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Stickman Readers' Submissions February 23rd, 2008

The Brit and the Gecko

Have you ever had a guy try and steal your date away knowing you were right there, and not care at all? A few weeks back I wrote a submission titled “A Letter Never to be Sent” about a weekend I spent in the company of a special woman and how much I enjoyed the weekend. It was during this weekend that I had the pleasure of having a fine British gentleman try to steal my young lovely away from me.

He Clinic Bangkok

It was on our first night in Ko Samet. We’d just enjoyed dinner in the company of two men, a Thai man and a Singaporean man. Both were engineers and appeared to be best friends. We were sitting at an outside table at the resort restaurant when they asked if they could join us. Before I could respond they’d taken seats and had the waitress transfer the standard bottle of Thai whiskey, soda water, and ice to our table. I don’t drink but I don’t mind those that do, and the more this pair drank the more fun they became. It turns out an older and fairly plump lady I initially took to be by herself was the Thai man's wife, so we invited her over and she brought her own bottle with her. Both spoke great English, were exhibiting fine form and humor, and for me were entertaining and fun. Before I knew it a few hours had passed and I was having a ball getting into the minds of these Asian men. Unfortunately they must have bored the heck out of my date because she excused herself and said she was going to take a walk around the resort and promising to catch up with her soon I got back to enjoying my conversation.

About 30 minutes later both of their faces went from jovial to angry, and turning to follow their gaze I saw my date and a tall, fit man, and the man had his hand on her arm almost forcing her to sit. This man had looked at her earlier when we passed and she was holding my hand. My new friends told me she was walking past when he stepped in front of her and started talking, and when she tried to pass he blocked her way and insisted she sit with him, and I’d caught the last part of it. I thought it amusing that my new friends thought the best way to handle this was for all three of us to go stomp the guy. Instead, I opted to watch for a few minutes to see if he started behaving better. He said something to the waitress and a few minutes later she brought some drinks to the table so for now he appeared to be non-threatening save for being a mite forceful. Handing me their business cards and saying they’d see me at breakfast, they insisted I go retrieve “my girl” while they watched just in case I needed their help. I was honored to have earned their assistance, but their seriousness was probably fueled more by the two bottles of Thai whiskey than actual harm to the lady. Promising to look for them at breakfast I bid them a good evening and headed towards them.

Approaching I saw a big smile of relief on her face and jumping up she introduced me as her “fiancée” (it appears I got a promotion!) and moved over in her seat so I could sit next to her. Smiling at the man I introduced myself and asked if he’d mind if I joined them. He could barely contain a scowl, but being the fine British gentleman that he was he agreed and asked if he could have the waitress bring me a drink. Introducing himself I could immediately tell he was British, and he told me he worked for a “defense manufacturing” firm. At 6’2” and 180 pounds he carried about 4% body fat, was heavily muscled, and had the look of confidence an athlete in his prime would possess. Once upon a time I’d also worked for “defense manufacturing” firms, so I didn’t press him further.

He enquired about the nature of our relationship and taking the cue from my date I told him we would be married soon and were very much in love. She just smiled and held my arm tighter as the look of disappointment washed over his face. We started talking and I found myself liking the guy. Our backgrounds were similar and soon we were chatting away like good friends. My date was giving me that exasperated look again letting me know she didn’t want to sit there again all night, and I whispered in her ear to play along with me for a while. You see, the man had broken the code and if I saw an opening I was going to take it.

Noticing red bites all along his arms I asked him if his room didn’t have a mosquito net. Looking sheepish he confirmed it had, and then told me what happened. It seems he saw a gecko in his room and propping the door open he spent about 15 minutes chasing it around before it ran out the door. Looking embarrassed he said that during those 15 minutes about 100 mozzies had flown in and there was no way to get rid of them. So, he was bitten mercilessly the entire night. I asked why he chased the gecko from his room? He admitted that they freaked him out and he didn’t think he could sleep with one in the room. An idea for payback began to form in the back of my mind..

I asked him if he knew that geckos ate mozzies and other insects? Surprised he said he didn’t. I went on to explain that in South East Asia geckos are commonplace inside most homes, and everyone regards them as good luck and appreciates the good work they do keeping the insect population down. Telling me he could appreciate that, he just couldn’t tolerate them running around on the ceiling and walls while he slept. The man seemed to have a genuine phobia about geckos!

Seeing my opening I went on to explain that while on Okinawa the “gecko man” would go through our camps and sell us geckos to let loose in our tents, who would then scarf down all the mozzies so we could sleep in peace. He’d show up on his bicycle loaded down with little cardboard boxes, and inside the boxes would be hungry geckos. The Brit asked me “how do they catch the mozzies, they fly through the air?” Having caught his attention I leaned forward across the table and said there were several kinds of geckos in South East Asia, but the best kind could either jump or fly! His eyes got really big and he said “jump or fly?” “Indeed” I told him, one time we wanted to see them in action so before letting them loose we put a few dabs of neon hobby paint on their bellies and later that night turned on a black light.

