My Zsu Zsu is really a remarkable woman. Gorgeous, strong, motherly, and a stand up comedian all rolled into one.
Yesterday, I also discovered that she is certifiable. As what, I’m not sure. Perhaps you can tell me after reading the following.
Sue works the third shift so when she walks in the door at 7:00 AM, I’m always hard at work, blogging away. Yesterday after coming into my office, greeting me in her usual effusive fashion, she disappeared into the living room where I heard her moving around opening boxes and other stuff.
I usually take a break around 8:30 so we can sit and talk for a while before she goes to sleep so you can imagine my surprise when I walked out into the living and saw a clear plastic rectangular shaped box with a black top sitting on the bookcase.
“What is it?” I asked.
“What’s what?” she returned innocently.
I don’t know how well you might know your lover but I know my Zsu Zsu and that look on her face, the lack of eye contact, the slight “I’ve got a secret” smile immediately had my antenna going up. She’s gone off and done something unpredictable again, I thought. I was right.
“That box on the bookcase. What is it?”
“That’s Suzie our Salamander.”
Anytime your woman uses her little nickname for you it’s supposed to be so endearing you forget you’re mad at her and just stand there as your heart melts like a slice of Velveeta over an open grill. And it almost worked. That is, until I saw the cats.
The youngster Snowball was sitting on the entertainment center already eyeing the little rodent – er, reptile with a hungry eye. Sitting stock still and watching the unsuspecting creature with that laser like cat uber concentration that must of frightened the hell out of our ancestors when meeting up with her distant saber tooth cousins, you could almost see the wheels turning in that remarkable mammalian brain. Fifty million years of evolution, all to have the capacity to formulate a single, serviceable thought:
And Aramas was on the coffee table, gathering his back legs preparing to leap onto the bookcase in order to get his dibs in for this movable feast. Now Ari is an old man and not the leaper he once was (although like many of us, he doesn’t recognize his limits and keeps missing what he’s aiming for). I was sure if the old boy tried to make that jump, he’d probably knock the box off the bookcase and not only would Zsu Zsu lose her Salamander to the cats but we’d have this crappy sawdust all over the floor.
“NO!” I firmly told Aramas. He gave me one of those baleful looks cats use when they glance at you as if to say “Are you kidding? Leave me alone, human.” Meanwhile, he jumped down and began to look for an alternate route to his meal.
This is when I turned to Sue and tried to explain. I told her that cat’s are, by nature, curious and that sooner or later, they would find a way to get the little gecko.
“It’s a Salamander,” she sniffed. “I caught it outside in the parking lot after work. It’s mine.”
I asked her what good the damn thing was. At least cats have the virtue of being interesting, even when they’re doing nothing. This thing was ugly, slimy, and had a brain the size of a mouse turd. It was barely aware that it was alive.
I was watching Little Miss Lizard while saying this when, almost too fast for the human eye to follow, the little alligator lunged forward and snagged a cricket in its mouth. One gulp and it was gone.
“Kewl,” I said.
“So I can keep it?” my darling asked like a little girl. (Even if I had said no she would have kept the damn thin anyway).
“It wasn’t a question of me allowing you to keep it,” I said. “What are we going to do about the cats?”
We had temporarily taken our eyes off of Snowball and Aramas (my old girl Ebony is much to ancient and dignified a beast to have any interest in a Salamander) so when we looked, we saw both cats on the bookcase, one on either side of the box. And Aramas was already testing to see if he could get his paw through the hard plastic that was separating him from his repast. The stupid lizard clearly saw Aramas but appeared oblivious to the danger.
“DOWN!” we both screamed at once. Startled, they disappeared faster than you can say “bath time.”
Gently, I tried to tell Sue that eventually, the cats would figure out the only way in to the Salamander’s lair would be either through the top of the case or simply by knocking the whole box on to the floor. Both solutions would mean one dead gecko and a huge mess to clean up.
I could see she was disappointed so I thought I’d cheer her up:
“Honey, don’t worry. You would have gotten bored with this thing after a week or two.”
“Not true,” she said. “How do you know?”
“Sweetheart, the damn thing doesn’t do anything. It just sits there and lies like a rock in the water waiting for food to jump into its mouth. You might have gotten a turtle or something,” I grumbled.
“Well I like her and I’m keeping her.”
I knew that tone of voice. That’s her “I will brook no more argument and if you want some anytime soon, you’ll let me have my way.”
So now we have a Salamander named Suzie whose life expectancy is probably measured in days if not hours. We placed the lizard’s home on top of our planter where we have trained the cats not to go. But given the temptation (and knowing the beasts the way I do) all the conditioning in the world is not going to save the dumbass lizard from ending up as cat fricassee.
I just damn well better be sure I don’t say “I told ya so” when it all goes south.