Busted Axle Road
Chapter 9

Copyright© 1993, 2001, 2010

Pacobel left the snake sitting in the jar of formaldehyde after class, while he went to coach the softball practice. The season opener was only a couple of days off, and his mind was on that.

The practice went pretty well. This was going to be a good team, even if it wasn't going to set the world on fire. There were several solid hitters there, and the pitching was adequate, if not spectacular. The one real problem was that there just was not a lot of speed on the team, so fielding and running were both on the mediocre side. Not that it was all bad, even though softball tended to be a speed game, not a power game, since people that could play a power game were rare. When you got someone that could play a power game, like Brandy Evachevski, you could go far. Brandy was All-Conference in her third year at Michigan Tech this year, even carrying a full load of science and education courses, and there just weren't a lot of kids like her.

Brandy had never really been a candidate for Pacobel's post-graduate activities list, for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the fact that her father was an ex-Green Beret master sergeant. Besides, he'd heard that she was getting pretty thick with her boy friend, some guy from downstate, Willow Lake, or something like that.

But, the snake had gotten him to thinking about another girl that was on the post-graduate list. Pam Appleton had been no great shakes as a ball player, but had proven to be pretty good at one-on-one activities. What was better, she was working on her Master's in herpetology down at Athens University. If the snake really did prove to be an oddity, then it might get her attention, and there could be the possibility of some further action.

While the girls ran their wind sprints to warm up, Pacobel found himself thinking about the snake, really thinking about it, for the first time since Linda Clark had left it with him. Actually, he had to pretty much accept Danny Evachevski's conclusion: it probably was a Northern Water Snake at the extreme range of its pattern. In other words, interesting, but not an oddity.

But what if it were a Gibson's?

The obvious answer was that the discovery that a species of snake that had been thought extinct was alive and slithering at Spearfish Lake would be big news to the scientific world, and perhaps beyond. If the right person were to get credit for the discovery, it could be quite a feather in their cap.

And, there was no reason, Pacobel realized, why he shouldn't be that person. There had to be some sort of advantage to be gained out of that, somehow.

Interesting possibilities opened before him.

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