Story and Drawing by Sasha Thurmond
I FOUND AN AQUARIUM AT THE LOCAL DUMP. It was in a container, and the employee at the dump stepped down on a ladder and retrieved it for me. It was complete with a Grand Canyon mural pasted on the back wall, and the two sides. There was even rock mesas, rock formations, and a cave. I thought I could use it as an aquarium for small cactus plants. It had a screened top, and had no cracks at all in the glass, or in the screen. The dump employee would not accept any money for it . . . he was happy it would be something enjoyable for me.
One day I went to a pet store to get some food for my dogs and cats. The store had a Bearded Dragon for sale, and I was told that they could live up to 9 years old, and that they were sweet, and liked interaction with their owners. I bought the bearded dragon, and named him Flash Gordon, as he was fleet when running. Full grown, they are usually two feet long. I had three cats which I knew would be very intrigued with him, but also very scary to Flash. So, he had to stay in a room with the door closed, and barriers to keep him safe. The pet store was right that my bearded dragon is very sweet. He sits on my shoulder while we watch T.V. My cats had to stay in my bedroom while Flash watched television with me. I let Flash run around the house while I kept up with him, preventing him from squeezing into spots where it would be difficult for me to get him.
The thing that Flash Gordon loves to do most is run around on the grass, sticking his tongue out to sense the temperature and water of the grass blades. It is a whole new world outside. I always have to put my two dogs in their kennel. They would find Flash to be lots of fun to chase. Not necessarily out of meanness, rather just because he is unusual looking. He looks like a prehistoric dinosaur. He eats crickets, vegetables, fruits, kale and other types of fresh foliage. And he loves to be spritzed by water which is how he gets a lot of his daily water supply.
I used to have four cats when I moved to South Carolina. One escaped from my new house when I first arrived here and was moving things inside. I never saw him again. Tears were too many when I moved here. Now I only have one cat named Sprint, and she is so sad to be alone, that she even let my two dogs befriend her. One day I put Flash Gordon in the window in my guest bedroom. He likes to sun there, and I usually put him there for the day. Recently, when I went to put him back in his large aquarium, I was shocked to see Flash Gordon and Sprint basking in the window sill together. Now that Sprint has an exotic friend, she has stopped crying all the time. This is so peaceful, and uplifting. My tears are joyful.
SASHA THURMOND is an artist and writer who lives on a farm in South Carolina with her horse and numerous other animals. She has a MFA degree in fine art from Cornell University.
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