Lizard sits on rock, rock rolls onto lizard, paper blows around in the background.
What on earth is this? A moving herpetological moment from Mystery Science Theater 3000.
As a child, I found a small desert tortoise chugging along the street where I lived in So Cal. I was enchanted and felt extraordinarily lucky. I named him Timmy, put him in our enclosed backyard, and proceeded to pamper him all summer with an endless variety of fruits and veggies, to see what he might like. His appetite seemed enormous, and I soon discovered that his favorite food was watermelon. For such a slow guy, his pace would definitely pick up as he lunged at the watermelon pieces, with the juices dripping down his jaw. He seemed to know what was watermelon and what was my fingers, as he never missed. We soon had a routine. He’d come out from under a bush near a concrete wall at around noon each day, plod to the center of our tiny dichondra lawn, and wait there for me until I came outside with some watermelon or canteloupe. (I also remember that he peed a lot.) Anyhoo, when winter came on, he eventually dug under the bush and went to sleep for longer periods of time. I remember that this bush was sort of fern-like, with tiny pieces like slivers that would easily fall off and get stuck in Timmy’s eyes. He looked very uncomfortable, so one day after Timmy dined, I took a pair of tweezers and, amazingly, Timmy let me pull all that crap out of his eyes. So that became a new after-dinner routine, and he’d even help me by sticking his neck out further when it was oculary hygiene time. But you can guess the rest of the story. When spring came, Timmy seemed hell bent on getting out of the enclosed backyard, even digging away at the wooden gate. My Dad said that Timmy was probably looking for a mate, but I didn’t want to hear that. Timmy worked at The Great Escape, and one day one of my family members left the gate ajar, and I never saw Timmy again. Oh, I searched for months, even going door to door along many streets to inquire, which was very painful for someone as shy as I was. Timmy, oh Timmy. Perhaps if I had sung to him?
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