ToCookaRattlesnake“I’ll cook a rattlesnake if you’ll catch it and clean it.”

I shrugged at my old friend’s assertion that he was prepared to try snake steak. Not for nothing are Green Beret soldiers—even former ones like myself—known as “snake eaters.”

Fellow Vietnam vet Dan Case and I were backpacking Arizona’s Superstition Mountains, roaming around in the vicinity of the fabled Lost Dutchman’s gold mine. Temperatures in three digits, sun like a brass disc in a white-hot sky.

I have consumed dishes that might not appeal to the normal palate while on Special Forces missions, during survival training from the Arctic to the Sahara, as well as in my other travels. For example:

Raw seal liver off Greenland. Caution: Don’t eat polar bear liver, it can be toxic;

Bear roast in the Yukon;

Camel testicles in northern Africa;

A water snake in Panama. Caution: Don’t eat them uncooked. They foam and fill your mouth with “soap suds;”

Raw cow eyes in Central America;

Octopus tentacles on Cedros;

A turtle haunch along the Amazon;

A mystery stew in Egypt whose chef warned, “You don’t want to know what is in it;”

Fish Sushi in Japan that is supposedly a delicacy but can be deadly if not properly prepared;

A monkey hand in equatorial Africa;

Canine stew in Korea;

Giant roaches in Vietnam;

Roasted grasshoppers; ants heated in the desert sun on a poncho; cactuses; roots, crabs; lizards; a moray eel; nuts and leaves and fruits—and a T-bone steak in New York. . .

Now, one afternoon in the Superstitions, I called out to Dan: “Quick! Get a pot!”

I offered him a decent-sized rattler so fresh it was still writhing in my fist. He stared. Perhaps it is a bit daunting to actually envision a steak and all the trimmings when presented in such a manner.

Sanctuary is one of two Science Fiction novels published by Charles W. Sasser. Humans deserted Planet Earth a millennium ago; now, returning to re-colonize, they discover a threatening planet ruled by a demon. To survive, they must undertake a mission that will lead them into the bowels of Hell and subject them to horrors beyond any world. Available in paperback on