Column Classic: Princess Lisa

By Lisa Scottoline

I live a fairytale existence. 

But not in a good way. 

When I was little, I remember reading old-school fairytales, and there was one in which every time a princess spoke, no words came out of her mouth, but only snakes, newts, spiders, and mice. 

Well, it turns out that princess is me. 

And they’re not coming out of my mouth, but they’re coming out of my heat vents. 

Or from under couches. 

Or even from my oven. 

I don’t know where to begin the fairytale. 

Maybe just to remind you that every year in the autumn, I always have an invasion of wolf spiders. 

To be fair, they don’t invade.  They have better manners than that. 

They merely wait for the front door to open and run in, usually in a flying wedge. 

There are NFL teams that don’t have the formations of these spiders. 

Mine are professional spiders. 

I can’t bring myself to kill them, so I try to catch them under drinking glasses, flip the glasses upside down, and throw them back outside. 

I’ve made my peace with the spiders, as I have with the mice that tend to appear this time of year, too. 

I found one in the oven last week, and he wasn’t helping with the cooking. 

So, I set a bunch of mousetraps, because I don’t cut mice the same slack that I cut spiders. 

You have to draw the line somewhere. 

Anybody who has had a mouse in the house knows that the best and worst sound is a snap of the trap. 

Then a few days ago I noticed a horrible smell coming from the wall of my bedroom closet and all the dogs were going crazy every night, at bedtime.  When I couldn’t take the stench anymore, I called a contractor.  The dogs told him exactly where in the wall to dig. 

They’re cadaver dogs. 

Kind of. 

Anyway, in five minutes, the contractor had opened the wall and found three dead mice. 

Presumably they were not blind. 

Still, I can live even with dead mic e. 

I’m not a picky woman, and everybody’s just looking to keep warm for the winter, myself included. 

But just now, I was at my desk working on the computer when I happened to look down and see something dark, long, and skinny wiggling rapidly across the rug. 

All the dogs were asleep. 

Thanks, freeloaders. 

But to stay on point, at first, I thought it was a worm, but it was moving way too fast, and my body shuddered instantly, because it figured out what the thing was before my brain did. 

A baby snake. 

I jumped up and said, eeeeek! 

Because I’m entitled. 

I ran to get a glass, returned to my office, and put the glass down in front of the baby snake, who undulated cooperatively inside. 


I mean yessssssss! 

Then I ran outside with the glass and left the snake in the backyard. 

So, he could be a snake in the grass. 

It seemed only natural that there should be a living cliché in the backyard of a writer. 

I thought it was over until this morning, when I saw another baby  

snake crawling out of my heating vent in the floor. 


And now enough is enough. 

I can put up with spiders and mice, but I can’t put up with snakes. 

I thought instantly of the princess in the fairytale, but I want my happy ending. 

Which means that I won’t wait for a prince to save me. 

Because I might be waiting a long time. 

I can’t even get a dog to wake up. 

I’m going to find an exterminator. 

And I’ll live happily ever after. 

© Lisa Scottoline