Restricted Development Area
The tarantulas told the scorpions. The scorpions told the Gila monsters and the Gila monsters told the sidewinders. Their wonderfully desiccated terrain was again under attack. Swimming pools. Golf courses. Card clubs. Pink plastic flamingos. The commercial armament of man.
The snakes drew S-curves through sand dunes, and zigzagged around ocotillo on firmer earth until reaching the valley over. The message was relayed to the Gila Monsters there who told the scorpions who told the tarantulas: Act now or face devastating upheaval—and kitsch!
So act they did. Under a moonless desert night with stars shimmering in abundance they slithered and crawled and wound their way to a developer's outpost, where a good number of men gathered fireside outside tents and a make-do trailer home whose generator whined obnoxiously through the night's still air.
This was war. A case of kill or be killed.
They got into position. Scorpions and tarantulas angled for the tents; they passed through open mesh doors and crawled into laid-out sleeping bags. The sidewinders waited by the stand of creosote where the beer-drinking crew liked to relieve themselves. Gila monsters settled under the portable aluminum steps that led to the trailer door like a draw bridge.
The tarantulas and scorpions were stealthy. They bit and stung their victims as they slept, bringing acute pain if not everlasting sleep. The snakes and lizards took a different tack. They carried out an all-systems-go assault against those within striking distance. The scorpions and spiders made it out alive, with the exception of one fatal rollover. But many sidewinders and Gila monsters didn't survive the battle, beheaded by spade shovels or bludgeoned by sledgehammers.
Their deaths weren't in vain. The “tragedy” that befell Oasis Enterprises scared off other commercial real estate developers near and far. Everyone proclaimed the land to be cursed. So you won't find golf balls blasting off tees or glitzy casino lights dulling the brilliance of overhead stars. The area is as it was. There's the sound of the warm afternoon winds whipping through the ocotillo and an abundance of creatures still calling this section of desert their home.
words: Roland Goity, California (litnimage)
image: 'Desert3' - Steve Wing, Florida (about & more)
a different kind of nocturnal encounter: Firefly Nights (#8)