She called herself a lizard mom. We ended up at her place.
“Would you like to see my kids?” she asked.
She opened her bedroom door and it was a reptile house – rows of empty tanks. Except for one above her bed. It had a really fat tegu in it. It had a pink cowboy hat on. She took it out.
“This one ate all my other children,” she said.
I held it and she held her hand out and it bit off one of her fingers. Now she only had seven.
“It won’t eat anything else,” she said, “it leaves the mice alone. Crickets. Mealworms. Nothing but me now.”
I stayed with her. Every day it ate more and more until I was alone in the house with it. It was huge now. Then it started eating me. It was to my left ring finger when I decided to make a bargain.
“Look,” I said, “I let you into the neighbor’s house and you let me leave.”
“Works for me, man,” it said.
So I jimmied the lock and heard the screams and hit the road.
Sy Holmes is a writer from western North Carolina. He lives in the mountain West with other people’s dogs.