Tuesday, August 9, 2011

There's a Nupboard in My Cupboard

Even the most genteel lady has to, once in a great while, visit the small room with the porcelain shrine. She just won't admit it, and will scarcely believe that others might make similar visits, too. And once said genteel lady has had several children, she may even have to dash for said room with unseemly haste. Once you young ladies have children of your own, you will understand the full gravity of the situation.

Yesterday I was dashing, for no particular reason, you understand, when I happened to find myself in the bathroom. "Oh look," I noted as I flung myself toward the object of my fervent attention. "Devon left his little toy snake from Vacation Bible School in the tub. Someone might get scared, ha ha."

Just then, the toy snake made a dive for the drain of the tub, and I was the one who was scared, ha ha. Not scared enough to scream - growing up with my brother David had ground most screams out of me already.

There was Irving, the Mexican Red-legged Tarantula, so tame we let him walk all over us. He developed a strange psychological problem toward the end of his days, and started throwing his abdominal hairs all around with his hind legs. This normal defense mechanism was carried to excess, till he more closely resembled Telly Savalas than Liberace. 

There was The Dead Box, infamous home of scads of dermestid beetles. Located in the back 5, it was easy enough to avoid. An occasional whiff of decomposition and decay might occasionally waft by, but nothing worth screaming about.

The Dead Pit might not have been worth screaming over, but it was always good for a gag or two. A local farmer threw all his dead things down into a deep, waterlogged pit, from which David would joyously harvest them, chortling over all the money he would make selling their skulls to the science store. The twin lambs he once collected were so ripe I made him ride home standing in the open side door of the van, holding the plastic bag on top of the car so there would still be oxygen left in the passenger compartment.

Then there was the Tokay Gecko, one of the most aggressive reptiles that isn't a monitor lizard. One time it attacked me, sinking its teeth so firmly into my sweater that I finally had to clear the room and take the sweater off. Back went the lizard, sweater and all into its cage, where it eventually let go. Not even one scream.

The dead things in the freezer occasionally got me. Unwrapping some tasty-looking foil package to find a fish or snake might wring a squeak from me, or maybe even a small screech. What made it worse was, having been absolutely forbidden by Dad to keep dead things in the freezer, he had to camouflage his little disobediences to keep them safe. I paid the price.

The grand prize winner, the one that left every window in the house quivering, was the dead turtle. For whatever unknown reason, David had shoved it in the top compartment of the little half-size fridge, without any covering at all. When I opened the door a short time later, the reptile corpse leaped out of the fridge and hurled itself at my toes, or so it seemed at the time. In case you can't tell, yes, I am still bitter.

So it would take something more stupendous than a tiny snake in the tub to truly frighten me, though having it thrash around trying desperately to escape was a distraction from the job at hand. I yelled, hollered, and banged on the wall, but it was still a while before anyone answered.

Finally Tiggy opened the door to see what I wanted.

"Here," I said, already holding the frantic green animal out to her. "Let it go outside."

Tiggy froze. Her eyes bulged. "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGHGHHH!!!!!!!!!!" Apparently Tiggy was the one who was scared, ha ha.

After a moment she recovered herself. "Mom!" she protested calmly. "Don't do that!" And she took Greenracer out to freedom.

Later, she tried to tell Jack that she hadn't really screamed, but had only said chidingly, "Mom." Too bad for her there were witnesses. Everyone in the house was deaf, plus 78% of the residents of Westby reported hearing the tornado siren at 4:27 pm. 

The radio station may not have had any idea why the alarm went off, but Greenracer sure did. His long journey through the town's sewer system was over. 

Now checking all plumbing fixtures before use,
Noni Beth

PS Of COURSE there are no pictures. Don't be silly.

No comments:

Post a Comment