Hiss. As you may have guessed, I am a snake. I do not have legs, which is inconvenient. I have to slither everywhere on my body. It is such an inefficient way of getting around. All about me, there are animals with legs. I look at them, and I writhe with jealousy.
Of course, there are benefits of having no legs. I do not have any feet or hooves. This is beneficial because they are oh so ugly. I cannot stand it when some careless-legged animal plants its gross trotter near my beautiful face. So much of my life is spent close to the ground that I can hardly see anything. The appearing foot does not tend to actually appear until the last second. Taller animals may take this for granted, but it isn’t easy to live when you can’t see over even a few blades of grass.
There is a nice advantage to being a snake, though. Everyone is scared of me. So, when a rancid tootsie gets too near to me, I simply have to slither towards it and make my trademark hiss. Almost always, the animal notices me and immediately uses its disgusting plates of meat to carry it away. So, then, you can deduce that I hate feet, but maybe I do wish I had them—just a little bit.
It is not necessarily the inefficiency of slithering that gets to me. It is the treatment I get because of it. I am discriminated against just because of my snakeskin. I try to shed it, but then there is just more snakeskin. I am a snake, and there is nothing I can do about that. I will tell you a little story, about how I am discriminated against. It happened yesterday, but it really is just like every other day.
A forest, that’s where I live – trees everywhere, roots covering the ground in amongst the leaves, animals all over the shop. It is the perfect place for me to slither around, get my food, stay out of harm’s way. Well, mostly.
Yesterday I woke up at sunrise like I usually do. I sleep with my eyes open, which I have been told is creepy as anything. My blood runs cold, so I found a patch of the sun not blocked by the leaves above and heated myself up. I hate nature for not giving me hot bloody, but we get what we are given.
Then, it was breakfast time. Yes, this is a story about my own misfortune, but perhaps I should not get too down. My life is better than that of my breakfast. I do sometimes feel bad for the mouse that I swallow whole. It occurs to me that it had feelings, hopes, and dreams. Of course, I still eat it anyway. They are incredibly delicious.
After I had caught my mouse, I had to get on the move. It is necessary for me to move throughout the day. If I don’t, those birds will get me. They sit on their perches, or they circle above looking through the gaps in the foliage, and they plot on ways to kill me. My back is covered in scars from their beaks. They want to kill me. Sometimes I think their desire to hurt me is not for their own benefit, and it is out of sheer wantonness. If I stay still, they will peck me to shreds. Like any living being, I am scared to die. That fear drives me. I have to keep moving.
The only reason why I’d stay still is to protect my eggs. There is nothing to protect at the moment. My last batch failed to hatch. There was nothing wrong with them; they were healthy. But apparently, other animals find them tasty. I cannot tell you the gut-wrench you have when you find that your babies have been stolen. One moment I was preparing to procreate, to bring snakes into the world. The next, my chances of doing so had vanished. All of this for one meal. They stole my chance at motherhood for a snack. I feel sick just saying it.
So, that is why I kept moving. I slithered along, under and around obstacles, until I found the greatest obstacle at all. A group of people, sitting in a circle. If they saw me, I was dead. They killed my friend and life partner just a few weeks ago. The only other snake worth my time, dead in an instant. I do not know why they killed him. Perhaps it was for his skin; perhaps it was for fun; maybe it was because they were scared of him. Humans are clever and emotionally intelligent; I do not know why they hate us, want to hurt us. But they do. When they do, they do it with such brutal ferocity that there are only two options for a snake if you see one. You must bite them, maybe kill them, or avoid them at all costs.
Yesterday, I decided to avoid them; I turned on my non-existent heels and fled. Perhaps I should have attacked as some sort of revenge for my friend, but what is the use in me getting killed too. That said, I do not have much to live for, now my babies are gone.
The routine is always the same. Wake up, warm up, eat a poor mouse, avoid the vicious birds, move around, avoid the humans, go to sleep again. This is all that life has in store for me. I have no friends; everyone hates me or at least fears me. To make it worse, I am forever consigned to wriggling around on my belly across the coarse earth like an oversized worm. It is no life; I would not wish it on anyone.