When you’ve just had enoughBy Steve Estes
It would have made a great back drop for a low-budget science fiction flick if it had involved something a little more innocuous.
But as it was, even die-hard sci-fi fans probably wouldn’t be intrigued by dogs, iguanas and geckos, unless of course they were chemically or radiation enhanced in some fashion, with menacing teeth and a hunger for blood.
But they weren’t.
I can, however, call this little saga the “Days of the Flying Animals.”
It began innocently enough. But let me set the stage for act one.
My wonderful wife is an animal lover. I like all animals, but in moderation. She’d take in every stray that comes along if she could get them past me.
We had two pitbulls. They were a mother-son pair she had owned since they were born. They were lap dogs. Shortly before they died, we got our little Jackhihuahua (Jack Russell Chihuahua mix) we called Taco. After about three years, Holly decided she needed a female puppy that she could call Bell so when she goes to the door to call them in she can just yell “Taco Bell.” (I’ve never said she wasn’t a little weird.)
So we got her a female puppy, and true to her word, she named it Bell.
Our Taco was a Central-American jumping bean. He tried to pass on the trait to his new playmate. She, we’ve been told, is a Puerto Rican dog breed, without any bouncy Jack Russell in her.
To prove his male dominance, Taco would burst out onto the stairs and jump over Bell to be the first one down the stairs to greet strangers. Of course, that’s all in hopes they have food, but we let him have his fantasies.
So one night when I got home, they both did their usual run around in circles, ask for attention, race to the stairs routine.
Taco was usually at the top of the landing waiting for someone to open the door so he could get in the air conditioning. Bell usually lags a little behind. She was still a slightly ungainly puppy, after all.
But that night, she was at the top waiting with Taco. He got impatient waiting for me to get up the steps so he darted down the stairs to hurry me up. Bell thought she’d demonstrate what he’s been trying to teach her and set sail from the top step.
Unfortunately for her, she doesn’t have as much control over her body as he does. She launched straight out from the landing, all the way to the bottom where I stood.
I was forced to catch her or she would have splattered all over the concrete. When I did, I felt something tear in my shoulder. I guess that’s what happens when you get older and try to stop the flight of something akin to an 18-pound bowling ball.
My arm was sore for two days.
I have a cell phone, which I hate but seems to be a modern necessity, and the only way I can talk on it while I’m at work is to step outside to get reception.
I was out there the following day trying to understand the person on the other end when I heard a scratching sound over my head. There is a large awning that surrounds our building.
I looked up at the wrong time, because as soon as I got my eyes skyward, this two-foot iguana came flying off the top of the awning and hit the ground about six inches from where I stood. It shook its ugly head a few times to clear the cobwebs the landing must have produced, looked up at me as if to ask why I hadn’t caught it on the way down, and then scampered off.
I almost swallowed the phone.
That evening, as I got ready to go home, there was a large gecko perched atop the t-tops of my classic Vette.
I don’t normally pay any attention to the little lizards. They eat bugs. They’re good.
Because of past events, however, I took a good, long, had look at this one. He must have misinterpreted my look for something other than caution.
I opened the door, locked eyes with the lizard, and he set sail off the top onto my chest, clung to my shirt for a brief second, enough to almost scare the pee out of me, and then leaped on into the car, landing right in the middle of the driver seat.
I guess he was slightly peeved that I hadn’t caught him, either, because he just sat in my seat, daring me to get in.
I’d had enough of flying animals that week.
I reached in, grabbed the little critter around his back and lifted him from the seat.
I smiled. He knew. I can tell he knew. His eyes got wide.
I cranked up like I was still tossing fastballs at home plate in Little League and pitched him right back on top of the building. I didn’t even bother to see if he had landed on the roof or sailed all the way over to the other side.
When I got home, I picked Bell up and walked her up the stairs.
I had, indeed, had enough.