I looked at my hand. It was swollen like a baseball glove. This glove was black and purple and looked like it could just bust right open at any time. It was not at all like the one I had stolen at Wal-Mart. I wish now that I had neither of them. My head pounded. My arm and my shoulder were red and sore. They hurt. I hated to feel this way but it was my own fault. The serpent had smelled the lies in me and he struck out at the lies and the fear and the guilt. It was just like paw-paw had said it could be. I was not only the snake-bitten, I was also the wicked. That hurt just as much, even more probably.
Paw had went back to his house, By now he had returned the serpents to their hutch. This trial by fire was ended, at least for the time being. I knew we would build our strength, strengthen our faith, battle Satan in a test of our faith and his resolve all over again, when the time was right, when the signs of the times said it needed to be.
Doctor Hinkle was in the room. He looked me over. He told me what to expect in the coming weeks. He told me how to care for the wound and when to come back. He was kind. He wasn't all excited and throbbing like I was. I looked at his shoes. They were clean. For a minute I wished I was his boy. I wondered where I would be and what I would be doing right now, right this very minute. I thought that maybe I'd be sittin' somewhere eatin' spaghetti and playing video games, maybe on a porch overlooking a pond. Funny how your mind wanders, and me sitting here with a swole-up hand just allowin' these thoughts to go on.
The doctor said something to me before he left the room. He said " I've known your granddad for over 50 years. He's a good man. You are a young man. You can have a good life if you pay attention to the things you do". "See if your paw might get interested in something else. Maybe you could get him interested in baseball or wresting or something. Something you can do together to take your mind off things"
I still think about that a lot.