Mr. Gecko and the Picnic Basket

An adult faerie tale not for kids

One Wednesday, the heavens opened up and the Great Gecko in the Sky on his mushroom perch looked down upon all his creatures. He was not happy. He saw way too much fornication going on down there on earth. So much fornicating that it got his blood boiling. He had to do something, and what he had in mind was something hard and destructive.

Since it was such a pleasant day up there in gecko heaven, the sun shining all nice and warm unlike a week earlier. His heaven had been all gecko hell with the snow and the blizzard. Down-right freezing it was. Not being a fur-bearing kind of god Mr. Gecko hated the cold. But this particular day was a nice heavenly kind of spring day and Mr. Gecko looked around and saw his favorite tree just a bit of a ways off.

It was a tree all fluffy with cherry blossoms. The kind of tree that Mr. Gecko loved to siesta under when he was taking a break from his gecko-god duties or doing his chores assigned to him by Mrs. Gecko, his wife for nigh-on eight and a half eons. A rather long time for a heavenly pair to stay coupled together but still they were as happy as any two middle-aged gods could be under the circumstances. But enough of that. Mr. Gecko had work to do, coming up with a destructive methodology for those fornicating fools.

He strolled over to the cherry blossom tree and sat himself down on the green grass and leaned back to do some thinking. But thinking being what it is, Mr. Gecko could only do it so long and then he was famished. This particularly day in April, the “so long” was about fifteen minutes long and he still had not come up with anything of the destructive ilk yet.

He reached over and pulled his picnic basket closer. A picnic basket Mrs. Gecko had risen up early that morning before sunrise and prepared for him. It was like she read his mind. Like she knew that he was going to have some hard thinking to do that day, knew that he’d need a good nutritious, delicious meal so he could come up with just the right destruction for his fornicating creation.

Mr. Gecko opened up that picnic basket, and lo and behold, what he saw was good. Very good. There were three watercress sandwiches with mustard…oh, yes and a pickle. One of Mrs. Gecko’s prize sweet pickles that she had grown in her vegetable garden behind their lovely white cottage.

In the basket, there was a thermos of his favorite green tea and a bag of Indonesian chips, the chips that made Jakarta famous. And there…no, it just couldn’t be. But it was. A large slice of key lime pie. If he hadn’t known better, he would have believed that he was in hog heaven. But he was a gecko god and he was in heaven just the same.

Then it hit him. If he consumed all that food, he was going to need a siesta. A long siesta. He was not going to be in any kind of destructive mood for quite some time. This was Mrs. Gecko’s way of preventing what he was about to do. First he would come up with The Plan, then he would eat.

When he would comment to Mrs. Gecko on what a fornicating crowd he’d created, all she could say was, “Well, dear, you know that’s how the eight ball bounces. It is in the nature of creation to be about itself creating. And how exactly do you expect your creation to create with nary any fornication?”

Mr. Gecko took another look into the basket. Those chips looked enticing. Well, maybe he would eat just one…no, two…just two…ah, shoot…three then. Soon he had completely consumed not just the chips, but the sandwiches, the pickle and the key lime pie, tossing it all down with his tea. And he was snoring the afternoon away, dreaming of Indra dreaming of Gecko dreaming.

Joe Angel

Joe Angel had been in the crowd during the Queen of Heaven’s coronation. He had been the angel the farthest away from the crowning. But that was the way with Joe. He didn’t get any of the big assignments like kicking Satan’s butt. He would have loved to take on that guy. But, no, his boss, Sgt. Big Angel Pants, told him he didn’t have the goods.

“I want to do something important,” he told the Sergeant.

“You are doing something important. You’re filling out the choir.”

“I’m so far away.”

“We don’t want you messing up the choir. You don’t have the voice to be up close to the Big Guy. Wouldn’t want to embarrass yourself, now would you?”

Joe went away from the meeting, wandering what his purpose was. It always seemed to be that he was not good enough for the better assignments. He headed to the heavenly kitchen for his shift at the dishwasher.

