Snakes in the City

“When I saw todays #WritePhoto picture, I had to do some research. To my delight the plant was native to the KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. Therein is a city called Durban. The home of a snake catcher called Simon Keys. I love his show Snakes in the City. So, here is something I think he’d like.”

“We all have something that burns so strong within us we will fight to the death to protect or own it. What would you fight and die for?”

I wrote this story in answer to the following prompts:
Word of the Day Challenge — Gorgeous
#Writephoto Challenge  — Picture above by KL Caley
Ragtag Daily Prompt — Antimacassar

Snakes in the City

Karibo slipped the briefcase into the void and replace the floorboards. “What comes easy can vanish just as easy. Unless one is especially careful,” she said while rolling back the rug.

The day’s warm breeze billowed the soft white curtains hanging at the open veranda doors.

Standing, she straightened the sofa and entered the kitchen through the rattan fly screen. Now, the job was done, it was time for some rooibos tea.

The kettle had just boiled as a loud thud echoed around the apartment. Someone had kicked the front door.

“You could at least ring the bell!” Karibo said to herself as she regained the lounge.

The door buckled, splintered and flew open. Two hulking men, dripping in bling and tattoos, stalked into the room. One brandished a pipe wrench the other a very American baseball bat.

“Why don’t you thunder in, gentleman,” Karibo smoothed her dreadlocks onto a shoulder and folded her arms with a disdainful look. “The remains of my front door are there. Get out!”

“Hallo, gorgeous. Elijah wants his money,” gravelled the man with the bat. In a single swing, he destroyed a lamp and a handmade lion ornament. An accurate hit considering his pinprick pupils.

“Well, I ain’t got no money. I certainly ain’t got his money. I don’t even know who he is.”

“Stop playing games,” the second man obliterated the telephone with his pipe wrench, “You’ll get hurt, see?”

Karibo felt very vulnerable. With every fibre of her being, she willed herself not to shake, not to reveal her fears. “There’s no money here. Stop breaking my things and leave!”

“Have it your way. Bok!”

“My pleasure, Leo.”

Karibo backed up a step and opened her stance as the man walked toward her.

Banging his pipe wrench into his palm, he advanced on his smaller victim.

“Violence can’t make money appear. You don’t have to do …” Karibo leapt the side. The wrench shot past her ear bounced off the sofa.

Bok spun and grab a handful of Karibo’s dreadlocks. With the roar and a flex of his bulging biceps, he sent her flying over the sofa tearing off the antimacassar in her wake.

Karibo shrieked as she slammed into the veranda doors.

Leo seized the sofa and hurled it into the wall unit. A splintering crash ended several more of Karibo’s possessions. “Come on, gorgeous. We’re running out of things to break. Give us the money and save yourself.”

“You should be at the hearing specialists. I told you I have any damned money!” Karibo rose to a knee only for Bok to scythe her through the doors with a stiff kick to the chest.

“Haha! This is fun,” Bok chuckled showing yellow teeth.

Karibo landed by a large potted plant. The green succulent made her smile. Climbing to her feet, she hauled the heavy pot into her arms. “Perhaps you should take this you, greedy scumbags!”

“Why would we take a pot plant?” Leo asked as the two men followed her onto the sunny veranda.

“It’s called Crassula Ovata. It’s quite common here in the KwaZulu-Natal.” Karibo eyed something moving within the green branches. “Maybe, if you’d stop beating people up and learn something, you’ll learn why is a good plant to have.”

Bok swung his wrench smashing a cactus off the veranda. Its pot smashed three stories below leaving a lady screaming. “You’ll fly next — if you don’t tell us why we should take that plant and give us the money, now!”

Karibo hid a smile. “Fine, Crassula Ovata is better known as Jade, lucky, or money plant. To have these in your home supposed to grant you luck and endow you with money. It …”

“And yet you have no money and your luck just ran out!” Leo scoffed as he took another step forward.

“Wrong!” Karibo groaned with exertion as she hurled the pot toward him.

Leo swung his bat. The pot exploded as something slipped from the succulent’s branches.

Karibo watched a magnificent lime-coloured green mamba land on the man’s chest.

Leo screamed in fear. This was one of Africa’s most venomous snakes.

Bok, overcome by terror, swung for all he was worth. His wrench missed the snake and bludgeoned his partner hard in the shoulder.

The usually placid mamba became distressed by all movement. It sunk its venom-injecting fangs deep into Leo’s arm before falling to the floor.

“Help me!” Leo panicked and staggered into Bok blasting him clean off the balcony.

“Oh shit!” Karibo gasped as she heard him scream all the way down and thud into the concrete below. She hadn’t expected that to happen! Racing past Leo, she entered the lounge and grabbed some snake tongs and a pillowcase she kept by the door.

Returning to the veranda, it was clear Leo was in trouble. He was already ataxic and uncoordinated. The fast-acting venom, already paralysing his muscles, lowering his blood pressure and causing him to struggle to breathe.

“Help … Me!” He gasped before ejecting bloody vomit on the floor.

Karibo ignored him as she pinned the green mamba and grabbed it behind the head. This was the only way to handle it without getting bitten. With well-practised moves, she secured the snake within the pillowcase.

By then Leo was down, barely moving and gurgling in huge amounts of pain.

“You see, greed gets you nowhere.” Karibo took out her phone and called the Durban Metro police. “Hello … Yes. Two men broke into my apartment and trashed it. One was bitten by green mamba on my veranda and he knocked his friend over the balustrade in his terror. I’m afraid both are dead… Thank you … No, the snake is now contained. Thanks again, goodbye.”

Karibo hung up and left Leo to die. In the lounge, she threw the rug aside. Lifted the floorboards and took out the briefcase. “I’ll miss you, Durban,” Karibo smiled and left the remains of her apartment.

Along the way to the airport, she released the green mamba into a tree where she’d caught earlier. Saving snakes was her passion in life and something she’d always do. The mamba and the Crassula Ovata definitely saved her life today. Back in her car, she opened the briefcase revealing three million American dollars. Elijah had called Karibo to remove several boomslang snakes from his garden. In doing so, he revealed he was a rotten heroin dealer and smuggler. Well, now his coffers are a little lighter. His gang a little short of personnel. Karibo was off to enjoy a new life in Dubai.

The End

Thanks for reading my friends.

There’s more in the Poetry CornerPoetry NookShort StoriesShort Stories 2, and, Short Stories 3 tabs.

Have a great day!

19 thoughts on “Snakes in the City

Add yours

    1. Hello, Lou.

      Good bit of fun today.

      I’m glad you messaged. I tried to comment on your post 4 times earlier it kept rejecting. probably WP rather anything wrong I expect. but just so you know I tried.


      1. I think it made everyone that tried the challenge work 🙂 It’s not a word that comes up very often under normal circumstances. 😛 I made it a more central part of my story … a kind of silly, historical/period one.

        Liked by 1 person

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