What's Lizards Got To Do With It?

Submitted into Contest #141 in response to: Start your story with someone receiving a one-star review.... view prompt

2 comments

Fiction Funny

‘This was by far the most egregious conjunction of sounds and syllables that my eyes have ever observed!’

“Did you hear that Tiff? They even ended it with an exclamation mark. Do you know how upset someone has to be to purposely leave an exclamation mark?”

She was fiddling with the free packets of sugar. “I wish you wouldn’t read reviews while we’re out to eat.”

“Well the waiter is taking decades to bring our food, I could only sip on this free water for so long.”

“Do I not exist? Am I a crocodile that can stick out its tongue?”

Paul's eyebrows wrinkled. “What are you talking about?”

“You said you could only sip on water for so long as if I’m not sitting right here across from you. Am I not intriguing enough as some random review for an article you wrote?”

“Cmon, you know that’s not the case.” His eyes glanced back at his phone. “But listen to this,”

‘I used to believe I lived my life with no regrets, however, after reading this horrendous dumpster-fire disguising itself as literature, I may have found a moment I greatly wish to change.’

Paul leaned back into the cracking red leather seat. “See what I mean Tiff? If someone feels this strongly about my work I have to figure out why.”

Tiff repeatedly locked and unlocked her phone as she stared at droplets of water on the table that coasters would have surely prevented from happening. “I think there’s better things you could be doing at this time.”

“Like what?” Paul asked.

“Oh gosh I don’t know, maybe engage with your wife instead of an anonymous nobody.” Her voice held a piece of hostility to make Paul revert his attention. “Lately that’s all you’ve been doing. Focusing on the negative rather than what’s important.” He put down his phone, barely avoiding the three inch puddle from the condensation of the free glass of water. “You used to write without a care of what critics had to say. Now you give credence to every one star review you receive.” Her voice hid behind her teeth. “I miss the old you.”

Paul's eyes fluttered a few times before he said, “This reviewer said my work is single-handedly killing a once prestigious industry. How do you expect me to just shrug that off?”

She exhaled as she leaned into her clasped hands. “Whatever. Read your dumb little review. I don’t care anymore.” The sound of silverware clanking against plates spliced up the silence between them. Then Tiff mumbled, “If you’re at the point where you believe your worst critics maybe you are falling off.”

“What was that?” Paul asked rhetorically.

“You heard me.” Tiff responded sternly. 

“Oh so this is how you really feel huh?” Paul slightly shook his head vertically. “What did I ever do to you?”

“Just leave it alone Paul.”

“No no no. Tell me. What’s really the problem because I know me reading a review from an,” he did quotation marks with his fingers “anonymous nobody.”

“Don’t make this into something that it doesn’t need to be Paul.”

“Is it because I drool when I sleep? I told you I couldn’t control that. My dreams are luxurious.”

She crossed her legs and looked past his eyes. “You sound ridiculous right now.”

“So what is it?” He asked again. She was silent with her chin held high. He sucked his teeth and said, “Oh my gosh. Is this about the lizard?” 

“Hmph!” She replied. 

“Are you serious? You just insulted my life passion because I don’t think we should have a cold blooded reptile running through the house?” Other customers were starting to peer over at them. The waitress was still nowhere in sight.

“Keep your voice down, you’re making a scene.”

“I can’t believe you’re still upset about that.”

“What harm could it do!” Tiff exclaimed. “It’s only a small, elegant, majestic creature. You know how much I fantasize about them.”

“First of all, I didn’t know that. You must’ve left that obscure fantasy out of our vows.” His voice cracked a bit. “Why can’t it be something normal like a dog, cat or a baby bear? Why a lizard?”

“Even if I told you the truth, you wouldn’t understand.”

“I’m your husband for trying out loud. You can tell me anything.” A buzz came from his phone. They both locked eyes.

“Don’t you dare.”

“It could be business.”

“If you check that phone I’ll flip this flimsy, no food having, table over.”

He struggled to restrain his hand from reaching for the phone. What held his impulse wasn’t the glare of death from his wife but the idea that he might not avoid the table in time. So he said, “Tell me why you have an affinity for lizards baby. I’m all ears.”

She began to speak as if it was three centuries earlier and a spotlight from the sky was shone upon her. “Well if you must know, when I was a wee girl, I had trouble making friends. I couldn’t garner the talent of cultivating relations with strangers.”

Paul interrupted. “Why are you talking like that?”

“Is this my story or yours!?” She shot back.

“You’re right, you’re right. My bad. Continue.”

“As I was saying, I used to sit in my room and wonder why I couldn’t make friends as easily as everybody else. Tea time with my imaginary friends could only be indulging for so long. Or at least, that’s what I had assumed. One day, as I was having a normal gathering amongst my created friends, a noise came from under….are you paying attention!?”

“Yes.” He responded.

“Why aren’t you saying anything?”

“Uhhh, because I’m listening to you.”

“Why isn’t your phone on the table?”

His eyes widened. “It isn’t? I didn’t even notice.”

“If you check that—“

“Honey, I’m not looking at my phone, trust me. Go ahead.”

“Hmmmm. Anyways, I went to see what was making that noise and it was a little lizard.”

“There was a random lizard in your house? Isn’t that a bit hazardous?”

“Not just any kind of lizard, it was a magical lizard.”

“Did you sniff glue and markers at these imaginary tea parties of yours?”

She grunted. “See I knew you wouldn’t understand.”

“How could I understand a talking lizard?” He started giggling. “I mean if this was some type of commercial maybe I’d believe you but c'mon sweetie. That’s too far out there.”

“Forget I said anything.”

“Ohhh baby.” He reached for her hands but she snatched them away.

“Why don’t you just finish reading that stupid review of yours since that’s what you really want to do.”

“Actually, I really want to eat,” he surveyed the restaurant, “but that dang waitress ain’t nowhere in sight. However, if you insist I read more, who am I to deny my wife’s request.” He knew they were going to argue once they got home. Figuring he couldn’t dig himself deeper than the hole he already dug, he continued to read the review.

‘This article shows a clear lack of common sense. The arguments are asinine, the alleged facts can easily be debunked and overall its poorly written. This is a perfect example of what not to do when writing about the effects of sleeping in bed with jeans on.’ Paul looked up at Tiff who was in a meditative silence. He continued. ‘If I could give this article negative stars I would but luckily for this below bad writer, one is the lowest rating I can give. Maybe if he listened to his wife instead of reading fake reviews all day he’d realize how meaningless somebody else’s opinion truly is.’ This line startled Paul. He then read. ’Signed, Tiff.’

“You…you wrote this?” Paul stuttered.

“Yep.”

“But why?”

“To prove a point.” She responded.

“What point?”

“Gee I don’t know. Why don’t you go ask a lizard from a commercial or something.”

After forty-seven minutes of waiting, the waitress finally came to take their orders. As Tiff meticulously told her what she wanted, Paul sat there silent and confused at what just occurred as a little lizard walked across the window ledge.

April 11, 2022 23:18

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2 comments

12:33 May 02, 2022

Hi, I got this in critique circle. Nice write, pretty amusing. If you would like me to leave a detailed critique please let me know by replying to this comment.

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Nicole Bolding
21:33 Apr 20, 2022

Enjoyable but Tiff seems like the type of person who needs constant attention.

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