wasn’t sure what kind it was. “Bull snakes are good snakes,” he said, but if it were a rattler he’d have to kill it. We couldn’t see a rattle on the tail, but then we wondered if it might be a baby without a rattle yet. I stood in solidarity with my neighbor and stared at the slimy intruder. What to do, what to do?

At that moment my husband—traveling to visit family—called to say goodnight. I told him what was happening, and he said, “Call Spence. He knows all about snakes.” Spence is a good friend and fellow church member. I took a picture and messaged it to him. He called right back and said it was a baby king snake. Definitely non-venomous. Spence said you can tell venomous snakes from non-venomous ones by the shape of their pupils. Venomous snakes have slit pupils like cat’s eyes. Non-venomous ones have round pupils like dogs. I don’t think my cat Scully would appreciate the comparison. My neighbor and I peered at the photo and agreed the eyes looked round. Spence said he’d be over in fifteen minutes to take the snake back to the desert.

By now my neighbor’s wife had joined us. She helped trap the snake beneath a bucket. We introduced ourselves—me, Anna, he and she, John and Jeanette. We shared how long we’d lived on the block, where we were from, our experiences, and lack thereof, with snakes and our mutual hatred of the creatures.

Spence arrived, picked the little guy up and told us how it could grow to six or eight feet long. Shudder. He put it in a pillowcase and assured us it would be happier in the desert. John, Jeanette, and I wholeheartedly agreed. Spence drove off, John and Jeanette went back into their snake-free house, and I continued on to pick up the mail. It took a snake to create community between us.

So for a chance at a $10 Amazon gift card, share in the comments about an encounter where you got to know a neighbor better.

One Breath Away

Sentenced to hang for a crime she didn’t commit, former slave Mary Hamilton was exonerated at literally the last gasp. She returns to Safe Haven, broken and resigned to live alone. She’s never been courted, cuddled or spooned, and now no man could want her, not when sexual satisfaction comes only with the thought of asphyxiation. But then the handsome stranger who saved her shows up, stealing her breath from across the room and promising so much more.

Wealthy, freeborn-Black, Eban Thurman followed Mary to Safe Haven, believing the mysteriously exotic woman was foretold by the stars. He must marry her to reclaim his family farm. But first he must help her heal, and to do that means revealing his own predilection for edgier sex.

Excerpt from One Breath Away…

On the rise overlooking Harvest Home, Banker Judah Little sat, his mouth stretched in horror.

“My God, what’s wrong with her?” He stared transfixed at the cabin, his hands clasped and shaking.

“No doubt reliving the torment of death.” A grudging smile graced Judge Aaron “Hangman” Denton’s face. “No one who cheats the hangman enjoys any kind of peace

After hundreds of pronouncements and hundreds of executions, he’d seen it all. He preferred these civil hangings to the military executions by firing squad he’d ordered during the War of Northern Aggression. Bullets brought death so quickly, he always felt cheated. But a hanging…His smile broadened. There was so much more to enjoy when there was a hanging.

The snap of the neck.

The sway of the body.

The discharge of the bowels.

He tongued the snuff in his cheek and spat the brown liquid into the dirt. The scents of sage and tobacco laced each breath he took.

Mary Hamilton had been his only failure. Crime deserved punishment. What difference did being a woman make? He’d condemned her to hang. Damn interfering crowd. And where in hell had that horseman come from? She’d be dead now but for him and those bleeding-heart busybodies.

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