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  • Hi, Welcome to BookPALS Storyline Online.

  • My name is Esai Morales and I'll be reading "Private I Guana: the Case of the Missing Chameleon" by Nina Laden.

  • Cute story.

  • I was sitting at my desk when I got the call.

  • "Private I. Guana here," I said. "Yes, I can find missing lizards. A chameleon? Well. . . okay. Why don't you come over to my office and bring a photo."

  • As I hung up, I wondered if I should have said okay. Chameleons are hard to find. But she sounded upset. I guess I'm a sucker for a lizard in distress

  • "You can call me Liz," she said as she made herself comfortable in my office.

  • "Here is a recent snapshot of Leon. He didn't come home for dinner one night last week. I had made his favorite, cricket stew. . .

  • I haven't seen him since. He was acting a little strange, changing colors every minute.

  • He's always been the stay-at-home type, and well, frankly. . . boring. I'm afraid he could be in trouble."

  • I puffed myself up and said, "Now, don't you worry, Liz. If I can't find Leon, no one can. by the way," I asked, "What color was he when you last saw him?"

  • Quickly I made a pile of posters of Leon, the missing chameleon. Not knowing what color he was, I figured I'd color each poster differently.

  • Too bad Leon didn't have a scar, or a tatoo.

  • Then I set out to hang them up wherever I could. I stopped first to check in with Officer Croaker, the bullfrog chief of police.

  • Officer Croaker, who had a habit of jumping to conclusions, said, "A missing chameleon? That's a waste of time. Probably pretending to be a rock."

  • I said, "Thanks for your help, Officer. Maybe I'll go talk to some boulders."

  • So I hit the dirt to see what I could dig up. I plastered the forest with posters.

  • I went over fields, under rocks, and up trees. I talked to turtles, lizards, snakes, frogs, toads, and a couple of skinks. It was getting dark.

  • My feet were tired, my tongue was tied, and I had no clues, no tales, no trails, no Leon.

  • Maybe this chameleon had really disappeared for good. But maybe I just wasn't looking in the right place.

  • I decided to head home and start again in the morning. On the way, I saw a firefly-like glow in the distance by the swamp.

  • I had forgotten all about The Lizard Lounge.

  • It was kind of a slimy place, where only the most cold-blooded reptiles hung out. My head was telling me not to go there.

  • But my stomach said, "Boy, I sure could go for some of those greasy fried grasshoppers and a tall cold drink."

  • So I put my stomach in charge and followed it.

  • The Lizard Lounge was buzzing with activity. I scoped out the place, making sure not to ruffle any feathers or step on any tails.

  • I made my way to the back and sat at a table where I could keep an eye on things. The menu was my first order of business.

  • I noticed that the special this week was cricket stew. "It's probably just a coincidence," I thought to myself.

  • A sweet salamander sashayed over to my table. "I'm Sally, your waitress," she said.

  • "What's a nice amphibian like you doing in a place like this?" I asked her.

  • When I didn't get an answer, I ordered my food. I noticed a sign on the stage that said, This week: Camille and the Gila Girls.

  • I said, "Hey Sally, who's this Camille?" Sally smiled, "I don't know who Camille is.

  • She just appeared out of the blue a few days ago, but boy, can she sing. She fits right in with our house band, the Gila Girls. You really should stay for the show."

  • I had nothing better to do, and the fried grasshoppers were pretty tasty, so I decided to stay. Soon the place got dark.

  • Everyone stopped what they were doing. All eyes were on the stage.

  • The Gila Girls took their places. Then a spotlight came on. The curtain rustled, and out slithered the most unusual chameleon I had ever seen.

  • Something about her was familiar. It was like I'd seen her face somewhere before.

  • I tried to remember, but then she started to sing, and my mind went blank. I was hypnotized.

  • When the show was over, Camille bowed and disappeared behind the curtain. I clapped and whistled as loud as I could. There was no doubt I had just seen a star.

  • I had to get an autograph.

  • Maybe it was instinct. Maybe I was crazy. But here I was, sneaking around the backstage at The Lizard Lounge, looking for her dressing room door.

  • I was so nervous, I was shaking. I knocked on her door, and when a voice said, "Yes? Come in," I nearly shed my skin.

  • I couldn't believe I was alone with an amazing singer. I stammered, "Ca-Camille, I-I wanted to get your autograph. . . could you sign this?"

  • And I pulled out the first thing I could find from my pocket and handed it to her.

  • Camille looked shocked. She said, "How did you know?"

  • What did I know? I wondered. I was totally confused. Then I put two and two together. I knew there was something familiar about Camille.

  • By mistake, I had handed her the photo of Leon to sign. And then I realized that Camille was Leon, the missing chameleon.

  • I had hit the jackpot. "You know Liz is looking for you," I said. "She's very upset. She misses you."

  • Leon took off his wig and sighed.

  • "I miss her, too. But I was worried Liz thought I was too boring. I thought she might leave me for someone more exciting.

  • I wanted to show her that I had talent, that I could be a somebody special. Maybe even a star! When I heard that the Gila Girls needed a new singer.

  • I jumped at the chance to polish my act. Naturally, I blended right in."

  • And so I closed the case of the missing Camille/Leon. Last I heard, Leon was the singing sensation of the swamp.

  • Liz watches the show and then returns to the kitchen, where she's the new head chef. Her cricket stew is getting rave reviews.

  • It seems that The Lizard Lounge is actually becoming a respectable place.

  • As for me, who knows what the next case will bring?

  • A frog that jumped bail. . . a turtle running a shell game...a poisoned snake. . . just remember, if you've got a problem, give me a call.

  • The name is Private I. Guana. The "I" stands for "I'll be waiting."

  • That was great. Thanks for joining us.

Hi, Welcome to BookPALS Storyline Online.

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B1 camille leon chameleon liz lizard lounge

Private I. Guana read by Esai Morales.

  • 81 14
    Susy posted on 2016/07/09
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