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Snake Pits, Dogs and Rhinos
by Leah Sellers
2013-08-31 12:32:30
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“Looky here at this Map of the World, Augie.”  Uncle Jeb unfolded the large, wrinkled and worn, paper World Map on top of the hood of his old Ford pick-up truck.

“I don’t wanna look at that ‘ole map right now, Uncle Sam.  My truck is in the shop, and need you to drive me to the back of the pasture,” Augie answered.

“You ever heard that you get a lot more out’a folks with honey than vinegar, nephew ?”

Augie sighed exasperatedly, ”I’m sorry for bein’ so short with you, Uncle Sam.  It’s just that I wanna git that stinkin’ Rattler that bit, Bocephus.  And I need a lift.”

“I figured that’s what you were up to when I saw you marchin’ out here with your rifle.  The vet said that Bocephus was respondin’ well to the anti-toxin, and that his chances of survivin’ were good.  So, what’s your hurry ?”

“I’m mad.  Bocephus is restin’ nice ‘n easy on his bed in the livin’ room, and I’m ready to git even with that sidewindin’ Snake.”

“Well, I’ll give you that lift if you give me a few minutes of your precious time, nephew,”  Uncle Sam gave Augie one of his sideways grins.

“Oh, for Pete’s Sake.  Alright then.  What is it that is so important for you to show me, Uncle ?”

“Alright then, follow my pointin’ finger, Boy.”  Uncle Sam traced very specific countries on the World Map.  He started with Turkey, and followed the land mass up to where it touched Greece and Bulgaria, and then dipped back down Turkey and around to Syria, Lebanon, Israel, to the Suez side of Egypt, and back around to Jordan, to Iraq, to Iran, to Pakistan. And up and around Pakistan where it bordered India, China and Russia, to Afghanistan, and back across the northern border of Iran again to where Uncle Sam had begun at he northern border of Turkey.

“Now, what did you see my finger trace, Augie ?”

“Well, since I served in Afghanistan for four years, Uncle, I’d have to say the majority of the Middle East.”

“Right you are.  But did you notice anything else about the overall shape of the countries I traced out of the Middle East ?”

“Uncle Sam, why don’t you just tell me what it is that you want to show me, and let’s git this show on the road, sir.”  Augie answered impatiently.

“All of those countries make the shape of a Rhinoceros, Boy.”

“What in the world has that got to do with anything, Uncle Sam ?  Is this another one of your hair-brained, spooky theories ?”

“I am not spooky, Young’un.  Nor am I hair-brained, you lame-brain.”

“You are spooky sometimes, Uncle Sam.  There is no rhyme or reason to the things you pull out of thin air.”

“What I’m showin’ you is not pulled out of thin air.  Does the shape I’m showin’ you look like a loping Rhinoceros or not ?”

“Yes Sir, now that you’ve traced it out, I’ll have to admit that it does resemble a Rhino.  In fact, it’s sorta’ interestin’ how Istanbul is at the root of the Rhino’s horn.  And the front leg is made up of Israel, Suez-Egypt, and Jordan.  And the back leg and tail are formed in Pakistan.”

“I’ve stared at hundreds of maps of the Middle East, and never noticed that before.”

“You were focused on Duty to your Country and to your Fellow Soldiers, and to Survival, Nephew.  You had other things on your mind than cock-a-mamey theories.”

“Now, you know that I’ve been studying’ up for quite some time about what things symbolize, ’cause there’s a Primordial Energetic Common Sense to it,”  Uncle Sam continued.

“Well, Rhinos symbolize Ancient Wisdom, and how we Perceive it, and how we Use it.  And whether or not we Perceive and Use it Wisely or Foolishly.”

“Rhinos symbolize Spiritual Idealism.”

“Also, Rhinos are very short-sighted, and easy to rile if you slip past their keen Senses of Sound and Smell. 

They’re also Solitary critters.  They’re comfortable in their own Hides.”

“Speakin’ of hides.  The Oxpeckers are birds that practically live on the backs of Rhinos.  They pick off and eat all of the blood suckin’ fleas and ticks botherin’ and harmin’ the Rhino.”

“I have often wondered if that’s not what the U.S. of A. and her Allies are for the Middle Eastern Ruling Families and Dictators.  If we’re not the Oxpeckers they have used for years to protect their Interests, because of Our Interests in their Oil, and the Money and Power that Oil brings to all of the Players involved in these constant War Games that have been killin’ all of our Children and drainin’ America’s National coffers for years.”

“Anyways, the most interestin’ thing about this World Map Middle Eastern Rhino is that Syria is located at the Heart of this creature.  Not Assad, cause one dictatorial Ruling Family member is pretty much the same as any other.  But Syria’s Earthly, and what you would call spooky, Energies are the Heart of this Rhinoceros.”

“Augie, I fear that if we strike Syria - if America strikes at the Heart of this creature, we will put it into an already set-up Energetic ragin’ Survival Mode that will Ripple throughout the entirety of the Beast, and the whole Rhino will charge at us.  And let’s not forget their unsteady and power hungry neighbors and Allies.”

