by Ed Higgins
This may be too religious for you, as at first it was so with me. But I assure you, on my scholarly integrity, I have found the Genesis Serpent's skin! Yes, that Genesis Serpent--though just a leftover piece of him, mind. Desiccated. Shed of evil for once, and shelved in the Chicago Historical Society archives inside a plain gray wooden archive box #1920.1714. I accidentally came upon this astonishing relic while searching for the preserved head of Mrs. O'Leary's infamous cow. A bit of scholarly research that has plagued me for many years, yet has remained inconclusive. Well, distracted while going through numerous cardboard archive boxes labeled “Great Chicago Fire, 1871” (some even charred), I discovered among them a small, innocuous-looking dust-settled wooden archive box #1920.1714. Unusual in itself, and clearly misfiled. Curious, I turned back the hinged wooden cover to discover what was an 8-by-4 inch red and scaly “peau du serpent” (“skin of snake,” as the yellowing French label laconically declared). Stunning, and proof positive as far as my inspection could tell. And the label continued the contents description: “qui a seduit la premiere femme.” Granted although not scientific certainty, the label went on with an eye-popping: “who seduced the first woman.” Still in French, of course—not as trustworthy as if the label were in ancient Hebrew, I'll admit, yet compelling nonetheless in it's narrative strength. Here then is my full scholarly translation of the label's final affirming declaration:
“It was killed by Adam the day after its treachery.
Adam used a stake, the traces of which can be seen.
This skin was part of the legacy of Adam,
and it was preserved by his family in Asia.”
The traces of the attested-to stake can be seen as a thumb size hole in the center of the preserved piece of the Serpent's skin. This serpent skin is clearly not a molt, as the underside of the peau definitely shows a thin layer of flesh as well as signs of dried blood-staining around the piercing. I imagine you can remain skeptical (whatever your religious or non-religious inclination), but I'm inclined to trust the forthright French declaration on this. I soon hope to publish my extraordinary discovery as an article in the respected academic Journal of Herpetology.
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Came across somewhere, sometime back, a snippet about such an item in some historical society's odd collection. Loved the craziness & thought there must be a poem or flash piece in it. The resulting flash piece was published in Upender, Apr. 19, 2015