Author: David Henson
As I’m looking for cheddar, I notice a Chamenileon drop a dozen eggs to the floor. Sobbing and turning blue, he puts the yolk-dripping carton in his cart and heads for the front of the store. I haven’t liked nor trusted the Chamenileons since we let them take refuge here, but this one weeping and bluing over broken eggs intrigues me. Learning about him seems more interesting than continuing my search for extra-sharp. No grilled cheese for me for supper.
I wait by the exit as the fellow, glowing red, apologizes to the cashier for breaking the eggs and insists on paying for them. I trail him outside, note what kind of car he gets into, then hurry to my own on the other side of the parking lot. I fear I’ve lost him till I see his SUV pulling onto the street. I step on it then ease off when I’m a couple lengths behind.
I almost lose him but for sneaking through a crack between yellow and red. When he enters a driveway, I note the house number and street then go home.
Returning the next day, I park a block or so away and walk to his house, which is painted the mandatory black and white to denote its Chamenileon occupancy. I see he’s having a garage sale. I linger in front of his house as if I’m looking over the merchandise. There are boxes of women’s shoes, and racks with hanging dresses and tops.
As I’m standing there, the guy comes out of the garage with slacks draped over his arm. As he crams them onto one of the racks, he glows blue again. When he sees me, his blue tinges maroon. He asks if I’m interested in buying something.
I’m not sure what to say — I followed you yesterday, but I’m not a stalker even though I’m here at your house today? — so I go to one of the racks and hold up a blouse. This isn’t easy for me as I can’t remember the last time I’ve had a personal encounter with a Chamenileon.
“It was my wife’s,” he says. “She … passed away a few weeks ago. I couldn’t bear seeing her clothes every time I go into our closet.” He’s almost indigo.
When he starts to apologize for going on to a stranger, I can’t help but hold out my hand and introduce myself. Never thought I’d shake with a Chamenileon. Whatever the color for surprise, I’d be turning it now if I were one of them. He says his name is Stanley-eon, adding the required suffix to his name. We chat awhile. I end up buying a blouse that I drop off at a charity. I don’t mention where it came from.
Back home I realize I haven’t eaten. I do that a lot these days. I crack a couple eggs into the skillet. As grease spatters, I think about the Chamenileon. Maybe I was drawn to him because at some level I sensed we’re both trying to find our way after our worlds have been turned upside down. His in more ways than one.
I start to flip the eggs over easy but in my mind hear my wife’s voice saying “You know you can get salmonella from runny eggs.” I turn the spatula edge-wise and break the yolks.
I’m having friends over to watch the game tomorrow. They’re a good group. I wonder how they’d feel if I invited Stanley-eon? Stanley.
“We have more in common than that which divides us.”
– Jo Cox (’74 – ’16).
Thanks for commenting, Jae and Norm.
How to get along with aliens without really trying.