Posted: January 6, 2011 in ALL POSTS, Short Short Stories, Weird
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This is a very short story I wrote a few years ago and had forgotten about.


W hile walking on the trail that runs along the Erie Canal this Saturday, I met a most peculiar gentleman.  I was headed West and he East and since the canal and thus the trail runs perfectly straight, I was able to watch as he approached, first appearing as an unrecognizable tiny moving dot, but gradually as we approached one another becoming a man with recognizable characteristics.  Even from quite a distance I began to notice his unusual attire: A derby hat; a long sleeved billowing what appeared to be muslin shirt with bloused sleeves, over which he wore a three-button leather vest.  His well-pressed pleated pinstriped pants were tucked into white socks, causing the bottoms of his pants to blouse in a military fashion and on his feet he wore bright red high-toped converse sneakers.

As he we drew closer, I noticed some sort of string or cord attached to the top button of his vest, running from there up to his left shoulder where it appeared to be fastened to something there.  It was not until we were about ten feet apart that I realized that the cord was actually a small leash running to a collar around the neck of a live Chameleon – not the kind that is native to the southern U.S. and that can be obtained in almost any pet store, but the very exotic kind from Madagascar with the bulging eyes that can move independently of one another and that the sport the tightly curled tail.

I then shifted my eyes from the lizard to the man’s face, and found that he was smiling at me, apparently pleased that I showed interest in his reptilian companion.  I took that smile as an invitation, so as we were just about to pass one another I approached him.   As I did I noticed a huge red blotch on his right cheek and I immediately made the mental self-query – boil, melanoma, herpes? On closer inspection, I noticed that it was a very gooey bright red gelatinous glob and appeared to have been applied, not a grown there.

“Hi”, I said, “Great place to walk one’s Chameleon”

“Yep”, he laughed “Me and Geico walked all the way from Verona today.”

“Geico”, I said rolling my eyes and laughing, ” that’s funny, but if you don’t mind my asking, were you aware that there is a large glob on your face?”

“Yep, that’s strawberry jelly”, smiling “everybody asks about that”, he said, shaking his head and making a facial expression that indicated he thought that asking such a question was really weird.  “But”, he said, “Since you asked, I’ll show you what it is.” and after a short pause, he added, “if you want me to that is.”

“Please do.  I wouldn’t miss this for anything “, I quickly replied.

He positioned himself with the canal on his left and directed me to stand facing him from about five feet away.  He then told me not to move around or say anything for at least the next minute, but to watch closely.  He said nothing more, but with his head slightly turned to the left, froze in position as still as a statue of a mime.  After about 30 seconds, a fly buzzed around his head briefly and then landed right next to the mass on his face, ready for a sugary feast.  That fly’s desert was cut short by Geico’s eight-inch tongue, which lanced out like a striking rattlesnake, snatching the hapless fly from his partner’s face.

At the end of this amazing performance and without saying another word the man proceeded in his original eastward direction.   I watched his progress for a few moments feeling enriched by my encounter with this strange symbiosis and then turned westward.


  1. anonnickus says:


  2. […] STORIES I have two short stories of my own in this category, “Symbiosis” a completely fictional short short story about an encounter with an unusual individual and […]

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