Wednesday, September 15, 2010


During the week, before I take my daughters to school, I spend about 15 minutes feeding our pet Bearded Dragon, Cookie Monster.

Our mornings are naturally a bit hectic, due to the usual muss and fuss.

Nothing out of the ordinary.

But there is something about those 15 minutes I spend with Cookie Monster that takes me out of the chaos.

It provides me with a bit of serenity.

I don't know if it's the connection I have with the lizard, his calm demeanor or the opportunity to appreciate the wonders of nature.

Whatever it is, I'm truly grateful.

Today was different.

7:46 am

Out-Numbered - Hey buddy. Who's a hungry lizard?

Cookie Monster - no reply.

Out-Numbered - That's right. You are.

Cookie Monster - no reply.

Out-Numbered - How about Daddy gets you some crickets?

Cookie Monster - no reply.

- I thought you'd like that.

Cookie Monster
- no reply.

Out-Numbered - Yes you do.

I walk over to the plastic holding tank where I keep the crickets. There are four, 12 inch long tubes that rest inside the tank. The crickets hide in the tubes to escape the daylight. To make it easier to transfer the crickets from the holding tank into the lizard's terrarium, you remove one of the tubes and gently pat the top of the tube over the terrarium to force the crickets out the other end. Like a cricket slide of death.

- There we go. Let's get you some breakfast.

I take out one of the tubes and carefully maneuver it over to the terrarium.

- Here you go big guy.

One of the crickets escapes the tube and jumps to the floor.

- Shit.

I hate bugs. They freak me out. I don't do well if they are not in a controlled environment.

Out-Numbered - Fuck. Get over here.

Distracted by the mini emergency, I forget about the tube I have in my hand and it drops to the floor.

Out-Numbered - Oh God.

About 100 crickets spill out into the guestroom.

Out-Numbered - Oh Fuck! HELP!!!

They fall like Pick-Up Sticks and begin to scatter, scurry and jump in every direction.

Out-Numbered - HELP!!!

I hear my daughters running toward the guestroom.

7 Year Old - What? What's the matter?


7 Year Old

3 Year Old - Mommy's gonna be angry.

Out-Numbered - Get her out of here.

3 Year Old - I wanna stay.

Out-Numbered - OUT! NOW!

7 Year Old - What should I do?

Out-Numbered - START STOMPING!

7 Year Old - WHAT DO YOU MEAN!?!

Out-Numbered - KILL THEM!!!

7 Year Old - Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God.


Out-Numbered - Over there!


7 Year Old - Where?

Out-Numbered - By the couch!


7 Year Old - AAAAAAHHHH! This is so disgusting!


3 Year Old - Ewwww.

Out-Numbered - I'm gonna get some paper towels.

7 Year Old - No. No. No. No. No. No. No.


3 Year Old - Pointing and jumping up and down. There's one!

7 Year Old - They're going under the couch!

3 Year Old - Mommy is going to be so mad at you Daddy.


Out-Numbered - Mommy is not going to know about this.


7 Year Old - YES SHE IS!

Out-Numbered - By the bathroom!


7 Year Old - I am so not happy right now.

Out-Numbered - I hear ya sister.


7 Year Old - I'm not your sister.


3 Year Old - I'M HER SISTER!

7 Year Old - GET OUT OF HERE!


Out-Numbered - Oh Brother.

3 Year Old - Brother?

And so it went. On and on and on, for what seemed like an eternity of sorts. What started out as a peaceful Monday morning, had quickly turned into a senseless massacre. Our guestroom, once a comfortable resting place for
friends and loved ones to lay their weary heads, had now become a hollowed battleground, strewn with dismembered cricket limbs, spread across bloodstained, hardwood floors. This isn't what I wanted. Not like this. I shan't soon forget this cricket holocaust. How will I ever again find serenity in this room filled with the ghosts of these tiny little creatures?

I am so sorry...