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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 5

In Which The Circus Van Arrives

When the first rays of the morning sun reached through the lattice to the Lizard family nest, a sleepy mother Lizard found her own Little Lulu curled up next to her.

“Why, Lulu!” she exclaimed. “ Where were you yesterday afternoon and last night? We were worried about you. Your father and all your brothers went looking for you, but they couldn’t find a single sign of where you’d disappeared to!”

“I was all right,” replied Lulu without opening her eyes. “I was...I was sunning.” (She had, after all, spent some time sunning under the living room window upstairs). “Can I please sleep some more now?”

“Sunning! Humph! More like moping around looking for a place of your own somewhere, I’d be willing to bet,” replied her mother, who, like most mothers, knew very well what it was like to be a young girl. “Yes, I guess you can sleep all you want.”

And so Lulu was sleeping when an enormous moving van appeared with, “Circus Magnus” and “Sievert's Super Sideshows”, and “Magic House of Mirrors” emblazoned in bright letters on its sides. It came rumbling heavily down the street to stop just in front of the Lizard’s old house.

“This is it,” shouted a man leaning out the cab window. He flung the door open and leaped down, calling loudly to the driver, “Mister Sievert’s old house. Back ‘er up to the front gate while I check things out.”

He stamped up onto the front porch, opened the front door with a key, and went inside.

Down below in the underhouse all the Lizards, (except Lulu, who was still sleeping), were wide eyed with alarm. The unfamiliar sound of heavy footsteps on the floor overhead kept them all huddled together.

“What’s happening, Pop?” asked one of Lulu’s brothers.

“It sounds like someone is moving in upstairs. I hope they’re not too noisy,” replied Father Lizard.

“I hope they don’t keep cats or dogs.” said Mother Lizard. And hearing that, all Lulu’s brothers went dashing off to the front lattice to watch for cats or dogs emerging from the truck.

Along the way they practiced sudden sideways leaps and zig-zag dashes which each declaimed would, if done just THIS way, be guaranteed to foil any pursuing cat or dog.

Up in the attic, Bubba Bat, who had returned just before dawn via the under-the-eaves knothole, (there was never a line-up coming home), was sleeping contentedly with all his relatives in the warmth that the sun brought to the roof and to its supporting rafters where the bats liked to hang. They were only in the most drowsy and unconcerned way aware of the goings-on downstairs. Which was as it should be, for the only one of them who would ever be affected was Bubba. And Bubba was quite soundly asleep.

“Take ‘em right into the big room,” came a shout from the front porch, and a circus working party of six men and boys began to move tall flat things into the house.

“There's lots of room, so we might as well set ‘em up just like they were in the House of Mirrors. Someday we’ll want ‘em back, and that way we’ll know how they were arranged,” directed the man who seemed to be in charge.

Lulu’s brothers were still anxiously waiting for the appearance of a dog or a cat when, after lots of scuffing and tramping and a few house-jarring thuds, the crew’s boss declared,“Well, that’s all of them, and they fill that room just right. Now all that’s left is all the stuff from Madam C’s trailer. See if you men can get it all in this other little room. Front parlor, I guess it is.” With that, the crew began to bring in the rest of what had filled the big truck.

And never a dog nor a cat showed itself.

But Lulu’s brothers, watching from the safety of the latticed-surrounded underhouse, were too anxious about dogs and cats to be mystified by the trunks and boxes and bulging cord-bound fabric bundles that the men now began to carry up onto the front porch and into the house.

Finally, when some of Lulu’s brothers were getting bored with it all and were beginning to make daring excursions into the sunlit shrubbery in pursuit of bugs, the man in charge locked the front door, closed the front gate, and all the men climbed into the truck. The engine roared to life and the truck bounced emptily off down the street, taking all the men and boys with it.

Silence returned to the Lizard family’s, (and the Bat family’s), house.

“It’s about time all that noise stopped,” grumbled a few of Bubba’s relatives, and went back to sleep. But Bubba, undisturbed, slept peacefully on.

“It’s about time all that fuss stopped,” said Father Lizard, and followed Mother Lizard out into the sun where they could warm up a bit before pursuing lunch.

“It’s about time we explored the front porch to see if those men left anything,” agreed some of Lulu’s boisterous brothers, and scurried off with that in mind.

“I guess it’s about time I got up,” yawned Lulu, having been awakened less by the morning’s noise than by the sudden return of the quiet to which the old house was so well accustomed.

For the rest of the morning Lulu lounged around the underhouse. She helped her mother gather bugs out in the shrubbery, and she listened to her brothers trying to top one another in boastful accounts of how many and how big and how mean the dogs and cats were that they had heard, or actually thought that they had seen, growling and snarling in the big truck, and how it was really a glimpse of this brother or that brother that had scared the fierce dogs and cats into leaving. And just in time, too, or the Lizards would have shown them! Lulu knew better than to actually believe her brothers on anything like this, so she was inclined to doubt that there even was a truck that stopped until her mother remarked on it.

“I’m certainly glad those men didn’t move in upstairs,” said Mother Lizard. “They seemed too noisy to be good neighbors.” And she went on to talk about other more lizardy concerns, leaving Lulu no more curious than before about whatever basis in reality her brothers’ boastful tales might actually have. Lulu supposed that the men had left the house just as it had been, for her mother did not mention all the things the men and boys had brought.


On to Chapter 6!

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