There was a snake in my milk. I heard it as I hoisted the jug of white and brought it out of my refrigerator. Carefully, like a man about to defuse a bomb, I set the jug down on the table. I heard the milk swish and slosh and then a rubbery thumping sound as the milk snake thrashed about.
My gallon was half-full, so I could see the snake clearly. It was long, black and eel-like. It would swim upward, clinging to the slippery sides of the plastic jug, and then dip back down, slipping under the creamy liquid. It looked like the Loch Ness monster when it breaches the surface.
My primary motivation for the day had been to grab the milk and pour it into my cereal, but this faded upon seeing the snake. I felt a kinship with it. It had beady little eyes and a sharp, flickering tongue. But my motivations had changed; I had to get the snake out of my milk.
I took it over to the sink, intent on dumping the gallon out and expelling the snake. But the milk snake began to swim in dizzying circles, a black spiral design that was at once hypnotizing and horrifying.
I unscrewed the cap and poured the milk into the sink. It took a minute, with the gallon jug making KLUG KLUG sounds as it choked on itself.
The milk snake did not come out.
It had coiled itself in the bottom of the container, and had held on apparently through force of will. I admired that. I admired the snake. As we stared at each other, I imagined the snake as my friend. It would wrap itself around my wrist and we would go off into the world. And when people had the gall to get in our face, the milk snake would rise up like a great cobra and bite their eyes.
I extended a finger into the mouth of the jug. I tried to coax the snake to come out, but it would not budge. It fixed its eyes on my finger, and watched it move back and forth.
It sprang forward and my heart jumped, as the milk snake latched onto my index finger. It didn’t hurt much. It felt like a diabetes finger test.
I pulled my hand back and the snake came with it, sliding out of the milk jug like an overlarge noodle. I flapped my hand, making the snake flop around in hilarious fashion. I swung it around in a circle, but the snake let go and flew across my kitchen, smacking into a cabinet and landing on the counter in front of the microwave.
I approached. The milk snake was not moving. I poked it. Still, it did not move.
I had defeated the milk snake and killed my only friend in the world. My milk jug was not half-full, it was empty and sad.
I had to buy more milk.