by Steven Cavanagh

Christina skipped along the footpath. She had reached her aunt's street when the air in front of her smudged, like a splash of water on a painting. A giant lizard clacked onto the footpath, glanced at her and said "Oh, bugger".

Christina was moving too fast to stop. The reptile felt like the padding on the balance beam at school. She fell back onto her bottom. The creature remained upright.

Although the lizard was three times her seven-year-old height, Christina did not scream. Its mouth held a natural smile, like a kookaburra, and it was so nicely dressed. It wore a crystal waistcoat with gold buttons, a white cravat and its tail was crisscrossed with electronic jewellery. It held a triangle of silvery paper in its little fore claws, like it was preparing to deliver a speech.

They regarded each other for a moment.

Christina climbed to her feet. "Hello" she said politely, concluding that the reptile didn't fit her father's description of a stranger.

"On behalf of the merged clans, good sun-above-horizon to you," it read from the triangle. "Am I totally awesome speaking?"

"You talk funny," said Christina.

The lizard blinked.

"On the opposite, girlfriend," it replied. "Many multi-sense recordings survived the passing of your species. I not only mouth-speech, but even have put my tooth upon the inflections of your time period, dude!"

It leaned closer.

"Excuse purposeful rushing. My group of species has... will... overpopulate this planet soon after our arrival. We seek to dispose to bygone time periods what cannot be reused in our own. Will this be cherished gifts by your species?"

Christina's stare was blank.

"We want to give things to you that we don't want any more," said the lizard.

"My older sister gives me clothes," contributed Christina. "They don't fit".

"Do not fit?" echoed the reptile. "Ah, your era is overpopulated also. We cannot expect you to desire more matter, brother".

It tapped its hind claws on the path. "We had hoped our disposals would be valuable to you. Now I must locate elsewhere to dump it all. Bugger".

Christina pondered its words as she did any incomprehensible adult conversation.

"Dad dumps rubbish," she suggested hopefully. "It's a long way though".

"That's it!" The lizard flicked its tongue. "Your species is briefly dominant only. Instead of dumping in our past, we can move it a long way, to your distant past!"

Christina pointed across the street to some colour-coded bins. "When dad runs out of room, he puts rubbish in the recycle bin".

The lizard shook its tail sadly. "As ethics dictate, the bodies of our species group are the only things we cannot recycle".

It touched a button on its waistcoat with a fore claw. "But now the problem is solved! Large gratitudes. You ancients are smaller than I anticipated, but are most wise". The air smudged, and it was gone.

Christina picked up the paper triangle, carefully crossed the road and put it in the bin.

Copyright © 2005 Steven Cavanagh

This story was one of the commended stories of the 2005 Magic Casements Flash Fiction competition sponsored by Infinitas Bookshop. Congratulations to Steven, a member of the Infinitas Writers Group.

This page last updated 16th September 2008.