“I fear we’re headed toward some mighty risky business over this latest craziness over deadly chemical weapons and such.  Never mind that over 100 thousand innocents, and not so innocents, have already been murdered by other killin‘ machines….”

“Uncle Sam, can we finish talkin’ about this on the way out to the Deep Hole I saw that Rattler drop off into ?”  Augie interrupted.   “I really wanna git him.”

Uncle Sam folded up his paper map, and moving toward the driver’s side of his truck said, “Hop on in.  We’ll go git that Rattler, and cook it up for Bocephus’ supper.”

Smiling, Augie laid his rifle on the floor board at the back of the truck and piled in.

“Slow down, Uncle Sam.  You see that clump of prickly pear cactus ahead to your right ?”

“Sure do.”

“That’s where the Deep Hole is located.”

Uncle Sam slowed his truck, and stopped just short of the prickly pear cacti cluster.  The two tall men walked carefully into the center of the thorny cacti, and stopped just above a Deep Hole in the Ground.
Both men stared down into the Deep, Dark, Man-Made Hole in the Ground.  Sweat beaded on both men’s upper lips and foreheads.  Augie shifted the rifle in his hands, “Do you hear that ?”

“Sure do, Nephew.  You have brought us here to find one gol durned Snake in a Snake Pit full of ‘em.  Ha !”

A loud, continuous rattle filled the Deep Hole overpopulated by wriggling, writhing, coiling, air-striking Rattlesnakes.

“That one, right there, Uncle Sam.  See it ? The one right smack dab in the middle of all of those dad-blamed varmints ?  Right in the Heart of ‘em ?”

“Yep, I see the strikin’ devil.  He’s a mean one alright.  He appears to be in Survival Mode, surrounded as he is by all of those other deadly Rattlers crawlin’, hissin’ and strikin’ out at everything within reach down there at the bottom of that Pit.”

“Augie, are you open to a little experiment ?”

“What now, Uncle Sam.  I just want to kill this particular snake and then git on back to the house to look in on Bocephus.”

“This won’t take but a few more minutes out of your planned schedule, Nephew, “  Uncle Sam smiled.

“Alright then.  What are you askin’ of me, Uncle ?”

“You,ve heard all of this talk about a surgical strike against Syria to teach it a lesson about using chemical weapons, even though Assad, and many other Middle Eastern leaders have already killed over hundreds of thousands of their People with all other kinds of weapons, and then somehow laid the blame for all of their ills at the feet of the Westerners who were just tryin‘ to Save them.  Not knowin‘ that their good intentions were being Used and Abused by the very Leaders and Corporations and Bankers who were manipulatin‘ everything behind the scenes so that they could git even more rich.  And buy another Island or buy another Boat or buy another Mansion or buy another Country.”

“Alright, Uncle Sam.  I’ve got the picture.  Can you git on with
It ?”

“Anyways, you’re a good shot, Augie.  Take a surgical shot at your snake’s tail and shoot its Rattle off.  We’ll call it your Message Shot across the Bow.”

Ka-pow !

“Ooo-wee, Augie !  You knocked the Shaker right off the tail of that varmint.  Look at him !  He’s striking’ at every Rattler around him.  And they’re striking’ out against every other Rattler around one another.  They are spittin’ and fangin’ their deadly venom out everywhere !”

“They’re killin’ one another off, all over the bottom of that Snake Pit, ‘cause he was located right at the Heart of the Varmints !  Let’s see how long it takes for ‘em to settle down.”

Several minutes passed before the loud rattling, spitting, and fanging eased within the Pit.  The Deep Hole in the Ground.

Ka-pow !

“Looky there, you shot that Rattler’s head plumb off.  Look at its body writhin’ around down there.  It doesn’t even know it’s dead yet.  And look at all of the other Rattlers.  They’re right back to strikin’ and poisonin’ one another.”

The two men stood mesmerized.  Quietly watching the Deadly Chaos taking place within the bottom of the Snake Pit.  Some of the Snakes even tried to jump out, and crawl out.  But, too much frenzied, and aggressive activity prevented any escape from the Deadly, Deep Hole in the Ground.

“There’s some lessons to be learned here, Augie.”

“Yep, Uncle Sam.  Never mess with Man’s Best Friend.  Especially not if that Dog’s name is Bocephus.  And that if you mess with one Snake, particularly if he’s right in the Heart of all of the Others, then you wind up messin’ with ‘em All.  They All had their own Reasons and Hurts for joinin’ in the frackus, but they All got involved in one way or another.”

“And so it is in the World of Snake Pits, Dogs and Rhinos,” Uncle Sam smiled broadly at his Nephew.

“You really are spooky, Uncle Sam.”

Uncle Sam laughed outright.  “You ask me, the whole world is filled with spooks. Now, let’s head on back to the house and git a tall glass of your Aunt Lettie’s iced, sun made tea.”

“Sounds good to me, Uncle.  It’s almost time for me to try and feed Bocephus again, anyway.”

The two men turned their backs on the dying rattling still drifting up into the hot afternoon air from the Snake Pit, and headed Home to Lettie, Bocephus and sun made tea in Sam’s ‘ole dependable pick-up truck.

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