Here's a different "story in the middle" for you...a green gecko.
Actually, a dead green gecko.
I told this story to a dear friend who was describing the battle she was having with geckos in her house (she lives in Tanzania). So far the score was Gecko 2, Friend 0, Tie 1. Growing up in Okinawa meant growing up with geckos and cockroaches. In my mind geckos were good while cockroaches were gross. Geckos were good to keep around for eating mosquitoes and spiders. It only got gross if I accidentally shut the door on them and their tails dropped off, wiggling at my feet. (Geckos would then escape and grow their tails back.)
So here's my story:
When I was in elementary school, I was invited to a birthday party for a boy from my class. Unfortunately, I had procrastinated in getting to the store to buy a gift. So on the day of the party, I frantically looked around the house for a suitable treasure to wrap and take to the party. As I looked in my bedroom, I was delighted to find sitting on the window sill a perfectly preserved skeleton of a large green gecko. Of course, it was no longer green. Apparently it had been caught in the middle between the screen and the glass window and probably died of starvation. I picked it up carefully, found an appropriate sized box and wrapped it. As my father drove me to the party, I couldn't help but grin, expecting my gift to be the hit of the party. And indeed, the boy loved it! But I don't think it was a hit with the other kids.
After the party, my father picked me up to take me home. Either remembering he had not driven me to the store to buy a gift or realizing he had not seen a gift on the way there (I had tucked the small box in my pocket), he asked me what I had given my friend. So I told him. Boy, was my dad furious! And probably embarrassed that I had given such a grisly gift. He didn't believe me when I told him the boy liked the gecko skeleton and was not insulted.
He promptly drove me to the store, made me purchase a leather wallet (I secretly wished for a gecko-skinned wallet out of spite), and drove me back to the boy's house so I could hand him this proper, but boring gift. Deep down I still believed my gecko was the better find.