Once we get the iguana, we have to figure out what to do with him. We name him “the Quizzical Lizard” and call him “Quiz,” for short. When you talk to Quiz—say, reading from your seventy-ninth draft of Harry Potter fan fiction, which is definitely honing your craft—he cocks his head in a way that suggests interest. (We can agree he’s interested, yes? Seventy-ninth drafts interest all fan fiction writers’ pets.)
Iguanas are called the “dogs” of the lizard kingdom, probably by scientists who are lonely. Quiz grows to the size of a small housecat, but he’s mostly tail and personality. His favorite food is McDonald’s cheeseburger. He launches himself toward the crinkle of paper wrapper the way other pets attune to can openers. He roams our home freely, enjoying sunbeams and well-placed heat lamps. When I oversleep, he scratches at my bedroom door. When I write, seated at a card table, he sits on my bare feet.
One year, we decide sitting under card tables might be boring. With his big, brown eyes, Quiz says, “Take me outside!” I’m a sucker for silent conversation, so I buy him a red leash designed for ferrets. We walk just far enough to discover that I have maternal instincts. My gosh, there are too many creatures that swoop and chomp. Now, Quiz makes an annual climb of the Christmas tree. You haven’t lived ‘til you’ve untangled tinsel from claws.
Anna Kander is a writer in the Midwest. Her work is published in Gnarled Oak, Leveler, Hollow Tongue, Ariel Chart, Train, and other journals. Find her at annakander.com.