I have a pet, or perhaps a pet has me for he made himself mine without any encouragement whatsoever on my part. I have named him Emperor Jones. Emperor Jones is an attractive creature. He has a very noble head and wears the most gorgeous outfit. It is red at the neck and shoulders and slate grey in the middle with a little touch of fog grey at the end.

When we first met it was quite hilarious. It was my second morning here and I was sitting outside enjoying the early morning sun. I saw him approaching me at quite a pace, and instinctively I jumped up and ran, looked back, only to stop short at the sight of him running in the opposite direction from me! I decided that as I was the larger creature I would show no further signs of fear; I would walk sedately back to my sun chair and see what he would do. He must have decided he really wasn’t afraid of me but the instinct for self-preservation which we all have meant that he would be wary of me. I took the morning sun and so did he. We both jumped up and ran if the other got too close. Since I have the power of intellect I decided that it made no sense to run from a creature that runs from me, so for several days we took the sun together each morning. Warily we sat beside each other – me in a huge wicker chair exposed as much as is necessary to be tanned and decent at the same time, him in his fabulous clothes that remained the same day in and day out.

Apparently he is the leader of a posse that took his lead and began sunning with me in the mornings. It turned out that we had been engaged in a little territorial war though I did not know it at first for I had placed my chair that first morning, in the middle of their sunning spot. We became friends when I started to feed him, subtly at first, leaving the food as if forgotten or placing it not too near to me on the ground. A little of my porridge one day, some rice and stew the next and after a few such feedings, he started to look forward to my meals.

Emperor JonesWe had a little setback once when I swore I saw him peeping at me one day while I was bathing! It didn’t make it any easier when I saw his posse scurrying over to sit with him at a spot that gave a good view through the bathroom window! I wound up the window even as I decided that they probably couldn’t see that far away!

Now we greet each other each morning and sun together – He comes closest to me his posse stays a little distance away from us – neither one of us runs from the other although he is still very wary of me. He lounges beside me and I talk to him on a wide range of subjects and he bobs his head up and down as if he is in agreement with my musings.

I often think of taking him home with me, that is if he would want to go and if I had the courage to take him anywhere at all. I wonder what folks would think should I come through any international airport in the West with my large beautifully coloured lizard on a leash!

More on Emperor Jones

Emperor Jones has been having a difficult time lately. He has stopped sunning with me, stopped eating my food and has been generally keeping himself scarce for a bit of a while. I sometimes see him and his posse peering down at me from the roof of the house but they don’t come down to play, or sun, or eat. I had been puzzled and kept trying to figure out how and in what way I had offended him. Well now, yesterday I saw him walking near to me and as I was about to greet him he leapt for the wall and scrambled up in zero seconds. Fast on his tail came the Tabby cat from next door. He too leapt up the wall a bit and finding nothing to grip he slithered back down. And that’s when I got it. The neighbor’s cats have been around and about. In fact it’s their mating season and it appears that two males are competing for the job of servicing the lone female. You can imagine the caterwauling that they make especially at nights. It’s enough to wake the dead and of course scare poor Emperor Jones to death. So he has taken to the roof with his entire posse. They do not come down at any of their usual times and when they do Emperor Jones and one other comes cautiously down, scouts out the area and the rest come warily down to feed, but the cats who travel along the walls separating three premises are always on the prowl so Jones and posse will usually leap for the walls in less time than it takes to say the cats…!

What can I say? I miss our mornings in the sun together and our companionable silences, but for now Emperor Jones has been beached or shall we say roofed?

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