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Hartselle Enquirer
Jacob Hatcher

A boy, a snake, a Shotgun Red doll 

By Jacob Hatcher

Spring has sprung. Soon I will start cutting the grass until it’s time to cut the turkey at Thanksgiving. Such is life in the South.  

It will be hot and sticky, and along the fence, there will be snakes – and while there aren’t many things I am terrified of, snakes are one of them.  

Daddy always says snakes are more scared of me than I am of them, but that can’t be true because of all the snakes I’ve stumbled upon in my life, I have yet to see one die of a heart attack upon seeing me.  

Truth be told, I would push a dear friend to the ground to get away from a snake.  

How else should we feel about the creature Satan first made himself known as? 

The first time I ever knew of snakes, though, was in an apartment in Bellevue, Tenn. I was searching for a Shotgun Red doll in my parents’ closet. If you are unfamiliar with Shotgun Red, I pray you find time to do some research, but I digress.  

I opened box after box, pouring the contents out one by one, but stopped searching before I could find the doll. You see, I was interrupted by a box that had previously only existed in a horror movie screenplay.  

Before I was born, my Daddy wandered the woods for a living. As he went, he would encounter snakes and, when necessary, dispatch them. And in that closet, I found his box of trophies; snake heads and rattles poured out of that box like gold through Scrooge McDuck’s fingers.  

Perhaps a more mature boy would have realized those snakes were long dead, but being a mere toddler, I wasn’t quite as rational about it. I don’t want to be too dramatic, but it might have been the worst thing that ever happened to a young boy.  

I don’t remember what happened directly thereafter, having blocked it from my memory no doubt, but I do know that was the last time I went snooping through anyone’s closet that wasn’t mine.