Half way down the stairs, Bron started, then laughed. A twenty-inch gopher snake lay stretched out before him, sunning itself on a warm, concrete step. Putting down his briefcase, he picked up the snake momentarily and then looked back towards the space between the parking lot and main campus. It had a field of ivy accentuated by an occasional manzanita bush—a perfect place for releasing the snake.
Turning back around, Bron noticed a woman in her mid-twenties walking up the steps, heading to the parking lot. “Excuse me,” he said. “Could you do me a favor?”
“Who? Me?” she asked.
“Yes. I’m Bron, a new history professor here at IVC. I need to find the Magnolia Building and meet the Evening Provost before my first class. However, I found this snake sunning itself in a dangerous place.”
“I doubt anybody’s gonna stomp on it,” Leslie countered.
“Still, I’d like to release it into a natural area between here and the parking lot. Would you do that for me?”
“Huh? I’ve never touched a snake before!”
“They’re cool; this is a gopher snake. It doesn’t bite and is rather smooth.”
“Does it always wrap around a person’s arm like it’s doing to you?”
“I guess,” Bron answered. “It might be seeking warmth….What’s your name?”
“Leslie. Can I hold the snake for a moment?”
“Sure,” Bron assured her, placing the snake gently in her hand. Immediately, it began to curl itself around her bare arm, and she giggled?”
“No problem. I’ll release the snake for you professor,” Leslie confirmed. “Have a great first class.”
“Thanks so much, Leslie.”
Two weeks later, Bron and Leslie met on the same stairway: He
headed towards his classroom and she walking to the parking lot. Bron almost walked right past her, but stopped. “Leslie?”
“Professor! Imagine meeting you here again. Actually, I was hoping we’d run into one another.”
“Yes. I wanted to thank-you for helping me get over my life-long fear of snakes; they really aren’t bad at all!”
“So, everything went okay when you released it back into the wild, eh?”
“Didn’t release it,” she smiled. “I took it home—it became the family pet!” she triumphantly replied .
“Imagine that! I bet a snake’s upkeep’s different than most pets.”
“Not really,” Leslie insisted. “Better yet, we’ve seen no mice in the house since D-con, our snake, escaped its cage.”