Turns out it wasn’t all that great living as a lizard. Sure, sure there were the hawks and coyotes but they just go along with the arrangement. You got your job, they got theirs. The coyotes were mostly nocturnal anyway and if you stayed still enough the hawks didn’t see you. No, it wasn’t the dangers or the climate that was at fault, anyone can put up with a little heat wave or cold spell. And food wasn’t the issue, the terrain was ideal, small rushes near a small waterhole, rocks for cover, plenty of fallen vegetation, wide sparsely grown flats, flies and bugs everywhere. The problem was the preppers.
There was just enough cover in the oasis to support five or seven families of them, depending on the tribal sentiments of the time. There was an older, smaller tribe that had been at the far, barren outcroppings of the ravine since the first risings of the sun. They were quick, held their furry little striped tails tall and only came to the water in real need. They put enough seeds and stems aside to get them through the winter and made no raids on the others littles caches. Economical, sensible. They lived like chipmunks of old, and kept to themselves with dignity.
When in their territory, we lizards get around, we see their paths are well ordered and traffic is civil, everybody stays in their own lane. When one of them comes upon a lizard he gracefully avoids him, begging pardon but he’s on business. These are words put in the chipmunk’s mouth, as a lizard we speak no chipmunk. We could, if we wanted to, lizards know everything. The tribes closer to the water hole, the way they navigated the common trails was a different story.
Now a lizard can move rocket fast when needed but mostly we run up to a good spot and hang for awhile, checkit out. Don’t wanna miss something, rush into anything either. The rural tribe, with them it was businesslike, pleasant, orderly but closer in it was madness. There was no graceful sidestep. Closer to the sink it was all intentional misstep and lookout cowboy. There was plenty for them all, even a family of rabbits had lasted a half dozen seasons during a wet spell. Not counting the hares, who are always just passing through and very goofy looking. There were safe places to drink too. But one tribe or the other was always squabbling about which one had the best view, or how they had sat at the same spot the day before yesterday and it was theirs by destiny and such and soon they’d go off on a tear and one poor lizard after another on the trail would get bowled over and into by a ten ton chipmunk. A chipmunk is no small animal in the grand scheme of things.
They worked on it. They stayed up evenings practicing chia seed fitsu and munk kung foo and came out early every morning spoiling for a fight. They got em. Every other clan, you could tell em apart, so they say, they all looked like chipmunks to me, aside from one might be bigger, or darker or hold his ears a bit wonky, by the varition in their fuzzy little stripes. The brash youngsters, urged on by old cranks, came out at dawn and went straight to the most contentious spot where the fighting would ensue. The carnage was horrible. Cute harmless little chippees my ass, they slice and dice with those razor sharp incisors faster than you can say mister whiskers. Chipmunks are rodentia, fast furry viscious little disease vector vermin. I don’t mean to debase them, it’s plain fact. It’s their job, we got our own.
Lizards know every thing, like which phylum a thing belongs to or how much nitrous oxide you add to sulfur and charcoal to make gunpowder and even that Betty makes good cake. We sometimes test to see what other creature’s perspectives are. We hope they do likewise. If machines are being made on the atomic scale what is the fate of the atoms themselves and will we swim in the grey goo before we become it? As a lizard I may know the answer, it might be a test for you. As a lizard I am also unaffected by it.
Now you may not know this, and even as a lizard it was news, but, chipmunks are canabalistic. They will consume their own, and with relish. To a lizard the idea is abhorrent. We would never eat our own, regardless of what the nature documentaries show. But a chipmunk, well a chipmunk is not only in a hurry, and vermin, he’s also a shiny bulge eyed fiend. After the battles the ghoulish feast only ceased when every clavicle had been gnawed devoid of its marrow. There was nothing left. The sites made curious rotations throughout the gully, every niche had it’s history. The place wasn’t Pooh corner.
Lizards are the smartest animal in the universe, and we live forever, I mean forever. Our frail little bodies may perish, or we might lose the tip of our tail but we live forever, ask anyone. But we grow our tails back, and scurry on and we do know things, things you will never know. You don’t know, you can’t read a lizards thoughts. But we can read yours, you don’t know, you’re not a lizard.
