"Nice Family," (Belle Famille) by Arthur Dreyfus - Resumé of Ch 2
At her house, Laurence is angry with her forty-year-old brother, Tony, who is always bringing back strange and useless objects for her from his distant travels. This time, he has brought back, for his nephew, a chameleon, which the child Madec watches in its plastic box. Not very easy to chuck that in the bin.
Tony has fun recounting for his sister his rather disreputable adventures in Columbia, knowing that she, who only lives in the present, is not listening. In fact, Laurence is busy worrying about the droppings the chameleon will produce.
Tony teases his sister by reminding her that she had decided to give up on a lovely romantic relationship in Argentina (and not leave Stéphane) during her internship. Furious, Laurence who, since that episode, has denied herself any happiness, thinks about at least getting rid of the chameleon. She is delighted to see that Madec seems to be disappointed with the chameleon (which is less attractive than in the photos) and suggests to him that the chameleon sleeps in his room, because she has seen that the creature disgusts him somewhat and she hopes that he will refuse the gift for fear of having the animal close to him in the night.
But the child, guessing his mother's intentions, says that he likes the creature and calls it Big. The mother then comes up with a perverse plan: as they are just about to leave for their holiday in Tuscany, she will organise things so that the child forgets to take the chameleon and during the journey, she will exclaim that she has forgotten to feed the chameleon, but that this is not serious because these animals survive without food in the jungle.
On their return, Big will be found, lying on his back, dead, totally shriveled up and all will be well that ends well.
Note: with thanks, once again, to Frencheuropean for the original of this resumé in French.