When I first arrived in Thailand, I was all, “Look at all the geckos! They’re so small and sweet. Maybe I can tie a little leash around one and call him Buckminster*.”
But that was before I got to know them. Here’s why I can no longer trust geckos.
They plot against you.
When I was in bed yesterday, I felt something fall on my stomach. I looked up to see this …
He had just dropped a home-cooked lizardy nugget on my bare stomach, and this motherfucking gecko was just frozen there on the ceiling, staring intensely at me with his pinhead eyes.
They move too fast.
They have this horrible way of moving around, like a horror movie villain who has been run over by a car seven times, and, even though he has dislocated hips and backwards elbows, he still manages to stagger at an alarming speed. It’s a spasmodic, feverish shimmy. Their sticky foot pads allows them to climb walls, and if startled, they’ll find an open window to mush their fleshy bodies through, before disappearing into the night.
They want to mess with your mind.
The song of the gecko is omnipresent. GECK-O. It’s in the corners of your room. GECK-O. It’s under the couch. GECK-O. It’s coming from underwear drawer, your make-up bag, your box of Special-K. Imagine if I hid in your house and, every now and then, made my presence known by whispering my name. TORRE. TORRE. TORRE. No, not creepy at all.
They are bilingual.
Thai people call them chingchoks because according to them, that is the noise they make. Really? Because I’m hearing a distinctive GECK-O. There is definitely no CHING and absolutely no CHOC in GECK-O. Which can only me one thing: they speak two languages!
Whenever you are, there they are.
Every morning when I get out a bowl for breakfast, I expose a gecko from his hiding spot under the dishware. Freaked, he takes off running like a madman—his tiny hips sashaying in high speed, his beady eyes far too clued-in for my liking. Whether I’m preparing my breakfast or showering or sleeping, I can feel 1,000 unblinking stares fixed lasciviously on my food, my body, my orifices. They’re always near, watching, waiting …
They can lick their own eyeballs.
They don’t have eyelids, they instead just lick their eyeballs clean. Enough said.
Ivan was in the bathroom having a leisurely pee when he suddenly flew out of the door backwards. “There’s a giant lizard in there!” he said, startled. Ivan is the person I call when I need giant spider removal services. He swims with sharks and snacks on deep fried cockroaches. But this lizard had him jigging about on the spot.
“Really? You’re scared of a lizard?” I said.
“Can you put it outside?”
“No-ho-ho-ho-ho!” he stammered. “No-ho-ho-ho-ho-way! It’s too meaty.”
I wanted to see some meat that even an Argentinean wouldn’t go near. “Show me.”
He pointed in horror to the wall beside the toilet. It was longer than my foot, and meaty it was:
If you blur your eyes, they’re fingers with legs.
I used to think they were adorable, but now I realise they are the fingers of sex offenders that have grown eyes and legs so they can slip into small spaces without being noticed. See?
Or maybe they’re just harmless house lizards. I don’t know.
* Buckminster was the name my parents were going to give me if I’d come out a boy. No kidding. My parents tried for a boy, but had six girls instead. Clearly, God doesn’t approve of Buckminster either, but I feel it’s the perfect name for a creepy lizard on a leash.
Torre DeRoche is the author of two travel memoirs, Love with a Chance of Drowning (2013) and The Worrier’s Guide to the End of the World (due out September 2017). She has written for The Atlantic, The Guardian Travel, The Sydney Morning Herald, Emirates, and two Lonely Planet anthologies.