Posted by: Kathryn Hulick | March 17, 2008

The Lizard and the Mirror

Watercolor Collage. April 23, 3003. The Mask and the Mirror

On the day the world began, a shadow slipped past a mirror.

It was a small mirror, tacked on a wall at the end of a grey, dustless corridor.  The world was brand new–there had been no time yet for dust, no time yet for creatures or diseases or inventions.

But there was a lizard.  It was small and bluish gray, and it had no idea it wasn’t supposed to exist yet.  It was worried about catching something scrumptious and buzzing to eat for supper.

Things always sneak through the cracks.  That’s the problem with creating worlds.  You get your stars and mountains and corridors just right, and then there’s a shadow that’s attached to an impossible lizard who’s just minding his own business, staring at his reflection in a mirror, waiting for a fly to buzz past.  It’s enough to drive even the most patient god off his rocker.

Thankfully, the god in charge of this world was already a bit crazy.  Instead of sighing and erasing the whole project in a fabulous supernova, he waved to the little blue lizard.  With his wave, the sun faded to black and great bolts of lightning pummeled the building, shaking the mirror until it hung at an awkward tilt.

The lizard didn’t notice.

The god stared at the tiny blue toes, the grayish underbelly, the slow-blinking yellow eyes.  How dare this inferior being ignore him?

Lucky for the lizard, the god couldn’t just uncreate him.  Gods could create all they wanted, but once something was made, the only way to unmake it was to create more things that might destroy it.  That’s why gods are always messing around with lightning and earthquakes and floods.  It’s a terribly inefficient way to go about fixing mistakes, and it makes a mess, but it’s a slightly better option than starting over.

The world with the lizard was this particular god’s fifteenth try at Creation.  He’d been through plagues and nuclear bombs and asteroid collisions, and he was starting to suspect that he’d never get it right.  This world had been so close, so nearly perfect, and then this.

“Oh, Creation!  This is thy GOD!”  The god boomed in a voice that tilted the mirror over so far it was now horizontal.  But it didn’t fall off the wall, and neither did the lizard.  It just stuck its tongue out at the mirror.  Maybe it thought its reflection was another lizard.  Or something good to eat.  Or maybe it was just bored.

It showed no interest in the voice.

The god laughed in a hysterical, maniacal voice that sent newly made mountains crashing into freshly filled seas.  A vague and wonderful idea was forming in his mind.  If he could create anything he wanted, why not create himself?  In creature form, moving through the world, he would be able to look that lizard in the eye.  He’d be able to see what it saw and feel what it felt.  Then, maybe, the damn thing would pay attention.

On the day the world began, two lizards stared at their reflections in a mirror.

“Hello there,” said the blue-gray one.  “I’ve been thinking a lot lately.  How do you supposed life began?”

The other lizard, which was flamboyant red with a tremendous spiky ridge, stuck out its tongue and watched its reflection do the same.  “Seen any flies lately?”  It replied.



  1. clever, clever…. I love the end.

  2. I’ll admit, I was a bit worried there was a Geico joke coming, so thank God — or should I say Lizard? — for that.

    Love the Douglas Adams-ness of it all — bravo 😉

  3. I love this story!

  4. I am smiling BIG time right now. So cute and clever. Thanks!!

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