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A Day at the Races: A Story of Murder and the Cover-Up That Followed. | Fetch My Flying Monkeys
Everyone needs a fleet of flying monkeys to rip the stuffing out of the annoying people in their lives
— Laura

When I was a little kid growing up in Cincinnati, our house was always full of a variety of exotic pets. Besides cats, dogs, rabbits, and birds, we had loads of reptiles. We had lizards of all sizes and sorts, turtles, even baby alligators, that my crazy-ass papaw would bring us or we would catch. You may remember the time he tried to kill me by giving me a venomous Gila Monster.  Anyway, my mother loved animals and although the vast collection of lizards and exotics were considered our pets, when we were very young we were not allowed to handle them unless she was present because kids are careless, accident-prone, and most of all, stupid. With that being said, this story takes place on one of the rare occasions my mother went to visit a neighbor or something and left us all under the supervision of my oldest brother, Blaine. Quite frankly, we would have been better off being left in the care of a pack of starving, rabid, feral dogs than with Blaine.

On this particular day, having hit the mother-lode on Horned Toad Lizards, with each of us having one a piece, Blaine decided that we should have a Horned Toad Race. He decided that each of us should crack our banks and throw a few dollars in the pot, with the owner of the winning lizard claiming the Grand Prize. We were all down for a little action, and after busting my bank open with a hammer I illegally borrowed from the “off-limits” utility drawer, I threw my crumbled dollars and change onto the pile and ran to get my lizard “Arthur.”

Lining my lizard up at the starting gate, which was at the edge where the rug ended and the hardwood floor began, and facing the finishing line, which was where the kitchen tile started, I sat on my knees and leaned forward whispering motivational strategies to Arthur. “Run fast, Arthur. Don’t look back, just RUN. You can do it, Arthur.” I wanted that money bad.

With us all sitting in a line, holding our lizards, Blaine declared “ON THREE! One, two, THREE!” We all let our lizards loose. Arthur just sat there staring off like he was on sedatives.  I looked at my brother’s lizards and they were pretty much doing the same. I started screaming “RUN ARTHUR!” He just kind of looked around and half closed his eyes. I kept screaming. Suddenly, I heard a loud clap and I looked over and Blaine was slapping the floor beside his lizard and it was moving! ”Oh, YEAH, okay” I thought and I started doing the same and Arthur’s eyes flew open and he waddled a bit toward the kitchen. “YES! C’mon you sonsabitch!” I kept slapping the floor. Then to my right, my brother Daniel started slapping the floor beside his lizard and it yawned and scuttled a few steps. About this time I heard my brother Matt on my left let out a squeal as he was being left behind, and in his excitement he leapt to his feet and started slapping his foot beside his lizard. I started to shout a warning when the worst case scenario happened before my eyes. Matt’s lizard darted just as he brought his foot down hard. I gasped and sat down, forgetting all about the race. Daniel stopped and stared. Blaine kept going, slapping all the while beside his lizard, herding him toward the finishing line.

I looked at Matt and he was frozen with his foot still on his lizard. In shock probably. I lunged towards him and quite literally, tossed him off of the reptile. He fell back and just lay there. I looked down at the smashed lizard and saw that he was still alive, except his guts were on the outside of one side. Matt peeked at it and started crying. Daniel grabbed his lizard up and quickly put him back in the aquarium and ran upstairs. Blaine declared his lizard the winner, grabbed the prize money as he tossed his lizard in the tank and ran for the stairs. I just sat there petting Arthur, staring at the inside-out lizard and listening to my brother Matt’s crying. “I gotta do sumpin’” I thought and I got up and put Arthur away and went back to the ”off-limits” utility drawer and dug through it until I found what I was after. I had a plan.

That’s right, Scotch tape. I told Matt not to worry that not only would his lizard be okay, but mom would never have to know. I pushed that lizard’s guts back in the best I could and I started winding scotch tape around him, the whole roll. Then I placed him back in his tank and started cleaning up all the evidence left splattered on the floor. Then we waited.

