Okay, so maybe that title might be a little ambiguous for the uninitiated. Let me tell you a story and initiate you into the Cult of the Parrot Snake.
Sounds ominous doesn't it? Y'all are gonna hate me because I've puffed it all up now and it's really nothing more than a cute story I remembered out of the blue the other day.
Once upon a time (all cute stories start that way, didn't you get the memo?), I lived in Las Vegas. I had just graduated high school and one of my favorite things to do was to wander down to the Strip, find a comfy place to sit, watch the tourists and write letters to my friends in Iowa. I was 18, and legally not allowed to gamble, so my options back in those days (1989-1990) were a little limited.
I didn't drive back then either, so I would usually walk the 2 miles to the Strip and then hitch a ride home with my mom when she got off work at the Mirage around midnight. NO way would I walk home in the dark, are you kiddin' me?
Something ALWAYS happened. It was fun. This one particular night somewhere around 10:30 or so (when things really started hopping), I saw two guys approaching. They were about 3-4 city blocks away so I couldn't see much, but I could tell they were creating quite a commotion. As they drew nearer I saw they had this HUGE parrot balloon. It was one of those mylar things and was at least three feet high. Attached to the bottom of the parrot was a "tail" about 15 feet long of multicolored latex balloons. It looked like they'd swiped a balloon arch from some wedding and tied it to the parrot.
So, yeah, they were making a spectacle of themselves walking down the Strip with this bizarre bird balloon (oooo alliteration!). As they got closer, I could hear them asking random tourists to "Kiss the Parrot Snake" in really bad German accents. Think bad Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonations. Really bad.
NO ONE would kiss it. In fact, most people seemed to be offended. Bystanders were amused until THEY were presented with the bird.
They saw me watching and made a beeline in my direction. At first I wished I could disappear. I am NOT one to call attention to myself. But when presented with this giant bird and asked to kiss its beak, I did. Without hesitation. Not sure what got into me, but I'm glad I Kissed the Parrot Snake (yeah, it needs to be capitalized. It's symbolic, ceremonial). The guys cheered. Onlookers cheered. They took a seat and we chatted for a bit.
They had just gotten out of boot camp (Marines!) and had come to Vegas for vacation.
Lemme tell you. If you want to party, find yourself a military man (or two!) on leave. I think their everyday lives are structured up the ying yang, so they tend to go a bit haywire when left to their own devices. This is very entertaining for YOU.
I just happen to have a *thing* for guys in uniform (they were in shorts/polos, but I used my imagination), so we hung out for the rest of the night.
I told them that if they gambled, they could get free drinks. They thought this was a great idea, so we went into the casino. Or tried. Security wouldn't let us bring the Parrot Snake in, so we left him with the valet. They gave me money to gamble with and I won $10 for them just before I had to leave. Which was way too soon. I had so much fun in the hour or so we were together. I laughed until I cried.
Sometimes you just gotta go with the flow and Kiss the Parrot Snake. This is good advice for writing, no? Let go and see what happens. So, are you ready to Kiss the Parrot Snake?