TYRONE THE TERRIBLE – The Chameleon Who Decided He Was An Alligator



Hey, why don’t you sit down next to me on this log and I’ll tell you a story. Let me set my cane down over here out of the way. Bad knee you know. Now maybe I didn’t exactly see what I am about to tell you, and then again maybe I did. Anyway, where was I? Oh, at the beginning.

Well you see it all started like this. A little scrap of a chameleon, no bigger than a minute hatched out of his shell. He was the tiniest piece of nothing you ever did see. His Mama looked down at him and sighed, “Such a puny little fellow. What to call him? How about Tyrone. There’s a good name for you to grow into son.”

Just then, Tyrone’s sister wiggled her way out of her shell. She stretched herself, flicking off a piece of shell that had stuck to her shoulder and said, “Oh, that’s better. I was getting mighty cramped in there.” She looked up at Mama and blinked her big beautiful eyes. “Oh my, my,” Mama said. “This little girl is just too beautiful to behold. I’m going to name her LaBelle because she is so pretty.”

“Well children lets go find some nice mealy worms for your breakfast. I declare Tyrone you’re going to have to eat a pile of ‘em before you amount to anything.” Tyrone hitched himself up and trotted along after Mama and LaBelle thinking to himself, “I was just borned and already I got problems. This ain’t going to be easy.”

Now I must tell you Tyrone lived on the Bayou at a little rise in the ground just before you get to the place in the swamp where the river makes a dogleg turn to the right. The place is called Gnarly Tree Bend. You know of it, I’m sure. It was a lovely place for a chameleon to grow up, and Tyrone was doing the best he could. But he was still kind of puny and the other critters really didn’t want him to hang out with them. Like when they chose sides to play a game of baseball, no one wanted to choose Tyrone to play on their team. “He’s too slow. He can’t hit far enough. He can’t catch the ball,” they’d say. So, when he wasn’t in school Tyrone spent a great deal of the time by himself.

Tyrone’s most favorite spot in all of Gnarly Tree Bend was Sun Rock. Most every afternoon when school was out and Saturdays you could find him there. I don’t know if you have ever seen it in your travels, but it is just about the most perfect place in the world for a chameleon to sun himself, and not be bothered by just about anything at all.

Sun Rock was an almost perfectly round rock, flat on top rather like a pie plate, and situated about a number 12 shoe size out into the river. The bank gradually sloped down into the water and was fairly shallow out to the rock. Now Tyrone knew how to swim and could have swum out to his rock if he had had to. Actually the water was shallow enough that he could have waded out most of the way.

But the glory of it was he didn’t have to. There were three small stones placed just so and so and so between the river bank and Sun Rock. Tyrone could hop from one to the other to the other and up onto Sun Rock without even getting his toes wet.

6,500 Words
Flesch Reading Ease 85.1
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level 4.3