Keith the Snake
By Claire Massey
Location: Clyde Road, West Didsbury
This story was a finalist for the Rainy City Love Stories Competition
I like sitting in her toilet, she keeps it clean.
I can feel her singing in the shower from here. Beautiful voice.
She always keeps the toilet lid down. She doesn’t know I’m here.
I met her at a barbecue in the summer, Mouseman was handing me round, everyone wanted a squeeze but the way she touched me was different, so gentle. I had a little lick. I knew she was the one.
When Mouseman got kicked out of the flats I decided to stay and find her. I didn’t know which number she lived in so I worked my way up and down the pipes. It was a process of elimination. I knew she wouldn’t put fags out in her toilet. Or leave it full of crap.
The rats have kept me going, when things have gotten dark. That and imagining her touch again.
I only ventured out of the building’s pipes once. I had the munchies. I couldn’t resist a quick trip to Kwik Save. I worked my way through two packs of assorted chicken pieces. Couldn’t stay away for long though, had to get back to be close to her.
Since I found her, Flat 4, I’ve sat here most days, planning how to show myself, imagining her reaction, going over it again and again. Will she take me in her arms? Will she kiss me?
Tonight I felt a male voice in the bathroom. He lifted the lid in the dark. Threw his old skin in at me. She’s found someone else. My life is over.
I should have bitten him.
I’ve led in the pipes for weeks now, not moving, not eating. I should have shown myself sooner. She could have been mine.
I swam through shit for her and this is the thanks I get. She’s abandoned me.
I should have bitten her.
I give up, I’ve given myself up. I’m stretched out on the floor, waiting for the lad in number 3 to find me. I want them to lock me up. She’s broken my heart, there’s nothing left for me here now.
*** Keith the snake was captured in a block of flats on Clyde Road, West Didsbury in October 2005. He was thought to have been abandoned by a previous tenant who had been evicted for rent arrears in August 2005. A spokesman for Greater Manchester Fire Service said: ‘An occupier of a flat found the snake in his bathroom, placed a plastic bin on its side and the snake called Keith climbed in. A lid was placed on the bin and it was handed over to the RSPCA.’ ***
Claire Massey lived in West Didsbury for two happy years in a tiny and ridiculously expensive bedsit with no central heating and a noisy nutter next door. She usually writes fairy tales and stories for children and is the founder and editor of the online magazine New Fairy Tales – www.newfairytales.co.uk