The Legend of Fangy Pitchtail

The Jersey Devil has its pine barrens. The Loch Ness Monster has its Scottish aquatic tourism. And Fangy Pitchtail claims the weedy, second-tier, far-back of my residential yard.

Like ol' Nessie and Bigfoot, there is some reason to question our friend Fangy's existence. But where they have grainy non-credible portraiture, I have but one fleeting eyewitness moment to back it up.

I had always suspected there was something back there. When I first bought the property, the Way-Back of my tiny personal kingdom was a lush jungle of prickles, vines and National Geographic photographers.

So with the blind, zealous ambition of a new homeowner, I gathered machete and gloves and well-informed native guides and went about reforestation. The Nat Geo folks moved three backyards over to examine the fascinating suburban ecosystem of lawn bowling balls, bottle trees and other creative recycling. Things were looking up.

Soon, I had seven bags of creepers and stabbers and stick-to-your-socksers. But new information caused the glittering joy of a job-well-done to quickly lose its luster.

I could not stop focusing on a strange spherical hole, the size of a golfball, dug deep, deep, deep into the dirt.

It looked like something was living there. Something roughly the diameter of a very thick jungle vine.

Suddenly, I wondered if I was truly alone. And I wished I could go back to the days of solitude and a 75% less chance of slithering subterrainean guests.

Well, from then on I kept the place clear in only a half-hearted way. Just often enough so I wouldn't be labeled the local kook, the crazy lady with the Addams Family film set for her backyard.

When I did weed, I weeded while peering over my shoulder, questioning every rustle in the brush, every vine I grabbed...

A surprise grand entrance of a local cat lost me about three lives of my own, as my ragged nerves exploded in a personal landmine of limbs and heart palpitations.

Then there was the day a friend and I were chatting in the kitchen, and happened to peer out the back window into the yard.

It was only a moment, as these things tend to be. One second in time with no independent verification, no solid proof. But we both stopped dead in conversation as something large, long, sleek and black was spotted, just slipping over the top of the five-foot back fence.

"Er, maybe it was a cat," my friend told me, lying on cue as good friends tend to do in situations of discomforting backyard anaconda. "A black cat's tail. That's all. Just a cat."

"Sure," I agreed, knowing full-well a cat's tail does not taper like that. If that was a cat, it was a scaly mutant cat. That lived in a golf-ball-hole.

And that made the image of Fangy Pitchtail all the more, um, colorful.

So Spring is here, and the Way-Back yard needs to be weeded again. I know the probability is that my cold-blooded squatter is probably just a simple black snake, completely harmless and likely more afraid of the shrieking, edgy creature above than she is of it.

And perhaps Fangy isn't even there anymore. Perhaps he's relocated to the yard with the National Geographic photographers, helping document the local fauna and why anyone needs a wall artistically-constructed out of 100 empty Chlorox bottles.

But like those who doggedly pursue the fabled, the impossible, the mythic, I can't help but feel Fangy is still out there and waiting. Biding his time for that one big meeting. His ultimate chance to pose for a blurry shot on film.

The stuff of which kitschy souvenir t-shirts are made. I mean, a scaly mutant cat that lives in a golf-ball-hole could really make a killing.
Er, maybe I should rephrase.

6 comments:

Surfie said...

And Lee County in South Carolina has the Lizard Man!

You know what you have to do, right? Set up some stupidly technical device with a motion sensor camera on it to catch photos of Fangy Pitchtail in action! Then you can have your proof without having to be anywhere near said slitherer to get it.

Jenn Thorson said...

Surfie- So what's Lizard Man's claim to fame? Does he live in the woods or swamps or something? I'll have to look him up.

I like the idea of long-distance curiosity satiation. WAY long distance.

BeerDrinker Tweeted me indicating he feels it's a snake. I'm guessing he's right. But the question is... HOW BIG IS FANGY?

I think snakes are beautiful, but that doesn't mean I want to mistake a vine for one.

ReformingGeek said...

YIKES! I hope there is NOT a sighting this year.

I have an overgrown area that borders with my neighbor and if it's going to get weeded, I will be doing it......in full hazmat gear!

The Naked Writer said...

lol Hazmat Gear is in fashion this year!
Jenn, I really enjoy reading your blog! So far, I have gotten through about half of the posts and they make me laugh a lot!
I love your posts!

I know you have a lot of readers and probably don't get to read other new blogs but if you have some time, maybe you would like to visit mine?

It's a wacky, funny blog that would make a 4 year old jealous cause of it's awesomeness...you know you wanna ( i know, it's shameless self promotion, but how else do you get to know people who are into the same things as me?)

http://www.thewritingwomb.com

thanks for making me laugh and for the support

Anonymous said...

Sounds like there's a blacksnake sharing your garden. From a gardening point of view, that means you've got a pretty healthy ecosystem back there!

Jenn Thorson said...

Reforming Geek- I can see Hazmat gear is a nice solution. A little warm for the summer months, but sometimes you have to sacrifice comfort for safety. :)

Naked Writer- I'm glad you're enjoying the blog. I'll have to pop by in a lull between my various panics at work. :)

Anonymous- I appreciate the positive spin on the black snake. Perhaps I will even be able to convince myself that this is a good thing as I weed back there. (In my Hazmat suit.)