The barbarian plight against snakes is a rarely celebrated, often retold story. From Conan’s eternal plight against snake cults to He-Man’s hissy conquerors of Eternia, there seems to be an infestation of snakes. This mostly highlights how incompetent our brawny brethren are at dealing with scaly slithering psychopaths.
To get the best advice, I called Gary from the Extermination Team in my hometown and then John from Etermin-yay! after Gary hung up on me for the third time. I condensed the conversation with Gary since we chatted for well over an hour, but John’s is pretty much as-is. **
HOW TO PROPERLY IDENTIFY AN EVIL SNAKE PEOPLE INFESTION
It first struck me that most of these warriors don’t clue in quickly enough that there’s even an infestation going on to do anything about it. So, first things first.
Me: Hi! I’m wondering how I would know if my neighborhood was infested with snake people. Usually they’re just called snake men as they are predominantly portrayed as male, but I believe in being inclusive.
Gary: I’m sorry, what?
Me: Okay, how do I know if a nearby place of worship is actually used for evil snake rituals?
Gary: Like, snake handling from down South?
Me: Um, sure. Except the people are the snakes. And I guess the barbarians are handling them. Wait, this is getting weird.
Gary: You’re telling me.
Me: Okay, straight up. How do you tell if people are snakes?
Gary (I suspect he’s drinking at this point): Slit eyes and forked tongue should be a clue.
Let me re-iterate that so we all remember: Slit eyes and forked tongue. Good job, Gary.
BUT WHAT IF THE SNAKE PEOPLE ARE UNDERCOVER?
Good question, folks. We’ve all been there.
Gary: Why would snake people be undercover?
Me: For covert world domination. Obviously.
Gary: Do you actually have a question that makes sense?
Me: … okay, how do you know if your neighbors are not human BUT unlike our last scenario, are actively trying to hide that fact?
<line went dead>
Me: I’m sorry, I think we got cut off. I just wanted to know, not for myself but for barbarian tribes, how to tell if snake people are undercover.
Gary (following a long silence): Tickle them. If they laugh really loud, you’ll see their tongue. It should be forked.
Granted, the forked tongue thing already came up. But, as Gary seemed slightly tongue obsessed, I was growing uncomfortable with this line of questioning, so I directed away from questions that potentially involved tongues. (Or so I thought.)
HOW DO YOU AVOID BEING TRACKED BY SNAKE PEOPLE
Important for any invasion/avoidance plans.
Gary (at this point, I can hear him slugging back shots. Do what you gotta do, Gary. We’ll get through this together.): Like, snake people in the weeds trying to eat you and stuff like that?
Me: Well, sort of. But what if you’re entering their fortress to steal their jewels? How do you avoid detection?
Gary (I’m pretty sure he’s sloshed by now. It was evening, to be fair. But, also to be fair, he shouldn’t direct his work line to his personal cell phone if he can’t handle simple questions): Snakes don’t have jewels. <laughter>
Me (after a pause): Not those kinds of jewels. But good to know for attack planning.
Gary: Cut off his head!
Gary: Attack planning. I’m into this. Cut off its head. Not real snakes. I mean, catch and relocate if you can. But your made up snake people. Cut off their heads! Keep their tongues for trophies!
Me (growing concerned about his tongue obsession): Who said they were made up?
The line dropped again at this point. So I tried again.
HOW NOT TO TURN INTO A SNAKE PERSON
I hate turning into a snake person. The shade of green is never quite right.
Gary (shouting as he picks up. Sloshed but still aware.): Their heads, I say!
Me: Okay, good to know. Thank you. Now, how do we avoid turning into snake people?
Gary (who’s a lot more engaged when he’s drunk): Okay, first, you avoid being bit, right? Like, like a vampire. Then, if you ARE bit, you block off the flow of blood to the limb by wrapping something tightly over the wound, and then you chop off the limb. WAIT, no, don’t chop yet – try to suck the poison out. If that doesn’t work, then you chop off the limb.
Me: Okay, how do we know if it didn’t work?
Gary: You’re a snake person. Duh.
Me: Oh. That makes sense. Wait, why would we chop off the limb if we’re already a snake person? Wouldn’t we then fight off our loved ones more effectively with all of our limbs?
Gary (who does not take criticism well): I don’t think I like you.
… The line went dead, and this time I clued in he was just hanging up on me. I still wasn’t completely happy with some of our answers, especially on how to tell if snake people lived in your area. It struck me as the most basic but important step. So, I tried John from Extermin-yay, since he must really be into his job. Yay.
Me: Hi John! I’m trying to figure out if snake people live in my neighborhood. How would I go about that?
John: …you mean… you think there are snake people living in town? Like, full-fledged snake people who eat people and turn them into other snake people?
Me (glad someone seems to get me): Yes! But how do I go about proving that?
John (drops the phone in a clatter and starts screaming in the background): Honey! It’s finally happened! Grab the go-bags, the thyme and Princess Puff! We have to go!
…this time, I hung up.
So, I might have slightly failed you all in my research, but I’m pretty sure thyme has something to do with extermination or detection. Will report back later, maybe once Gary sobers up again and potentially forgets he doesn’t like me.
Yours from the field,
** Don’t worry. In the spirit of staying out of jail for one more day, these are purely made up delusions of an author with a soon-to-be-released book.