The Floating Gecko

Story and art by David Madrid

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        “Don’t go near the swimming pool,” Mother Gecko warned her children.

        Unfortunately, Billy Gecko didn’t like to listen. He liked to do what he wanted, and if he got in trouble, well, he would just deal with it.

        So Billy Gecko ran out across the cool deck and plunged head first into the pool.

        “Help!” Billy Gecko shouted as he came up for air. “Heeelllpppp!!!!” Nobody could hear him in the vast, blue pool of water.

        Panic began to well up inside the little gecko. He was only ten days old, and he was going to die. He would never eat another insect, he thought. Billy loved mosquitoes, and he just couldn’t wait to eat a spider.

        But he never would eat another bug as long as he lived because his short life was just about up. Billy Gecko panicked and began to thrash. He swallowed water.

        Then it occurred to him that if he was going to die anyway, why panic? He stopped his splashing. He realized that when he held his breath, he floated. When he took a breath, his body sunk into the water, but just barely. Then once he filled his lungs with air, his body floated on the top of the water.

        So Billy Gecko floated and waited and waited and floated. He wasn’t sure why he waited. He just knew that he had to survive.

        After about two hours, a family came out to swim. There were four boys and their mom and dad. Xavier began to clean the pool. The seven-year-old boy was scooping leaves from the top of the water when he saw a little gecko floating.

        Poor little thing, he thought. He was accustomed to scooping dead lizards out of the pool, which was a death trap for reptiles and insects alike.

        Xavier scooped the baby gecko from the pool and called his brothers to look at it. Damien, Andrew and Noah were performing scorpion eyes, a task that required them to search the pool bottom for scorpions, which it is said, can hold their breath for 48 hours.

        “You see how dangerous the pool can be,” Xavier said to his younger brothers. “Poor little gecko never had a chance.”

        Then Billy Gecko moved. He couldn’t believe he was out of the pool. But now he was in a net and a bunch of giants were looking at him. He hoped they didn’t kill him. He had heard that humans would kill you just for fun.

        “Can we keep him?” Andrew asked.

        “No,” Damien said. “We have to let him go. He must be free.”

        Xavier and Noah agreed, and the boys took the little gecko to a volcanic rock in the flower bed and let him go.

        Billy Gecko scurried away to find his mama. He had learned several things.

        He learned that he should listen to his mother. From now on, he would stay away from the pool.

        He also learned to stay calm and to not panic.

        And he learned that it was not true that all humans would kill you for fun. Some people are kind and compassionate and value freedom, he thought. He had just met four of them.

        Billy vowed to use his precious freedom more responsibly from now on. He found Mother Gecko and hugged her tight.

        Never was a hug so satisfying.

Moral: Panic kills.

© 2011

Email: David Madrid