(A/N: I like snakes, yet lots of other people don't. If there's one thing I've learned, through the years, it's that the biggest thing one can do to overcome his or her fear of snakes…is to become more educated about them. Yet there has never really been a novel, movie or any kind of story, for that matter, where the snakes are the protagonists…until now.)

The cobra stuck his tongue out, sniffing the air. He was crouched as low down to the ground as he could possibly be; he didn't want to be seen. He stuck his tongue out and sniffed the air again. Still no sign of him. He was safe for now. He flicked his forked tongue through the long blades of grass as he began to slither off.

Finally though, the cobra was beginning to sense a bit of a threat. He slowed down his slithering and now tasted the air before every inch he moved. He recognized this smell; it was a creature he was all too familiar with, and the reason he had tasted the air in the first place. The cobra stopped. This was as far as he wanted to go. The long grass was obscuring his vision, but he didn't need his eyes. His tongue had told him all that he'd needed to know.

The time was now. The cobra reared up and displayed his majestic hood towards his predator: the mongoose. Though his hood was a fascinating sight to see, even if it was tainted with a salmon pigment, the mongoose wasn't frightened. As the cobra hissed, the mongoose snarled, both in a stand-off with just a few yards of grass between them.

Finally the cobra made his move: he lunged towards the mongoose, aiming for his neck.

It would have been the perfect strike but, just before he got to him, an invisible force field pushed him back. A low bonk sound echoed around the area from where his head had made contact.

The mongoose saw his opportunity and bared his claws and teeth, aiming for the cobra's neck. However, the force field pushed him back too. This time, scratchy sounds echoed around as the mongoose attempted to claw his way through the force field and reach the cobra.

"Well there ya have it," exclaimed the tour guide, standing in front of the giant enclosures, "the cobra and the mongoose…two mortal enemies. Now who here can tell meh which of these would win a fight in the real world?"

One of the kids from the front of the tour group raised his hands.

"Yes, young fellah?"

"The mongoose!" he answered.

"That's right," the tour guide replied. "If this big piece of glass weren't in the way of them, Mangus would most likely have our old Hood dead within ten seconds. Now, of course, Hood may put up a fight…and he could win…but I'd be putting my moneh on the mongoose. Now kids…" continued the tour guide, turning around, "you can get up close to them if you'd like, but just make sure you don't stand in the same spot for too long…let everyone else have ah look."

The group of excited children ran up towards the glass enclosures and pressed themselves up against the cobra's cage.

"Look at him!" exclaimed one of the girls, "he looks so silly!"

"Yeah, he doesn't even have hands…or legs…"

Hood, meanwhile, could hear every word they were saying. He just rolled his eyes.

"Hey…snake…you know if you were in the wild, you'd be dead, right? You don't even have claws…just that stupid hood!"

"Yeah," one of his friends agreed, "what kind of cobra has a pink hood, anyways?"

Hood sighed. "In one ear, out the other," he muttered to himself.

"Al'ight kids, Ah think it's time we'd get moving. Who wants to go and see the tigers?" asked the tour guide.

The group of children cheered and began running in front of the tour guide, leading them off to their next exhibit. Within seconds, they were out of sight, yet Mangus was still scratching at the glass.

"Okay Mangusss," said Hood, "they've gone now. You can cut the act."

"Aw, but I was enjoying myself!" the mongoose exclaimed, although he did back away from the glass. "Don't you love it when we get new guests every day, yet they all love watching me maul you!"

Hood turned around and slithered away from the glass, disgusted.

"In your dreamsss…" he mumbled to himself.

"What's the matter, Hood?" asked Mangus, smiling. "You don't like it just because everyone knows I'm a better fighter than you?" he joked.

"Not exactly," Hood replied, coiling himself up and setting himself next to a small pond in his enclosure.

"Well come on, you can tell me!" said Mangus. "I am, after all, your best friend in the zoo!"

Hood rolled his eyes. "You're the only one I've ever talked to. The only one I can talk to."

"Exactly! So what's wrong?"

"I think it's sssilly how we're confined to these sssame old placesss…this sssame old, daily routine," Hood replied. "Ssseriousssly Mangusss…don't you ever think there'sss more out there for usss…in the wild?"

"I don't think so," Mangus replied earnestly. "This is Florida, Hood, not Asia. There's much more dangerous stuff out there that we're not made to fight."

Hood wasn't really paying attention to Mangus. He was still trying to get his coils just right so that he could take a nice, afternoon nap.

"Ssso you ssay…" hissed the cobra, "…I don't sssee what could be so dangerousss about the wild…"