I was sitting on the love seat having a bite of dinner while local news anchors prattled endlessly in the background about mostly inconsequential nonsense. Vazra was busy doing… uh… well… he was busy running around as though his tail was on fire. He gets in these moods, you see. It’s all rather odd with his flipping out and chasing his own tail and spinning in circles and running hither and yon and generally being insane. So, anyway, that’s what he was doing.
As I’m learning to understand what he’s talking about when he talks—and he talks a lot—I’m slowly beginning to hear what he means from time to time. And so I sat shoveling sustenance into my pie hole when he came to a screeching halt near the fireplace, leaped into the box that sits there (it’s the old laptop box I kept for them), and began talking in what sounded like the same voice and manner he uses when talking to things outside—except he wasn’t looking outside. He was leaning over the edge of the box and talking to the floor in front of the fireplace.
I set my dinner aside, stood, and walked to his location. I gave a cursory glance around the box and couldn’t really see anything of interest other than the floor, and since that’s what I expected to see, I assumed he was demonstrating more insanity and took a step back for a slightly different view. When I moved my right foot, which had been right beside the box, I finally could see something. It was rather small and hard to see because it was nearly the same color as the floor. I reached over, turned on the light, and was quite surprised to find a tiny little Mediterranean gecko (a.k.a. house gecko; Hemidactylus turcicus) cowering near the box. Uh-oh.
It was the same size as the one I found outside. The only way I knew it was a different animal was because its tail didn’t have the scar and regeneration mark from where it has lost and re-grown the appendage.
With my foot out of the way, Vazra’s talking went up in volume because he was able to refocus on the critter. He’d found a new toy. Rather than leave it to the horrible fate I knew it would suffer in the house (as is the case with anything smaller than a large dog), I tried to catch it so I could take it back outside.
Let me be clear on this: these little racers are fast. Being as small as it was, it also had a tremendous gift for disappearing into tiny spaces. That’s actually how it ended up under my shoe, I believe, because I hadn’t stepped on it. Instead, it was hiding right under the toe. I’m glad I hadn’t leaned forward.
So I knelt on the ground and gave chase. Talk about entertaining. Trying to pick it up was hard because of its size and my desire not to crush it. I also didn’t want to rip off its tail and was being very mindful of that little trick. But think about it: Daddy’s kneeling on the floor making all sorts of noise and moving everything out of his way while Vazra excitedly talks and talks and talks. If you were a cat, could you resist? Of course not! Needless to say, it only took a minute for the other four felines to join in the chase. Things were not working out quite the way I had hoped.
There I am trying to keep the lizard from scurrying into spaces where I couldn’t reach it (under furniture, into the fireplace, or even under the carpet where it meets the tile floor), and I have five cats trying desperately to help me catch this fun little self-powered toy that’s scampering about wildly. As you can no doubt imagine, the whole scene was one of absolute mayhem.
I was, however, able to get my hands around it in a sort of bubble. I couldn’t pry my hands apart for fear it would dash out through the space and once again lead us all in a game of hide and seek. That had happened several times already. Additionally, I wasn’t in a position to grab anything that would help me scoop it off the floor without possibly crushing it between my fingers or ripping its tail off. How ludicrous I must have looked nearly doubled over in a fetal position trying to peek between my own fingers to determine how best to grab the little thing. In the meantime, five very excited predators had encircled me and were talking with much enthusiasm (most of which were demands for me to release the toy immediately!).
In a moment of pure luck, I was able to maneuver myself so that a wee bit of light shined between my cupped hands. I could see it clinging precariously to one of my fingers, so I scooped my hands together and flipped them over to put it safely in my palm. I could then feel it moving about and knew I finally had it.
None of The Kids had intentions of letting it get away that easily. It was like a pack of rabid children begging for candy they know you have. While I made my way to the patio door, all five of them circled my feet (with not a few attempts to trip me, I might add). They were all bellowing and chattering and more than interested in seeing that creature put right back where I’d found it.
Luckily, I finally got outside and was able to let it go on its way. Perhaps it didn’t realize the inherent danger of entering the abode where hunters abound and find great joy in chasing down and dispatching invaders. Perhaps it was on me somewhere and I carried it inside. Perhaps it was on the door when I went out or came in at some point and fell to the floor. Who knows. All I know is I gently but sternly warned it such a move was unwise and should not be attempted in the future. After listening intently, it dashed off into the darkness and I went back inside—where I found my dinner had become cheap compensation for the toy I’d so rudely confiscated.
Ah, what a fine evening.