The Fat Tailed Lizard in the Philippines (Seeking Tukó)

Awakened by a Demon

The demon screeched as if being tortured in the pits of hell where every last inch of its flesh was flayed and the writhing, skinless, oozing body was dipped in rock salt and set on a slow-burning flame.

“Uh-Ooooooo, Oh-Noooooo, Tu-Qoooooo, Fu-Quuuuu, Quuuu-Quu-uuu-uu-u”

It’s screeching shattered the still of the night. Not just once. Over and over for the better part of an hour. It screeched. Then the lull during which my heart settled and I felt sleep crawling from between the sheets, my eyes growing heavy. Until it screeched again. Four screams in a sequence with the last sputtering words decaying like a loosely mounted motor running out of gas forcing every cell in my body to high alert. Danger, Will Robison.

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Talking Rocks in New Mexico

There are few situations more frightening than sitting comfortably with your back against a smooth rock on a gloriously hot, dry, and sunny day breathing pristine mountain air without a worry until hearing an agitated buzzing and realizing you are face to face and within striking distance of a rattlesnake. A rattlesnake with a body thicker than your flexed bicep. A rattlesnake in a tight coil, neck cocked in a tense ’S’ where the slightest breeze would release the hair trigger, and the only escape route is through or over the snake. One should be afraid. One should be terrified. But I was not. Perhaps it is because I, a self-avowed Desert Rat, have a strange affinity for snakes. Perhaps the flicking black tongue hypnotized me. I’m not sure. All I remember from the moment at Petroglyph National Monument was feeling mesmerized.

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My Childhood Was Auctioned off To The Only Bidder

The past is a place of reference, not a place of residence. ~Roy T. Bennett

With the sale of the family Summer Estate in Central Wisconsin in March of 2018, the second to last vestige of my childhood goes the way of the final Dodo bird clubbed over the head by a sailor for food. Death. Extinction. The last vestige is my childhood home, a red brick bungalow still housing my Mother. It is the saving grace connecting me to my personal history. A place I can visit and feel connected to a youth characterized by reckless stupidity, a youth experiencing more joy than any one person deserves.
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Dust in the Wind and Monkey Truce: A Week in Belize, Part 5

I close my eyes, only for a moment, and the moment’s gone
All my dreams pass before my eyes, a curiosity
Dust in the wind
All they are is dust in the wind…

Street Food Fit for a Queen or Two US Travelers

Mussels & Clams

At the San Pedro port, there is a Hispanic Mujer, a street vendor who makes out of this world chicken or pork with a healthy serving of arroz y frijoles. Her English is not great so she has bilingual helpers to ease transactions. She sets up her stand beneath a blue, Tyvek tarp. We stumbled upon her by accident (is there really such a thing as accidents or is the universe conspiring to give us what we need?) upon arrival last Thursday. We purchased three meals, two chicken one pork, with mine liberally doused in a locally sourced, habañero based hot sauce.
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Caye Caulker, Long Walking Monkey on A Short Pier: A Week in Belize, Part 4

We took the water taxi from the dock at the end of the next door pier to the ferry in San Pedro then ferried to Caye Caulker. We are not a big fan of the ferry system mainly because we are always be stuck in the lower section which does not provide a vantage point where the shades of turquoise are easily studied, where the wind can rub its fingers through my ever whiter hair. Most seats are in the belly of the beast where there are few windows. And because we are shoehorned sardines, there is little space to maneuver for a better view. It feels claustrophobic.
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Snorkeling with Wifey and Monkey: A Week in Belize, Part 3

Fox the fox
Rat on the rat
You can ape the ape
I know about that
There is one thing you must be sure of
I can’t take any more
Darling, don’t you monkey with the monkey
Monkey, monkey, monkey…

David

I monkied with Monkey today. I took him snorkeling hoping his fear of water would end up with either Monkey drowned or on life support. Not a good swimmer, he curled up inside my head and looked at the sea from his hidey hole. I was tempted to grab an eel and stick it in my ear to ferret him out but the eels were too big. I tried to terrify him by swimming with sharks. Tried to appease his insatiable appetite for new things by showing him rays and sea turtles and swarms of fish swimming within in fingertip reach, fish playing in a coral haven, more heaven than haven. We swam in the midst of fish with large black eyes, eyes that held light with the ferocity of a black hole that, if stared at for too long, would have pulled my soul into its depths leaving me as much of a shell as the massive lobster we feasted upon for dinner at Ajit Bistro. Continue reading

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Sounds of Silence with Monkey: A Week in Belize, Part 2

A gentle breeze again greets me as I walk from our inn, barefoot across the white sands still wet from the predawn shower, and take my customary morning seat at the edge of the cushionless wooden lounge chairs. A solid wall of low clouds lines the horizon extending high into the sky, and overhead. There will be no visual color this morning. But, there is an abundance of auditory color. So, I lay back and close my eyes. It takes a couple of minutes to adjust to the auricular world.
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