As soon as mom walked in the house I’m pretty sure she knew something was up. Things were just too quiet. I saw her walking slowly around the downstairs, looking for something broken. Matt and I sat in the living room. I stared at him with my eyes wide open, telepathically screaming “PLAY IT COOL, PLAY IT COOL.” Then it happened, she headed toward the lizard’s aquariums. NOOOOOOO! Matt started crying and blubbering “I didn’t mean to kill it, mommy! LAURA TAPED IT!” Sonsabitch! Her head whipped around to me. I started crying, “BLAINE TOLD US TO BREAK OUR PIGGY BANKS! HE TOOK OUR MONEY MOMMY!” Blaine came running down the stairs “IT WAS DANIEL’S IDEA TO RACE THE LIZARDS!” Daniel was running behind Blaine “LIAR! YOU SAID YOU’D SHARE THE MONEY!”

That was the last time Blaine was put in charge. It was also the last lizard race held in the Ledford house. And Matt, well Matt went on to become an Airborne Ranger and later a fire-jumper, but to this day he can’t even bear to watch the Kentucky Derby.

81 Comments
 

81 Responses to A Day at the Races: A Story of Murder and the Cover-Up That Followed.

  1. Jennifer says:

    LMAO!!! That poor lizard! I can’t believe you did that thinking you could get away with it!

  2. Heather says:

    Poor Matt! At least he wasn’t traumatized too badly.

  3. Yabu says:

    Laura Ledford, DVM. You’re a woman of many talents.

  4. MorningGlory says:

    Poor lizard! I wish I’d had brothers growing up. I waited 10 years for a sibling, and ended up with a sister. We’re best friends NOW, but then she was just a squalling, peeing, pooping thing that wouldn’t have known how to race lizards or anything cool like that.

    • Laura says:

      Brothers were no picnic, believe me.

    • lisa says:

      I had 5 younger bros. while we didn’t have lizards, we did have frogs & birds and boys with firecrackers. Not a good combo. between that and the Playboy mags they got caught with in the corn field, it’s a wonder all 5 survived…

      • Laura says:

        Playboys in the corn field?! Ha! Lawd, we would have really killed ourselves with firecrackers.

        • Sheri O says:

          Not my brother by birth, but my brother by friendship, blew off 3 fingers on his left hand making a pipe bomb as a kid. Then at 20 fought like hell to get into any branch of the military…and that was during the Viet Nam War. He finally got into the Navy and was trained as a plumber – not the commie killer he wanted to be – although he was (and still is) proficient with a gun. They said his lack of digits made him deficient as a commie killer. Hmmmm what was my point? Boys are their own worst enemies I suppose.

  5. Jess says:

    I wanted to write a snarky comment, but I realized the story can only be described as sad.

  6. Holy shit, even as a kid you were never boring!

  7. Too funny! Maybe this is why I wasn’t allowed to have reptiles as pets growing up. Maybe duct tape would’ve worked better? It fixes just about anything.

  8. Hmmm… I realize my last comment made me sound like some kind of sociopath, like, “Ha ha, dead lizards are funny!” So now I really feel compeled to add, poor lizard :(

  9. Lemon Stand says:

    OMG! That poor Lizard! (I noticed you neglected to describe what you and the rest of your… uuummmm… siblings grew up to be… I’d say that sounds pretty ‘fishy’ to me, but we have a saltwater aquarium I enjoy watching because it’s SOOTHING. I don’t want to imagine any aqua life in your household so feel free to continue to with hold that information… ‘kay?) :)

    • Laura says:

      Well, I’m an assassin as are my other brothers. So there’s that. And the last reptile I had was a veiled chameleon, Mel Gibson who lived a non-racing life.

      • Lemon Stand says:

        I guess the question NOT to ask then would be, ‘What are your hobbies’. (Hopefully you’ve cultivated other life skills and interests to being a ninja assassin ALL of the time. I would imagine the job satisfaction would eventually take a nose dive.) :)

  10. Alison says:

    Wow, am I stupid for reading this while eating breakfast.

  11. Jeffro says:

    You have certainly led an “interesting” life. In a Chinese curse kind of way! That was just awesome!

  12. Jena says:

    you had the best childhood. I believe those horny toads are an endangered species list… I wonder if there is a statue of limitation?

    rofl…

    RIP little lizard!

  13. Jena says:

    We used to catch them when we would go out west to visit relatives. One even squirted blood at my brother!

    • Laura says:

      We used to have them and those lil green turtles.

