The great dragon slayer

A few weeks ago I decided it was time to finally clean up the dog poop in our backyard. Our daughter brought a puppy home eight years ago and for eight years I’ve made her promise to pick up his backyard droppings and for eight years, I’ve lost my patience waiting for her to do it and have just done it myself. It’s not that I’m spoiling her … I did that years ago, I’m just dealing with reality.

I walked into the garage and gathered my poop gathering equipment; the pooper-scooper, the pooper-scooper shovel and a 50-gallon reinforced lawn and garden trash bag. Oh, did I mention that her puppy grew into a 100-pound dog who eats and poops like a machine?

Fully equipped for my unpleasant task, I headed for the door leading to the backyard when I noticed a large snake coiled against the door hissing and clearly open for business. As a rugged manly-man type, I quickly noticed that he was not sporting rattles or fangs, so I automatically assumed he was an escaped boa constrictor invading my house to kill and eat my family. The battle was joined.

Men have been defending their homes from dragons and serpents for centuries, so my steely-eyed killer DNA kicked in (it’s a Y chromosome thing.) I assessed the weapons I had and quickly formulated a plan of attack. I abandoned the scooper and planned to use the dull edged chrome plated shovel to deflect the snake attacks and herd it into the bag where I would capture until I could gather proper snake killing gear.

As I approached the killer, it flexed its body impressively and hissed in a menacing manner, I figured it was a bad idea to show fear, so I flexed and hissed back at him. I opened the bag then gently moved the little shovel toward him in a herding gesture. He struck the shovel so violently that it rang like a bell then recoiled waiting for my next move, all the while flexing and hissing.

Figuring that capturing this giant serpent with a trash bag might not be my best option, I decided to try to herd him toward the open door at the other end of the garage. I dropped the bag and grabbed a tennis racquet that was conveniently at hand.

With cat-like reflexes, I moved to the side to provide him a clear retreat to the great outdoors but the evil beast bolted for cover under a workbench instead. The only thing worse than fighting a killer snake in your garage is losing a killer snake in your garage, so I pinned his tail against the floor with the tennis racquet to block his escape.

The snake turned and struck the tennis racquet with enough force to nearly knock it from my hand. It was then that I decided that my humanitarian efforts were wasted on this evil serpent; it was me or him and this snake was going to die.

As he flung himself at the racquet for the second time, I swung my little poop shovel like I was hitting an inside fastball stunning and confusing the cunning beast. Before he had time to recover, I scooped him up with the tennis racquet and flung him into the large open area of the garage where he had no place to hide.

The wounded snake managed one last menacing hiss before I pounced on him like the advance predator I am and bludgeoned him to death with my chrome-plated poop shovel. I roared in victory as I stood over him in triumph, racquet in one hand and shovel in the other figuring this must be what knights felt after slaying dragons.

Hearing the commotion, my wife appeared at the door and calmly said, “Aww, you killed the little rat snake, now we’re probably going to have mice.” Rat snakes are often mistaken for boa constrictors … as far as I know.

I put the dead snake in the reinforced bag and never felt better about cleaning the backyard as I covered the dead serpent with about 20 pounds of foul smelling dog poop. When I left the bag on the curb for collection I was sending a clear message to any other would-be legless reptilian home invaders; slither in at your peril for this is the castle of a dragon slayer!

I’ve got to go, this dragon slayer has to set some mouse traps …

Rick Seley is an award-winning humor columnist. He may be reached at


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