Switching over to province life has been a major internal time shift change. Like some bizarre inner-body day light savings time clock turn back, 20 years of being a night owl has turned into waking up at the crack of dawn and sleeping when it gets dark.
But I have not gone down gently.
Old habits die very hard and I still find that while I don’t lay down when the sun sets, I still find myself sleeping much sooner than usual. Morning wake ups are different here too. While in Angeles one is woken up by yelling street vendors trying to sell you something you don’t need or by trikes plowing by your bedroom window like it was the only bypass to downtown available, here in Dumaguete the waking up process is much gentler.
One might be woken form a wet dog nose poking you to take her for a walk down on the beach, or maybe the sound of the girls playing in the hammock. These are good days…
But this morning was alarming. I jumped out of bed from the screaming of girls yelling out, “TOOKO! TOOKO!”
“What the… Why is everyone screaming and what in the hell is Tooko?”
My house here in Dumaguete is actually separate from the main house. It has its own private kitchen and is far enough away to provide some privacy when needed. I staggered out of bed, threw on some shorts and wandered over, still wiping the sleep out of my eyes, into the main house to see what all the yelling was about.
Inside looked like a scene from a Mad Max movie. Everyone was holding some homemade weapon running around screaming “TOOKO!” and poking at things. Two girls were standing up on furniture while my psycho girl with baseball bat in hand was poking under a table.
The Marine and the Dane looked on guard but quite amused at this whole process. Our driver was nowhere to be seen as he wanted nothing to do with this mayhem now ensuing in the house and was standing outside looking quite nervous. I later learned that because of this lizard he had actually spent the night in the van as he had seen one wall walking in his room.
Suddenly a blurry flash of reptile flesh scurried out from under a bench and ran up behind a painting which was on the wall on the staircase leading up into the master bedroom. I didn’t get a good look at it but I could hear it scurrying around behind the picture.
Being the stupid one without any of the information needed for battling a mini-Godzilla, I stepped forward to try and flush out the monster. I was trying to balance myself on the stairs and still have enough leverage to lift the large glass framed portrait all the while thinking to myself, ‘How bad can it be? It’s just a lizard,’ and grabbed the large portrait off the wall and pulled it back to reveal the beast.
And there it was, the Dreaded Dumaguete Death Lizard.
And boy, was it was horrific!
Note: This picture really doesn’t do it justice. Plus this is another one taken outside on the wall and not the one that invaded our house. But you can get a sense of it.
I was only expecting a slightly large misshapen gecko or something like that. But this eight to nine inch long thing had quite a large head on it with florescent blue and purple scales in a stripe from the back of its head down to the tip of its tail. Its eyes seemed to move independently like an iguana but the look on its face was not cute like some beer commercial spokes-lizard, no, this reptile meant business.
He seemed to stare at me with one eye while surveying the rest of the scene with the other. I stood there like an idiot holding the large framed picture off balance staring into the one eye of the death lizard. Looking at his mouth I saw that this indeed was not a gecko and could easily fit some of my flesh into its mouth with little effort. The head was quite large compared to its body and it looked to be 75% mouth!
And then he jumped…
Screaming girls to the left and screaming girls to the right made me jump straight up to a height Michael Jordan would have been proud of. Landing was not quite so graceful though. I came down awkward trying to dodge the now pissed off Death Lizard and maneuvering away from the jumping and screaming girls all the while trying not to drop the huge portrait still in my hands.
*Clang* *Smack* *Clang* *Crash*
I look to my left and see the bats and poles striking the ground chasing the fiend back underneath the bench which surrounds the dining room table. Placing the portrait back on the wall I join the hunt and we flush the creature out from there and towards the hallway.
Now my girl is getting brave. She’s walking around with one slipper off and the other using it like some sort of Dreaded Dumaguete Death Lizard Reptile Swatter and I can hear a *Swat* *Swat* *Swat* as she chases it across the wall.
Ador, our driver, is still outside and I finally ask, “What’s the deal with this mutant lizard and why is everyone afraid of it?” They explain that ‘Tooko’ is the sound it makes when howling, presumably before a kill. Also, legend has it, the thing has a pit-bull like jaw action so that when it bites into your flesh it will not let go until you or it dies.
“Well, that would have been some nice information to have BEFORE I got close enough for it to see my jugular was well within leaping distance!”
“I got it!” I hear the honey-ko scream, “I got it with my slipper!”
“Is it dead?” I ask as I was now looking for some sort of pole like weapon myself.
“No, it’s in the CR.”
“Does it need some toilet paper?” I ask.
She had somehow chased it out of the living room, down the hallway and corralled the monster into the CR and was looking to go in for the kill.
Ok, time out… Let me take some time and re-set the scene.
Tooko the Death Lizard is now in the CR while three grown men are well behind my girlfriend who is now charging into the CR armed only with a single flip-flop while another guy is outside hiding. The other two Filipinas are still back in the living room wondering how they can stack up furniture to get even higher off the ground and wait for a reported killing of the Venomous Lounge Lizard.
Our nemesis has now somehow crawled behind the toilet and is sitting just out of reach of any tool we can find to stick back there and poke him out or pierce his hide. It was then that our Danish friend recalls some of his Viking ancestry and comes up with a plan.
He goes and gets a big pot of water and places it on the stove to boil it. The plan is to cook the thing out of there letting technology accomplish what three guys with random blunt weapons and a Filipina with a shoe couldn’t do.
*SPLASH* the boiling water hits the back wall and we can hear the thing flailing about.
He is not happy.
He has now slipped far enough down that his tail is fully visible and my girl takes a large pole and stabs at the tail. Like its cousin the gecko, the tail comes off and is wiggling on the ground as if it was still attached.
That was enough for my girl. Being scared of snakes she thinks that is enough wild kingdom fun for the day and retreats back to the living room. Meanwhile Netguard hands me a long spoon and I’m stabbing at the thing trying to kill it or drag it out.
Finally the thing drops to the floor and tries half-dead to scurry away. Down came a pole from the hands of the Dane and the lizard is brought down.
“I think its still moving! You don’t think it’s a Dreaded Dumaguete Zombie Death Lizard, do you?” I say but as quickly as I can get those words out another strike across the lizard’s head and Netguard finishes off the beast.
*Whew* Victory at last! The Dreaded Dumaguete Death Lizard is vanquished and no longer a threat.
I can only hope that there was only one of them on this island! If not I think we need to stock up on hot water and flip-flops!
Until next time, that was a slice of province life…