Beverly Angel was waiting for him. “You’re late,” she said.

“How can I be late?” the little guy asked. “We’ve got all eternity.”

“Joe, what’s gotten in to you? Your attitude used to be so positive. Lately it’s gone to hell.”

“I’ve been watching these You Tube videos on getting ahead in life. You got to watch them. You’d realize you don’t have it so good either.”

“Look, if you’re not careful, you’re going…Well, let’s just say you won’t like what happens.”

Just at that moment, Gary Angel peeked in. “Hey, guys, the Big Guy’s coming through tomorrow.”

Beverly jumped up and down and yelled, “Whoopee.” She had happy written all over her face.

But Joe stood dejected.

“Joe, what’s with you? You used to be an up kind of angel. Now look at you.”

Bev said, “You Tube videos.”

“Oh, c’mon. Not you, Joe.”

Bev again, “Yeah, ‘fraid so. And he’s got a bad case of ambitionitis.”

Gary gave a rather large sigh. “Joe, you got to straighten up. You’re an angel. Your glass is filled brimming to the top. Your cup runneth over. Don’t go where you’re going.”

“But, Gary—”

“No ifs, ands or buts. It’s time to turn that frown upside down.” He took Joe’s cheeks and forced his face into a smile. “Now that’s the Joe I like to see.”

Gary turned and headed to the door. Just as he was about to leave, he said, “Oh, Joe, could you please give those wings of yours the once-over. They’re starting to droop.”

As Gary left, he mumbled to himself, “I don’t know what’s happening to this younger generation. I started at that same dishwasher and look at me now. And tomorrow I get to sing tenor in Handel’s Messiah.”

Poor Joe. He always thought being an angel would be the greatest. Flying around on clouds and playing harp. That just hadn’t happened. Those jobs were saved for Michael and Gabriel’s relatives. Nepotism, you know.

Gary ran back into the dishwasher room. “Joe, the Big Guy wants to see you. You’re in trouble now. You’d better scoot over there fast.”

Joe left the kitchen, dejection all over his puss. The Big Guy. Man, this just wasn’t his day.

He walked to the Big Guy Building, showed his i.d. to the Big Guy guards, took the Big Guy elevator to the top floor and the Big Guy Suite. He walked into the lobby of the office. Behind the desk sat a tall blonde angel. She had the sweetest face.

“He’s waiting.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Joe said and entered the Big Guy office.

The Big Guy was reading a file on His desk. “Joe, take a seat.”

Joe sat down. The chair was so soft Joe almost disappeared in it.

The Big Guy looked up at Joe. There was a twinkle in His eyes and a smile on His face.  “We’ve been looking at your file. These last two hundred years you’ve done a slam, bang-up job. First there was the harp factory. Every body loved your harps. They had that special kind of sound We love. Then We sent you over to trumpet cleaning. Gabe was really impressed. And now the Dishwashing Brigade. You took the demotion like an angel. We know you’ve been down-in-the-mouth lately. All those You Tube videos.”

“Here it comes,” Joe thought.

“Thought We’d forgotten about you, didn’t you, Joe? Well, We haven’t.”

“What do you mean, Sir?”

“We’ve been looking for just the right job for a go-getter like yourself. And We’ve finally got something that should be right up your alley.”

“Escorting people to—to the bad place,” Joe thought.

The Big Guy came around His desk. He walked over to Joe and picked the angel up out of his cushiony chair and gave him the kind of hug only the Big Guy could give. When He released Joe from that hug, the angel thought he’d died and gone to heaven.

“Joe, you’re going to be joining Gabriel’s Brigade. You’ll have your own trumpet. You’ll get a new set of wings. And, of course, there’ll be a raise in pay. Think you can manage saying yes.”

“Y-y-y-y-es, Sir.”

Joe left the Big Guy office floating on a cloud. He took the Big Guy elevator down and went back to his dinky little apartment. That night he slept like a lamb.

