“It’s massive body spinning like a cyclone. And then
it was still as a dinghy on a marshmallow sea.”
Part 13 of the diary of famed explorer F.H. Longwell.
Longwell struggles to come to terms with the possible death of his beloved Tipton who is swallowed whole by a huge snake.
The snake began to shake. Its actions grew more agitated. I thought it best to move back several more feet.
But still again I had visions of Tipton’s and my life together sloshing across my mind. Young Tipton fighting off the town bullies on my behalf. True, it was because father paid him weekly to do such. But he took many a broken nose and torn earlobe for me.
I recalled Tipton’s reaction on our first adventure in Africa when he was almost cast from the top of a volcano by angry villagers. I thought he was laughing at fate that day. Later he told me he was simply crying so hard it seemed like he was laughing. Tears of a clown I said. Which just seemed to make him angry.
And there was that fateful night in the desert of the Sinai when we were near death. (26 ) Without water for two weeks and nearly spent Tipton began to laugh madly at a joke I had told him earlier that month. He finally got it. It was the joke about the pear and the penguin. And I think a headmaster. (27) Let me see if I can remember that jolly good joke… Wait!
My mind flashed back to the here and now as the snake struggled to digest Tipton. I grabbed a stick and started to beat the snake. Smacking as if I was smacking Tipton himself for an act of insubordination. The snake rolled in convulsions. It’s massive body spinning like a cyclone. And then it was still as a dinghy on a marshmallow sea.
All 30 feet of its massive body lay motionless. My beating must have had a much greater effect than I thought!
I pulled upon Tipton’s legs and slowly disgorged him from the mouth of the constrictor covered in slime and smelling of snake. He was as pale as a bucket of oatmeal. I needed to act quickly. I rummaged through the pack finding the small sample of the poison berries that Tipton savored when we first made landfall in South America. I had only 5 of them.
I opened his mouth, stuck the berries in and using my hands moved his jaws until the berries were well crushed. I thought their putrid aroma alone was enough to wake him. I wondered if 5 of these berries were enough. Within a few seconds I had my answer. Tipton sputtered. He then jumped up about nine feet in the air. He took several deep breaths, screamed something about llamas and settled back into his regular visage. He was back!
I logged the events in this journal while Tipton ate an orange and recovered while sitting upon a large stone. The entire time he rocked back and forth and sang lullabies in a high pitched falsetto. The beating I administered to save his life would not go unappreciated. He would later insist the snake had chocked on his bulking frame. And while this story holds some semblance of possibility, he didn’t see the thrashing I administered.
July 14, 1830
As I further examined the jungle about this festering mud hole I was convinced that we were atop a volcanic hot spot. For various of the jungle plants this environment proved perfect for gigantic growth and health.
Obviously that monster snake had benefited from this prehistoric environment as well. I carefully searched the area being careful to avoid various boiling sinkholes and bursts of steam until I saw it!
Hidden beneath the growth of hundreds of years was the lost palace we were seeking! Taking out the map it was clear, though Tipton thought it looked more like a bit of dried mango, we had reached the long lost kingdom of the mysterious king of the golden trousers.
It wasn’t an hour later that we were packed, Tipton smelling only slightly snakey and making our way into the ancient palace. Booby traps and tricks awaited us no doubt. We must be careful. We must proceed with caution. Tipton must go first, but I’ll keep an eye behind us if anyone tries to sneak up.
26- See Adventure #3, “You shouldn’t eat sand. But you can if you have to.”
27 – There is ample evidence (See: ”All About that Longwell chap” An abridged biography by I.M. Smellsworth) that Longwell never could actually complete this joke concerning the pear, a penguin and a headmaster. But he often tried. Much to the discomfort of other dinner party guests.