Clotted by a Python
(Intro:) His body was swollen, lumped, inflamed looking, bruised, and his last feelings were that he was deserted, clotted by a python, and this was going to be how he died—his epitaph, what people would read in the Sunday morning’s newspaper, the following day.
"The young man was only twenty-three years old, discovered at the Como Park Zoo (in the summer of 1957), he had let an eleven-foot python out of its glass and steel bar cage, in the little stone zoo building, built sometime in the 1930s. He was an intern from Chicago, living in St. Paul, Minnesota, a Biologist. He worked the night shift, cleaned the cages, fed the animals, and insured all went well. There was a security guard also who walked the park grounds, in particular, over in the Midway area where they had all the rides for the kids. It was now 2:00 a.m. All was quiet.
"The Intern, took the eleven-foot python from its habitat, and carried him out into the zoo atrium area, where in the morning visitors would come through to see the twelve cages, that held lions, and tigers, and large snakes, and monkeys, and two wolves.
"He, the Intern, was playing with the snake, put him around his shoulder, held him by the back of the head, but came the moment the python got irritated, had rolled upward a tinge, from his shoulders to his neck, no longer playing. The Intern, drew in his breath, tried to, it was difficult, as the viper had already crept downward towards his left wrist, and sunk its teeth into it, holding onto his wrist with a solid grip, as the snakes lower body had previously risen from underneath his light coat, it had already circled upward and doubled around his neck, forming a lump, a knot or loop of sorts, he tried to draw in his breath again, and found out it was next to gone, and he went to shout for help, but the security guard was circling the midway area, not the zoo part (the building that held some of the animals), and all one could hear was a whimpering sound, by the intern—by far, no way loud enough for the guard to hear.
"The powerful arms and shoulders, of the young intern couldn't pull or force the snake to break its hold, its tightening grip. He heard the whistle of the Security Guard, which indicated all was well in the in the surrounding area, and the intern knew he was close by; so close, yet it might just had been a thousand-miles away: he was for the most part, helpless as a child, with urgent eyes moving, looking for an escape route, help, a way out of this merciless grip the python had on him; he now was entering a world of the deaf and dumb, as his silent whimpering, his petition faded.
"The snake, now head to head—twisted, stared at his victim, it had risen slowly to eye level, as if it understood it was going to take the intern's life, and wanted, perhaps wanted revenge for keeping him locked up in a cage made out of stone and iron, a jail not for doing wrong but for being a python. He was no worse than a bird in a cage, and if God wanted birds to be in cages, he’d not have given them wings, perhaps the viper had a similar gripe; perchance, it looked at man as man looks at Satan.
"Now it was rapid whimpering, then the intern fell purposely, to the floor, there the scuffle continued, to no avail.
"In the morning, the janitor found the snake outside of the building, the intern on the floor, inside—but it wasn’t until late afternoon the police came, and the pathologist, and it was hot outside and it was even hotter inside the building than outside, there was no air-conditioning. His overalls half torn off—and nobody wanted to move the body until the doctor Okayed it and the police took their pictures; all in all, it looked as if the snake and intern had a great battle.
“He no longer looks like a human being," said the Police Lieutenant, to the Pathologist, the pathologist was examining the body, did not answer the Police Lieutenant, gave him no response he was doing a quick examination now, and would do a more lengthily one at the hospital (part of the job of a pathologist is to describe what he sees as quickly and precisely as possible, so whomever reads his report, will hopefully see in his mind faithfully what the pathologist saw, and it is no secret, doctors are apprehensive of police, in that they can distort things, and the blame placed on them. On the other hand he didn’t care to explain everything to the Lieutenant, because doctors often use abbreviations, which saves time, perhaps a secret and tightly packed language, to the police, and the death was obvious, the culprit was the viper, there would be no arguments to that).
‘He looked so bruised,” thought the Lieutenant, “black-and-blue, battered, and torn apart; Goya could not have painted a better picture of a dead man—who had but a few hours ago, fought for his life.’
Yes indeed, he had completely changed in appearance, white to yellowish-green, and black. He was turning into coal-tar, especially where his bones had been broken and skin torn open—his body was ballooning out, in places. The heat of the building had brought flies to gather around him. One wonders what preserving wishes went through his mind, in the end, when his soul was about to leave his body, his shell, then somehow jump off of the earth, no longer breathe in its air. No longer part of the old image he once was, his brain turning into the sensation of iron, then the flows and dribbles of thoughts vanish, getting ready for sterility—actually death. Maggots soon to be working their way out of his mouth, from the flies…
Outside the building, and around the corner was a stand-up, self-service type vendor, a man selling hotdogs and hamburgers, you had to put the trimmings on yourself: the cutup and mustard, and onions, and relish, and so forth. The owner was giggling with some woman, as she ate a hotdog. A few soldiers on leave walked by, on their way to the park beyond or perhaps to see the bears, or camels, which were down a ways yet, they were slapping each other in the arms. He gulped the hotdog down, and a short cup of coffee, and just kept walking about, as if to get rid of the view he had just seen, perhaps to stop his reaction, the one he was an actor to, the one he held in, as the pathologist did his job.
Written 8-26-2008 “Clotted by a Python” /Reedited, and revised and renamed 1-2011)
Based on an actual event (location and dates changed)