I have mentioned that I have a lifelong fascination with – no, not just women – snakes as well. Apart from the Anaconda I had a huge Burmese python. One day I was too lazy to remove the python from the box before cleaning up a mess that it had made. These pythons eat a huge amount and even when just fed will always go for more prey. The normally docile animal saw me as its next meal. It struck, taking my whole right hand in its mouth, which has no fangs but four, yes, four rows of needle-sharp hooked teeth, each a few millimetres long. At the same time, with incredible speed, it threw a couple of coils around me, effectively trapping my right arm and leg against my body. The power of this animal is enormous. With my left hand and leg free I hopped to the couch and fell in a sort-of sitting position. The python squeezed and bit down even harder. I could hear the teeth squeaking along the bones in my fingers. I have pretty strong hands; I can squeeze with a pressure of more than double my body weight: about 130kg or so, so I thought I would just strangle the mother. I tried this but all it did was squeeze me harder.
My ribs were beginning to creak now, and I could not breathe very well. Shit. I always wore my gun for a left-hand draw, reason being, your right hand is normally busy with something, so the left is free. I shoot the same with either hand. I tried to think this through but the pain was making thinking a bit hard. If I shot the python’s head, my hand was inside it, so that was not a good plan. I still had my left limbs relatively free, but the snake had now pulled me in towards myself and my right thigh was almost on my chest.
I eventually came up with a plan. I hopped to the bathroom and got a bucket. This was quite a distance: my house was huge. The snake was doing the constriction thing all the way and by now I could barely breathe. I filled the bucket, all left hand drive, with water. I then toppled into the empty bath with the snake’s head, and my right hand, in the bucket. Pythons can hold their breath almost as long as a bloody crocodile so I was prepared to wait a while.
Fortunately, she let go quickly. As she did I grabbed her head with my left hand; my right hand was spray-painting the bathroom with blood. About 90 teeth had punctured all the small veins in my hand and fingers. If I had tried to rip her off I would have done irreparable damage to the hand. The hooked teeth would have cut all the tendons. It was not too bad, a lot of tiny holes is all. I threw her back in the box and went outside for a smoke. Evonne came round with a friend and found me sitting in the garden, smoking and dripping blood. I cleaned up my hand and then the bathroom. When I say spray-painted I mean spray-painted, there was even blood on the fucking ceiling. Evonne made coffee while I did this. She had come to look at a cage I had for her in the back garden. As I lifted the cage, a nest of wasps was disturbed and I got stung on the neck and the face.
Some days one should just stay in bed. I got rid of that python shortly after; once a wild animal has seen you as food, well … it is not a happy situation.
This story is in The Chronicles of the Mexican Horse Thief II