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Killing Geckos

Jeffrey Miller | Sayantan Halder

Kun-hee woke up screaming; a jingjok — a tiny, cute reptilian creature, part of the gecko family — had fallen from the ceiling and landed on her face.

“Get it off me!” she screamed. “Kill it!”

“We’re not supposed to kill them,” I said, trying to calm her down as best I could. “It’s unlucky. I read it in my guidebook.”

“I don’t care. Kill it!” she screamed again, running into the bathroom.

It was our first real trip together, but she complained about one thing after another. Thailand wasn’t everything her Korean guidebook said it was. If it wasn’t the food or accommodations, it was the weather or third world squalor. About the only thing, we agreed on after we had our fill of golden Buddhas and temples in Bangkok, were a couple of days on Koh Samui, but that quickly turned out just as bad as everything else. The resort was nothing like the pictures we saw in a brochure three days earlier: the hotel was far from the main beaches — it had little beach to speak of, just a strip of rocky sand — the bungalows were not air conditioned, there was no hot water, and now to Kun-hee’s dismay, they were crawling with jingjok.

“Did you get it?” she asked, poking her head out of the bathroom.

“I think so,” I lied, holding up one of my sandals as proof of my murder weapon.

“Are you sure?”


She gave me her best, “I’m not through with you look,” got into bed, and rolled on her side. I followed her into bed and draped my arm around her. One faked jingjok death ought to have been good enough for make-up sex, but Kun-hee had already figured that out.

“I can’t believe you didn’t kill it.” She lifted my arm from her chest and pushed it away. “Not now. I’m tired.”

I turned over and watched another jingjok climb the wall. Just three more days and we’d leave this paradise hell and be back to Seoul’s noise and chaos. I didn’t know which was worse, here or there, as I gave the jingjok a wink and hoped it had more friends.

About Jeffrey Miller

Jeffrey Miller has spent over two decades in Asia as a university lecturer and writer. Originally from LaSalle, Illinois, he relocated to South Korea in 1990 where he nurtured a love for spicy Korean food, Buddhist temples, and East Asian History. He is the author of eight books including War Remains, and The Panama Affair. Jeffrey lives in Daejeon, South Korea with his wife and four children. If he’s not working, writing, or reading, he’s usually chasing little kids around his home.

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