Over the next two weeks, he reported to the Gabriel Brigade. They gave him new wings, a new robe, a new halo. He began his trumpet training. By the end of the two weeks, he was sounding pretty darn good.

One morning he showed up bright and early for work with that bright-and-early smile of his.

“Gabe wants to see you,” said the sergeant in charge of training the new guys.

Gabriel was tall, really tall. He had a glow on his face that would have put the sun to shame. He got up from his desk and shook Joe’s hand. “Welcome to the Show. I think you’re going to like it here.”

Joe smiled. “Thank you, Sir.”

“Now for your first assignment. Think you can handle it.”

“Yes, Sir.”

“You know it was picked out just for you. By the Big Guy Himself.”

“Wow, just for me.” Joe had the kind of smile that only can an angel can have.

“Yes. Just for you.”

Joe couldn’t believe his luck. Finally he was going to get his just desserts.

Gabe stepped back and gave Joe the old looksee. Nodded and said, “When it comes to this assignment, I’ve got some good news.”

“Oh, boy,” Joe thought. His smile would have made even Gary proud.

“And some bad news.”

micropoem for the day: joy

I was thinking last night about what heaven must be like. Perhaps it is the accumulation of all the moments I have felt joy. The moment I stuck my head out of my momma and announced to the world, in no uncertain terms, “I’m here.” The moment my mother put me in a swing and pushed and went, “Whee.” The moment I went bike riding with a best friend. The moment we sat on the floor, ate popcorn, and watched “Godzilla”. The moment I read my poem to my class and they applauded. These are just a few, and there are so many.

jump into the air
touch the sky
float back to earth

Waiting

It’s the waiting that gets you. Waiting to be born. Waiting on the doctor to give a physical. Waiting to get to age twenty-one. Waiting for an interview. Waiting in line for a Disney Ride. Waiting in line at the grocery store or at the movie theater for a ticket to a movie we don’t even want to see, then it turns out dreadful  the way we thought it would.

Oh, the anticipation.

Then there’s waiting on a date. Waiting on tables, then getting no tip for all your service. That sure hurts.  Waiting to get out of school. Waiting for your tax return. Waiting for someone to answer the 800 number you called. How many thousands of minutes do we spend in our lives waiting? What a way to spend a life. The waiting we do is almost as long as Proust’s memories of things past.

There’s a joke about waiting in line to get into the Pearly Gates. It goes something like this. Guy was waiting to be let into Heaven. He gets to St. Peter and St. Peter turns him away with, “You were so stingy in life that you married a woman named Penny. Get thee hence.” St. Peter points to the place downstairs. Second guy St. Peter says to, “You were such a drunk in life you married a woman named Brandy. Get thee hence.” Third guy waiting in line turns to the woman behind him, says, “Guess you know what that means, Fanny.” And he gets him hence.

Guess what? When you get thee hence you have to wait on the boatman. You reach into your pocket and find you don’t have the coin to pay him. There are no free rides. You’ll have to spend a lot of years, begging for a quarter, waiting for someone, anyone to help you out. Nobody can see you. You’re just thin air. So how are you going to get your two bits?

Here’s just one example of waiting which many of us go through: Asking a girl out for a first date. Or being asked out. You see her across the room, and you say to yourself, “Gee, sure would love to ask her out.” But you hesitate and wait to get up the nerve. What if she rejects you? I mean you’re a nice enough guy. You’ve been known to find stray animals a home. You may not look like George Clooney or Robert Redford or Brad Pitt or Ryan Gosling but you do dress decent. You don’t have b.o. or bad breath. At least, as far as you know. So why is it that your feet feel like lead as you walk across that room? When you get to her, you stutter your way through your first words.

And, girls, you see the guy across the room. He looks like a nice guy, the kind of guy you might want to go out with. You’ve heard that he may be interested in you. There you stand, chatting with your friends, waiting for him to come over. Every so often you look his way. Hoping he’ll get the hint. But he seems clueless. You think maybe you should go over and ask him out. But what would he think? So you stand where you are, waiting for him to make his move.

