Originally posted on TLHS by Medusa on December 12, 2002
Edited and formatted by y2kvid

Thanks to y2kvid for the inspiration! This story practically wrote itself! Hope you all like it. Go here to view Sir Rat's rendering of Herpetologist Darbie.

“Herpetologist Darbie” was the hottest new show on the Animal Cable Network. Accompanied by her fiancé, Ben, Darbie and her film crew traveled the world over and brought the fascinating world of reptiles to millions of viewers. Darbie had a special extra something that made her different from the other nature show hosts. Even people who were deathly afraid of snakes would watch her show, entranced by Darbie and the beautiful lizards and serpents that she so expertly handled.

Ben was sure that it was Darbie’s luxurious long thick hair, which hung below her knees. Darbie and Ben had been childhood sweethearts and had spent many happy hours searching for frogs, salamanders, and snakes in the river near their home. But one day Ben’s family moved away, and eventually the two pals lost touch with each other. Both Darbie and Ben went to college and majored in zoology, and much to their surprise and delight, were unexpectedly reunited when both journeyed to Australia to pursue advanced study and research in herpetology. Darbie was thrilled that Ben shared her passion for reptiles, and Ben was doubly thrilled because Darbie’s hair over the years had grown from her shoulders to her calves! They fell in love quickly and continued their studies. Soon came an exciting opportunity to finance their advanced education and research projects – a cable TV series. Ben was more than happy to let Darbie have the lead role in the series, which made it a different show from the usual adventurer program. He was sure that something about Darbie’s hair that calmed the snakes and made them behave perfectly for the cameras. Whether they watched for the reptiles, Darbie’s beautiful hair, or both, the program was a favorite of all. Thousands of fan letters poured in from young girls who told Darbie they aspired to be scientists just like her! Darbie was very proud that she was inspiring so many girls to study science. This interest in science was the reason Darbie thought she had been invited to her first talk show guest appearance on the Haury Mopovich Show.

Indeed, everything was going beautifully at first. Darbie and Ben started off by demonstrating the gentleness and beauty of harmless corn snakes. Haury asked, worried, if these snakes might eat him, but Darbie proved how little there was to fear by showing the impossibility of a human being swallowed through such a small creature’s mouth. Now, Darbie and Ben brought out their sizeable pet Burmese Python, Frank. They explained that Frank was a docile pet and no danger to any humans, and that even in the wild, humans would be a no risk from being a python meal as long as they treated the snakes with caution and respect. The audience, who had shown as much nervousness as Haury when the program began, were gaining confidence in being around the serpents, and many came up to stroke Frank’s smooth, cool, scaly skin.

Darbie cautioned the audience that the next snake was not for petting, and Ben took Rapunzel the rattlesnake out of her safety bag with a snake hook. Darbie advised the audience that she was going to milk Rapunzel’s venom, which would be used for valuable medical research.

“I’m afraid we won’t have time for that, Darbie,” interrupted Haury. “We have to take a break but before we do, I want to bring out internationally famous hair stylist, Bob Cropper!” The audience clapped, having been prompted to so do by a flashing electronic “applause” sign. Bob Cropper sprinted on stage, and stood grinning next to Haury.

“When we come back,” continued Haury, “We’re going to invite Darbie to go under Bob’s scissors and finally get rid of all that long hair.” The cameras cut for a series of commercials.

“WHAT are you talking about?” Darbie’s usual smile had quickly turned to an incredulous expression. Ben’s eyes bugged out, and he took Rapunzel back from Darbie with his snake hook and began putting her back in the bag.

“You’ll donate it to charity. We haven’t decided which one, Locks of Love, Wigs for Kids, Tresses to Trash, it doesn’t matter. This will be a terrific show. Folks will love to see you donate your hair. And aren’t you sick of all that heavy long hair? You might as well be wearing that Burnese python on your head.”

“Burmese,” corrected Ben, whose scowl was deepening by the second. “What in the world is up with you, Mopovich? This is not what we came on this program for.” Ben looked ready to flatten Haury with a quick left jab!

“Folks, don’t you want to see Darbie get her hair cut?” asked Haury. A few people, some blue-permed middle aged ladies and shaved headed young men for the most part, cheered enthusiastically, but they were drowned out by most of the audience crying out, “No! Don’t do it, Darbie!”

Darbie and Ben were so incensed that they didn’t notice that Rapunzel’s bag had not been securely refastened. Now she was quickly slithering over the stage floor, and bit Haury Povovich through the thin fabric of his trousers.

“Oh, my God! Someone call 911!!” exclaimed Darbie. “Don’t worry, we have antivenin and and injection kit outside in our van. We take it with us everywhere. Your trousers helped protect you a little. She didn’t get that much venom in.” Ben swiftly caught Rapunzel and bagged her safely and securely.

“Bob, you’ll have to finish the show without me,” Haury said, panting as Darbie continued to examine the bite on his leg.

“No problem,” assured Bob, lifting up a lock of Darbie’s hair. “We’ll have a great time. I see you’ve got some split ends here to get rid of, Darbie. Don’t worry, it’s only hair. It’ll grow back in a few years.”

But Bob wasn’t seeing split ends. He was seeing small forked tongues! Suddenly, hundreds of them, darting quickly in and out from long serpents which had magically appeared all over Darbie’s head!

“Aaaaaaugh!” screamed Bob Cropper, trying to drop the snake which had taken the place of the hair lock he had picked up. Next the constricting snake wound around his wrist. Another similar serpent slithered out to grab his other wrist. There were all kinds of snakes growing out of Darbie’s head: strong constrictors, harmless garter snakes, nonpoisonous red, black and yellow striped milk snakes, poisonous red, yellow, and black striped coral snakes, and deadly, venomous vipers. Two of the vipers opened their mouth and bared their fangs which were full of toxic venom. One viper bit Bob Cropper’s left hand, and the other, the right.

“The medics are here!” announced Ben. “Cropper, be very still and do everything they say. I’m pretty sure they can save your hands. I someone bitten like that in Africa a few years ago. It took a lot of physical therapy, but in a few years he had the full use of his hand back.”

“I work with my hands! It may not matter to some people to be without their hands for a few years, but they’re my life!” Bob was weeping, and the medics warned him to stop.

“Aw, it’s just your hands,” scoffed Darbie, suddenly unsympathetic. “You can live without them for awhile.”

“So, Haury, will you do it for me? Will you ask Bob Cropper if he will cut my hair after the show?” asked Haury’s wife, Cassie Chang, trying to shake her husband awake.

“Wha—aaa—aat?” asked Haury, groggily.

“Bob Cropper! He’s appearing on your show today with Darbie the Herpetologist!”

“Oh, oh, oh,” groaned Haury, shaking his head. “No, no, no, I’m canceling Bob for today. We’ll do the whole show with Darbie and her snakes.”

“But you were going to have Bob cut her hair!” whined Cassie.

“No,” Haury said slowly. “No more haircuts on my show. I’ve finally realized, it’s not just hair to those women.”

Darbie’s appearance was a big hit. It was so big, in fact, that the syndicator cancelled Haury’s show and replaced it with reruns of “Herpetologist Darbie!” Darbie and Ben used the extra royalties to fund a new research project, and for a fabulous honeymoon safari to Africa!