The Great Gecko Hunt
People can have a somewhat idealized vision of what it means to live in Paradise. My friend Shel and I often discuss the things that people we know back home on the mainland (and for her, Canada) have most recently alluded to: that we spend all our time at the beach, or sipping mai tais, or just relaxing with a good book in a hammock. Oh, how we wish it were so.
Right now I have a battle of wits going with a gecko in my office. The battle has been raging for about five weeks, in which time he has pooped on absolutely everything (they hang out on the ceiling and let it fly.) It’s along the window sills, on the floor, on the desk and the bookshelves.
At first I tried to ignore it, then the morning came that I walked into the office and there was gecko doo dripping down my computer screen. ENOUGH! I cried. I brought a step ladder into the office, determined to catch him. The ladder has been there for a week now. They are smart and fast and cackle at you.
Last night at dusk I spotted him and called in reinforcements: Lili the Cat. I’ve written about Lili before, but didn’t mention what a fabulous hunter she is. She will sit in the living room and stare up at the ceiling, motionless, until we notice there is a gecko up there and try to railroad it down with a broom. If one of us spots the gecko first, we yell, “Lili, come NOW!” and even if she is dead asleep and dreaming about ice cream, she will leap to her feet and come running, bleary-eyed. (It’s quite entertaining to watch and sometimes Mike will be ornery and yell for her to come for no reason, just to watch the show.)
So there Lili and I are in the office. I’m up on the ladder with a broom and she, the goalie, might as well be wearing a mask and holding a little hockey stick, she is so jazzed. Poised and ready down below, she chimes in with her own kitty cackle. The ultimate goal is to whisk the gecko off the ceiling to the floor, and when she nabs him, I will jump down, gently remove him from her mouth, and release him out of doors.
But geckos have that annoying survival measure built in, where their tails detatch just as you grab them. That’s what this one did, then he was off and running across the ceiling. He glanced over his shoulder and cackled at me. Lili felt robbed and said so. Game over.
Today I come into the office and get down on my hands and knees. I spot him behind a bookcase, and the chase is on. I am determined not to lose him this time. He runs up the wall and high-tails it (no pun intended) up behind the rattan window shade. I take a whack at him with a magazine and he again drops to the floor. Then shoots right up the wall.
A dance ensues: I’m up, I’m down on the floor… up, down. He knows my knees can’t take this for long and that he’s winning. He cackles in glee. That’s when I notice: he isn’t missing his tail. There are TWO of them in here, switch-hitting like the twins in “Parent Trap.” I am doomed, people.
Then there is this big guy below, who lives in the wreath on our front door, like the king of the castle, and challenges all comers. I think he must be old because he has the longest tail I’ve seen on a gecko:
On any given day there will be ten cockroaches, a cane spider, and in a bad week, a centipede, in the house. The cane spiders are hairy-looking, like small tarantula cousins:
They can really travel when they put their minds to it, so we again call Lili in to help us hunt. She is quite proud when we are successful as a team, and crushed when we fail. Either way, she gets her daily allotment of tropical fruit, and then takes a nap, making sure to keep her paw on her toy mouse’s tail.
Worn out from a day of hunting, we all go to our respective corners to rest up, knowing that tomorrow the Great Gecko Hunt will begin again.
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