Guys, you head on over to her. Stumble over the word, “Hello”, give her your best smile and continue with the “Are you enjoying the dance?” Then you go for the gold. “Would you like to go out?” It’s with fear and trembling that you wait for her answer.

“Sure,” she says. “What did you have in mind?” She waits on pins and needles for an answer.

Now that is the sixty-four thousand dollar question. If you say a movie, you won’t get to talk. It will take the pressure off. Help you get comfortable with her. So you ask, “Want to go to a movie?” You give her the name of some chick flick you think she might want to see. Then you wait.

Girls, he’s asked you to a movie. The last three dates you’ve been on have been movies.The guys always pick something you really don’t want to see. Now this guy is doing the same as all the rest. But he’s asking you to a movie you really want to see. At least, he’s put some thought into it. So, you say, “Sure.”

What’s next? Girls, you’re going to have to pick just the right thing to wear. You go through your closet, going no to this dress and definitely not to that dress. The night of the date you’re on pins and needles, waiting, hoping.

Guys, you don’t want to be too early. She’ll think you’re too anxious. So you wait till the last minute. Then you show up at her door and she opens it. The dress she’s wearing is your favorite color and she’s smiling. That’s a good sign. A very good sign.

Girls, he even opens the car door for you. Your last three dates just said, “Jump in.” This guy is a gentleman like your dad. This is looking positive. Downright positive. Maybe this guy is the One. He even buys you popcorn and a drink for the movie. “Why don’t we share?” you ask.

Guys, she wants to share her popcorn with you. It looks like you hit the jackpot when you picked this movie. You’re watching the movie but you’re not thinking about it. You’re thinking about whether you should ask her if she would like to go out for coffee afterwards. But you have to make it through the hour-and-a-half long movie.The waiting for the end is killing you.

Girls, you can’t keep your mind on the movie. You’re wondering what will happen after it’s over.Waiting for him to put a move on you. Trying to decide whether you’ll let him.

After the movie, guys, you ask her out for a drink. Instead of coffee, you suggest a little wine bar around the corner.

Girls, he’s asked you for a drink. Is he wanting to get you drunk? Maybe he thinks you’re easy. But you get to the bar, have several glasses of wine with some cheese. The two of you have this good conversation going. You’re thoroughly enjoying yourself.

Guys, now it’s time to take her to her door. This is the part you always hate. The evening went well. Now there’s the close. Some guys would make a pass. But you’re not that kind of guy. You really like this girl. Would it be too much to do the goodnight kiss? You wait for that perfect moment to try for an answer.

Girls, you’re at the door and he’s telling you how much he enjoyed the movie and the conversation. Is he going to make a move on you? Try to get you into bed? A couple of guys you dated made their move at the door. You had one heck of a time getting rid of them. Thought you might even have to call the cops. You’re just waiting for him to turn out to be one of those kind of guys..

Guys, you take her hand as you’re saying goodnight. Finally you get up your nerve and lean over and give her a goodnight kiss. It’s not a passionate kiss, that will have to wait for another time. It’s the kind of kiss that says I like you and I would like to see you again. Then you ask, “Can I see you again?” She shakes her head yes. You watch as she opens the door and goes inside.

Girls, you close the door. You’re almost giddy that this guy may just be in your future. As you get undressed and crawl into bed, you spoil the night you just had. You start asking, “Why didn’t he make a pass? At least, a little one? Am I not sexy enough?” You’ll just have to wait to see if you blew it.

Guys, you’re driving home and you’re smiling. You enjoyed the evening. It was everything you hoped. Then that old doubt creeps in. What if she expected you to stay the night? How long do you have to wait to find out?

Girls, just about the time you are dozing off, your cell rings. You pick it up. It’s him. It’s HIM.

And so it goes, on and on. It’s a lot for one word to bear but “waiting” is the word. And it does bear up under the weight very well..

What does the word “waiting” remind you of?