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 General Fiction posted March 2, 2021

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Dan builds Slippery a swimming pool

Mugs; 'But Mugs You Said'

by Mabaker12

Summer in Australia is considered hot and unpleasant for animals as well as humans who bear weeks of clear blue skies and still calm days with not a whisper of a breeze, nor a drop of rain, while the temperatures hit in the triple digits. Fahrenheit that is.

Slippery was hot and couldn't seem to locate a cool spot anywhere, and the soft hiss, "I'm cooking, Mugs could be heard all around. Whereas my added abilities granted to me, heat doesn't bother me at all. But I feel sorrow for my companions suffering.

Dan returned from a patient earlier than expected and stripping to a faded pair of shorts, and a navy-blue singlet began assembling items. First a wheelbarrow, shovel, rake, and gardening gloves. With not a peep of explanation just his usual grin, and his thumbs-up gesture. It seemed there is no other way to find out what he intended, Slippery and I followed him back and forward watching as he marked the ground close to the outlying branches of the old tree he regards as a friend. Then began swinging the pickaxe and commenced to dig a furrow.

This being a new experience and not wanting to miss a second of the action, we stared intrigued, as he swung that pick.
Dan seemed to understand he had an audience and worked until his body glistened with sweat and he emptied the outdoor refrigerator of iced water twice. And refilled it twice, before lunch. He continued to swing that pick. Every so often, pouring water down his throat as he changed jobs; now he started loading the barrow time after time with dirt and rocks and carting them away.

'Mugs?" Slippery slithering close to me, whispered, "You know more about how humans think, in your opinion what is Dan doing?"

"Slippery, let me explain something," I replied quietly. "When it comes to the thought processes of humans, I guess a lot, I'm really no wiser than you, my scaly friend."

We watched as another screw top from a bottle of water joined the rest in the bucket Dan was using for rubbish, but that didn't tell us anything, therefore we continued to watch. Finally, as the sun began a languid journey behind the line of gum trees, Dan stopped the frantic pace he'd kept up all day, and went inside. Still silent about what he had been doing, he ordered a Pizza for tea, before heading to the shower.

Dan's house is air-conditioned so we all slept soundly. I, on his pillow, while Slippery claimed the wet shower recess.

At 4 am Dan stretched, groaned, a little sore after yesterday, and woke. Rolling out of the bed he prepared some cereal, drank two cups of coffee, and picked up his Mobil phone. Checking the thing he made two calls, then sat and read the paper. Occasionally rolling his shoulders, and watching him, my guess he was stiff from all his labour yesterday.

I know Slippery was almost crazy with curiosity. I too, but Dan, the rotter didn't let on one single word. Also, he never picked up the shovel, just lounged about.

Around the time Dan made himself another drink, a heavy vehicle pulled up and Dan put the big reptile inside.

"It's going to get somewhat dangerous around here big fella, stay in for your own safety, just for an hour or so." He addressed this to Slippery, and I took it included me as well.

Of course, it didn't make a scrap of notice, but I sat next to the window and craned my neck, watching as a battered truck with equipment and three young men pulled up. Becoming frustrated when I couldn't hear what they were saying, I pushed out through the cat-flap and sat on a bucket to be informed. But they never spoke again. Not a single word did they utter, just began work on the trench Dan had spent hours on yesterday.

The sun rose higher the heat rose steadily, and I noticed the young blokes tanned bodies glistened in the sun. By lunchtime, the trench had changed completely. Now, instead of remaining straight, it was a large circle about two metres deep and some three metres wide.
I suddenly got a brainwave and pushed and grunted my way back inside the cat door. Slippery, had he been able would have tapped a foot impatiently.

"What, Mugs! What did you find out? What are those male humans doing?" His head weaved back and forth and his eyes shone like glass beads, while his tongue flicked in and out.

