Kickass, the doorstop dog, is having difficulty helping the keeper deal with his ophiophobia—fear of snakes, which in his case has its basis in the presence of the ghostly white snake of winter that occupies the Wisconsin river valley on most August mornings. In first light, depending on the temperature, the winter snake–its belly close to the cool river water, is plainly visible from the keeper’s house several miles away. As the morning warms, the snake grows larger and shuts off views of the bluffs over across the river; and then it dissolves into the clouds and is gone. In his usual manner of putting a scissor-lock on omens, the keeper is convinced the winter-snake is telling him that cold and snow and ice are but a few months away, and if he doesn’t fall on it, he will surely freeze his ass. He—the keeper, is thinking of therapy, with Phyllis, in Arizona, three or four months of it. Maybe that might also help him with his “stultophobia” which is a fear of stupid people, especially those holding high government positions.