Lorraine was glad that she had remembered to bring her inhaler. As Mac cracked open the door of his place, she was overwhelmed by the strong mildew smell. She reached into her huge purse and dug out the inhaler which was ,of course, at the bottom of the bag. She sprayed it into her throat and felt the shortness of breath release.
“Please come inside and see my humble home!” Mac invited, proudly.
They stepped inside and Lorraine strained her eyes to see the dark furniture massed in the dark room under the low-beamed ceiling. Lorraine had a terror of spiders and was scared to enter the living room as long spider webs hung from the beams and the wagon wheel light fixture in the center of what was either the living room or a crypt. “Are there spiders in here?” she squeaked.
“I doubt it,” replied Mac confidently. “The snakes are pretty good at controlling the insects and the rodents.”
Snakes? Rodents?? What was Lorraine doing here? Just as her eyes adjusted to the darkness, Mac lead her into the next room and she noticed some small black pellets on the dining room table. She was about to brush them off the table top, but asked Mac what the “crumbs” were from. “Mice, I imagine,” he answered.
She jerked her hand off the table top and wiped it vigorously on her pant leg. “I thought you said there were no mice,” she cried.
“No. I said the snakes were pretty good at controlling them. I can’t eliminate them all together, can I?”
No? Lorraine was determined not to be what Mac would consider a snob. The place was filthy and revolting, but she wanted to put a positive spin on it. “How cute would it be to stitch up some gingham curtains and hang them at these windows!” she said out loud.
“Have at it,” Mac replied disinterestedly, flipping through piles of mail heaped on a side table. As he flipped, he tossed envelopes and flyers on the floor.There was already an array of old papers on the floor and piled under the table.
“And now the kitchen,” Mac announced. They entered a tiny space with an ancient stove and rust-stained refrigerator. At least there were no dirty dishes in the sink. “This could be cute and vinrage,” Lorraine muttered. She could bring in some cute dish towels and pot holders and straighten things up. Very “Country Living,” she thought, trying to remain positive.
“Finally the bedroom, “ Mac announced, waggling his eyebrows up and down. He lead Lorraine back through the dining room and living room into a tiny cave of a room. Lorraine bumped into a huge Barcalounger wedged into the corner, and she viewed the bed. It was heaped with comforters and mismatched linens and piles of pillows covered in yellowed pillow cases. “Cozy,” she pronounced.
“You will have the sleep of your life here,” Mac promised proudly.
Lorraine smelled sour sheets, but ran her hand over the comforter thinking of sleeping in this awful bed. She felt something hard. “Mac, did you leave a belt or something in the bed?” she asked.
“Don’t think so,” he answered as he threw back the comforter and top sheet. There curled up in comfort was a black snake.
Lorraine shrieked and stepped back and fell into the recliner. “OMG, omg, omg,” she chanted.
Mac picked up the snake and carried it lovingly outside the cabin. “What are you screaming about, woman?” he snapped. “It’s just a black snake. They take care of the rodents.”
Lorraine wanted so very badly to be taken back to her apartment in Black Mountain, but she wanted to seem tougher, more mountain-womanish, less scared of snakes, mice, and spiders. So she calmed herself with a nip of Bourbon from her purse flask. She would stay the night, but she knew for certain that she wouldn’t sleep a wink.