Rachel’s recent brush with death prompted me to write more about the hazards of the common house gecko.
11.30pm. With my eyes closed and my body totally drenched, I was lying in bed and drifting into the zone where sweet dreams take flight. Suddenly, my mobile phone rang. It was Rachel. When I put the phone near my ear, I could heard a spine chilling scream coming from the tiny speakers. She had dispensed with the pleasantries.
I pieced together the incoherent fragments of her one syllable shrieks and realized that she was trying to tell me that a gecko has landed on her wind screen. The trouble was that she was terrified of these creatures and would sooner prefer to have dental treatment without Novocain than to be in their company, albeit behind a protective sheet of shatterproof tempered glass. To make matters worse, she was driving, alone, in a highway from Shah Alam to KL.
Adrenaline pumped and my mind started to work. “Look,” I said, “you have to stop your car right now! Pull over before you crash into another car and hurt someone else!”
“I CAN’T!!!!” she screamed, “IT IS STARING RIGHT INTO MY EYES!!! ARGHHHHH!!!!”
I persuaded her further. To me, it was highly important that she pulled over and regain her composure before attempting to do anything. But the responses that I got were blood-curling screams. I knew that panic had gotten the better of her and there was no use in talking calmly anymore. I put on my authoritative voice and it boomed, “YOU’VE GOT TO PULL OVER NOW! FUCKIN’ PULL OVER BEFORE YOU KILL SOMEONE!”
Not my best moment but I had to do something to knock some senses into Rachel before she knocked into someone else on the road. Imagine how her police report of the accident would read.
In between sobs, she cried, “Call you back later”- and the phone went dead. I tried calling her- but I got the sickening recorded message saying that the number that I had dialed was currently unavailable and that if I wanted to leave a message, I can do it after the beep. Beep.
For 45 minutes, I stared at my mobile phone and wondered, really wondered, if I had done the right thing. Had she decided to drive off a cliff with the intention of killing the reptile on her windscreen? Did she suddenly put on a Hollywood-style bravado to “take down” the windscreen hugger even if it means paying the deed with the ultimate of her price of her life? Sweat began to form on my forehead. I dialed her number again.
There was a ringing tone.
“Hello, are you okay?” I inquired.
I head sobbing but I was relieved to hear that she was stationary and no longer in her car. “Ok, alreadylah,” she said.
“What happened to the lizard?” I asked.
“It took off-” a brief paused as I realized that she must have shuddered at the thought of the gecko- “It gave me a message.”
Puzzled, I asked what message did the lizard give.
“It told me to lay off exposing them. It told me to tell you to stop writing about them. It wanted me to know that it wasn’t kidding and it pissed on my windshield before it deployed it’s parachute and floated off somewhere along Jalan Tun Razak.”
I was amazed.