Hey Bookworms! Hasn’t the weather been gorgeous this week? It makes me feel like having an adventure. Some people might find a map and put together a ragtag group of misfits to go treasure hunting. Others might finally come to the shocking conclusion of a yearlong comedic yet heartwarming murder mystery. Or, if you live in South Carolina, you might just meet the Lizard Man of Scape Orr Swamp. That’s what happened to 16 year old Christopher Davis. Let’s flash back to 1988, y’all. It’s story time.
It was a simpler time. Sonny Bono had somehow been elected mayor of Palm Springs. Rick Astley had just released “Never Gonna Give You Up” so the Ricks had not yet begun rolling, and “Don’t Worry Be Happy” was the ultimate radio jam. I like to believe that Christopher was listening to that very song when he got a flat tire near the swamp on the way home from his shift at a local burger joint.
Christopher got out and started changing the tire lickety split. He was just putting the jack back in his trunk when he spotted something big moving through the trees. Chris scrambled back into the car and looked in his rearview mirror. No way, man! That thing was at least 7 feet tall and it had blood red eyes. It’s skin was dark green, wet looking, like it had just crawled up from the swamp, and it had three long, talon tipped fingers on each hand. It was like if the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sucked and were terrifying and that thing was coming right for his car. He slammed on the gas like he was some kind of Marty McFly and boogied on down the road.
Leaping lizards! No, Literally. The Lizard Man landed on the trunk of his car and Chris maybe peed just a little bit. He pressed down harder on the gas. Lizard Man was digging it claws into the car and pulling it’s way up to the front. All Chris could hear was tearing metal, his own pounding heart, and the faint strains of Bobby McFerrin foolishly telling his ass not to worry. “Screw you, Bobby McFerrin! You don’t know my life!” is likely what Chris was thinking. Then had an idea! He slammed on the brakes and the car screeched to a halt, sliding sideways. The NOTja Turtle went flying off the car and onto the road. Chris floored it yet again and sped away to safety.
The Lizard Man laid the smack down on lots of cars that summer and then went quiet again as fall rolled in. This whole story leaves me with questions. Why was he attacking cars? Was he doing crash test safety research? Did he just love the smell of fear and the taste or metal? Or was it something much complicated yet much simpler than that? Maybe he was looking for more than a snack out there by the swamp. Maybe he was looking for a friend and, perhaps, himself too.
The papers at the time all called him the Lizard Man, but what if he was somewhere in between? Not a boy, not yet a full grown Lizard Man. He was a socially awkward Lizard Teen who was staying with his grandparents for the summer and he just didn’t know how to meet people. He’d hear Bobby McFerrin and get all excited ‘cause that song was his jam, but instead of being like, “Hey, man. That’s an awesome stereo,” he panicked and roared and tried to eat the car.
What if this wasn’t a horror movie but rather a coming of age tale? Love, Slimon if you will. Get it? Slime! Because swamps. Whether the Lizard Teen knew it or not he made quite the impression on that little town, Anyone who met him was an instant celebrity and people tell stories about him to this day. Heck, there’s even an annual Lizard Man Festival and Comic Con in his honor. It’s a great place to meet people and make friends. Too bad there wasn’t something like that back in ‘88. People could have saved a fortune on bodywork and we wouldn’t be left with so many questions.
Wherever he is, I hope that the Lizard Man is happy. A little older and a whole lot wiser with Lizard Kids of his own. Maybe one day the whole family will stop in at the Con and talk about old times. Wouldn’t that be a hoot? It sure would. Stay gold, bookworms! I’ll see you next week.