It was a windy afternoon and I was securing the house when I saw the mutant lizard. The skies were gray and treetops were swishing, and there was the baby gecko, spying on me from the shadow of my monitor. I had seen him before. He was yellow and rub
bery looking, like a section of ginger, except with expressive bulbous eyes. I’ve watched him scooting across the ceiling and across walls and squeezing beneath window sashes and door jams. It seemed he was looking to get out of the house. I wanted to liberate him, but how? He moved so fast, he evaded my every effort to capture him. I threw towels which landed empty on the floor.
I phoned my friend Caloosa. “Emergency!” I spoke to his voice mail, “A baby gecko is stuck indoors.”
Caloosa was at home on his houseboat, sage smudging the rooms, spinning the pungent smoke around himself like a ribbon. After a day hosting guests he liked to restore the mojo of his sanctuary. He was swaying to Jazz and sage smudging when the phone rang. He checked the ID. It was that writer chick. He let the call go to voice mail.
The rain descended noisily, bullets strafing dry leaves, rattling heavy palm tree fronds. I dashed about securing wobbly windows, sopping up pools of rainwater that easily entered. The lusty squelching growl of sexed up frogs broke out, groaning in their throaty way, sounding like giants in waterlogged galoshes. I wouldn’t have cared except they began to apply themselves to the sliding
doors and the windows. Pressing their bodies and bounding away, like fireworks. I watched one frog try to press his vivid green self through a crack in a window, so I sprung over to smack at the glass, and thank heavens he hopped off.
Rattled, my eye caught something speeding across the kitchen floor. Suddenly, on automatic, I picked up one foot and planted it directly on whatever was moving, landed squarely on it. I had stomped hard on something pliable and humped. I felt a squishing, and I heard a popping sound.
I recoiled, withdrawing my foot, only to see the baby gecko trampled and gooey. His spine was smashed and his tail was split, his legs splayed. But he was still alive. Looking at him I felt sick. He twisted his upper body and turned his head to me, his mouth open, his eyes moist, as if imploring, “Why?” He stared at me, pale eyes beseeching. I was appalled. I knew what I had to do. I raised one foot and crushed him. I felt the torso collapse; felt it give way and flatten, emptying of all hope and aspiration.
After the storm Caloosa sat in his wicker chair on the front deck, watching the rising moon as it glowed through clouds, trapping silver light. He sipped his wine, and returned messages. To the writer chick he said: “That little guy is a House Gecko. They live behind picture frames, and they eat bugs. The House Gecko is your friend.”