How Gecko Gabella got her Sea Legs Landing her in Weird and Wonderful Gulfport, Florida
by Rose Marie-Seawall
Arr, me hearty, how can me tell a pirate adventure of woe and wonder without shedding a salty tear for me dear mumsey, who keeps me close to ‘er heart when ill will is gurglin’ around me.
It is ‘er who wishes me into this world, and it is ‘er who saves me from it. For on a moonless starlit night, long, long ago, the fairies flutter from their Clam Bayou hollows to gather over the gentle blue waves rolling in from Boca Ciega Bay. As they celebrate the first glimpse of the new spring greening, me mumsey cries out for a giant green lizard babe to fill ‘er barren days.
Now the fairies be dancin’ and sippin’ till the wee hours of the mornin’, when me mumsey wishes for a giant scaly green lizard babe to call ‘er own.
Well, ye don’t know this, but when there be too much partyin’, fairies deplete their magic powers. So me arrives not with a bang, but with a whimper, so to speak. Shiver me timbers, me is the scrawniest little lizard that is ever seen in these parts and news travels fast. In just a few days, the giant green lizards be campin’ on me mumsey’s doorstep to catch a glimpse of the sorriest little whipper snapper a giant green lizard mumsey could give life to.
Aye Matey, me mumsey also be despondent since losin’ her brave husband Ol’ King Boldheart, me long lost pappy and the bravest leader of the fierce giant green lizards, who be roaming the white sandy beach along the border of what is now known as Gulfport, Florida, a popular haven and tourist destination for the weird and wonderful.
Being a lovin’ mumsey, ‘er wants me just the same and protects me against the gawkin’ and the poking’ and the teasin’.
Me mumsey hides me in ‘er secret velvety-lined cattail pouch, keeping me safe near the rhythmic thumping of ‘er tender heart. Oh, but not for long, for being an inquisitive gal, me regrettably sneaks out during the wee hours to learn about the world, where fate catches me in the clutches of the stinking hands of the notorious pirate Cap’n Vulturpuss, the ugliest buccaneer of Boca Ciega Bay.
Cap’n Vulturpuss takes me to ‘is great grand ship full of fightin’ scoundrels of the sea, where me overhears their dastardly plans to steal more booty and then finance a chain of barbeque joints along the shores of the bay, featuring the best bodacious giant lizard ribs smoked over the barbie.
Me hears the scallywags talking about a beach café called Leapin’ Lizards’ Lip Smakin’ Rib Joint, which immediately brings to mind the place where me mumsey told me O’ King Boldheart, me papp, be held.
No nay ne’er has a lizard felt so helpless.
Me being so small, how can me save me pappy and the other giant green lizards from the Leapin’ Lizard’s Lip Smakin’ Rib Joint barbie pit? While me weeps, one of the Clam Bayou fairies suddenly appears, kicking twinklin’ fairy dust into me face, which quickly gets me attention. With weeping eyes and a raspy cough, me cries out with anger and she laughs at me. She be telling me that life isn’t fair and to buck up and face life’s challenges with what ye be given.
So while they be busy thinking up terrible deeds of plunder and mayhem and drinkin’ their thick grog in the Cap’n’s quarters, me slowly crawls out of Cap’n Vulturpuss’ dirty pocket dungeon, and slips behind the rusting cage of the crews’ spying squawking parrot.
Me takes an assessment of me attributes which would save me pappy and me giant lizard community from the scallywag pirates’ gastronomical restaurant venture. Then through the port hole, me gets a glimpse of me pappy. He be alive, proudly wearin’ his crown of sea shells, but he be tightly tethered to the main mast. Arr, me anger smothers me fear as me natural abilities take over.
As the night wears on even though me feels the tug of sleep, me eyes never close for they be covered by a transparent membrane instead of eyelids.
Me catches any sneaky pirate movement and with a switch of me long sticky tongue, me keeps me eyes clean. Then me starts making chirping sounds, like the kissing of lips, which startles the anxious pirates, who awake and be arouse by the cracking of the cackle fruit (landlubbers’ chicken eggs) that rolls out of the basket, smashing on the floor and by the screeching parrot singing, “Who let the gecko out? Who let the gecko out?”
Aye, a few times one of the grisly scoundrels snaps me up by me tail, but to me surprise me wiggly appendage drops off in the flustered pirate’s grip, with no pain or injury to meself.
And in further defense me emits a nasty smelling spray into the face of me aggressors, which shocks both the pirates and meself, having no idea that me carries such a weapon in me diminutive body.
At times me be trapped by the dagger-waving band of cutthroats, but me changes color and thwarts the attacks, causing the pirates to mark each other for death by their own pirate blades, until me and the terrified parrot are alone at last.
The ruffled bird informs me that there be plans for a chain of Jolly Roger’s Spicy Parrot-Wing Shacks, too. So me takes pity on the fellow creature and sets him free after he agrees to help me free me pappy from the grips of the ropes stretching more tightly as a monstrous summer hurricane quickly comes upon us.
Me parrot partner carries a file in his beak to shred the ropes digging into me pappy’s body as the hurricane-force winds and rain whip to a crescendo of hopeless terror.
Me only thinks of saving me pappy, and to me wonder me tiny toes adhere to the smooth wet wooden mast as well as they do during me frightful escape from the Cap’n’s quarters. Oh me and the parrot makes for a fine rescue team.
Pappy is free at last, but we can not take leave of our prison ship, being tormented by the torrential rains and beating winds until black unconsciousness brings us relief.
And then we awake to cheers of joy as the calm Boca Ciega breezes surrounds us. And the conch-shell horns blare, announcing the return of Ol’ King Boldheart and the love of the giant green lizards and me mumsey, all who come to salute me bravery.
Years be passing, but our adventurous spirits and unstoppable love roam Gulfport, Florida, hearts and alleys.
Me pappy now proudly hangs in honor over O’Maddy’s Beach bar, listening to the nightly karaoke. Me mumsey is Pia’s Trattoria’s strong-willed bocce-league mascot. Meself takes it easy at the Sea Breeze Bed and Breakfast as their resident Gecko Gabella. And once a year me in a fanciful gecko-dragon colorful creation floats down Beach Blvd during Gulfport’s annual GeckoFest parade.
Aye, matey, me lives up to me name Gabella, the little one with the strength of God. Life be good!