“You could see them fly?” Laughing I said “we sure could, laying in our bunks we watched these neon painted geckos leap across the entire tent and then kind of float down catching the mozzies while they floated, and then they’d land on us and scamper across our bunks and back up the walls for another go at it!” He was starting to stutter now, and my dates hand on my leg was digging in her nails and she whispered “you’re scaring him!” Yes, it appears this fine British date stealer with questionable manners was genuinely bothered by the thought of flying geckos.

I went on to tell him that the best flying gecko species, the “Ptychozoom Gecko” was common on the islands, and they had parachute like flaps from the neck to the legs to help the “float” after a flying leap from the ceiling. I told him there were probably some “Stump-toed geckos” still in his room, how they could blend in so you couldn’t even see them. I asked him if he’d ever heard the geckos mating call? geckos are one of the only reptiles who can make noises, and their chirping is often mistaken for a smoke detector low battery warning chirp. I could see that last one bothered him, so I asked if he’d heard the “chirp?” Eyes wide open now he nodded his head and appeared really upset.

Deciding to set the hook I told him that maybe it would be best if he switched rooms, because the Tokay chirping geckos had bad tempers and were aggressive, and while their bite didn’t hurt “that much”, it might startle him if he was bitten while sleeping in his bed. The poor lad was looking genuinely frightened, perfect! Looking him in the eye I asked “do you sleep with your mouth open?” He asked why, so I told him that they craved wet warm places and would sometimes crawl in an open mouth in search of a place to rest, but not to worry because generally their feces was non-toxic. You could see him jump when I mentioned non-toxic feces, so I said “yes, geckos being small reptiles expel feces about every five minutes, but don’t worry because there’s not a lot of volume.” Now he was upset! Still talking I advised “when first coming awake try not to swallow until you gain your senses and can tell if a gecko is still in your mouth or not!” Continuing I told him “they can get caught in your throat since they’re very dry, and every now and then you’ll read about someone choking to death on a gecko..”

By now our date stealing British gentleman was visibly upset and I detected just a bit of trembling. My date was looking at my harshly now, she clearly thought I’d gone past the point of good natured fun and indeed I had. I just smiled at her and continued. “Do you know the way to get the geckos to leave your room?” With a look of relief he practically shouted “please tell me?” Looking around to make sure no one could hear us I told him he wasn’t going to like the answer, but I’d tell him if he really wanted? Begging now, he pleaded with me to share the secret. Lowering my voice I made him lean in close and told him “they can’t stand the scent of human urine, this is why you NEVER see them in the bathrooms!” Looking at me with a blank look I went on “you can get some small cups, pee in them, and then place them around your room.” He says “but it’s already midnight, and I’ll probably only have to pee once more before I sleep?” “No problem!” I said. “Just pee in a cup and then using a stick or even your hand, put some on the walls and anywhere else you don’t want geckos to go.” “I’d advise you put some on your bedding if you want to keep them and their feces out of your mouth!”

The poor man looked terrified, calling the waitress over he ordered four more beers to go and thanking me for the advice hurried off to his room. “There goes the great gecko hunter” my dear.. and we both laughed. To be honest, she thought I was a bit harsh on him, but when I mentioned that he’d grabbed her arm a dark look came over her face and she exclaimed she hoped the geckos would really defecate in his mouth. I liked her spirit! Going back to our room we took a shower together and she giggled when she pointed out a gecko on the tile wall of the ceiling. Laughing she said “pee on it and he’ll go away..” Taking aim I let loose dang if I didn’t hit the little guy as he climbed higher up the wall. We laughed about geckos until we fell asleep.

Morning came early as we had a shoot right after sunrise, so after dressing we hurried to the breakfast buffet and piled some food on our plates. I felt her elbow in my ribs, and looking she nodded to a far table where our fine British gentleman sat looking much the worse for wear. We headed towards his table and immediately noticed he was covered in mozzie bites! “What happened” I asked. Looking exhausted he explained “I spread pee all over the room like you suggested, but later I still saw a gecko and the room didn’t smell great at all with the pee everywhere! So I went outside on the porch and slept in the beach chair!” “When I woke up I discovered I’d been bitten hundreds of times by mozzies!” He continued “But that sure is a lot better than having to deal with those geckos! I’m checking out early and going back to my hotel room in Rayong!”

Ok, now I was starting to feel a bit guilty.. but not much. He’d seen me with my date earlier, yet still tried to pick up on her, blocked her way, and even held on to her arm. Plus, he was a big tough guy, a little thing like a gecko shouldn’t have bothered him all that much. Gullible he was as well! We finished our breakfast and while I gathered gear she went into the bathroom to change, and when she came out she had a big smile on her face and polo shirt with a gecko insignia! We started laughing and couldn’t stop for about five minutes. Sometimes things just work out..

Until next time…

Stickman's thoughts:

In all seriousness, this Brit deserved whatever he got. How dare he come on to a woman who is already in the presence of another man. I wonder if he would do that at home?