There used to be a gang of kids that got together a few times during summer vacation. We all went to country school together and lived within a few miles of each other. One sunny afternoon we set off to explore a big patch of willows that grew along a fence line on the edge of field. This willow patch was about the size of a football field, well half a football field at least. It seemed pretty darn big to a bunch of little kids anyway.

None of us had been there for at least a year so we were pretty excited. I think the plan may have been to play army or cowboys and Indians since tall thick grass and weeds covered all the ground under those willows which were almost as big as trees. Lots of cover to hide in and sneak up on each other.

I charged into that willow patch and through the shoulder high grass intent on losing myself in all that cover. Playing army happened to be my favorite game so I made darn sure I was in the lead. That way I got first choice of the best ambush spots. That’s when the unexpected happened. I stepped on something hidden in the tall grass. All I saw was a flash of some black thing slithering out of the way. My first thought was that I had stepped on a snake. Then something painful squirted me right in the eye. I reeled backward, holding my eye and yelled, “I been squirted by a snake!”

All my friends saw I was hurting bad. They all yelled, “He got squirted by a snake!” Then they hustled me back to the closest house for my friend’s mom for help. A couple of them hurried on ahead to tell everyone that I had been squirted by a snake. My eye really hurt. I figured snake squirt was bad news, If I survived I would probably be blind. Well I thought that for a couple minutes anyway. Then I started thinking. What the heck kind of snake is covered in black hair? And what kind of snake squirts people in the eye? Holy shit! Some kind of cobras spit venom in people’s faces. I was pretty sure cobras didn’t have black fur though. I was even pretty sure that cobras didn’t live in Montana.

Most of my friends were still screaming that I had been squirted by a snake but I was having second thoughts. My eye really hurt bad but there was an awful stench coming from somewhere too.

I got hustled right into my friends mom’s kitchen. She grabbed me and hustled me right back outside. Then she gave me a glass of water to rinse my eye out with. All my friends were still yelling that I had been squirted by a snake. They were really excited. I was feeling kinda sheepish, maybe like a dumbass or something. My friend’s mom probably figured I was a dumbass too. She probably thought that she had raised a bunch of dumbass kids too. Snakes don’t squirt people in the eye. Skunks sure do though.

All of us dumbass kids finally settled down. My eye got to feeling a bit better. That skunk stench wasn’t getting any better though. I rinsed my eye out some more. Then I rinsed my head off with the garden hose. Then I rinsed my whole body off in the garden hose. That skunk stench was still as strong as ever. I walked home. Mom had me bury my clothes in a hole in the dirt. Then she gave me a bar of soap and I scrubbed myself under the garden hose for a half hour. I still stunk but not quite so bad. I don’t remember if we ever dug my clothes back up again or not. Eventually the stink wore off. Probably about the same time that the skunk smell wore off in my friends mom’s kitchen.

Yep, this is totally true although those friends probably won’t ever admit to being dumb enough to think a snake squirted me in the eye.

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