“It’s here. It’s here. Oh, my God I can’t believe it. It’s here.”
“What’s here, honey?”
“My Acme Infrared Motion-Sensitive No-Crow Go-Crow Mechanical Snake. That’s what. Those crows won’t be yanking any more of our seedlings with this baby on duty. No way.”
“Really? What does it do?”
“What does it do? What does it do? Everything! With its GPS tracking system and 2GB of RAM, it always knows its exact location. I program hiss volume and wriggle and rattle speeds with my computer through a USB port, and infrared motion-detecting software enables night patrols. The slightest tugging from the enemy on one of our plants triggers the snake to strike. See this little window right here in its head? That’s a 10-megapixel camera with an 8x optical zoom. We’re getting up close and personal with those black-feathered little vandals. Bluetooth or Wi-Fi sends streaming video to my cell phone, and we can even view the live action on our flat screen with Apple TV. I either select Auto Snake or use the remote. And it has flashing red eyes. Pretty cool, huh?”
Michael (that’s me) was excited.
Karyn (that’s her) was worried.
She remembered the motion-sensitive sprinklers he had purchased to frighten deer: how he had meticulously applied their scary yellow decals, had measured and remeasured distances and heights, plotted trajectories, calculated angles and water velocities in order to precisely position the devices; how he had run a simulation donning a wetsuit, attaching tree branches to his head, and shyly stepping in front of the sprinklers like an approaching deer. She especially recalled hearing him curse on the many days he forgot all about the gadgets and they soaked him good.
“My goodness,” she said, “that’s a lot of electronics. How much was it, dear?”
“For two years. Practically nothing. I was up late the other night watching ‘Garden Fortress’ when the commercial came on. I bought the entry level No-Crow Go-Crow Rattler, but I can always upgrade to the Garden Cobra or Mamba—and listen to this. Because I purchased it right then, they threw in another one for free. We have two!”
“Two? Really? I hope they don’t mate and we end up with a lot of little Go-Go-Crow-Crows.”
“Funny. Very funny. And they are not Go-Go-Crow-Crows. They’re No-Crow Go-Crows.”
“Acme. Acme. Didn’t you buy the Acme Owl of Death to scare a large host of sparrows and end up throwing it out because the birds covered it in their droppings? And those sonar sound thingies that we couldn’t hear but animals could? The ones that were 100% guaranteed to keep raccoons out of the garden?”
“Oh, yeah, the Acme Infrared Ultra-High-Frequency Sonic Sound Emitters.”
“Right. Well, I don’t know what sounds those things were emitting, but wasn’t that the year not a single corn plant sprouted?”
“You’re a regular comedian. Hey, look. I pressed the button, but the snakes aren’t responding. Their batteries must be old. I’m going to go get new ones. Be right back.”
“Got ’em. Hey, I saw an ambulance in front of Mrs. McReady’s house just now. What happened?”
“I don’t know. She has a heart condition. Hope she’s OK.” “Hey, where are the snakes?”
“The electronic snakes. They were right here on the floor when I left to buy batteries.”
“I don’t know. I thought you put them in the garden.”
“Hmmm, maybe those batteries were good after all. Not a problem. I just tap the Nest Button on the remote and they return immediately.”
As the ambulance sped away, Michael and Karyn saw four small, flashing red lights move across Mrs. McReady’s front yard.
“Here they come. And look, there’re some flashing blue lights coming up our driveway, too!”
“Um, Michael? I don’t think those are mechanical snakes.” ❖
This article was published originally in 2017, in GreenPrints Issue #110.