Hello, fellow passenger in seat 13F. I see you’ve got a cute Pomeranian. What’s his name? Lucky? What an adorable name. This overly-affectionate big lug coiled around me is Mister Cuddles. He’s my emotional support snake. I see you’ve moved a little further away. Have no fear, ma’am. Neither you nor Lucky have anything to be concerned about. Mister Cuddles here is a Burmese python. He’s not venomous. Besides, he was just fed at the Panda Express in the food court. Weren’t you, Cuddles? Who loves his moo goo gai pan? Daddy’s little Cuddles does, don’t you? As you can see by how tight he’s hugging me—maybe a little too tight—this little Cuddle-Bug is just a big, old lover boy.

Is Denver your final destination? I love Colo—I’m sorry. I must’ve blacked out there for a minute. Probably from a deprivation of oxygen. Did you say you’re from—did you say—phew! Cuddles, you’re really hanging on tight! Who’s the one afraid of flying here?! Ha ha!

Where would we be without our emotional support animals, am I right? Don’t look now, but I think there’s a little romance blooming between Lucky and Mister Cuddles. Aw, Cuddles is giving Lucky a little kiss— now, it’s perfectly alright. Captain Cuddles here doesn’t see very well, so that thing he’s doing with his tongue? He’s got chemical receptors in it. He’s just trying to see that handsome little man on your lap—

Oh, sweet Christ! Now Cuddles, you let go of Lucky’s head… it’s alright, ma’am. Cuddles is just being a bit of a scamp—Okay, I admit this does not look good. The involuntary twitching of the limbs, the violent spasms. Cuddles, you spit Lucky out, right now! Do you hear me?

Okay, ma’am. I need you to stop screaming. I understand the optics aren’t good here at the moment, but your screaming is making the situation nearly untenable. In fact, you’re upsetting him. I know… I know… I’ve got to be honest; I did not see this coming.

As long as we’re telling the truth, I never intended to have an emotional support snake. I’d actually gone to the pet shop to buy something a bit more traditional like an emotional support Guinea pig or an emotional support ferret, but then this guy took a liking to me and wrapped me up in one of his big old hugs, and we’ve been inseparable ever since. No, I mean seriously. I have not been able to free myself from him. You think flying like this is awkward? I had a prostate exam the other day.

I get it. You want Lucky back. I want the use of my arms back. We’re both victims here, okay? I think it’s time we tell Lucky to go toward the light. From the weird sensation on my chest, I’d suspect there’s some hypertrophy of the intestines, and an increase in the production of Cuddle’s stomach acid going on. In other words, Lucky’s in the express lane to the stomach. And can we talk about his name for a moment? Even under these traumatic conditions, I hope the irony is not lost on you—

I know you’re angry, right now—I am, too. Doesn’t it seem like the in-flight snack and beverage service is taking a long time— Uh, I wouldn’t hit him like that. Maybe it’s just better to sit back and remember the good times with Lucky— Oh, Mary, Mother of God, no! I told you not to hit him. Now, he’s got your arm. Please tell me you’re not left-handed. If I could just stand up, maybe I could hit the call button with my nose—

No, you’re not hearing things. I hear it, too. I wanted to hope against hope that that snapping sound was just someone watching West Side Story on their iPad, but I’m afraid that’s your bones breaking. Oh, God… I’m going to be sick. I wish I could reach one of those air sickness bags. I’m sorry. You’re right. I was being insensitive. Of course, your situation is worse—though frankly, I question your priorities getting into a whole “whose-situation-is-worse” debate when you’re slowly being swallowed alive by a python. Maybe, if you roll up your in-flight magazine and hit him really hard on the nose with your free hand—

Oh, Saint Jude! He’s unhinged his jaw now…

Excuse me, can someone please get the flight attendant’s attention? My emotional support python is eating my seat-mate. “It was a bad idea bringing a python aboard a commercial flight?” I know that, now. Where were you with that newsflash at check-in, Cronkite? Look, don’t blame me. Blame my sister in Denver. No one told her to move clear across the country and then go and have a baby—you’re right. I’m deflecting. Also, I’m getting very sleepy.

Oh, Cuddles! You give such delightful hugs! Someone please wake me up when we land…