It was every parents nightmare. What had I done? What should I do? How was I going to tell Liam?
It started out so innocently. I was wandering the aisles of a store when I got to the pet section. The decorations for aquariums beckoned to me. Gary's tank seemed rather plan and brown, and I thought that it would be a nice surprise for Liam if I bought something to liven it up with. They had some lovely castles in bright blues and greens. Liam and Hilary are working their way through the Harry Potter books, so I thought the tie in of a castle would be a nice touch.
I brought it home and washed it. After all I didn't want any dust or chemicals to hurt Gary. That's me, always thinking! I put it in the tank and introduced Gary to it. He sat on the edge looking cute and I even snapped some pictures**.
I'm not sure when it happened or how I even noticed. Geckos are nocturnal creatures that like to hole up in caves and hiding spots during the day. I had missed a key problem with the castle. It was hollow, empty all the way to the top of the turret. Can you see where this is going?
Gary in all his gecko-ness climbed up into the castle. At first it seemed okay, he was just hanging out. But as time passed, he climbed higher and higher and there didn't seem to be any way to get him out. I tried turning it on it's side and at Hilary's suggestion (always the voice of calm and reason) just ignoring him. Luckily Liam was out on a play date during all of this. My level of anxiety would have surely pushed him over the edge.
As the night wore on and it was getting closer to the time that Liam would be home I started to panic. When I turned the castle over to check on Gary he was BENT IN HALF - the tip of his tail lying beside his nose. He was as far up the turret as possible and in a section that was so narrow that I thought for sure he was stuck there for ever. We tried enticing / poking him with a chop stick to see if that would encourage him to come out, but nope, he was either wedged in or quite happy where he was. I did not want to find out which it was! So I did the most logical thing I could think of. I burst into hysterical tears! I was positive that I had killed Liam's pet, doomed it to die a slow and painful death stuck in a tower while Liam watched on in horror. What kind of parent kills their child's pet? Would Liam ever recover from that? He still mourns the loss of his $0.25 goldfish that died 6 years ago.
Hilary was still the voice of calm and reason, albeit at a slightly higher octave then before. She told me to get a gripe of myself and that the gecko was NOT going to die and that we would fix this. Through my sobs and hiccups I suggested that Hilary give the castle a really good shake in a last ditch effort to dislodge Gary.
WOOT WOOT! Gary came flying out of castle and landed in his tank, unharmed but rather perturbed at being so unceremoniously dumped out. I sank to the chair in relief, vowing that the castle would never find it's way near Gary ever again.
Liam came home soon after and is none the wiser of Gary's adventures. Gary was a little skittish when Liam picked him up the next day, but has fully recovered since then. And the castle? It's being used as a lovely bookend in the living room.
* I promise that this is not going to become a herp blog and that we will return to our regular programming soon.
**All pictures have been destroyed because Liam must NEVER know about any of this.
9 hours ago