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Me, Larry, and The Snake... (John Griffin)
(true, smirk)

Here's a story I picked up a couple of months ago from somewhere out there...
I have no idea who the original author is, nor do I know the network address
of the person that sent it to me.  However, I do know his is the
story of "Me, Larry, and The Snake", as told by Rich Sims...


It's been a little slow lately, so I figured I'd tell you guys a story.  This
is the kind you usually hear when everyone's sitting around swapping lies, but
this one actually happened, just the way I'm gonna tell it.  To protect the
guilty, I'll leave out the other guy's last name!  :-)

Me, Larry, and The Big Snake  <or>  "I shoulda stood in bed!"

A little background -- I'm not normally "afraid" of snakes, but I do prefer
that they make an appointment before they come calling.  In addition, there
are some varieties I'd just as soon not encounter at all, and there are a few
places in the world where there are a lot of those.  This happened quite a few
years ago, in one of those places... South Vietnam!  In case you're not too
familiar with the "snake density" of tropical Southeast Asia, let me just say
that they have =LOTS= of them, they get =BIG=, and they're nearly all of the
poisonous variety.  By comparison to what you can run into there, a 6-foot
American rattlesnake is about equivalent to a baby garter snake.

Larry was a friend of mine (I thought), and he and I were involved in moving
our unit to a new base.  We'd flown down to the new camp, and were in the
"building" where we would be living, with nothing to do, so we were both
occupying ourselves in typical military fashion -- we were sleeping.

Now, the "building" was really a "plywood tent", raised up off the ground,
and with sheets of plywood on hinges that hung from just below the roof, so
they could be propped up for ventilation or dropped for protection from the
frequent rainstorms.  The floor was about 2 feet off the ground, and because
unfriendly people had a nasty habit of tossing high-explosive devices at us,
there was a sand-bag wall, about four feet high, all around the thing.  That
puts the top of the wall right about eye-level, when you're lying on a cot.

Around noon, it's pretty hot, so I was lying on my cot, wearing just a pair of
shorts.  Larry was at the other end of the "hootch", also lying down.  Out of
the corner of my eye, I saw something moving, so I rolled over and looked out.

About 4 feet away, crawling along the top of the sandbags, was "The Snake"!!

This particular one was a member of the krait family -- one of the deadliest
snakes in the world.  The kind usually referred to as "two-steppers", since
that's about how far you get after being bitten.  This one was one of the
larger ones, too... about 5 feet long, and 2 or 3 inches thick.

Well, I wasn't too thrilled about having him in the immediate area, so I
decided to do something about it.  (We all have moments of insanity!)  I
grabbed my trusty .45 and headed out the door.  As I stepped out, I thought
about it a bit, and realized that being barefoot was really not all that well
thought out of a plan.  So I went back in and pulled on a pair of boots.

(Even when insanity is in control, there are occasional moments of lucidity!)

Now, Larry heard me moving around and came to see what was going on. In
keeping with the the highest traditions of Army Aviation, Larry decided that
what I =REALLY= needed was to have a "wing man" along, to provide gun cover
for me, "just in case"... so he armed himself with his .38 revolver and out
the door we went, ready to deal with the snake.  (Riiigghhtt!!!)

	Have you guys got the picture now?  On one hand, we have a perfectly
	peaceful, although large and =VERY DEADLY=, snake, who is minding his
	own business, just crawling along, trying to get out of the hot sun.

	Enter two idiots with handguns, one wearing boots and shorts, who are
	equally dangerous, but primarily because of a complete and utter lack
	of functional brainpower, and who are just about to ruin his day!

Of course, "fair is fair", and since I saw the snake first, I get first shot.
Larry stays about 5 feet behind me and to my right, in perfect "wing man"
position, ready to provide back-up, as needed.  I approach the snake, trying
to estimate how far he can reach, and keeping (I hope) just out of his range.

