A Tale of Marriage, Medicine and Murder

Have you ever actually touched a snake?


I have actually touched three living snakes. One was a gopher snake like the one owned by Penny’s son in PERSONAL BAGGAGE. This snake lived in the home of a doctor and was cared for by the doctor’s wife, who did not relish the job and filled me in on her extremely distasteful responsibilities. The other two were in a nature museum. I was young at that time and do not remember what kinds they were.

All of them felt cool and dry, and I still remember experiencing unease in the pit of my stomach, although all three were very docile creatures.

Search result for 'snake' in PERSONAL BAGGAGE

Chapter 2: Chapter Two
"... a Summer League baseball game. The unmistakable odor of snake defecation hung in the sultry air and assaulted Penny as she entered the garage. When her son Dick had married and moved to his own home, he left his glass aquarium in a bedroom at the end of the hall. Hence, every month, in order to ..."
"...Hence, every month, in order to feed the gopher snake until Dick found a buyer, Penny purchased two large mice and placed them in the tank. Ordinarily, the reptile ate right away, but at times when he shed his skin, it might be several days or even a week before he became hungry. While his eyes glazed ..."

Chapter 9: Chapter Nine
"...Penny located a snake-like vein standing up, just asking to be stuck, but to her palpating finger it felt as hard as rope, and she could see multiple areas of bruising from previous attempts on both of his lower arms. Above his elbow, she palpated an invisible vein that felt spongy and ..."

Chapter 12: Chapter Twelve
"...can of Alpo. Callie was nowhere to be seen, but plenty of cat chow remained in her bowl. Penny tried to remember the last time she had watched the cat creeping up on a bird. It had been a good while. She remembered feeding the snake sometime last week. She had marked it on the calendar but she would have to check the date. snake care was definitely her least favorite task. ..."
"...pad beneath the plywood barrier that covered the attic opening. On the step below were four little piles of vomit: some of it dried, some of it moist and streaked with blood. She calculated Callie’s age at fifteen. Today she would take the cat and the snake to the veterinarian’s office. Maybe he knew somebody who wanted a snake. ..."
"... Her day off suddenly consumed, she went into overdrive. She called the local travel agency to schedule her trip, then phoned Claws & Paws. The vet could see her. She dressed, stripped the beds and piled the wash in the laundry room. She would ask Dr. Allen what to do with Dick’s snake. ..."
"...her purse for a tissue. “I don’t want to take her home; I don’t think I could bring her back for you to...” She removed her sweater, arranged it on the floor of one of the small cages, set Callie on it and fled, forgetting about the snake. ..."
"... “Thank you for holding me.” “I love you,” he answered. Tuesday morning Penny slept until noon. After brunch, she made herself call Dr. Allen, beginning the conversation by asking him what she could do with the snake. “I don’t know anybody who would take him,” he said. “And ..."

Chapter 16: Chapter Sixteen
"...but I just gotta see him again.” Penny accompanied him to the patient’s bedside. “When I was younger some of us boys played pranks on old Squeaky—real high voice—sort’a like a woman’s voice, yeah? We burned a bag of manure on his porch, put a snake inside his screen door, things like that, and he didn’t tell our folks or nothin’. Then one time we was in his yard cuttin’ up, and he kicked that false leg up high in the air. It scared me to death! Up ‘til then I didn’t ..."
"... Mae untucked the covers to expose the purple circles on the patient’s legs. “Sweetie, what made these spots?” “Moth balls. I put some in his bed to keep snakes off.” Penny approached Jane, “I’ll have to ask you to leave now so we can take care of your brother.” “I won’t ..."

Chapter 21: Chapter Twenty-One
"...this afternoon, spend two nights in a motel, and have two days to explore. Penny phoned the veterinarian’s office, then invited Zac into the car. The dog could have his yearly checkup and vaccinations while they were gone. She considered purchasing mice to feed to the snake but discarded the idea. She wouldn’t be here to clean the tank. ..."

"... is better?” He moved directly in front of her, into her personal space, and regarded her with a blend of cynicism and challenge. “You never asked me to come to the hospital.” His voice rattled like a snake’s tail. “You are incompetent, and I will have you fired!” Penny smelled ..."
"... “This is unreal!” Johnny sputtered. “You’re right on target! You know that, don’t you? He’s lower than the underside of a snake.” He nodded for emphasis. “The man’s mean and he’s crazy! Thank God you won’t have to be around him at the other hospital!” Penny ..."

Chapter 26: Chapter Twenty-Six
"...of sprouting kudzu and a mockingbird called, “Wha-cha-need, wha-cha-need, pretty, pretty, pretty.” Recovered from her fright, Penny embraced the day like a morning glory reaching for the sun. She had shopping to do before she picked up Johnny’s bats, and today’s weather was fine for moving Dick’s snake outside. She would release it into the woods behind the Jacksonville hospital, a great home for the reptile. She showered and dressed, loaded the snake and its water dispenser into a cardboard box, placed the box on the back-seat floorboard, and headed for Jacksonville. ..."
"... dashed on to The Athlete’s Store for Johnny’s bats. Entering the JMC parking lot five minutes late, Penny decided to release the snake in the morning after work. Better anyway, to give it daylight for exploring its big, new home. “You okay? I was a tiny bit worried,” Carina said ..."

"...She began to look for her Chevette, remembering that yesterday she had been late and had parked at the back of the lot. Suddenly, she thought of the snake: this was the day she would set it free. She had no second thoughts about releasing it—caring for a reptile had been her chore for too long. ..."
"...trunk. There was her spare, all pumped up, but she knew from other nurses’ experiences that Security would not change tires. She would have to walk back into the hospital and call AAA to come help her. While she waited for them, she would carry the snake into the woods. ..."
" She stepped to one side, and looked into her back seat, where some sort of struggle was going on. The back door opened and red-faced Dr. Scales jumped out. He yelled and hopped about so strenuously that it took Penny a minute to notice the snake wound around his right arm. The reptile drew back as Scales slashed at it with the knife he held in his left hand, then with a vicious fling of his arm, he sent the coiling creature sailing across the pavement. ..."

"...the patio to the brick retaining wall and crouched on it, the surface cold and rough through her sweat pants. Folding her arms around her middle to hold herself together, she spoke her thoughts aloud. “Dr. Scales is dead.” She wondered what had happened to Dick’s snake. The last time she saw it, it was plummeting toward the concrete parking lot. ..."

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Have you ever actually touched a snake?

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"In her new novel PERSONAL BAGGAGE author Margaret McMillion gives us fine details of Southern family life and, she herself an..."

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