The following is unfortunately a true story. It is told from the perspective of an innocent victim, whose only crime was being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Their name has been changed to preserve their dignity. Also they were a lizard and presumably had no name to begin with. I don’t know, I’m not a lizard scientist. I’m just a dumb writer who accidentally pissed on a lizard one time. This is our story.
It was a hot Thursday afternoon. So hot in fact, that I decided to brave the human’s home to cool down. I had snuck in there a few times, through cracks and crevices and the tiny little space underneath the laundry door. ‘Just a quick in and out’ I told myself. Fink the Skink deserved a quick little soak, I thought, as I made a beeline straight to the shower.
I used to love human showers. Damp, cool, typically enclosed, the list goes on. What a genius invention. The ability to splash yourself with nice cold water at the drop of a hat? Everyone should have themselves such a device. Unfortunately, they aren’t perfect. The chief issue is not the shower itself of course, but its owners.
I had been sitting between an empty shampoo bottle and the shower wall for about fifteen minutes when I heard the door close. I must have dozed off in the cosy, moist enclosure, or else I would have surely noticed the human’s slapping footsteps. This was not my first encounter with a human. On instinct, I readied myself to bolt past it and slip underneath the door.
With a tip tap tap it slapped the shower handle, gradually shifting it into the right position. Beautiful, cool water began to flow. So perfect was the temperature of this new deluge that I couldn’t help but pause. It was such a hot day today after all: perhaps the human wouldn’t see me if I just stayed right here? When I noticed the water getting gradually warmer I finally managed to stir myself from my delusion. I was in no mood for a warm shower, so I decided it was time to make my move. This was my mistake.
I bolted from the relative safety of the shampoo bottle directly into the middle of the shower. If I had just quietly slunk away, the human might have caught some small sight of me. This would have been bad because humans are stupidly curious, and it would have likely investigated. I figured that if I stared it down front and centre, it would be so shocked and disgusted by my tiny, wriggly little body that it would not follow me. This was the crux of my mistake, as I swaggered my way not only into the middle of the shower, but into the middle of a torrential stream of urine.
‘AHHH! EWWW!’ screamed the human.
‘EWWW! AHHH!’ I screamed back.
I very quickly learned something about humans that day. It is somewhat shameful to say, but I realised that human beings and skinks are quite alike. Namely that, when faced with a confronting situation, we are likely to freeze up entirely. Despite its cries of disgust and ‘Oh god no’, the human continued to piss on me. And I, despite my utter horror at the situation, continued being pissed on. I was totally immobilised by a concoction of shock, rage, and sincere confusion.
Eventually, thank the lord, the human stopped urinating on me. A few moments of tense silence passed between us. I looked up at it, my fury intensifying with each passing moment. It had the audacity to look utterly mortified, as if it were the one currently saturated with piss and not I. Before I could twist my anger into words it bolted out of the room, wailing all the way.
I heard its voice travel from down the hall. ‘Baby! I-I pissed on a lizard!’
‘What the fuck does that even mean?’ I heard another voice say. Its mate perhaps?
‘It ran out at me, and I was trying to have a shower and I was doing a piss and it just–’
I could not hear anything more over the raucous laughter of its partner. ‘Oh my fucking god,’ said the other voice, still giggling. ‘You were being serious? That’s so gross Jamie! Put it outside you weirdo.’
Jamie ey? My new nemesis had a name. I made my way out of the shower, washing myself off on my way out. By the time Jamie returned I was standing in the centre of the bathroom. We locked eyes, sharing a look of embarrassed determination. I could tell this was to be a legendary duel. I sprinted at him, ready to make the first strike. The cowardly, naked giant hopped over me with grace I hadn’t expected. The doorway was now open to me, but retreat is for cowards. I whipped around and roared a mighty war-cry:
‘Piss on me will you?! Taste all of my skink-like fury you gopping little sh–’
I was cut off by a loud PLUNK. Jamie had slammed a clear, open-topped jug on top of me. Well, I say me, but really I mean most of me, because the utter bastard lopped off my tail. I watched as my detached limb thrashed about hither and thither. To my credit, my tail put up a very good fight. Jamie audibly gagged as it watched the severed limb wriggle about. Unfortunately, it was not to last, because my tail wriggled so hard it ended up sliding under the bathroom counter where Jamie couldn’t see it. Once more there was silence as the human and I stared each other down.
With the nauseating screech of plastic against tiles, the human began to nudge the jug towards the door. ‘There we go, easy does it mate. Fucking hell, I am so sorry about this. Let’s just get you outside and we can both forget about this, yeah?’
For a time I sat motionless, allowing the jug to push me along. We passed through the bathroom door and began travelling down a short hallway. Perhaps this giant wasn’t as heartless as I first thought. This whole ordeal was clearly an accident: no one plans to make themselves look like a grossed-out little child. It was actually kind of funny when you looked at it from a certain angle. In a strange way, I could see this as an event that would bring us together. It had all the makings of the perfect, embarrassing story. The kind that you tell when you bring them over to meet your family for the first time. I began to push the jug with the human, working in tandem with my burgeoning friend as we approached the bend into the laundry. I felt that things were finally looking up.
And then I saw the cat.
He had been lying just behind the doorway of the laundry, hindlegs tensed and ready to pounce. Bright green eyes tracked my every move. The beast licked his fangs.
‘Astro, I really wouldn’t buddy,’ said Jamie. ‘You don’t know where that’s been, and trust me when I say you don’t want to.’
Astro was undeterred. He leapt at me, claws unsheathed and ready to rend me down into bloody little chunks. Jamie’s foot slammed into the top of the jug, keeping it steady but nearly driving me deaf in the process. The cat’s eyes widened in shock as he collided with the container head-first. The jug did not budge, the shock of which caused Astro to jump backwards. It became clear to me that this was not the brightest cat, because he fell backwards into the shelf behind him. This startled Astro so bad that he spun around in a strange little whirlwind before sprinting out of the room as fast as he possibly could, slipping over in the process.
Jamie steadied himself on the wall and burst into laughter as Astro slid down the hallway. ‘I just wanted a fucking shower man.’
I couldn’t help but laugh with him. Far from an ideal afternoon, but it pays to look on the bright side of things.
‘Alright mate, let’s get you out of here,’ Jamie said with a smile. As we finally approached the laundry door, he used the jug to scoop me up and set me down on the pavement outside.
‘Sorry about all that, hope your new tail grows in soon,’ he said, throwing in a small salute. I scurried off without a word, but I did throw in a little wave. I hold no doubts that we could have been friends in another life. The best of friends even. Unfortunately, the cat was a real deal-breaker for me. For now, it was time to return home, and pray to God that I find a bar of soap along the way. It wasn’t likely, but Lord knows stranger things have happened.
Author: Jamie Stevens (he/him) is a third year creative writing student from Brisbane. With an unhealthy love of everything abject and absurd, Jamie crams his sense of humour into everything he writes. For more news on his other publications and projects, check out his Instagram @jamie.c.stevens.
Artist: Cyndra Galea (she/they) is in the third year of her Bachelor of Fine Art’s in Creative Writing with a minor in Professional Communications. When not found with her head in a book or three, Cyndra can be found radioactive antique hunting, fixing classic cars with her dad, drawing on her iPad, or writing and editing her manuscript. Cyndra aims to work as a structural editor when she finishes her Masters of Editing and Publishing, but also dreams of releasing novels of their own.
Editors: Brock Scholte and Breeh Botsford