Something isn’t right. Normally school mornings are like costume shopping the day before halloween, realizing at school I wore my brother’s socks that mismatched the unicorn printed one on my left foot. Because of sisters hearing impairment she was exempt from morning hustle. Mom wrote who she was, “Sister” and her name, “Ethyl Ace Tate,” on all her things from clothes to toothpaste. Imagine being yelled at for the pea sized fluoride that enriched the “15% of this tube is Ethyl’s.” We would be at school and mom, work, before realizing Ethyl was still home sleep. But today there was no land grab only silent and my aquarium lid on the floor that read, “Pet Roleum” which was my pet snake. If today was fashion day at school, I would win having my brother’s wardrobe to pick from. You could hear a pin drop. Sis Tags were made out of love but Roleums, purely scripted by mom.
It was somewhere in a 2 bedroom apartment it shouldn’t be hard to find, right. Mom’s early scream broke the surface, startling my brother’s Akimbo-Tuff stance. Then from Ethyl a cry late which worried everyone because we knew she could’ve heard mom. She was bitten. Moving as if rehearsed, they headed for ice and the snake as I grabbed the phone and medicine. The crude oil mom used to Hex Ane – our second floor neighbor, I pushed aside focusing only the tagged, “Sister Ethyl Alcohol,” and grabbed it. Roleums venom was deadly and only Ane who was an H.E (hospital ecosystem) employee had medical training but was part timed due to the pandemic. Upon hearing ceiling footsteps, the very noise that drove mom to voodoo weaponry, I prayed she was part time and still home. I text messaged, “H.E PT Ane”, hoping she understood. Crucial snake-bite seconds passed without a response, then the toilet flushed as my Akimbo King stood over it holding Roleums tail, “To the Porcelain express to the sea,” He said. My scream, “No”, didn’t stop the descent. With a lions selection I pounced the Laggard at the end of the herd, Ethyl.I couldn’t be no more a coward than dear brother who sucker punched the tail instead of the head of the serpent. Besides Ethyl wasn’t bitten, just a wolf cry is all it was. Mom assumed me the sea was a perfect match, the natural environment for animals. That even as a kid released her pet bird and wherever it was, it was better off. “A perfect match” I asked, “As imperfect as my match to a unicorn.”