Rattlesnake Pancakes

by Bill Yarrow

I don't usually take bets,
but I took this one. Gobbo
bet me a melamite ring I

wouldn't eat a rattlesnake
pancake. Normally, I am

cautious but I needed a
gift for Emily Beth and her

father, being a miner, she
had a thing for melamite.

The thing on my plate was,
pardon me, the color of vile

cheese, and it tasted like it
looked, but I got one swallow

down and then twenty followed
in slow succession. I felt queasy

but Gobbo never guessed. When
five hours later I was still alive,

he handed over the ring. I ran
to Emily Beth's mom's place on

Arapahoe. I found her sitting
on a two-person glider on the

wrap-around porch. “Emily Beth,
I got a ring for you.” Oh, Blister,

how ever did you afford a ring
of melamite? That just heats

my heart. “Maybe so, Emily Beth,
but are you tepid enough to wed?”

A gift is not a liberty, Blister.
I'll not marry you until Father

Life has sucked the selfish
out your soul. “Selfish? Selfish!

I ate snake poison for you!”
Yeah, but you didn't die, did

you, so what's the good of that?