I find him in my kitchen sink, in the morning. He startles me by how quickly he moves. Small, crawling animals often inflict a certain kind of terror. I think of picking him up by his tail and throwing him outside, then I imagine him slithering out of my hand, into my clothes and I shudder.
I look at him. He’s the size of my thumb. With the tail, he’s a hair longer than my middle finger. He’s unmoving now, almost angelic. I decide to give him a break, maybe he’s down on his luck. Maybe there is also a pandemic in the gecko kingdom and he has just been retrenched and he’s blowing off steam in my sink. I whistle out of the kitchen and let him be. When I come back, he will have gone. He looks like a responsible gecko who doesn’t spend the whole day in people’s sinks.
I turn the lock on the door in the evening and flip on the switch in the kitchen. The goddamn gecko is still in my sink. Occupying it as if it’s his lair. One more day in here and he will start asking me for the kitchen rent. I hit the sink to show him who’s boss, expecting him to run out of the sink into some nook and cranny but instead, he runs to the other corner of the sink. It’s worse than I thought. He must have gotten retrenched and the wife kicked him out. He’s not only broke, he’s heartbroken.
I’m too tired to deal with him now. I will allow him bed and breakfast, I decide but he has to get his bearings right by morning because I have to use my kitchen. I realize what a significant role the sink plays in the kitchen now. Washing dishes, washing groceries, draining the water from a sufuria. The reptile has to go. I pull the blanket over my head hoping that he will have gotten some kind of purpose throughout the night. Maybe read Obama’s: A promised Land and get the motivation to leave my sink by the time I wake up.
My 5:00 am alarm goes off. I piss, shake, zip-up, flash, and wash my hands. It feels like a good morning, no, a great morning. The kind where I wouldn’t find geckos in my kitchen sink. I walk in and there he is. Basking in my sink as if he owns it. Twenty four hours I have given him to find his bearing. Twenty four hours he has drained down my sink. They must not respect mammals in the gecko kingdom, I decide, now taking it personally.
How do you get rid of a gecko? Holding him is out of the question, he’s too fast and too slippery. I imagine him jumping out of my hand and into my clothes again and I shudder. He would probably hide in someplace with a lot of hair and that place is not my head. I think about boiling water and pouring it into the sink but that’s cruel, even for an animal with no respect.
I finally decide to plug the sink and drown him in tap water. What is that I’m hearing, judgment? The man upstairs did it to the world. Noah and the Ark, remember? The sink starts filling up with water till it gets to the brim. I turn off the faucet. Our gecko sinks to the bottom. I’m rubbing my hands thinking my work is done and the gecko stirs and swims to the surface to take in air. He keeps doing this. Going back to the bottom then coming back up for air. I think of leaving him there, he will probably tire and drown but I suspect I will come back and find him doing the same thing. If there’s one thing we have established about this gecko, is that it never gets it. He obviously hasn’t come across a tweet saying, ‘Go where you’re wanted.’
I have this board standing in the corner of my kitchen. I pick it up and use it to cover the sink. He splashes around for a minute then stops. I remove the board and find him at the bottom, belly up. I instantly feel sad. I mean, it didn’t have to end like this. He could have stayed on the walls and everyone would have minded their business.
I drain the sink, cover my hand with a polythene bag, and pick him by the tail. I see the headlines in the gecko kingdom. KISAUTI THE GECKO KILLER. Relax, If I were Chinese, he would have been a delicacy. Probably gone great with my toast and tea.
I throw the gecko away and forget about him. A week passes. I wake up at 5:00 am, piss, shake, zip-up, flush, the usual. But as I am coming out of the toilet I see this gecko that is as big as my hand on the wall. I almost scream. I could have pissed my pants if I hadn’t just pissed. He doesn’t run, he stares at me as if saying, ‘We know what you did to our friend and we’re onto you.’
‘You and who?’
‘Me and my vigilante gang.’
I want to tell him that I didn’t mean it, that I gave their friend a chance, twenty-four hours actually but he didn’t take them. I just don’t go around killing geckos, you know? Believe me, I’m a good person. I smile at babies and tip in restaurants. But he doesn’t buy it. He gives me a dirty look, judging me before walking away majestically into the crevice of the door as if going to make a Zoom call to his vigilante gang.
I hold my knees, shaken. Come on, I can barely deal with a thumb-sized gecko. What I’m I supposed to do with a gang of giant, vigilante geckos? I think of leaving them the house. I can already imagine them using my kitchen sink as a jacuzzi to hold house parties.
I wake up my Google Home Mini, deciding that I need to know what I’m dealing with – how dangerous are they? Would they force me to sign up for a Huduma number? And more importantly, how do I get rid of them? Google Home rolls its eyes and tells me the house gecko scientific name is, Hemidactylus frenatus. It is not harmful but it can bite if stressed. ‘You mean like the stress of losing a friend?’ It also tells me to sprinkle small amounts of coffee in the house. Geckos apparently can’t stand the scent. It doesn’t tell me anything about giant geckos or gecko vigilante, which might be a new development in the gecko kingdom.
I get my Dormans and do as I am told. I haven’t seen a gecko in weeks now. But I know the giant geckos are in their Zoom meetings plotting strategy. “We just can’t let him kill one of our own with impunity. We have to do something about it.” I know it’s a matter of time before they discover masks and come for blood. When they do, I hope your doors will be open because I cannot handle an angry gang of vigilante geckos.
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