Zoo Story


Maria, she took me, she walked me around the zoo on a caffeinated day in late September, after months of getting close and asking questions. Popcorn in paper from the stand and we were holding hands if not eyes, her niece run off to see the alligator.

The elephant walked in place, obligingly, handful of peanuts from one of the keepers before turning his back on us entirely.

“I never planned it like this.”

Autumn air creeping through the thinning trees, shadows longer than the summer now, more sharp, more serious, while the tiger prowls his pen in agitation, ready for the season finale. He can see the grey in the sky, the leaves losing interest, he feels the cold coming our way, amused at our sense of safety behind the chain-link fence. Nothing can hurt us out here.

Two kids laughing at the gorilla’s useless pantomime and I had to admit it was funny. Maria's niece feeding goats with a handful of grain, the child’s tiny hands trembling with the fear of sensation. We walked slower as the day went deep.

Onto the lion cage and on cue: growl loud enough to start a major motion picture. I tried to use my words, tried to explain, but an airplane overhead took the volume of my voice. My arm around her but she slipped away for a drink at the fountain. The giraffe stretched for the leaf at the top of the tree.
Days like these are why jackets have zippers, and we were bundled from the bottom to the top. Maria was repulsed by the snake pen, but I got no joy from her recoil. Her niece run up and hug her, safe for a minute from the wonderful terrors gathered here to comfort and traumatize us for the rest of our lives. With a zoo in town you can never get lost.

September sun is a filthy liar: holding the door for you one minute and then closing shop early, heading home, leaving you in a dazzle blind of twilight at the moment when you most need the shine. Hands in our pockets, and her words echo from the pavement, amplified for my ride home which I could already see would never end.

Back at the beginning again, the zebras swatting flies with tails too short for anything else, and we made our goodbyes, knowing that this was the last time, the last time, but not really, not really the last time at all. The laughing gull had a good one.

My lips touch Maria’s, and as I watch her walk away with the little girl I curse the loss of summer and the crunchy orange leaves at my feet.

I look up at the animals, hopeless, and I try to read between the lines.

AVI's From Hell, Pt. 1


Please don't be this guy.

I'm asking you, from the bottom of my heart: if this is the best you can do for your Twitter avi, don't leave your house. Shower with your clothes on. Call your former schoolteachers and apologize for everything. Take a salad fork and jam it into your eyeball. Rejoice at the juice that is released. What we have here is a genial middle-aged fellow (named Dudley?) who wanted to look casual and fun but failed on every level. Where did he go wrong?

First, the "celebrity" in his photo is not a celebrity at all. It's a cardboard cutout of an advertising mascot. The beer that this fellow peddles contains bobcat urine. It tastes like raccoon sweat. And speaking of raccoons check out the rabid eyes of our protagonist Dudley, who has surely sold his soul to the Devil in exchange for this brush with paper greatness. Which of them is more lifelike? Too close to call.

Next, check out the women in the background who inhabit this "wild, anything-goes" adult party. They look like the type of people who show up at random funerals for the complimentary decaf. These woman have genitals that even their respective gynecologists won't touch. We can only wonder if Dudley will "score" tonight after one of the gals- drunk on Diet Zima- confuses him with the one-dimensional corporate standee and gives him sloppy oral in the guest bathroom, accidentally plunging her hand into the unflushable toilet.


This party is a punishment for surviving the work week- it's where elephants come to die. This party counts towards your community service. You can picture the bowl of soggy Cheez Doodle just outside the frame. Nobody knows how they got wet. 

In conclusion, choose your avi with care. No one wants to be doused with a bucket of ice water & forced into your living nightmare. Least of all me. Stay thirsty, my friends.

(If you have a suggestion for an AVI From Hell please send it to sicksitymail@gmail.com & seek immediate medical attention)