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The Big Gallery

Variable Tilings

The Adventures of Lulu Lizard and Bubba Bat

Bats and Lizards

Busy Beetles

Penrose Gallery



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Chapter 3

In Which Lulu Makes a New Friend

After quite a few glorious dashes and long slides, Lulu looked back to see that her doorway was rather more than a foot up the wall. That was considerably higher than she could jump. Even worse was the fact that, though some wallpaper had come unstuck and curled away from the wall to expose her door, she did not, at the moment, see any way she could use it to climb up to the door..

“Oh dear, oh dear,” she thought as she drew a sad-faced lizard in the dust on the floor, “how will I ever get home?” But Lulu never let worry get the best of her.

“There must be a way.” she thought, now sketching a courageous looking lizard in the dust to encourage herself. “And I, Little Lulu Lizard, will just have to keep exploring till I find it. And this old house is a really Super Neat place to explore!”

And with that cheering thought she set off to explore the ground floor, taking short runs and delightful slides as she went, and keeping both eyes open for exits.

“Wouldn’t my silly brothers love this!” she thought, a little sadly, as she slid to a particularly fine tail-first stop. Then, in a moment of self pity, she wondered if she would ever see her brothers again.

“So maybe I should be glad! Ha!”, she tried to exult.

But she continued to explore systematically by keeping a wall always on her left side and the open floor always to her right. After a while, Lulu found herself again in the front hall, looking into the big living room where she had begun, and she realized she had made one complete circuit of the first floor of the house. The big glass windows that earlier in the afternoon had let in slanting shafts of sunlight to warm the floor now showed an evening sky, and Lulu knew that soon it would be dark.

“But it’s so warm here in the upper, that is, the real house,” she corrected herself with a certain amount of self-satisfaction, “that I might not feel like sleeping all night long.” She thought wistfully of the cool but nice drowsiness that always overcame her mother and her father and herself and her brothers as they snuggled all together in one or another of their sandy nests under the house. As the last light of day faded, Lulu crept out into the stairwell and toward the big glass veranda door. Here, she calculated, tomorrow’s sunshine would find her first thing in the morning, and let her get an early start on finding a way to get home again.

As the extra deep quiet of nightfall enfolded the house, Lulu became aware of fluttery noises, small thumps, and high-pitched chittery squeaks that seemed to be coming from up the stairs that ascended to the second floor of the house.

“I s-surely h-hope this h-house isn't h-h-haunted!” Lulu whispered a bit fearfully to no one in particular.

“W-what did you say?” a fluttery-ness high in the dark air over her head asked.


“YYYYikes!” wailed Lulu, and dashed for the living room, hoping to somehow leap to her “door” and dive back through it to her old, never-scary, underhouse world.

“W-wait a minute, w-would you?” said the flutteriness from right over her head, even though she was running as lightning-fast as her little lizard legs would let her.

The “door” loomed ahead and,--

“Ooowww--” Lulu cried in anguish as she realized she would never be able to leap that high, and, --

“Look out!” shouted the flutteriness as Lulu skidded to a thumping stop against the wall. The flutteriness flipped above her, folded dark thin-skinned wings, and came to rest hanging upside-down from the sill of Lulu’s “doorway”. There it was, grinning widely at her from between enormous ears.

“W-who are you?” they both stuttered at once.

“I’m little --- well, I’m Lulu Lizard”, said Lulu, and then, determined not to show that she was frightened, she added, “Why are you blocking my door?”

“B-blocking your door?” said the little bat, for that is what the flutteriness had turned out to be. “I’m not b-blocking your d-door.”

“You’re hanging from it, ”said Lulu. “And how can I get home through it if you’re hanging from it?”

“Huh! How c-could you get to it even if I wasn’t?” the bat asked as he twisted and hung briefly by one foot in order to look curiously up at the “door”. “Looks to me like where there used to be an electrical outlet,” he added.

“Well, who are you, and how come you know so much?” Lulu asked.

“Oh. Sorry. I’m B-Bubba B. Bat. How do you do?” nodded Bubba.