"Calm down big fella or you'll have a coronary. I spoke as quietly as I thought would calm him, saying, "Well I'm not really sure, Slippery, however by the shape and size and if I'm correct you better get your goggles on."

"What are goggles Mugs, have I got any, and why do I need them, and not you?" The questions tumbled one over the other and his broad snakehead swivelled and turned as he worked out finally the trench had something to do with him.

I let him stew for a few minutes then answered slowly, for now, my attention firmly focused on the activity of the men. By now I too was very curious,

"I reckon our clever Dan is having a swimming pool built, for a snake. Just in time, I saw his jaw working and butted in fast, "Whoa, hang on a tic before you start the twenty questions routine. Take a gander at that trench before you scoff."I made room for him to slither part of his body over the sill and up the glass, then I sneaked a sideways peek at him.

I didn't think Slippery was grasping the concept of a swimming pool so I did my best to remedy the situation. "You know when Dan turns the tap on and he takes a shower?"
"Well, there are other different shaped ones, round and square. Humans fill them with water and then they lie in and soak, they're called bathtubs."
I studied his face to see if he was taking any of this in, his face was blank, so I hurried on,
"They aren't very large and usually humans have the water warm, and they use a cloth, and wash in it. Now, that out there will be round and filled with cool water and you can have a swim, or just lay in the water. Human's performing this ritual, call it, 'Having a bath,' every day. There really isn't any difference apart from the size," just theirs are bigger."

"Why do I need a bath Mugs? The large reptile probed a bit more. "Am I dirty?"

"No, you dork! It will be filled with cold water to cool you in this hot weather."

"Oh, my, Dan did this for me? Why, Mugs?"

I mentally questioned the intelligence of carpet snakes and this one in particular.

"How should I know, Slippery? I replied. He doesn't confide everything to me. Perhaps, I grinned to take any sting out of what I said. "After all, he doesn't want you to die. You could be valuable to a snake collector."

The next thing I felt a powerful thump in my shoulder and the next moment I felt myself rolling, over and over as Slippery flipped me with his head.

"Whoa Slippery! What's up with you?" I rapidly shot out of the way as he got ready to roll me some more, and looked into his eyes and noted for the first time a glimmer of what could be taken for anger.

" What did I say to get you so bent out of shape?"

"I'm not going to a snake collector. I belong to Dan... and you, Mugs"

Keeping my claws tucked away I ran my paw gentle as a feather along his head. I felt him shudder with pleasure, when I said, "Sure you belong to us Slippery, and we belong to you."

My attention returned to the occupied humans who from what I could see, had finished, what now resembled a two-metre wide and one-metre deep circle. Lined with polished pebbles which a young bloke was putting the finishing touches.

Now came the hardest part, waiting to see if my idea had any truth in it. But nothing happened.
Dan thanked the men, gave them money, shook hands and went inside and read the paper and drank coffee.
What a letdown!

Suddenly, Slippery became agitated almost accusing me of lying,

"But, Mugs, you said...I'd have a swim in cold water." His voice turned into a hissy whine, and he followed me around repeating his whinge over and over. Finally, I located Dan who had gone back to the creation.
Then I stopped confused. "Slippery," I spoke as nicely as I could. After all, he is a very big python, "I might have made a mistake, this looks like a fish pond." Then, chuckling, ducked as he swung his huge head at mine.

"But, Mugs you said..."

Oh, damn me for my big mouth! Why hadn't I let it be a surprise? And if I hear the words, "But Mugs, you said," once more! I'll forget what I am and bite his head off! Well, perhaps not actually 'off', maybe just chew it. Always I had to show my cleverness!

Just then Dan nearly trod on the snake and after apologising said, "Well big fella, what about this for a place to keep cool? We just have to wait until the pebble coat is completely dry. Should be fine later today." And everything turned out fine Once again I became Mugs the hero and Slippery coiled himself around the outside of his pool prepared to wait however long it took.

To Be Cont.

Dan has a surprise for Slippery
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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