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The snake looked up at the two tired women, and then put its head down. To Charlie, the telephone looked so temptingly near that she asked Maggie to retell the story of her cousin's snake bite, convulsions, dizziness, swelling, and all. That was enough to cure her from any rash attempts.

Just as Maggie was thinking she'd have to "hold it" forever, they heard a vehicle pull up outside.

"I think someone's finally coming!" rejoiced Charlie, expectantly. Charlie heard someone turning a key in the lock, and then the front door opened.

"Just make yourselves at home," she heard Adam's voice say.

"Adam!" shouted Charlie.

"Charlie, is that you?" asked Adam, about to enter the kitchen.

"DON'T COME IN!" yelled Charlie, for he nearly came into striking range of the rattlesnake.

"Charlie, Maggie, what in heaven's name are you two doing on the kitchen table?" asked Adam, standing in the doorway separating the kitchen from the living room. Just then, two strangers joined Adam.

"If you haven't noticed," pointed out Charlie, "there's a snake on the floor!"

The snake snapped in their direction but still remained in his defensive coil, ready to strike, his tail now rattling incessantly.

"Don't get off the table!" instructed Adam, as he ran to the living room phone.

"Now that was the most unnecessary piece of advice I've ever gotten," Charlie remarked to Maggie.

"Are you both all right?" shouted Adam from the living room.

"We're fine!" yelled Charlie.

"Keep an eye on the snake, would you, Bill?" asked Adam, still on the phone. "Tell me if it moves."

"Just as long as you don't want me to tackle it," replied Bill, taking of his jacket and tossing it onto the sofa.

The second stranger followed Bill back to the kitchen door.

"So," asked Bill, "how long have you two been up there?"

"What time is it?" asked Charlie.

"It's nine thirty," replied Bill, checking his watch.

"Nine thirty!" repeated Maggie, in shocked surprise. "I didn't know we were here that long!"

"Bill, you're still on Vermont time," corrected the other man.

"Oh, that's right," said Bill, "then pacific time, it's really six thirty."

"Then we've been here for two and a half hours," answered Charlie. Suddenly, she realized who Bill was. "You're Adam's manager, aren't you?" she guessed.

"That's right," replied Bill, "and this is Gary Nelson, Adam's new agent."

With two strange men staring at her and Maggie crouched together on the kitchen table, Charlie was beginning to feel a little self-conscious.

"Adam just drove us in from LAX," continued Bill.

Maggie whispered something to Charlie.

"Adam, please hurry!" Charlie shouted.

Gary returned to the living room and sat down on the couch. He had heard Californians were a little strange, but he never expected a rattle snake in the kitchen!
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