Ian Downey
September, 2010
                                  Greetings From New Zealand

       My name is Hans. This wil...
Is it illegal? Highly. But is it worth it? Absolutely.

       Why should they care, anyway? In New Zealand, lizards are l...
I couldn’t kill one just because he was hungry.

       After a few more quick tugs and some tickling of the gecko’s under...
men’s room.

       “He was goin’ at it like a maniac! Making noises and everything,” she cried.

       Then they were al...
a development. It’s fucking lizards.”
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Greetings From New Zealand


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Greetings From New Zealand

  1. 1. Ian Downey September, 2010 Greetings From New Zealand My name is Hans. This will have been my fourth trip to New Zealand. Let me tell you, it’s beautiful here. Those Lord of the Rings movies are one thing, but to see this place in person is a totally different experience. It’s like being in a magical land that has been untouched by modern hands. Like, I don’t think I would be surprised if hobbits actually scurried out from the forest and took me on a little quest to save their little town or whatever they do in those movies. Don’t get me wrong, I am a nerd, but hobbits and magic rings aren’t really my thing. I’m into animals—reptiles, specifically. I collect them, I study them, and I love them. New Zealand has an amazing array of wild indigenous reptiles; a much wider array than my home country, Germany. Germany is great and all, but I wish I could move to New Zealand permanently. I’ve walked through this airport several times before, right up to Lufthansa Gate 14, but each time it gets harder and harder for me to leave. As I approached the gate, a tear formed in the corner of my eye, because I knew that I’d have to wait another whole year before returning to New Zealand, and because I had 45 small lizards hidden in my pants, and I think one had just bitten me in the scrotum. This had never happened before, although 45 lizards is, by far, the largest number yet. I’ve been smuggling lizards out of New Zealand since 2001. I started with three, my babies: Kiefer, Germaine and Willa. It was so easy to just pop’em there and go. In 2004 I got ten through security. In 2008, I got 29 lizards and two tree frogs through. The tree frogs were so poisonous that they needed to be kept in a plastic tube. This would’ve been very noticeable during my frisking, had I not taken the proper precautions. And let’s just say I was the first person in the bathroom after takeoff.
  2. 2. Is it illegal? Highly. But is it worth it? Absolutely. Why should they care, anyway? In New Zealand, lizards are like rats; people hate them and they scream at them, set traps and kill them. It’s horrible. I can’t stand it. A lizard in Germany would be treasured. That was my philosophy then, and it’s been proven several times over. People will pay up to 2,000 Euros for these little guys. Not that I smuggle them with the intent to sell them, but a reptile enthusiast’s gotta pay the rent. Know what I’m sayin’? I can’t figure out how one of my geckos got a hold of-- well, my boys down south. I took my usual precautions: medicated powder (geckos hate the taste) and super tight underwear (so nobody happened to slip in anywhere they weren’t supposed to be), each to no avail. This was killing me, the pain was like, well, it was like a tiny set of razor sharp teeth sinking into my balls, that’s what it was like. I did sort of a penguin walk to the seating lounge in front of gate 14, as I definitely did not want to agitate my situation any further. Seated in the only unoccupied corner of the lounge, facing the wall, I slowly and inconspicuously unzipped my fly. And there he was: that tiny green bastard who seemed hell-bent on rendering me infertile. The super- tight underwear had fulfilled its purpose;, none of the geckos had gotten in. But at the same time, the skintight black lycra was proving to be less than a small obstacle between this lizard and myself. I gently wrapped my hands around the gecko’s middle, giving him a quick tug, in the hopes that he would let go so I could powder the outside of my underwear to match the inside. He did not. He clamped those tiny teeth harder together. I tugged again: no go; although a shot of pain rippled up my spine and my whole body quivered. I let out a gasp, but tried to stifle it half way in. The pain was so intense, I considered killing that little fucker. I could have just smushed his fragile green head between my fingers, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I love those guys;
  3. 3. I couldn’t kill one just because he was hungry. After a few more quick tugs and some tickling of the gecko’s underbelly, his little jaw relaxed, and I removed him from inside of my fly. The relief was like nothing I’d felt before. My whole body relaxed and I slumped over, cupping the rogue gecko in my hand. “Oh. My. God.” I heard a young woman’s voice from behind me. “That’s disgusting.” I looked around, suddenly very aware that I was doing something illegal, but she was gone. There was no way she could’ve seen the gecko in my hand, so I was safe. She did, however, remind me that I needed to be more careful. Couldn’t I have performed this testicular gecko-ectomy in the privacy of a men’s bathroom stall? I was being sloppy; three successful smugglings did not ensure a fourth. Don’t get cocky, I told myself. I got up, gecko in fist, and started to make my way to the men’s room. I had broken a sweat during this whole ordeal, plus I needed to figure out how to deal with this peckish gecko in solitude. As I crossed to the men’s room, I noticed a group of four people charging up the corridor. Someone must have spotted an Arab, I thought to myself in a spooky voice, and smiled at my little joke as I continued toward the bathroom. “There! That’s him.” It was the same young woman’s voice I’d heard before. I spun on my heel to see her so I could put a face to the voice. “He’s the pervert who was whacking it in the lounge.” She pointed directly at me and the three other men sped up their stride. Two were in police uniforms, the other in a lanyard and a sweater-vest. I craned my neck to the right, expecting to see this disgusting culprit she spoke of standing right behind me. But all I saw was empty space between myself and the entrance to the
  4. 4. men’s room. “He was goin’ at it like a maniac! Making noises and everything,” she cried. Then they were all around me. One of the police officers grabbed my arms with such force that I opened my fist, projecting the little gecko across the floor. In all the excitement, no one saw the little guy scamper away except for me. Good luck and Godspeed. I thought. Time for you to go and chew on someone else’s balls. All this before I realized I was being arrested. Now, cut to me sitting in a small room with a two-way mirror in the airport’s security suite. A short man, who looked like a blond John Goodman, strode into the room to take another shot at me. He had already been in once, calling me a “sick exhibitionist,” and “filthy self- exposing pervert.” I think he threw “faggot” in there a couple of times but that one didn’t even make sense. “My pants are full of GECKOS!” I told him for what felt like the hundredth time. He must have thought that “pants full of geckos” was a trendy new euphemism for “the urge to masturbate,” because he responded with, “My pants are full of geckos too! Everyone’s pants are full of geckos, but we deal with it in the privacy of our own homes, not in public at the airport in front of teenaged girls, you sick fuck.” I thrust my hand into the waistband of my pants. Officer Blonde-Goodman lunged at me, and through clenched teeth, said, “Get those hands where I can see’em, boy.” I put my hands on the table, having just removed one from my pants, “LOOK!” I said, and opened my hand to reveal a small green lizard, who crawled off and onto the table. “Oh, for fuck’s sake,” he said on his way out of the room. “Jeff, get in here, there’s been
  5. 5. a development. It’s fucking lizards.”