‘ There’s a dead body in the bathroom you have to dispose off,’ I said to my father as he walked in. Prepared for this very moment by the last 22 years, he nodded, unfazed, and replied, ‘After dinner.’
Sometime after tea and before bad tv, he walked into the lounge, a look of stunned disbelief on his face. ‘Who killed the lizard?’
‘Seriously?’ The look of bemusement turned to one of unmistakable pride as he continued, ‘How?’
‘I sprayed it. I sprayed it dead.’
That might have been the proudest moment of my life. Oh actually, the proudest moment of my life was the next day when my father knocked on my door, and bashfully asked for the spray. But it was also the start of a dangerous obsession.
If you walk into my room unannounced, chances are you’ll find me poised for attack, insecticide spray in one hand and shoe in the other, slaying lizards. At least that’s how my mom found me today, as she walked in reading a book, switching on the ceiling fan as is her habit. Every room she passes, no matter what the weather or occupancy level is, she switches on the fans. And because we’ve become immune to this quirk (there are only so many battles you can fight when it comes to altering mothers to suit you), she probably didn’t expect the shrieking.
‘They’re running, they’re running!!!!!!!’
Startled, she looked up from her book, probably expecting to see thieves making off with her jewellery. Instead, she saw her 22 year old, viciously spraying a can of insecticide on two lizards, who were dancing on the ceiling in an elaborate pantomime. Whats more, they were dancing in opposite directions, making it impossible for me to get both. Its not enough they are green, and scaly, and literally creepy and crawly. They also have coordinated escape routes.
They shot off, and I ran after them in hot pursuit. One slipped away through the window, the other stayed resolutely on the ceiling, completely unaffected by my efforts. I must have sprayed half a can on the thing, it never so much as swished its horrible little tail.
‘This is murder,’ intoned my mother, safe in her perch on the bed.
‘Well they were copulating on the ceiling, that’s public indecency.’
‘That spray is going to go in your eye.’
‘Stupid, mutant, reproducing lizards. I HATE THEM SO MUCH!’
‘Could you try and put the can down?’
‘I’m going to hit it with a shoe!’
‘That’s my shoe!’
‘Oh, now you decide to display emotion? Die, stupid, die!’
I continued to hurl my mother’s new shoes at the insecticide-resistant lizard for a good twenty minutes, but in this case, no fall came after my pride. Of course, I was hoping the fall would be the lizard’s and not mine. My mother just sat there calmly and finished her Hemingway. As soon as the book was done, though, she got up and left, which I felt was reasonable, considering that I was throwing shoes up in the air, hoping they would bring a lizard back down with them.
And then my mother came back, as she always does, to the insanity of her offspring. She marched into the rainfall of sensible heels, her head held high and my father’s walking stick tucked under her arm. She did not kill it dead, as I had hoped, but she managed to chase it out of my room. She also managed to prise my insecticide spray out of my fingers, taking it with her, to an undisclosed location. I tried tailing her for an hour, begging for it, but I stopped once my brother started drawing the Gollum and Lord of the Rings parallels.
I know the lizards. They’ll be back. They’re always back. In twos. In hordes. And I’ll be at the ready. With my spray. She may have taken it from me, but I will find it again. My pride. My precious.