Releasing the Salamanders (no, that’s not a euphemism).

#5 went on a camping trip this weekend. It was the first time he’d spent the night away since he came to live with us. It was unnerving, having him gone. But he returned on Sunday with salamanders.

CC and I are up way too late, sucked in to Kill Bill like we are every time it comes on. It’s my turn to get up with the kids in the morning.

Me: Whoa. There is some serious salamander activity next to me here.

CC: In what way?

Me: There was a splash.

One salamander is still at the bottom of the bowl, but the other is very determinedly attempting to get out.


Me: Dude is getting out of that bowl for sure. What should we do?

CC: {sigh}

Me: Really. What do you do with a salamander? I feel a tremendous sense of obligation for these little guys.

CC: Fine. Get the car keys. I’ve had two scotches and half a bottle of wine. You’re driving.

Me: Okay, but you have to carry them.

CC: Oh sure. Make the impaired guy carry the salamanders.

I pause to take a picture.








We have a park near our house that has both a pond and a stream. It’s a nice park. A great place to release your salamanders. Except it’s the kind of park that has police who notice and come to question you if you’re there after dark.

Me: Wait, these aren’t like zebra mussels are they?

CC: No. Get in the car.

We go out to the car- me, CC, and two salamanders.

Me: You know, there’s an X-Files episode about this.

CC: No there isn’t.

Me: Yes there is.

CC: About dumping salamanders out in a pond?

Me: No, but about salamanders. This guy who has it out for Mulder gets worked on at prison by some crazy doctor and he gives him a salamander hand, thereby proving my theory once again.

CC: Which is?

Me: That you can name pretty much anything, and there’s an X-Files episode about it.

CC: {silence}

Me: The end.

CC: {silence}

Me: Don’t drop the salamanders.

CC: I’m not going to drop the salamanders. They’re going to get eaten by fish the instant we set them free.

Me: No they won’t.

CC: Yes they will.

Me: Well, better to be eaten by a fish than by one of the puggles, which would cost us $400 and three days of emotional duress while they’re hooked up to an I.V. at the vet.

CC: We’re going to get arrested for this on some eco-violation. They’re going to come and arrest #5, and all the rangers that took him on the camping trip, and we’re going to have to sell the house and move into some tiny apartment where we don’t all fit to pay remediation costs to remove and restore these two salamanders to Western New Jersey.

Me: I’m pretty sure we don’t have that much equity in the house.

CC: {sigh}

Me: I forgot my flashlight. Also, I’m in flip-flops.

CC: Can we just drop them in the pond instead of the creek? The last thing I need to do is break a frickin’ ankle tonight.

Me: This decision of where to drop them probably is the single most important thing that will determine their length of life, isn’t it?

CC: Who cares? The cops are gonna be here any minute. “What’s that, officer? No, sir, we’re just taking our bowl for a walk. We do it all the time.”

We dump them.








Into the pond.


One stays put. The other heads for dry land.

I like to think he was the jumper.

Me: I wonder how long it’s going to take #5 to figure out they’re gone.

CC: About as long as it takes him to cross the floor. He did leave them on the kitchen table. It’s going to be the first thing he checks when he wakes up.

Me: Yeah.

CC: {laughs}

Me: What?

CC (re-enacting our first phone call eleven years ago when he was interviewing me to be his assistant on the Aida tour): So, I’ll hire you for the gig. In like, eleven years, you’re going to be dumping two salamanders out of a cereal bowl into a park pond in New Jersey while looking out for cops. I have no idea what happens between these two events. You still want the gig?

For the record, I still would have taken the gig.


19 thoughts on “Releasing the Salamanders (no, that’s not a euphemism).

  1. What a great story — and I love that it ended with a big happily ever after!! I’m not in the slightest worried about the salamanders, but I do want to know how #5 took the disappearance!

    1. Oddly enough, he didn’t ask about them this morning. I think he momentarily forgot. But at some point, he’s going to remember. And then every chance he gets, he’s going to bring it up.

    1. I didn’t have salamanders where I lived, but there were toads. Toads were cool but kind of impossible to keep. There’s nothing wrong with taking a bowl for a walk; we do it all the time.

  2. That’s great! I wonder if it’s too late to devise a little note (or perhaps a letter recieved in the mail) from the salamanders saying that they had to go to take care of their families. Of course, if #5 is of any age OVER 5 he may have a hard time buying this. In which case “they tried to attack the dog, didn’t you know salamanders can be very territorial” may be an option…

  3. HA! Okay. First off, your Tweet makes SO much more sense now. 😉

    This is HILARIOUS. I can just picture the conversation, especially CC saying, “What’s that, officer? No, sir, we’re just taking our bowl for a walk. We do it all the time.”

    I’m so glad you took the gig, too. And I’m glad you have chocolate-covered bacon for when #5 realizes his salamaders are gone.

  4. Oh shit. Miss O 2 is on camp, coming home tomorrow (Daddy misses his princess, btw). What is she likely to bring home???

    At least we won’t get arrested – we can go to the beach at midnight without being arrested!!! 😀 😀

    1. Well. . . what did she bring? I have noticed that on Top Ten Most Dangerous and/or Poisonous lists, at least nine out of ten of those things live in Australia. Maybe she’ll come back with a whole pack of venomous flame-throwing salamanders. In which case it’s a very good thing you can go to the beach at midnight without being arrested 🙂

      1. As far as I can ascertain, nothing that moves or breathes. Yeah, I know, the list makers love to make us out to be SO DANGEROUS. We are, but hopefully we keep the camp kids away from such things! 😆 On the other hand, you never know – something could crawl out of the bag over the next week.

      2. When CC was pulling #5’s dirty clothes from the trip out of his duffle bag, it was discovered that his leftover food was still in there. Including a raw hamburger and a hotdog. Two days later.

  5. AWWW…I loved the ending. ❤ You guys are so frickin' cute!
    I want to know if #5 was choked that his new pets were gone?

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