The Fable of Snake and Scorpion

Once upon a time there was a Snake and a Scorpion.  They were best friends and they spent every day together hanging out under a rusted out ’77 Malibu in the desert shooting the shit and trying not to get eaten by roadrunners.  Don’t believe those propaganda cartoons, roadrunners are murdering assholes.  Sometimes they’d find a beer bottle that still had some beer in it.  Those were the best days. 

One day Snake was telling Scorpion about his dreams of playing in the NBA.  Snake did his often.  Scorpion tried his best to support his friend’s dreams but on this day he felt that he needed to say something a little different than usual.

“Snake my friend, we’re in the Desert.”

“That must be why it’s so hot Scorpion.”

They had a good laugh at that. 

“Besides being hot what else are Deserts known for Snake?”

Snake sighed slightly “Deserts are hot and also far away from the city lights and a major market NBA team.”

“That’s right Snake.  I support you in whatever you do Snake, you know that – it’s you and me until the end of the road.  I don’t want to discourage you Snake but your path to making it to the NBA is very narrow.  I want you to go for it, I want you to work for this with all your Snake heart, but I think you need to be realistic as well.  I don’t want to see you get hurt Snake.  I don’t want you to pin all your hopes on making it to the NBA.”

“I hear what you’re saying Scorpion and I appreciate your concern, I know that it comes from a place of love.”

“I hate saying this Snake because I really don’t want to dissuade you, but besides living in the Desert you have some other pretty substantial disadvantages as well.  Out there on the court you’re very active, you have a lot of energy, and the coaches can see that.  But not having arms really hurts you rebounding.”

“I got that one rebound one time.”

“Did you really though Snake?”

Snake hung his head “No, it was an error in the box score Scorpion.”

“No one can fault your level of effort Snake, but you’ve got a lot of physical limitations you need to overcome.  You’re a tenacious defender Snake, but it’s pretty darn easy for the guy you’re guarding to shoot over you.  I don’t say this to sound mean, but sometimes I’m not sure the guy you’re guarding knows that you’re guarding them.”

“You’re only saying that because I’m on my belly right now.  When I do that thing when I curl up part of my body and then stick my head up I’m easily six inches high.”

“That’s true Snake but you can’t move very fast when you do that.  And, I don’t want to seem like I’m piling on here, but six inches isn’t much in the NBA.  Even the freakishly short NBA guys are over five feet tall Snake.”

“For someone who doesn’t want to discourage me you’re being pretty discouraging.”

Scorpion’s tail twitched – that’s how Scorpion’s wince since they don’t have faces “I know this sounds harsh Snake but I want you to go into this thing with your eyes wide open.  I’ll do whatever I can do help you make it to the NBA, but I have to know that you’re going to be okay if it doesn’t happen Snake.  I don’t want this to break you because that would break me.”

Snake nodded “I know it’s a longshot Scorpion, I’m not delusional about my chances.  I’ll be okay if it doesn’t happen as long as I try my best.  Like you said my path to making it is narrow, but I’m a snake friend, snakes are good at getting into narrow spaces.”

Scorpion clacked his claws because that’s how they smile on account of the no face thing.  Scorpion had an appointment to sting a toad so the left saying they would meet up later.  Snake put on a brave face but the truth was he was kind of depressed.  When your friend tells you something like that even when you know it comes from a good place it stings – it seems like they don’t believe in you.  Snake slithered into the Sun for a little pick me up and that’s when the Devil appeared, for the Devil always comes when you’re at your lowest. 

People think the Devil takes the form of a snake, which is racist, or a goat which is just weird, but the real Devil appears as a roadrunner. 

“Hello Snake, why so blue?”

“Can it the Devil, I’m not interested in your malarkey.”

The Devil smiled, which he can do with a dumb bird beak because of Devil powers “You’ve got me all wrong Snake, I’m not here to cause you trouble, I’m here to make your dreams come true!”

“Did you buy the Nets?  Can you get me a try-out?”

The Devil laughed “No Snake, nothing like that, I can make you into a human person instead of a snake.  That’s going to give you a much better chance of making it to the NBA.  I don’t know if you know this Snake but so far 100% of NBA players have been human.  Except for Sam Cassell, but he wasn’t a snake is my point.”

“Well I’ll be the first snake in the NBA then.”

The Devil grinned its roadrunner beak with Devil powers “Come on Snake, you know the deal – you need to be a person to make it.  If you were a person with your grit and determination you’d have a shot at the NBA.  You’d definitely play in the EuroMillions Basketball League at the very least.  Think about putting on that Antwerp Telenet Giants jersey and walking out into the court of Lotto Arena.”

“I’m not going to sell my soul to play EuroCup basketball the Devil.”

“Who said anything about souls Snake?  The Bible says that animals don’t have them anyway, so what have you got to lose?”

“Get lost the Devil.  I may never make it to the NBA the Devil, but if that’s what happens that’s what happens.  I’m not going to change who I am.  I’m a snake, and if that means I’m a sub-par rebounder and a terrible outside shooter because I have no arms or legs I’ll deal with that because that’s who I am.  If I make it I’m going to make it as me, not by become something else.  If you make it but you’re not yourself anymore what was the point?  You can’t lose yourself in pursuit of any goal, no matter how badly you want it.  You can stick your offer in a sack the Devil.”

The Devil vowed he would be back and disappeared with a cruel “meep-meep” but the Snake will never take that offer because there’s nothing more important in life that remembering who you are.

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