After the debacle with the pet hamster, I vowed we wouldn’t have any more pets for quite some time (other than our long-time-resident cat, Chandelle, named by my DH after an aircraft manoeuvre).
I’ve stuck to this vow for a good eight months now – right up until yesterday, when the boys came home from the desert with a scorpion.
The first I heard of their new pet, Sandy, was on my way back from doing the Santa shopping at the Dubai Mall. DH’s phone rings and it’s his brother. “By the way, there’s a dish on the table with some sand in it – don’t throw it away. The boys found a scorpion in the desert.”
After lugging Santa’s loot into the house and hiding it, I go over to the table to take a look.
“Oh good Lord, shouldn’t this have A LID ON IT?” I practically shriek, peering at the little creature scuttling around the dish. Ok, so he was only tiny, but it was unmistakeably a scorpion – with two pincer-like front claws and a curved tail.
“No, he’s fine,” says DH. “Look, he can’t get out.” And, it was true, every time Sandy the Scorpion tried to run up the sloped side of the dish, he’d slither back down – his little legs unable to propel him to the rim.
“Mum, don’t get rid of him, pleeeeease,” begged the boys when they got back from dinner with my in-laws. “He can’t get out! He’s our new pet.”
That night, I pushed the dish into the centre of the table and took one last look at the segmented tail – curled defiantly upwards at the end.
Forward-wind to this morning, and we’re dragged from a blissful state of slumber – as all parents expect to be when it’s school holidays and there’s no reason for children to be up so early.
I hear the pitter-patter of feet getting louder as Son 1 crosses the landing, then within seconds he’s standing by our bed, and, in a raised voice, he says:
“WHERE’S THE SCORPION? He’s GONE!”
“Gone!” I yelp, my brain beginning to muster and imagining that, over night, Sandy had achieved the herculean task of scaling the side of the dish and had scampered off to the sofa – or my shoes.
Turns out, Sandy hadn’t made a break for freedom. Catherine the Great, our helper, had found the dish, and cleared it away – not knowing what lay within the sand.
But it got me sitting bolt-upright in bed faster than you can say ‘sting in his tail’.
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