The chipmunks battles were fast, furious and interminable. Maybe there would be a day and a half or so of quiet but it never lasted. One would think we’d run out of chipmunks what with the scurrying and slashing, gnashing slaying and ritual feasts afterwards. And the numbers did thin out, it’s logical, they were eating each other. The wet years, the years of the rabbits, there were more than fourteen familes, off and on, in the ravine. The hawks became more frequent then too.
The clans had everything marked off and woe betide the casual tourist who, watching the scenery instead of the trail, found himself in a foreign land. He scooted or stuck it out and paid whatever price was expected in the grand scheme of things. It was all a hullabaloo about nothing. What chipmunk wouldn’t look around?
But from a lizards point of view, which is long and wide, we know everything, the fact was that the waterhole and environs could hold a few more chipmunks if they weren’t scrappy. And canabalistic, that’s so de classe. They have their job, the ants have theirs.
Not only are they at every picnic but they taste good too. A vintage national geographic from the fifties or sixties chronicles an expedition to the garden of the gods area near colorado springs, north america, eart, place 14, left hand, kimono. Don’t understand that location? Of course you don’t. You are not a lizard. No offence. There, beneath the towering, tilted slabs of sculpted sandstone
dwelt an ant who stored honey in it’s abdomen. And are they tasty. The people in the magazine article, scientists actually and they should have known better but those were different times, (From an earlier expedition, an actual quote: “Every thing was to be captured, alive or dead, animal, vegetable or mineral.”), were digging them up and eating some and prounouncing them quite delicious. They were studying them too, or so they said, that’s how the trip to colorado springs was funded. One of the scientists had a truclent uncle that lived nearby where they were building a golf course. The ants are called honey ants. Few left. Lizards miss em.
Losing part of your tail is no big deal. It’s always asked. A quick wtf, followed by a sharp pain and it’s all uphill for a bit, as the balance is off and one needs to adjust one’s gait. But really no big deal, we adjust. Soldier on. Lizards live forever. A chipmunk losing a sharp little toe can trigger a cascade of events that leads toward him feeding the ants. For the loss of a toe a step was lost, for the loss of a step a scramble was lost, for the loss of….., you know the rest. Chipmunks are ephemeral. Maybe they should look into that. Maybe they shouldn’t. Lizards eat ants, not too proud to admit it. No grudge, just business. Glad to have them around.
Ants are incredibly intelligent and live forever too. It can be observed in their organized frensy or casual amble while on the scout. Ants are way smarter than lizards as in they know everything, and don’t know anything and manage to pull it off. It’s part of how they live forever. They also care about things. Lizards don’t, we’re reptiles. Punctuation, spelling, Queen of Roxbury rules, statutes, limitations, grapefruit juice and statins, it’s all the same. We’re all criminals.
Even the rats. Tough not to be a criminal when there are whole libraries and warehouses filled with books of rules. Lizards, and rats, just heed the one rule, the golden rule. Every one got a job. Like us they got a bad name. You dirty rat. You low life lizard. What’s with the name calling, still in trainer’s? Most of us are decent creatures, criminals all, just soaking it in, doing our duty. There is one section in the phylum we could name, but won’t, out of tact, that could stand a spanking, as the big picture warrants. Not to worry, most of us do live forever, shame about the chipmunks and others. Living well is the best revenge if you can stomach it.
Rats, despite being quintessentially rodentia they are remarkably decent, aside from their untidy residences. Sleek and dapper when out in public, ever see a frowsy rat, they do let it go a bit at home. Knock it after trial. Like lizards, the rats don’t take it much to heart that they are looked down upon in certain circles. Far better than to be looked down upon by a circling hawk or owl. Sticks and stones will break your bones but a hawk or owl will put a talon through your lung. A quick wtf, followed by a sharp pain and it’s all uphill for a bit, as the balance is off and one needs to adjust one’s gait. Rats also live forever, and they get around.
And they eat well. If one can believe the stories. Veritable mountain ranges of provender that almost, only not quite make it to the waterhole sometimes just shows up. Lots of leftovers from the chipmunks orgies, no sin there, rats and chipmunks are only distantly related. Grasshoppers, beetles, cattail roots, leather boots, bloated cows, it’s all the same to a rat. Rats are omnivores. How cool is that. Insectivore myself.