Sunday, October 25, 2015

Tropical snake makes waves in a nervous pre-election year

A venomous sea snake, normally found in Central American waters, washed ashore this week in Oxnard, sparking jubilation among people who had been lamenting the end of the ebola scare last year. The yellow-bellied menace was quickly denounced as an illegal immigrant by Donald Trump, but died on the beach before it could be used in campaign ads.

"Yellow-bellied is right," Trump crowed, noting that the sea-faring serpent had not even had the "guts" to risk its life crossing the desert into Texas like any other self-respecting Central American.

The other 87 Republican candidates for president belatedly chimed in, criticizing the snake's clear lack of "gumption," "patriotism" and "legs."

Scientists blamed the growing El Niño weather pattern, which is shifting warmer ocean currents farther north than normal, resulting in "unusual occurrences of political opportunism."

Hillary Clinton, at an "It's Two L's, Not One, You Idiot" rally in Daytona, Florida, denied that the snake was a clever plot to draw attention away from her Private Email Server-gate. Bill Clinton quickly added, "No comment."

The black and yellow snake (whose Latin name, Pelamis platurus, literally means "undecided voter") was spotted on the beach by a surfer. Experts say the last time this species came to Southern Californian shores was three decades ago during a similar El Niño season.

"Clear proof of global warming," said Democratic presidential hopeful Martin O'Malley, while handing out "Martin WHO?" buttons outside a Wawa mini-mart in Huntsville.

Highly venomous and deadly, Pelamis platurus is known as non-aggressive, and will only attack if threatened or forced to choose sides, politically. "El Niño is wreaking havoc not just on nature but on liberal fundraising," said Rip Emoff, a fictitious political strategist.

"Stripey killer snakes are a sign of the End Times, and whenever people think the world is just about over, they tend to donate less to Democrats," he said. "Republicans see a nice bump, though."

By spring, when the expected heavy rains come to Los Angeles, voters' attentions will likely shift from snakes to mudslides, floods and Academy Awards fashions. But the venomous harbinger which appeared this week, foretold in legend ("And lo, a surfer will sight the beast") must not be far from the candidates' thoughts. It will be an election year, and the one who rises to lead us will be the one who remembers that Pelamis platurus is best known for biting you in the butt.