An extra head I didn’t want

By Steve Estes

As many of you know, I am a great fan of Halloween.

It’s one of those holidays where differences don’t matter because anyone can look like anything on those magical nights.

I have a costume that is a favorite of mine. It’s a three-headed monster.

I got the gear for it a few years ago when Fantasy Fest was a Halloween theme and I was the three-headed mad doctor. My buddy Bobby is a welder and he had a rig made for my shoulders that had two extended aluminum pipes on either side of my head. I bought two Styrofoam wig heads and had my daughter’s boyfriend Saulo paint them for me (he’s quite an accomplished artist) and played the part of a three-personality schizophrenic.

Some thought it wasn’t much of a stretch. I probably agree.

But after this week, I’m not so sure I want to do the multi-headed thing anymore.

Let me explain.

I was sitting on the bench out front of the office talking on the cell phone trying to figure out if it was going to rain and whether I should roll up my car windows.

I finally decided to do the latter just as the rain began to fall. Did I also mention that procrastination is at the top of my to-do-list on a daily basis?

But when I returned to the bench I stayed on the phone a little longer, sitting on the bench.

As the conversation wore on for a few minutes I kept catching this movement out of the corner of my right eye.

I wear glasses with progressive lenses in them. I’ve been wearing glasses for about 45 years so they’re no big deal to me. But the lenses do tend to cut down on my peripheral vision because they create this ocean wave thing when I look sideways and not straight through the lens.

So usually I have to turn my head to see things right beside me with any clarity.

I didn’t do that this time and just kept talking.

There it went again…this dark shadow just out of reach of my peripheral vision.

I blamed it on the clouds that were producing the short rainfall.

When it happened for the fourth time, I thought maybe I should take a look and turned my shoulders to look to my right and be able to focus out of my glasses.


Then the dark shadow crossed again just out of reach of my peripheral vision.

So again I turned to look and saw…nothing.

As I got ready to end the conversation and head back inside, I got that eerie feeling from a dark shadow crossing just at the limit of my vision. It was beginning to give me the willies.

And then I really got a jolt because I felt something move on my shoulder. Whatever it was, it was creeping its way up to the neck.

As most of you know I have a serious snake phobia and was completely prepared to have a serious heart attack right where I sat.

You can forgive me my trepidation with not turning my head rapidly to try and find the source of this shadow.

Finally, after I felt this subtle movement again toward my neck I took off my glasses, which increases greatly my peripheral vision but does nothing for clarity and swung my eyes as far right as I could get them without tearing them from the socket.

And found the source of my discomfort.

A rather large, dark gecko had taken up residence on my shoulder and was using the vantage point to survey the parking lot, looking for I know not what.

His head was facing exactly the same direction as was mine, and every time I moved my head, he moved his.

With no effort, and no wish, I had suddenly grown a second head.

Now there are some who would say that the gecko was a decided improvement from my normal facial appearance. I won’t argue that point.

But that didn’t change my feelings that my unwelcome hitchhiker needed to find another observation platform from which to survey his domain.

And I did what I thought I could never do and I slapped myself up side the head.

I missed. Talk about your embarrassing moments.

The gecko wasn’t fazed.

I laid down the phone and used my left hand, which is often more accurate than my right anyway, to slap my shoulder.

My aim was true.

I hit the gecko square on the back, pulling the smack enough so that I wouldn’t have to explain the existence of gecko blood on my collar to my lovely wife.

I startled the dark passenger just enough so that he jumped off the shoulder…onto the top of my head.

OK. I admit I was a little bit freaked.

I vigorously shook my head and watched in some morbid satisfaction as the little lizard lost his grip and slammed against the side of the building. He fell just a few inches and then got a grip with whatever they use for toes and climbed back to the top edge of the bench.

And from there he stared at me. I swear there was malice in his eyes. Had I been a creature of smaller stature I do believe he would have stood on two hind legs and challenged me to a fist fight right there on the patio.

As it was he made me give ground with that unblinking stare.

It was only second later that I bolted for the door. I hesitated only a few seconds more before locking the door.

When I looked through the window, there was the lizard, perched on the back of the bench outside the window, staring at me like I should have been lunch.

I kept the door locked. You never know when he might have friends.

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