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"Snakes can strike up to half their body length," warned Maggie. "And that's an awfully long snake."

Charlie was surprised by her friend's understanding on the matter.

"My cousin was bitten by a rattler while hiking many years ago," related Maggie, "and he became really swollen, and couldn't move his arms or legs. He said it hurt a lot, too."

"Did he die?" asked Charlie.

"No, my Uncle rushed him to the emergency room, and he's all right now," she replied. "Ooh, I hate snakes," Maggie continued, shivering with disgust.

"I'm not very fond of them, myself," added Charlie, who had wisely given up trying for the phone. "That reminds me of an old saying Daddy told me: 'The first one wakes it up, the second one makes it mad, and the third one gets bitten.' This snake is already mad."

The girls waited on top of the table for either the snake to move, so they could escape, or for help to arrive.

"My leg is falling asleep," sighed Maggie, trying to reposition herself. The table rocked a little until Maggie stopped moving. Obviously, it wasn't meant to hold the weight of two women. Thankfully, as long as they didn't move around too much, the table showed no signs of collapsing.

Charlie leaned forward to see what time it was, but the digital clock was just out of the way so she could only read the first digit.

"It's still four o' clock," she announced.

"I'm getting hungry," said Maggie, who by now, had recovered from the initial shock of the snake.

"Look at him," remarked Charlie, folding her arms in disdain, "just sitting there, like he was king of the desert, or something. You'd think he'd get tired, and find someplace else to go."

"I wish someone would come," sighed Maggie.

Time passed, and now it was five-something o' clock. Charlie and Maggie had repositioned themselves on the table several times, and both were getting cramped and tired.

"When is Adam coming home!" exclaimed Charlie.

"All this time, and the snake has moved only two inches," sighed Maggie.

Suddenly, the kitchen phone rang. Charlie looked at Maggie, and then at the phone. After five rings, the caller gave up.

"Are your parents expecting you home by now?" asked Charlie.

"I told Mom I was going to have dinner at your house," explained Maggie, rubbing her sleeping leg.

"Then, that must have been Grandma on the phone," concluded the teenager.

"Charlie?" asked Maggie, timidly.


"I have to use the bathroom," whispered Maggie, sheepishly.

"Can you hold it?" asked Charlie.

"Maybe," was Maggie's somber reply.

The clock now read six-something and still no sign of help.

"You know, I'm beginning to feel a little silly on this table," said Charlie. "I feel like the housewife who saw a mouse and ran screaming to a chair!"

"That's no mouse," reminded Maggie, pointing to the rattler.

"I figure we've been here for at least two hours," groaned Charlie. "You know, I never realized how slowly time passes when you can't mark the minutes."
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