Black Snake in the Kitchen!

There’s so much excitement – where to begin?

Since you already know about rats in the attic, it would be logical to mention snakes. Ron Lilley, the local expert on all things reptilian, says if you have rats, beware, snakes will come. He didn’t say it exactly like that, but close enough.

I was in the garden about to empty my bag of compost when a leaf moved. The wind, you say? No. It was in a sheltered corner where humidity hangs like a wet towel, deathly still.

Except for that one leaf.

I froze and a black shadow with yellow racing stripes glided across my path. He was a good meter long (a little more than a yard) and utterly undisturbed by my presence. I couldn’t say the same. I gave him plenty of time to disappear then did my compost dump and beat it back to the house.

I had nasty snake-dreams all night.

The following day the fogger came. Dengue fever is rampant in Ubud this year. Within days of each other, my neighbor next door and my neighbor downstairs were both suffering. As much as we hate fogging, we agreed it was time.

I put on my mask, closed the windows and doors, then captured the event in progress.

When I first moved to Bali eight years ago, I was equal parts shocked and enchanted by the relaxed approach to just about everything. The one exception was religion. Balinese Hindus do not shirk their duties to God. But other rules can be bent, regulations are more a suggestion than a requirement, and I took to it like the rebel I am. But I’ll have to admit, I still find fogging evil – albeit a necessary evil.

When the poisonous clouds had cleared and the windows re-opened, I sat down to work on my latest edit of Nettle Creek. For many weeks I’ve been unable to focus on ‘real’ writing. It’s great to be motivated again.

I was a few hours into it when the phone dinged a message from my downstairs neighbor.

The black snake is in the kitchen.

A ripple of horror coursed through me. It’s one thing to encounter wildlife when trespassing in their territory. It’s quite another sensation entirely when they trespass in mine.

I raced downstairs and peeked through the kitchen door.


I inched inside and peered under the counter. A long slim neck and triangular head stared up at me. I raced past him, got what my still-sick-with-dengue neighbor wanted out of the fridge and sent her back to bed. Then I posted vigil from the sixth step of my staircase and waited.

A few minutes passed then the head and neck poked into view. Seeing the coast was clear, it slithered – the exaggerated S-curves of it’s body gave me the willies – out the door and into the bushes.

I’m a bit puzzled by friends who tell me they’re bored in isolation. Lockdown here has brought an onslaught of drama like never before. But even in the absence of outside stimulation, isn’t there always something to do – like try a new recipe for instance?

After my foray into skillet biscuits people sent ideas for all manner of delights to make on the cooktop. I’ve been too busy to experiment until today.


No foggers or rat guys or gas guys or snakes! Today was Skillet Peanut Butter Cookie day!

Just creamy peanut butter, soda, flour, salt, and egg. I didn’t add sugar. Bali’s Morin Creamy Peanut Butter is already too sweet.

When the dough could hold its shape, I rolled it into balls and put them in a non-stick pan. Pretty fork imprints characterize peanut-butter-cookie memories of my childhood – a must.

I covered the pan with a derelict old pot topper that I inherited from some forgotten somewhere long ago. It conveniently lost it’s knob along the way. The hole on top allows moisture to escape.

I put the burner on low and after about 10 minutes, turned the cookies over. For the second batch the burner was on high. It took 8 minutes total and they were perfect without flipping. A dash of pink Himalayan salt on top, a mug of coconut Chai, and I had the best solo tea party ever.

It’s four o’clock in the afternoon, time to pull up the manuscript and do a bit more editing. Then a beverage of choice accompanied by five calorie-dense Spicy Zanana Chips – no more, no less – and my day will be complete.

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. stevecastley
    Apr 20, 2020 @ 19:02:13

    I Hate snakes. Always have. Always will. But I’v faced my fears literally a hundred times and can still tell the stories. The stories are so much better than the snakes.

    Liked by 2 people


  2. writingforselfdiscovery
    Apr 20, 2020 @ 19:07:45

    I hear you, Steve! I’m so glad I wasn’t at that table with all of you when the snake fell from the ceiling. Shudder!!! I may not have survived such a terror.



  3. Carol
    Apr 20, 2020 @ 21:56:05

    Sounds like Bali would be too wild for me. Snakes! Ugh



    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Apr 21, 2020 @ 12:27:08

      There’s a thin line. The face the island presents to the world is pristine beaches, lush landscapes, and beautiful smiles. But the economical chasm between the Balinese and the tourists they so graciously tend is hard to grasp. I didn’t see how ‘the other half lived’ until I was invited to the village. When the veneer of tourism is stripped away and things begin to return to the basics, real life returns with nature up close and personal.



  4. sageblessings
    Apr 20, 2020 @ 22:04:26

    Snake! Argh! You are a braver soul than I. The cookies turned out great. I made P-butter cookies during this isolation time too followed by chocolate chip. I am not fond of cookies but somehow during this time, one after dinner is appreciated. Ugh, snake.



  5. Diane Struble
    Apr 21, 2020 @ 19:59:00

    Cookies look great. Nice when no oven. I baked in an electric skillet while getting appliances into the kitchen in Anoka. Worked fine.
    What do they recommend for keeping your friendly snake out where he belongs? If I knew he was harmless, I would not really care, but otherwise, I would not want him around. Looking forward to more.



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