The Venusian Jungle did well this summer. The heat and radiation didn’t burn it away into a desolate Martian Garden. The cacti, roses, and other vegetal exotica are alive and well. Hummingbirds do battle as butterflies flit about. Praying mantises patrol. Lizards abound.
The lizards capture the attention of Wolfette, the mighty feline huntress. She lately has been catching more than their tails. In fact, I don’t find their tails at all, just their tailless corpses, strewn around the front porch.
This being the Sonoran Desert and the Metro Phoenix Heat Island, where the air is so dry that airliners often don’t leave contrails, the dead lizards undergo a process of natural mummification. A mummy is essentially a skeleton with its dehydrated skin still on. No gauze or rags are required.
They come in a variety of sizes. Their tiny skulls and hollow eye sockets are impossibly delicate. There is even one that was stepped on and squashed flat so its spinal column is clearly visible, and to my delight, when I scraped it off the pavement, its almost microscopic arms and legs were intact.
I find them beautiful, as does my wife, Em. Our twisted aesthetics are the foundation of our marriage. I couldn’t bear to throw away all these gorgeous reptile mummies, so picked them up and began arranging them around the rocks in a flower pot that holds a cactus that is threatening to make entering Casa Hogan dangerous. Em approved.
Then I noticed that the wind was blowing them around. They weigh almost nothing and are as delicate as papier mache. I have since rearranged them by digging them partially into the soil. It would such a shame to have them blow away.
Then, Wolfette keeps providing us with more of them. Still I we may need to invest in a display case and find a place for them inside soon.
There’s nothing like nice quiet home life!