As I got ready to shoot, I realized that the 230-grain hardball slug is going
to keep right on going after hitting the snake, and since the plywood shutters
are up for ventilation, the only thing behind the snake is a screen, and I'm
just about to shoot my stereo tape deck, inside the hootch.  This does =NOT=
constitute an acceptable "combat loss", so I maneuver for better position,
trying to get to where there's a sandbag behind the snake.  This involves me
getting a little closer to him, and Larry moving around to the right to keep
the snake in view.  Finally, I get into position to take the shot, so I aim
very carefully, planning a fast, clean, kill with a head shot, and very
precisely and steadily, squeeze off a round.

I forgot that at a range of four feet, the path of the bullet is much lower
than the plane of the sights, and that I needed to aim a little high!!

The slug went into the sandbags, right under the snake's head, blowing a lot
of sand right up into his face, but not doing any serious damage other than
that.  This, of course, irritates the snake no end!

It is entirely possible that I may have even hit the snake in the lower jaw,
but I didn't get a chance to check that out.  The snake went straight up in
the air, off the top of the sandbags....  I have never seen a snake do that,
and if I didn't know better, I'd swear he had legs and jumped stright up!!

Let me leave him hanging there in mid-air for a moment.  At this point, things
are beginning to happen pretty fast, and it's getting a little hectic.

First, I realize immediately that I have just screwed up, big time!

Second, my professional military training forces an immediate and thorough
assessment of the situation, and I consider the following factors...

  1.  The snake is effectively unharmed, but he is =SERIOUSLY= pissed!
  2.  As he starts to descend, I realize that he is going to be coming down
  3.  When he gets to the ground, the snake is, in all probability, going
        to be thinking in terms of retaliation.
  4.  He's 5 feet long and only four feet away from me
  5.  I am standing there with a smoking gun in my hand, a stupid look on
        my face, and wearing nothing but a pair of shorts and boots
  6.  The shorts and boots are not adequate protection from snake bites,
        and especially not from large, poisonous snakes.

Having considered all this, I verbally issue the classic military response to
such situations, which attempts to convey a complete report of my assessment
of the situation as concisely as possible...   "OHHH SHIT!!!"

I also decide that a strategic (and extremely rapid) withdrawal is indicated,
and prepare to implement that decision without further ado....

However, when I considered factors 1 through 6, as noted above, I overlooked
factor number 7, the Joker in the deck, which now comes into play...  Larry!!

Even as I begin to turn, Larry, in an attempt to salvage a situation which
has already deteriorated beyond all hope of recovery, begins to engage in an
exhibition of speed shooting that would bring tears of envy to the eyes of
those folks who consider themselves to be "fast guns".

Unfortunately, I am right in the line of fire, the snake is still in the air,
and Larry is a lousy shot!  Great reflexes, mind you, but no marksmanship
ability to speak of, and even less in the way of good judgement!  As the
.38 slugs begin to fly by me, a couple of inches away, I freeze, trying to
decide whether I want to step into a bullet, or stay where I am and get bitten
by the snake.  Neither of these choices is real high up on the list of things
I really want to experience!

Fortunately, the .38 revolver only holds six shots, and Larry emptied all of
them into the sandbags without doing any damage to me (or the snake, either)!!
Even though he was firing at a rate approaching that of a full-auto Mac-10, it
seemed to me to take a couple of minutes before he ran out of ammunition.  I
vividly remember thinking he wasn't ever going to quit shooting, but I sure
as hell wished he would!!

Finally, Larry ran out of bullets, and since he was also out of ideas, he
joined me in my departure procedure, which basically involved a single jump
as far as I could (undoubtedly setting a new world record, if anyone had
been there to measure it), and landing with the legs already at max speed.
We then proceeded to set a new record for the hundred-yard dash, as well!!

The snake, in the meantime, decided that he'd had just about all of this
fun and frolic that he could stand for one day, and headed off in the opposite
direction, also moving at an extremely high rate of speed.

After getting back inside the hootch, and getting dressed, I explained to
Larry how happy I was that he'd come along, and how impressed I was with his
amazing shooting exhibition.  Then we went over to the club and got drunk!

All's well that ends well, I suppose!


(From the "Rest" of RHF)

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