Said the Stork to the Snake (Or, Thoughts are silenced by snapping beaks)

Said the Stork to the Snake, “My slithering friend, how I long for you!”

And Snake in reply, surprised to see a serpentine-necked tower address him in so forward a tone, declared his confusion at the sight before him: “Sssuch ssstrange towersss you ssstand on—friend!” Oh, the bitterness in that final word, a revelation of irony, an illumination of deception. “I could coil myssself on your belly, ssso larggge you grow in the middle!”

“Don’t bother with down there,” said Stork with a drawl, followed by a laugh like ice. “Up here is where you should be looking! Into my eyes! Look into my eyes and I’ll convince you to hop right on into my beak just here! You wait! You’ll see!”

Snake’s tongue darted outward, wagging back and forth. “You cannot hear it, but my tongue, it laughsss at your boassst! You’re faithhh in yourssself, your confidencccce! But what fool do you take me for?” Snake lashed without aiming, “I am ss-smart! I’m doing my own resssearccchhh!” But he continued in an amused tone, his voice bold with pride, declaring, “But your boassst: thisss I have to sssee… You will convinccce me to ssslide right into your insssatiable thhhroat?” Snake could say nothing more for the ridiculing wave of his tongue through the air, his constant laughter.

“Look right up here, my young slithering friend, right into my eyes. Gimme a shout if you think I’m telling you lies!” said the Stork, self-assuredly with a twist of boredom. “Just right here, that’s it, friend!”

But in the moment of contact, as gaze locks with gaze locks with gaze, Stork begins to wave his face through the air—left—right—so predictable—so enticccing

‘That’s it, friend,’ thought the Stork in the mind of the Snake, ‘It’s I who holds your interests in mind. It’s I who has the power to let you go on slithering or to hold you lashing under the water’s surface or to lift you into the air. See, it is I who has your interests in view. You can’t see them from down there, can you? But from up here, all is clear. Now I bet you’d like to have a look from way up here—wouldn’t you? Sure you would. And you know that I can make that happen. I need only lower my beak to the ground for you to climb aboard. Well… Go on, now,’ encouraged the Stork. ‘Get on in! There you are,’ said the Stork, with difficulty for the fact of the Snake in his beak.

But it was true, the Snake knew it: all of what Stork had said was true. ‘I’m seeing now,’ thought the snake with a radical joy. ‘Now I’m seeing from above, rising up higher than fire. And now that I can see it all from abo’———————. But Snake’s raucous rise ended then, with a snap like a click.

It was only a shiver of a flash of something that would’ve been pain, anyway, the last Snake knew as he rose into the air—a thought that left the Stork free to feel nothing, no regret no despair no distress, as his sudden meal slid down his long throat in two parts.

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