Saturday, December 12, 2009

When a gecko drops on your shoulder

Is it an omen that bad luck is headed your way?
I am a naturally superstitous person. I believe in signs to show you if good luck or bad luck is headed your way. If you are thinking of taking a trip and all of a sudden keep seeing posters advertising airlines, then I take that as a sign that I am meant to take the trip. Granted, I have on occasion misread signs and maybe manipulated them so that I could do what I wanted to do. Those instances have always ended in disaster. Never manipulate a sign. I never walk under ladders, step on cracks and become agitated when a black cat crosses my path. When I hear an owl hoot at night, I wonder who's ill and who's going to die and it affects my sleep. I'm not paranoid or weird, well, I don't think so. So, when a gecko fell on my shoulder, I had to wonder if it was some kind of a sign.
The dog was scratching at the door. It was past her dinner time. I slid back the bolt and pushed open the door as I always did, to get her silver food bowl outside. Nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing to warn me of the horror that was to come. Then I saw it drop out of the corner of my eye and then felt it. A gecko dropped from the top of the doorframe onto my shoulder, and as I jumped backwards and screamed loudly, it bounced off my shoulder and onto the floor which was nicely decorated with dog's muddy paw prints. We do seem to be having a bit of a rainy season the last few weeks. Maybe that's why we've had regular electricity. I waited for the gecko to roll over and run off to hide in a crack somewhere. But it lay there, looking like a rubber toy. Being a curious person, I knelt down to look at the gecko and was immediately hit by the putrifying smell of decomposition. The gecko had already proceded to decompose. It was very dead, no more, already headed off to a higher world where everything is bright and beautiful. When feeding the dog in the morning, the gecko must have stupidly been hiding in the doorframe, and when I closed the door, I gave it a mortal wound in its belly. The gecko's little intestines were exposed, and a closer look showed that they were moving. Was the poor creature still alive, I wondered, and then a maggot fell out. Maggots burst from the unfortunate gecko like candy from a pinyata. It had to be one of the grossest things I had ever seen. Even grosser than the sight of a hundred Cape Vulture tearing apart a bloated dead donkey on the side of the road. On a slightly smaller scale of course. I frantically called my son, reminded him repeatedly that as he was eighteen he was now officially a man, and ordered him to remove the offending object, the decomposing beast. And then it hit me. Was this a sign? Was a dead decomposing gecko filled with maggots dropping onto my shoulder a sign of something bad to come?
I approached Thursday with a good deal of tepidation, expecting something bad to happen at any moment. Nothing did. Maybe a dead decomposing maggot-infested gecko dropping onto your shoulder was not a bad sign after all? Thursday proved to be an exceptionally good day. However, the gecko effect had yet to arrive. As Friday loomed, I had a sense of forboding. I couldn't believe that there would be no run-off effects from the dead gecko. Something bad had to happen. And, it did. Straight after school, my son casually joked that the man who lived in the cottage in the bottom of my garden had been arrested for attempted rape. My jaw dropped. That man, was supposed to be taking my friends up Mount Kilimanjaro on Thursday! I had already paid him a $100 deposit! How was he going to take them if he was in jail? It was the gecko I thought, feeling rather venomous myself. The gecko had brought this bad luck. It's falling on my shoulder was a bad omen after all.
I did some investigation. My neighbor was a fraud. He was not a licenced guide, would not have been able to take my friends up, and as Mount Kilimanjaro is quite treacherous as every year climbers succumb to altitude sickness and join that gecko in a higher place, an inexperienced non-guide guide could have been a disaster. I had never questioned him as I took all he'd said on face-value. I believed him. Gullability has always been a problem of mine. Now, left with the problem of my friends arriving Monday, and expecting to head up the big rock on Thursday, I started to feel anxious. I contacted someone who worked with me whom I knew definitely was a guide, and he's speaking to some guide friends and hopefully my friends will get sorted out. It does seem like the $100 I paid on their behalf has gone. The neighbor had asked me for the deposit saying that it was the busy season and he needed the money to put down as a deposit on the overnight huts. Another lie. He owed the sport's coach money, and interestingly enough repaid his loan the same day I paid the deposit. Was I ripped off? Probably. Have I ever been scammed and conned before by unscrupulous people I had blindly believed. Absolutely. It's what led me to write my self-help book, Fear, Phobias and Frozen Feet. Yet, here it has happened again.
I have to ask, is it me? Do I have to stop trusting people and believing what they say? Must I become suspicious of every word that emanates from their lucious lips? That's not me. I am like a dog. Trusting, loyal, faithful. Step on my tail and I bite. I put all the blame on the gecko. That sad decomposing maggot-infested gecko, who put his life on the line when he hid on my doorframe when I closed the door. But then, maybe the gecko actually did me a service. He gave his life to protect my friends that might have met their demise on a treacherous mountain with an inexperienced guide. That poor gecko, is actually a hero. Now, I must find out if I can grab that guy's furniture, store it in my garage, hold it hostage until I get my $100 back!
And the coolest thing! The house we're going to be staying in at Pangani once belonged to Ernest Hemmingway! I hope some of his writing genius will be rubbed off onto me!

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