Blue Serpent

It’s difficult to train a snake but it can be done. I’ve spent years at the task. My efforts eventually brought me to the final round of the Snake Olympics.

My prize competitor, my greatest training accomplishment, and if I may say so, my friend, Blue Serpent, versus the great Russian speedster, черный гигант (Chernyy Gigant, or Black Giant).

Of course, Blue was a massive underdog, or undersnake, to the multiple-race winner. How is a humble Coluber constrictor to beat a Dendroaspis polylepis, fastest snake on the planet?

Training is key. Your snake has to know what’s at stake. Your snake has to want it and want it bad.

The training involves accustoming your animal to the ways of race tracks and ensuring that he or she is sufficiently hungry. You must also know just which prey will be most attractive to your charge, which prey, waiting there at the finish line. Note: Training a snake that prefers other snakes for dinner is never a good idea, as they race side-by-side.

Blue has a taste for mice of a certain size and color.

To keep the competitor on a straight line, light electric shocks are employed during training.

Blue Serpent learned quickly. Off the track, he was adorable. Snuggly. On race days, hungry, he grew still, composing his mind.

Did I mention that Blue is a blue racer. Sure, mambas are supposedly the world’s fastest snake, but with money on the line (no mouse for Blue if he loses), not all ophidians have the heart to triumph, especially after competing in multiple heats to reach that final challenge.

Black Giant had the heart, the will to win, of course. Blue and Black knew each other well. Black 0wned Blue when Blue first came up. That was before I took over Blue’s training. Now Black was confident, proud, perhaps a little hubristic.

The start was clean. At the other end of the course, Blue’s mouse and Black’s yellow-spotted rock hyrax waited in fear. The black viper sprang out to a quick lead. Most snakes can use lateral undulation, rectilinear movement, concertina movement, and  sidewinding, sometimes two-at-a-time in different parts of the body. Competitors must learn which mode(s) of locomotion are most effective in their particular race.

Blue maintained contact through the first half of the race, then began to move up. At the crucial moment in the final stretch, Black’s trainer shouted from the pit the traditional “STOP! STOP!” at Blue. This is allowed, as the snakes must ignore crowd noise. I then shouted “стоп! стоп!” and because I had been practicing the commanding tone of Putin ordering his minions around, (a famous soundbite in Russia), Black hesitated for a fraction of a second, just enough time for Blue to grab the lead and, soon thereafter, the mouse.

The glow of the victory has endured, even now, after Blue has been put out to stud.


For Flash Fiction Challenge

6 Responses

  1. Loved it! Just the laugh I needed to kick the day into gear.

  2. So funny. I loved this. My favorite line: Blue was a massive underdog, or undersnake, to the multiple-race winner. Well done..

  3. Love it! Snake races. Sounds like something Mark Twain would have appreciated.

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