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October 22, 1998

SNAKES ARE EVERYWHERE

BOSTON — Government officials, business leaders and members of the clergy all confirmed yesterday that snakes are everywhere. The snakes — piled high atop each other in subway tracks, draped suggestively over lampposts and street signs, spilling out of bistros and bookstore/cafes — appear to be absolutely everywhere in the city of Boston and its surrounding areas.

"Some of the snakes are poisonous, others not," said a Milton resident, who asked that he not be named on account of "the snakes." "Some have beautiful markings, while others are plain. Some bite me viciously, while others quite tamely and others not at all. Each snake is different, but in the general sense — i.e. snakes, taken as an overarching rubric into which individual instances are subsumed — snakes are everywhere."

Rush-hour traffic on the expressway was at a standstill yesterday, as snakes squirmed into the vehicles’ wheel wells and rendered them immobile. Fortunately, most area residents, having looked out their windows that morning and observed that snakes were everywhere, did not even bother to venture out, choosing instead to take the day off and settle in at home with a fire and a good thick novel about snakes or some such.

The radio broadcasts were filled with school cancellations, as area superintendents questioned — rightly — the wisdom of sending their districts’ tired old school buses out to plow through six-foot snakedrifts, only to deposit children at schools which were themselves covered with snakes.

Indeed, for much of the day and night, few people could be seen on the streets at all. Some lay envenomed under the writhing mass of snakes, no doubt, but most simply chose to stay inside their homes where the snakes — while sneaking in sporadically through open windows, pet doors or poorly sealed exterior siding — were not quite so densely gathered as they were outdoors.

"I find I can think more clearly where snakes are less concentrated," said Robin Underwood, a short-story writer who lives in Jamaica Plain. "For this reason I opted to remain inside today."

A few hardy souls could be found out on the Common, however, enjoying the brisk fall air and the sound that pervaded it: a curious combination of hissing, slithering and rattling that seemed almost deafening.

"I’ve been bitten 15 times, but adrenaline’s keeping me going," said John Chambers of Belmont, who spent the morning wading through eight inches of asps in the Public Gardens. "I’m in love" — Chambers was recently married — "and the autumn air is crisp and wonderful. I don’t know why so many people stayed away."

Around town:

A 17-foot snake snuck its way into the belly of acting governor Paul Cellucci, attempting to disguise itself as his large intestine. Paul flexed his stomach muscles for seven hours straight, until the snake was forced to exit through the rear, at which point Mr. Cellucci exclaimed, "Vote November third!"

Snakes have taken over the Copley Plaza. Twenty thousand snakes piled into the fruit salad at the Marriott. They are truly everywhere.

Snakes got into a fierce clash with two Czechoslovakian immigrants in the Forest Hills area. The Czechoslovakians won, citing "something that Vaclav Havel once said to us that Lou Reed said to him about snakes and badgers. Thank you Mr. Reed."

A man in a feathered hat near Downtown Crossing swore that he saw 200,000 snakes whistling the Beastie Boys’ latest hit, "Intergalactic," as they made off-color comments about Japanese tourists. The comments were later verified as "accurate" by MBTA officials.

Two snakes were found in the pocketbook of Mrs. Willis Watson, a jockey from Spain, who held a sign that read "Live free or die." She had just returned from a visit to New Hampshire, where she picked up bits of American rhetoric from the two snakes, whom she met on her bus ride from Concord to Boston. She was waiting to catch the bus to Lexington, where she planned to make "potty."

Two snakes were found in the pocketbook of Mrs. Willis Watson, a jockey from Spain, who held a sign that read "Live free or die." She had just returned from a visit to New Hampshire, where she picked up bits of American rhetoric from the two snakes, whom she met on her bus ride from Concord to Boston. She was waiting to catch the bus to Lexington, where she planned to make "potty."

In Davis Square, four snakes bit a child and his pet — Peter the Parakeet — who is not a bird, but a winged member of the Cambodian drug cartel. (Pete can no longer jump as high as before, because of his damaged wings.)

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