Helen Argers Novelist, Humorist, Poet!

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by Helen Argers*

REAKING NEWS:   A deadly poisonous cobra escaped from the Bronx Zoo but people will be safe if they don’t provoke the cobra.  Who’s name is Suzi.  Short for Suez Canal—home of  her ancestors.   If she comes close just sing:  ‘If you knew  Suzi, as I know Suzi,  oh, oh, what a gal killer.’ But remember no provoking!

Viewer: What exactly  provokes Suzi, the cobra?   Trying to hit her?

News Authority: That would surely do it.

Viewer:     What about just running by? 

News Authority:   Yup, that too.

Viewer:    Authorities are always vague. Tell me straight: Is it provoking if I crept by?      Or just stood still?

News Authority:  No, I definitely would not do that.   See, you’d be breathing and she’d hear it. 

Viewer:  Naturally, I’d be breathing and hoping to keep breathing . . .

News Authority:  Standing by and breathing would make the snake think you were being  offered . . .

Viewer:    (shocked) Offered -- where?

News Authority:  On his menu – don’t you see?   First and second course. To them you taste just like chicken.

Viewer:  Well, then I’ll be chicken and just keep running.

News Authority:   That would work for a speed runner.  Snake venom strikes fast.

Viewer:      Then help me, what do you suggest?

News Authority:   Bottom line – best if you weren’t in her vicinity at all.  Just by being close – you are innately provoking.    My last suggestion and this may be a mite way out. . .

Viewer:      Please!

News Authority:  Carry a pipe and play it when Suzi approaches.  She just may be distracted enough to start dancing and forget  you.   But, then you’d have to keep playing. Put the pipe down, and the snake would spit the poison and you’d die a tough death.   

Viewer:   Are you certain you’re a herpetologist?

News Authority:   “Well, not exactly a reptile expert.   I just play one on this station.  How am I doing?

Viewer:    Terribly.  You’ve scared me to death.    Better send you to provoke the cobra.  

Poisonous Snake:  May I interrupt this discussion to offer some enlightened information about me.   I am not easily provoked.  Only if people speak stupidly about me and my habits.  This man has provoked me by his insensibility.   I am deadly but I choose my subjects.  By the way, would you care to hear why I ran away?

Viewer:   Yes, I would.

Snake:     Being Egyptian, I heard about the uprising there and feeling left out, wanted to escape to join my compatriots.  Knowing how it feels to be caged, I would set them free.  Patriot snake is who I am.  Not poisonous snake. 

Viewer:   Well, I’m pleased to hear you’re a libertarian.  I support you.

Snake:   Really?   You’re not just saying that so I won’t spit some poison your way?

Viewer:  Absolutely not.  I see you in an entirely different light.  You are a freedom fighter!  The whole nation is supporting freedom fighters.  Even in Libya.

Snake:  (hissing) Libya!   I am Egyptian.  I have no sympathy for people who support anyone in Libya and forget Egypt.  

Viewer:  (Nervously)   I like Egypt.  The pyramids are real nice.

Snake:   My ancestors are often pictured as being head to head with the rulers of Egypt.   That’s why they wore crowns with symbols of us.  How about my crawling around your head so you’ll feel like an Egyptian emperor?    I really like crawling on people’s heads.

Viewer:  (stepping slowly back) Ordinarily, I’d love it.  However today, I just washed my hair.

Snake: (Hurt)   Are you implying that I would dirty your hair?

News Authority: (interrupts)  I wouldn’t advise that.

Snake:  Ah ha! you’re the one I really would like to crown!

                                                 (Snake jumps on News Authority’s head and spits out poison.                                                                                    Handlers arrive too late but with special gloves and protective gear, come closer.)

Handler: Now, now, Suzi dear, didn’t we agree you would not spit at anyone?  You promised

not to unless very, very provoked.

Snake:  (hissing)     He was very very provoking.

Viewer :   (helpfully)   Yes, he was.  But then all news people are.  Always telling us what’s new and it’s usually bad news.  

Snake:   In ancient Egypt we always killed the bearer of bad news.   So what I did was historically correct.

Handlers.  Right.   Forget it.  But remember, your handlers are your friends and the ones who feed you.  Keep your poison for outsiders.

Snake:   As long as I can have a free fang for news people.

Viewer and Handler in unison: Go at them!

            We interrupt this program to tell everybody that all news people have agreed to no longer report bad news.   They promise, promise, to report only good, happy news from now on.  And may we all live together in peace, prosperity and alive.

Viewer:  Hmmm.   Let’s see how long that lasts.   That means no more reports on Charlie Sheen or any politician anywhere in the world?

News Managers.  We pinky swear.

Viewer:   Allll …right! Just happy news in a happy united USA. 

            And so the snake brought peace unto the land, which may not have been Suzi’s aim, but the results of her freedom fighting jaunt.  And snake eyes to anyone who breaks this peace.


*Helen Argers is an award-winning novelist, poet and playwright.  See her website- www:helenargers.com.