Book Club Has Snake Trouble

POSTED: Friday, January 27, 2012 --- 11:40 a.m.

Here is an example of how two different outlets can report the same story in two very different ways. In this case, while some elements are frightening, everything turned out okay.

First, the account from Madison Police Public Information Officer, Joel Despain.

Members of a Madison book club could write their own non-fiction following last week’s meeting. Their narrative would involve a 17-year old protagonist named Annie.

She was known as a non-aggressive teen, but on this dark winter’s night, with bone-chilling cold and the threat of inches of powdery snow on the way, she was likely feeling pretty hungry.

The hour has slipped past 7:00 p.m., and it had been some time since she had last eaten.

It was around this very hour that house guests began to arrive. They had come to socialize, talk about daily events, and of course, to chat about chapter and verse.

Annie was about to quickly become intertwined with the women’s book club.

It happened quickly, when one member looked down, and decided to pick her up.

Soon police and paramedics would be at the door.

You see, Annie is a snake, a ball python to be exact. Or, some would say a royal python as Cleopatra supposedly wore one around her wrist - so another story goes. In captivity pythons are considered good pets, as they rarely bite.

According to an officer’s report, the well-intended book club member, who plucked Annie from her aquarium, had prior experience handling snakes and had no reason to believe she was putting herself in danger.

But like many a narrative, this one was about to take a strange twist. .

When first responders arrived, Annie was found attached to the right cheek of the book club member, and she wasn’t letting go.

Her owner returned home, and was able to get Annie dislodged from the face of the 31-year old who had just hoped to hold her.

Annie went back to aquarium. The woman went to get bite wounds disinfected.

It was sort of a happy ending as she ended up with no scars, and no lasting emotional trauma. As for the book club, all members came away with a real-life story: one likely to be remembered long after the words of the book they gathered to discuss have faded.

Now, the same story as reported by the Wisconsin Associated Press:

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Members of a Madison book club have quite a story to discuss. And, it doesn't have anything to do with a book.

One of the book club members decided to take a pet python out of its terrarium during a recent meeting at a host's home. The 31-year-old woman says she had experience handling snakes and just wanted to hold it. The normally docile snake named Annie latched on to the woman's cheek and wouldn't let go.

Police and paramedics were summoned. But, Annie wouldn't let go until her owner arrived home and detached her. The woman's bite was disinfected.

Madison police spokesman Joel DeSpain says the book club members could write their own non-fiction piece involving a protagonist named Annie.

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