      • Cheryl Lundgren says:

        If you grew up in the desert as a kid, I think you were obligated to acquire an assortment of lizards (with and without tails), scorpions, horned toads, frogs (I remember a few tadpoles that kind of evaporated before they lost their legs and became toads), snakes and spiders. Had a pet tarantula too. He didn’t do too well either. My brother accidentally stomped a baby rabbit. It was trying to bite his toes and he kind of came down on its head as he was jumping away. He’s still stupid.

        • Cheryl Lundgren says:

          Oh yeah. The buffalo ants. They were big furry orange ants with black legs that were harder than hell to kill and you didn’t want them to bite you. But we tortured them in every way possible. I must have a ton of buffalo ant karma to pay off.

        • Laura says:

          How cool to grow up in a desert! We were never allowed snakes, but we played with the wild ones. Shocking we lived.

  14. Janie Jones says:

    Oh. My. Gawd. That is too funny. Sad for the lizard, but totally funny.

  15. WPDunn74136 says:

    Best

    Fucking

    Story

    EVER!

  16. Sue Dunham says:

    Great punchline.

  17. Cheryl Lundgren says:

    So it wasn’t explicit in the story but I’m assuming that the scotch tape didn’t work?

  18. Fluffy says:

    What was Matt’s lizard’s name? RIP, little guy!

  19. Alex says:

    Re: Japanese comedians. Jesus, to think that they were once a proud Samurai warrior country, now they’re Hello Kitty, the horror..the horror.

  20. SB Smith says:

    That’s a great, but tragic, story !

    My one brother, Bob (RIP), was 12 yrs. older than me so we didn’t get into disagreements but he had the coolest critters. Four baby piranha (each about 3 inches long) in a tank. He fed them raw beef heart cut into tiny little cubes. If he moved his hand slowly (Not during feeding time !), he could stick it in the tank and move things around and they just ignored him…Heh, they Were very well fed.
    He offered me some chocolate covered ants that he brought home one time. Mostly just crunchy, but not good enough to eat more.
    He had several different tarantulas (one at a time) in a wood framed, wire cage. It wasn’t a big cage, you could carry it easily.
    He also used it for the snakes.
    He had a few poisonous snakes. I only remember that one of them was a Cottonmouth. The Cottonmouth got loose one day and we’d given up on finding it when the housekeeper, who was watering a flower bed in the front yard let out a blood curdling scream and someone inside said “Found him !” …and Bob went out to get him. That excitement happened while I was in school, damn it.

    • Laura says:

      No way in he’ll would we have been allowed to have snakes, let alone poisonous ones! If we had we would have used them as weapons.

  21. Liz says:

    Poor, poor lizzard!

    The only thing I tourtured as a kid were the big blank ants in the back yard. We did the typical “burn them up with a magnifying glass” thing to them.

    Now I feel sort of bad about it. I should go to confession. Nah. . .

  22. ManhattanMaven says:

    OH. MY. GOD. it’s been so long since you told one of your riveting childhood stores…i’d forgotten how thrilling they are!! It really is a bloody MIRACLE that you all survived…but all the better for us who can read your wonderful stories. I’ll say it again…YOU MUST WRITE A BOOK…with renderings!!

  23. Erinyes says:

    Well shit what happened to the lizard?????

  24. Tootie says:

    you are so frickin hysterical. Loved it thanks for sharing.

  25. Princess says:

    When I read your stories, it make me feel really good to know that my childhood was actually normal and I have stopped seeing my shrink because of you. All these years I thought my childhood was wierd but thanks to you I know Im perfectly normal… what ever that is….

  26. Holiday says:

    We had a Iguana once…. poor Iguana.

  27. Tink says:

    Now that’s a great picture… love it!

  28. Ramsey says:

    he can’t even bear to watch the Kentucky Derby. OMG LMFAO.I slapped my leg so hard I think I broke my Knee….Blazing funny girl. Thanks

  29. Nicole says:

    Obligatory “poor lizard.”

    And lawd. You do need to collect these stories and renderings. You are building up book material for sure.

  30. You are hysterical! My yard is infested with lizards so I’ll be thinking about this story quite often, I am sure!

  31. BooBooMaGoo says:

    See what happens when you tell stories? Loved it. uber fantastico.

  32. CGHill says:

    Do not feel bad. At that age, I would have been dumb enough to suggest stapling the poor critter back together.

  33. Elphaba says:

    Bravo! That was worth the wait.

  34. [...] murder and mayhem uncovered in Laura’s [...]

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