Day 5 of 46, of my Lenten daily blog
If you are not into poo-poo/bathroom humor, I advise you to sit this one out…
One day I borrowed one of the other missionaries vehicles, to run an errand. This missionary (Let’s call him Alex so as to protect the innocent) is very generous with his vehicle. His automobile is in excellent condition, and he takes good care of it, so I had just a little bit of trepidation in using it.
I had to go into town, a three hour round trip. My task went smoothly and I was returning home when I came upon the sleepy little village of Lis Lis. After cresting a red dirt hill, there, on the right side of the road, was a boy holding a gigantic iguana. He held it up as an offering to me, in hopes that I would purchase his reptilian goods. Now, in Honduras, Iguanas are an endangered species. It is illegal to hunt or eat them. Why are they endangered? Apparently, because they are quite tasty. Sometimes called the ‘chicken of the trees,’ they are considered a delicacy.
So, as I drove past the kid with the iguana (probably the largest iguana I’d ever seen being peddled on the side of the road) I considered my options. I could keep on going, which in retrospect, would have been the smart move. Unfortunately, I thought about my kids. My son, Will, in particular, has a soft spot for all living creatures. In the past, when we drive by these kids selling Iguanas, we stop and buy them, then release them in our back yard (which is a vast jungle).
The caveat here is that usually when we buy these iguanas, we are driving our beat-up, gold painted, rusty Nissan pickup (affectionately named Goldie Matilda after Heid’s grandmother). Then, we just throw the iguana in the back with the kids, and make our way home.
Well, something made me stop. I put Alex’s clean and shiny Toyota in reverse, and backed up to Iguana-boy. The young fellow struggled under the weight of the reptile, as he hoisted it up to me for a better look. I didn’t care how chunky he was, I was buying him (thus, probably further exacerbating the problem of supply and demand for the illegal black-market dusty-back-roads-jungle-trafficking of captured iquanas… I kid, this young man was just trying to make ends meet).
The poor creature was bound with it’s legs and arms behind its back. Further, the custom is to use the lizards own talon-tendons to bind it. They cut the fingers off, pull the tendons taut, and tie them in a knot, front legs to each other, back legs to each other. It’s like a sinewy straight-jacket.
Now, the thought did cross my mind just briefly that it might not be a great idea to put the lizard on the floor in the back of the vehicle, unattended. But I reassured myself that this critter was just captured, tortured, and then dragged down to the road. There is no way that its flight-or-fight response would not have already evacuated every ounce of bodily fluid from his body.
But, oh, how wrong I would be.
About a mile or so down the road, I heard the juiciest farting sound that I can possibly paint in your mind.
And then the odor. Iguanas are vegetarians, right? Then why does it smell like this dude just ate at an all-you-can-eat Barbecue pit?
Looking back in the rig, I couldn’t see him because he was on the ground behind a row of seats. I was praying that maybe he just had the nervous-tootsies.
Well, if you’re a runner then you can appreciate my dilemma. If you’re out on a long run, and you accidentally shart just a little, do you stop and check the damage? No! you forge ahead, and go faster. Just get home as fast as you can!
So, I hit the gas and ignored all the rumbling noises, and sickening scents that were wafting forward.
When I got home, I backed the rig up to a grassy field and tried to discreetly call my kids over to attend to the iguana. As I opened the back doors to survey the damage, I was shocked to discover the sheer volume of excrement this creature had produced. How was it possible?
I sprang into action, calling Heidi to aid me in a covert operation I like to call ‘Cover-up-the-fact-that-I-let-a-giant-iguana-shit-all-over-your-nice-car.’ We got spray bottles, paper towels, bleach, sponges, etc. I started scrubbing feverishly.
And then, my worst fear came true. About 75 yards away, ol’ Alex came a’ mosying up toward me, to see how the trip went. Nooooooo! I was totally busted. I made a couple quick moves to get the bulk of the turds off the floor and onto the grass, but suddenly he was upon me. “Hey there, ol’ buddy ol’ palsy,” I stammered. But it was too late to cover this scandal up, me standing there with my windex spray bottle, and poo-stained paper towels.
So I folded like a crummy poker hand. I spilled the beans to Alex, and sought mercy, with cowering sincerity. After several “I don’t know what I was thinking’s” and a couple “I’m so stupid’s” and at least one “I didn’t think he would do that,” I finally stopped groveling. As is his way, Alex gave me grace unconditionally and without hesitation. He clapped me on the back, and picked me up out of my misery. And we’re still buddies to this day. Why, I have even driven his car since. And I learned a valuable lesson: Make sure the iguana has already pooped before you put it in your friend’s car.
Addendum: The happy ending to this story is that my son, Will, came out, and unbound the big fella. We waited for an hour or so, while our neighbors wandered over to spectate. Eventually, he wiggled off into the jungle and we haven’t seen him since.
2nd Addendum: If I was poor and hungry, I think I would be doing the same: Hunting, selling, and eating iguanas. I certainly don’t have any judgment for the kid who was selling me the Iguana.
Photos of the day:
Here is poopy-pants, bound by his own tendons…
Now he has been freed. Magnificent, isn’t he?
Shortly after this last photo, he would skidaddle into the jungle.
Phew… 41 more to go. See you tomorrow.