Jake wasn’t feeling all that great,
and he didn’t know why. What he did know was that he didn’t like it, not one
bit. He was grouchy and itchy and jumpy and twitchy, and felt like he could
crawl right out of his skin! He would ask Brother BudPie, his long, lean,
dependable mentor and roommate, for an opinion, but Brother BudPie was
currently out of town, scouting a potential sales area for a new product he had
taken on. Already at the top of the sales heap in refrigerators and space
heaters, he had recently added electric griddles to his product line. Since he
had just sold his last space heater to a donkey herder in Ecuador, he planned a
stopover in the Amazon rainforest. He just had a hunch that the griddles would
sell like hotcakes.
This was all well and good, but it
left poor Jake on his own to deal with, what to him, was a serious problem.
“I’m going to ask Brother BudPie if he will take me along on his next
trip. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind, and I might pick up a few sales tips. Then,
when a problem like this pops up again, he’ll be there for me.” But in the
meantime, Jake needed help, and he needed it bad.
“Ruff, come here boy, feel my
back. What does it feel like?” “Rough” said Ruff. “Do I
have a fever? Is it really high?” “Roof” said Ruff. Ruff was a
dog of few words, but when he did speak, he was direct and do the point. But
Jake needed more than monosyllabic responses. He needed real advice.
“So, what do you think,
Prissscilla?” Jake asked of his young snake friend. She sometimes thought
she was Jake’s girlfriend, but Jake wasn’t so sure how he felt about that.
“Have you tried lotion, Jake? That helps me when I get itchy. Or maybe a
bath. When was the last time you had a bath anyway?” Maybe just a smidgen
offended, but overly so, Jake replied with “That’s not it Prissscilla.
I’ve gone way longer than this without taking a bath and nothing happened.
Well, except no one came over to play for a couple of months, but that was
probably because they were all busy. That’s what they said anyway.”
Prissscilla just rolled her beady little eyes and said “Uh huh. Try the
lotion. Talk to you later.”
Jake did try the lotion, and it didn’t
help the itching. It didn’t help the heebie-jeebies and it did nothing for the
jitters. In fact, it did nothing at all. “I’ll give Lemon Lady a jingle. She
always has good advice” thought Jake, as he absently scratched under his chin.
And so he did. “Hi Lemon Lady, it’s me, Jake! I need some advice. Are you
busy?” “Jakey Jake, my little snake! How good it is to hear your squeaky
little, if somewhat distressed, voice! I was just on my way out the door, dear
boy. My Lemon Lovers League friends and I are going to a Citrus Social Quilting
Bee. But I do have a minute for my best little buddy. Out with it now. Tell
Lemon Lady all about it.” “Lemon Lady” said Jake, in a quivering voice, I feel
miserable, and itchy, and scratchy, all over. What can I do?” “Oh my! Indeed,
that does sound awful! Let me think of what might help…hmmm…..lotion, nope,
bath, nuh uh…ah! Try this Jake! Have a hot glass of lemonade, a sugar free
non-artificial sweetener non-GMO, gluten free cookie, and wrap yourself up in a
quilt. Take a nice long nap in font of the fireplace. The combination of citrus
on the inside and heat on the outside should sweat the bad humours right out if
you! Okey-doke Boyo, gotta run, kissy kiss on the phone! Mwah! Mwah!” and with
that, she was off, leaving only advice, and a dull ringing in Jakes ears.
Later that same day, no better for Lemon Lady’s treatment plan, Jake was nearly at wit’s end, when an idea came to him. “Maybe I’ll call Ralph. He might have some ideas.” Ralph was a friend Jake had met at the Sentient Snake Seminar a while back. He too was a little snake, but unlike Jake, lived with his mom and dad and a couple dozen brothers and sisters. He was really smart from watching Innovation Nation on Saturday mornings. Mo Rocca was his personal hero.
“Hey Ralph, Jake here. I was
hoping you could come over and help me with a problem.” “No worries,
Jake, I’ll crawl right over. Uh, when’s the last time you had a bath? Never
mind I’m on my way.” “Man, what’s with all this bath stuff?” thought
Jake as he furiously scratched his back against a bristle brush that Brother
BudPie, his thoughtful, handy, really-cute-to-the-ladies roomie had screwed to
the floor for just that purpose.
When the doorbell rang, Jake was still
busily scratching his back. “Ruff, will you get the door please? Who is
it?” “Rowf” said Ruff. “Okay, let him in. C’mon in
“Hi Jake. You look awful! You’re
blotchy, peeling, and generally in bad shape. How long has this been going
on?” “A couple of weeks, although it seems like forever” replied
Jake, as he scratched is underside on the brush. “You gotta help me Ralph.
This is making me crazy!” “Okay Jake, we’ll get the handle on this.
Just relax for a couple of minutes while I do some research.”
And with that, Ralph whipped out his iPad and began scrolling through past episodes of Innovation Nation. “Jake, while I’m going through this, let me ask you a couple questions. Did you try lotion?” “Yep” replied Jake, “Zero. Zip. Nada. Except that now I smell like a garden in springtime.” “Well” said Ralph, “that can’t be anything but good.” “Too bad you chose to be a science nerd, Ralph” said Jake. “Comedy lost a true genius when they lost you. Maybe you could keep scrolling. It’s getting to a point where I can’t be held responsible for my actions.”
“Well, let’s see, scratching,
you’re doing that now. Bathing is out. You already nixed that. Let’s talk about
your symptoms. Do you have an elevated temperature?” “Yes”
replied Jake. “According to Ruff, it’s through the roof.” Ralph
continued to scroll. “Hmmm….let’s see….itchy, twitchy, grumpy, jumpy,
like you’re going to crawl right out of your skin….wait!! Lemme see…..it
says here, molt. That’s it! You’re molting!” “Whaaat?” asked
Jake with more than just a teensy bit of doubt. “What’s that?”
“According to Mo, it’s a natural
process that, as snakes, we all go through. You’re shedding your old, smelly
skin to make room for a new, sparkly, non-itchy one. It appears that your
questionable hygiene habits may have triggered an early molt. It goes on to say
that by the time you reach the stage where you feel like you’re going to crawl
out of your skin, that you will. Crawl out of your skin, that is.”
At that moment, maybe as a result of
all the intense brushwork, Jake’s old skin peeled off like the skin of a split
Cara Cara orange. “Ho boy what a relief!” said Jake as he admired his
new duds. “Ralph, you’re a genius! I’ll be eternally grateful, for a
while.” Just then Ralph began furiously scratching where his armpits would
be, if he had armpits. “No problem Jake! Any time. Gotta crawl! See you
later. Awww man….itchy…..” Whereupon Ralph, making a hasty exit out
the front door, down the steps and through the gate, headed for home.
A few seconds later, the front door
opened, and in stepped Brother Budpie, Jake’s tall, tanned, treat-for-the-eyes
roomie. “Well howdy, Ruff! Who was that just leaving?”
“Rowf” said Ruff. “Ah! A good lad, if a little nerdy. How’ve
things been around here the last couple of weeks? “Rough” said Ruff.