“Bubba Bat?” asked Lulu, wanting to be sure.

“Well, B-Bartholomew Bat, really, --but I always stutter when I try to say B-B-Bartholomew, so everyone calls me by the B-B-B part. I kind of like it: ‘Bubba B. Bat’ conveys a certain boyish boisterousness, don’t you think, Miss Lizard?”

“ ‘Lulu’ will do, please, Bubba. And I suppose you’re right,” said Lulu, thinking of her brothers and wondering whether “boyish boisterousness” didn’t have one more word than the idea needed. But then she thought she ought to be polite, as her mother had always taught her to be: “Yes... It’s a nice name,” she concluded. To change the subject she asked, “But what did you call my door?”

“It’s where there was an old electrical outlet before they modernized the house,” said Bubba. “This is a very old house, you know.”

“Yes, that’s what my father says. ‘Established’, he calls it. I guess it really doesn’t matter what my ‘door’ is. I’ve spent the whole afternoon looking for some other way to get back down to the underhouse area. That’s where my family lives, you know,” explained Lulu. Then she added: “My goodness, it sure is getting dark. I can hardly see you way up there.”

“Well”, replied Bubba, “I’m not so good on flat surfaces. It’s my bat-type legs. They seem backwards to non-flying people.

“But I guess I could join you on the floor, since we’re just getting acquainted.” With a brief flutter he dropped down to face Lulu from a few inches away on the wooden floor.

“I have a problem too,” he continued. “I was trying to find my own way out of the attic this evening, so I wouldn't have to wait in line with all my brothers and sisters and cousins and aunts and uncles and all sorts of other relatives to leave the house by way of the under-the-eaves knothole they’ve all used as a front door for generations.”

Bubba went on to tell how he had spent the afternoon, not hanging from the rafters of the attic like all his relatives, but instead exploring the floor of the attic for any crack or crevice that might allow him to leave the house in the evening without waiting in a long line. Every single one of his relatives, one after another, always had to pause and peer out, blocking the big knothole that was their doorway to the outside world. And every one of them had to hem and haw indecisively there before flying out into the evening.

They all did it without the slightest regard for the impatient hundreds of relatives waiting and pushing and shoving in the line behind. It had gotten to be more than Bubba could bear.

“Not me,” said Bubba. “I want a door of my own! And I thought I’d found one, but it led into the hallway upstairs, not to the outside. And then I guess I couldn’t find my way back,” he finished, a little shamefacedly.

“My goodness, that’s quite a story,” said Lulu Lizard, “I had no idea that there were hundreds of bats living in the top of our house. But Bubba, why couldn’t you find your way back? I can’t get back to my door because I jumped down, and there’s no way for me to climb back, but you can fly. Couldn’t you just find the crack in the hall ceiling and go back in it?

“It is not that simple for bats.” said Bubba, “We find our way around mostly by the reflection of our voices. Ahem... maybe you have noticed that I like to chatter on about things, and well, it gets to be a habit. But you see, being in a room with big flat walls and ceiling and floor can be very confusing. It’s like you might feel if you were hemmed in by mirrors, but mirrors that did not show you your own reflection. One tends to blunder about mistaking what’s mirrored for what’s real, and vice versa, and , and...”

“I understand.” said Lulu, hoping she did and trying to imagine something like that happening to herself. “I think I can help you find a way out of the house,” she told Bubba sadly, “ but I don’t know if there’s any help for me.”

“Wow!” said Bubba. “Do you really know a way out? But why can’t you... Oh. I see! It’s this ‘door’, and you can’t climb up to it.”

“That’s right,” said Lulu. “But if it goes to the underhouse where you live, how would I get out of there?” asked Bubba.“Oh, that’s no problem, I’m sure,” said Lulu. “There’s latticework almost all around the underhouse, and I’m sure you’ll have no difficulty with it.”

“Great!” said Bubba, “See ya later, Alligator!” and with a flip and a few faint rustling noises he was gone!

On to Chapter 4!

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