It had been raining all week, and a very bored Jake was stuck inside. With Brother BudPie, his tall, lean, muscular but not totally ripped roomie, down in the tropics, selling a load of space heaters, Jake found himself all alone. Going outside to play was not an option. Everyone knows that no matter how bored, little snakes do not like to get wet. Even getting Jake to take a bath was a daunting task, and the repercussions of his less than perfect hygiene were starting to show. “I could have some friends over, I suppose” he thought, but he couldn’t get very excited about that. It’s no fun having people over when constantly, under their breath, they made comments like “What’s that smell?” or “Who died?” or “Are you burning dirty socks?”
“Maybe a little TV” thought Jake, but as he flipped through the channels, there didn’t seem to be much of anything on. Sure, he could watch the Lemon Cake Bakeoffs, or The Citrus Squeezers Semi-Finals, or even an infomercial, but with Billy Mays gone, even that couldn’t hold his interest for long. “I need something exciting” he thought to himself. “Maybe I’ll watch a movie”
“Let’s see what we have…..The Little Snake That Could….Babycakes and Little Snakes….Boa Bob Gets a Charlie Horse…”. “This isn’t going to cut it” thought Jake. “Maybe a thriller, something scary, would get my heart rate up….hmmm…..Dracula and the Tooth Fairy….Sister Sue and the Headless Python….The Lemon Juice Nightmare….The Mongoose Who Came to Dinner….”.
“Ahhh! Here we go. The Haunted Hotel.” In his favorite spot, with a big bowl of lemon jellied spiders on what would be his lap if he had a one, and a glass of lemon fizz close at hand, Jake the bored little snake settled in to watch the movie.
(Fade to movie…)
A piercing scream split the night, startling the young, P.I. and Super Sleuth Extraordinaire, nearly causing him to drop his magnifying glass. He would have jumped right out of his skin if he hadn’t already shed it, just last week. “Pumpkin warts!” he thought to himself, “I was not expecting that! That’s enough to cause a guy to molt.” He was making his way up the stairs, looking for clues, anything that might shed some light on what was really going on in the Citrus Hotel. Reports of spooky specters, ghoulish ghosts, annoying apparitions, were in his opinion, tales concocted by the only other hotel in town, in an attempt to scare more business their way.
Of the two hotels in Lemon Land, the Citrus was by far the older, with creaking stairs, musty hallways, and dark, cobweb filled corners. Across the street, the Chateau de Marmalade, spanky, sparkly, newly built, beckoned, with a flashing sign that announced “Vacancy! Free WiFi! No Ghosts!”
As more and more business drifted away, across the street, the manager at the Citrus knew there was only one person he could call. The best detective in town, Catcher of Crooks, Master of Mystery, Banisher of Banshees, Jake the Snake.
Jake loved being a detective, from the trench coat and fedora tilted at a rakish angle, to the gum on his shoe. “All I need are sunglasses, a mustache and a big nose and I’d look just like Leon Redbone” And, with a few gigs under his belt, and a steady stream of clients, he liked knowing that he was pulling his own weight.
His pal and roomie, Brother BudPie, a strong, well-muscled, great looking hunk of humanity was a highly successful salesman specializing in refrigerators and space heaters, and was more than capable of providing for himself and a little snake. But Jake liked the idea of being a contributing member of the small family, and getting the handle on this ghost situation was a step in the right direction.
As his thoughts drifted away from his personal life and back to the matter at hand, his attention was captured by what sounded like faint, indistinct but distressed sobbing. “That sounds like faint, indistinct but distressed sobbing” he thought as he slithered up to a closed door halfway down the hall. Pressing his ear to the door, he heard a voice, soft and afraid, “No, no, please don’t!” Pressing closer to the door, wishing he could peek through the keyhole, and knowing that without a ladder it was not an option, heard a cold, creepy, ethereally eerie voice say “Caaaaaakkkkke, muuusssstttt haaaaavvve caaaaaaakkke…..”
(Fade back to reality…)
“That’s right folks, for just three easy payments of $25.00, or one single payment of $100.00, plus shipping and handling, you get the Automatic Cake Slicer, four paper plates, and Frosting Buddy! But wait! Order now and we’ll double your order. Just pay shipping and handling for the additional……”
Not paying attention to the commercial (they weren’t the same without Billy), Jake reached for his glass of lemon fizz, and when startled by a noise, would have dropped it in what would have been his lap if he’d had one. Was that a scratching at the window, or the scrape of a windblown branch? Did he hear a tap-tap-tap at the front door or was it his imagination? He was certain that he had locked all the windows and doors before settling in to his movie, and while afraid to know, but more afraid not to know, he raced over to the door, and straining to listen, heard nothing. Crawling to the window, he pressed his face against the glass, and peered into the darkness. “Can’t see anything out there” thought Jake, crawling back down from the window, only to hear a scraping at the back door! The combination of the movie and being home alone had the little snake on edge. Frantic, he raced around the room, turning off lights and the TV, hoping to make himself less visible to whomever, whatever, lurked about in the darkness. “Good thinking Jakey Boy, keep your wits about you” he muttered to himself.
Willing his heartbeat to slow down, catching his breath and pondering his next move, he was startled by a bumping sound in the hallway. “It’s inside! How did it get inside?!” thought the terrified little snake, wishing he’d gone to Ecuador with Brother BudPie, his brave, clever, extremely attractive roomie. Not knowing if it would be of any use, he began casting about for anything with which he might defend himself. In the bravest, if somewhat squeaky, voice he could muster, he said “Who’s there? Come out, show your face, prepare to meet your doom.” “Jake, is that you? It’s me, Prissscila. I came over to watch a movie, but you wouldn’t answer the door. I had to come in through the kitchen drain. Ewwww…what’s that smell? Are you burning dirty socks?”