The Invasion of Crackland
by Devon PitlorPART ONE
I. Kemp Tanner, Nevada cowboyKemp Tanner, who usually wrote his first and last names with an inexplicablehyphen between them as 'Kemp-Tanner,' kicked one pointed, leather boot toeinto the dark sand of the Reese River Valley and discerned a large, windingmovement beneath the surface. It was, he knew, a lethally venomous speckledrattlesnake estivating from the torrid heat of summer. He kicked at thewrithing form again and a broad, triangular head arose from the sand. With aquick movement of his pocket knife, Kemp sliced the serpent's head from itsbody and kicked the viper's bulging skull, which was larger than a tennis ball,several yards away into a tuft of mountain brush near by. The snake's head,unaware that it had been severed from its six foot body, flared its loreal pitsand extended its dripping fangs. Taking no notice, Kemp pulled the bleedingbody of the serpent from the dust and struck off its several rows of rattlebuttons. He then proceeded to skin the creature, holding its still bleedingstump in his mouth and running his blade down the length of its body until hecould peel away the skin, exposing the pink and hemorrhaging flesh beneath.