The next week took a year to go by. Mom decided it was time to repaint the porch and set me down with a scraper to take off the old layers down to bare wood. It was fun at first, popping the blisters and seeing how big a paint chip I could take intact, but after the first half hour, it was real work again. After an hour, I had one board scraped with thirty seven to go.
“We can’t go see the rocket launch until we get this done,” Mom said, and silenced my coming protest just by tilting her head. She left me on the porch to do whatever it was Mom did in the house when she wasn’t finding chores for me to do.
I spent the time thinking about the snake in my old classroom. After our unit on insects, we moved on to reptiles. The teacher brought in a garter snake, and set in an aquarium in the window. The crickets, having no further scientific purpose, became food. I wondered if the snake’s belly hurt from the spines on their legs, but it didn’t seem to notice. I figured it was a smart snake, because after we finished learning all about reptiles, it escaped and couldn’t be found. Our next unit was on amphibians, which didn’t eat snakes, but the snake didn’t know that. I understand there is still a story floating around the school that it has since grown to the size of an anaconda and lives in the girl’s bathroom.