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I made up this story for Coreen and Douglas Teixeira, who live in Stanford, Florida. I stayed with their family while I was at the Orlando Florida Reading Association Conference in 1994. They showed me how to catch lizard tails without catching the lizards. The picture is by Lucy Kappaianaq from Igloolik, Nunavut, Canada. I sent the story to her class and she sent me this picture. There are no lizards in Igloolik, but there are Polar Bears.

One day Douglas and Coreen were chasing lizards up and down the wood fence in front of their house. Coreen grabbed at a black lizard but all she got was its’ tail! The tail came right off the lizard and that tail went flip-flippity-flop in her hand even though it was not on the lizard anymore.

“Is that lizard going to die?” said Coreen

“No”, said Douglas, “It will grow another tail”

“Neat!”, said Coreen. “I want to collect some flippity flopping lizard tails! There is a yellow lizard. Catch it for me.”

Coreen chased the yellow lizard down the fence towards Douglas and Douglas grabbed it.

“Wait” said Coreen. “Don’t drop it into the jar yet. I want to pull off its tail”. So Coreen pulled off the yellow lizard’s tail.

So now she had a yellow tail flippy-flopping on one hand and a black tail flippy-flopping in the other hand.

Douglas dropped the rest of the lizard into the jar.

“Oh look” said Douglas, “there is a rattlesnake lizard.”

“Is it poison?” said Coreen.

“No” said Douglas, “it’s not poison”.

“I’m going to get it” said Coreen.

And she went to the fence and grabbed for the lizard; but the lizard jumped. She grabbed for the lizard again and the lizard jumped. She grabbed for the lizard a third time and the lizard jumped and then Douglas came over and grabbed the lizard.

“Wait” said Coreen. “I know” said Douglas, “you want its tail”.

Douglas tore off the lizard’s tail and gave it to Coreen. So Coreen had three lizard’s tails flippity flopping like they were alive only they weren’t on the lizards anymore.

Douglas dropped the rest of the lizard into the jar.

Well they kept up like this until they had twelve lizards. There were black lizards and yellow lizards and green lizards and red lizards and Coreen had twelve lizard tails, black, yellow, green and red, flippity-flopping.

“I’m going to go and show mom” said Coreen.

“Bad idea” said Douglas.

“I am going to show her anyway” said Coreen.

So Coreen walked inside and said “Mom, look”.

The mom looked and said “What’s that? Worms?”

“No” said Coreen. “Lizard tails”.

“AHHHHHHHHH!!!” yelled the mother. And she ran around the kitchen and yelled “I can’t take it. My nerves are shot. Lizard tails! Aaaaahhhhhaaaaa!”

“I told you it was a bad idea” said Douglas.

So Coreen and Douglas went back into the front yard and Douglas said “What are you going to do with the lizard tails. They will stop flippity flopping pretty soon?”

“I’m going to sell them” said Coreen. “You know, like lemonade. Only I’m gonna sell lizard tails”.

“I don’t think it will work”, said Douglas.

“You watch” said Coreen.

So Coreen went inside and got some paper. Then she went out to the front gate and on top of the sign that said ‘Beware of the Dog’ she pasted up another sign that said, ‘Lizard Tails for sale. Still wiggly. One Dollar’.

Two big boys came along on bikes, stopped and said “Tails for sale?”

“Yes, lizard tails” said Coreen. “They are still alive. They are still wiggly”.

“Gross!” said the boy.

“You show them to your mom and your mom freaks out” said Coreen.

“Love it” said the boys. Each one bought two lizard tails. That was four tails altogether and Coreen got four dollars.

And then three teenage girls came along and they said “What’s that? Tails for sale”.

“Yes” said Coreen. “Lizard tails. They are still wiggling. Black, green, yellow and red”.

“What are they for?” asked the girls.

“You show them to your mother and your mother freaks out” said Coreen.

“Oh gross” said the girls and they bought two each. That was six tails. Coreen made six dollars.

She was left with only two wiggly tails. One red one and one green one. Just then Coreen’s dad came home from work. He got out of his car and looked at Coreen and said “Lizard Tails?”

“Yes” said Coreen. “Lizard tails. You show them to your mom and your mom freaks out”.

“My mom lives too far away” said the dad.

“Well” said Coreen. “That’s no problem. You can show them to my mom and she will freak out”.

“Mmmmmhhh” said the dad, “I kind of like that”.

He paid Coreen two dollars, took the two lizard tails and went inside the house.

“Maybe this is not a good idea” said Douglas.

Pretty soon the mom chased the dad out of the house. They went all around the yard until they were both tired. Finally they sat down with Coreen underneath the sign.

“How much money did you make?” asked the dad.

“Twelve dollars”.

“Twelve dollars?” said the mom.

“Twelve dollars” said Coreen.

The mom looked at the dad.

The dad looked at the mom.

Then they both went up and down the fence hunting lizards.

“See” said Coreen to Douglas. “I told you it was a good idea”.

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