Catherine Mulvany
Catherine Mulvany

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Catherine Mulvany’s life is a fairy tale. Okay, a fractured fairy tale. At age eleven she fell hopelessly in love with a little town in eastern Oregon. With a population under fifty—counting the cats and dogs—the town didn’t even qualify as one-horse, but the place had character. Character and an abundance of arkayesses.

Never heard of an arkayess? Neither had Catherine. But on the first day of her visit, she became intimately acquainted with one particularly gruesome member of this species—also known as the road-killed snake. Arkayess. RKS. Road-killed snake. Get it?

She did. The hard way.

Catherine was walking along a side street, minding her own business, when the orneriest boy in town came riding down the road on his bike, swinging a dead snake like a lariat. “You’d better run, kid,” he yelled. “I’m gonna wrap this arkayess around your leg!”

She ran.

He followed. (Are you getting that whole fairy tale connection? Knight on a white charger equals boy on a bike?)

When he got close enough, he took aim, then let that snake fly. It cartwheeled through the air with deadly accuracy to coil itself around her bare leg.

The boy was almost as shocked as Catherine; he hadn’t expected to hit his target. So to make it up to her, he proposed...and it only took him nine years to do it. She accepted, of course, and they’ve lived happily ever after in their very own castle.

All right. So it’s really a three-bedroom ranch house, but it has an irrigation ditch out back, and that’s practically a moat, right?