By Galen Holley / NEMS Daily Journal
Previously: A remorseful Gary Gorilla and his less contemplative friend, Clyde Camel, reflect on their behavior during the skirmish at City Hall. The story of the wishbone, they decide, may be mostly mythological but myths holds strong sway over animals’ beliefs.
“Whoa, mama!” brayed Clyde Camel. “We haven’t had an old-fashioned, public slobber-knocker like that in a while, eh? Not since the owls brought up that thorny business about celestial and terrestrial domain.”
Clyde and Gary Gorilla were licking their wounds at a downtown watering hole after the skirmish in front of City Hall. Clyde craned his neck out over a deep, cool spot and drank. Gary nodded, then scooped a handful of water into his mouth.
“Man, did you see that donkey?” Clyde said. “He waded off into that fray, kicking the air like a thing possessed. Just random kicking, in all directions. Made me proud to be a quadruped.”
“You shouldn’t celebrate violence,” Gary said dejectedly. “I shot off my mouth like an idiot. I didn’t exactly do a lot to refute the dumb ape stereotype.”
Clyde thought for a minute, then he raised his head, his rubbery lips dripping with water.
“You know, you’re right,” he said. “That’s a terrible thing to get excited about. Still, though, it was something to see.”
“Yeah,” Gary said, rocking backward and holding his toes in his hands.
Bells tinkled as the gate to the watering hole swung open and a pair of amorous hyenas walked in together. They stopped under the mistletoe that was clustered in the shade tree and nuzzled each other as if they were completely alone.
“I noticed those two kids, you know, the lizard and the skunk, trying to get everybody’s attention out there,” said Gary.
“Lizard and skunk?” said Clyde. “Oh, yeah, the skink and the skunk. Right. Those two. Kind of an odd pair don’t you think?”
“They were trying to mount some kind of a peace protest, but everybody was too busy hissing and clawing to notice,” said Gary.
The gorilla rubbed the crown of his head, then picked a flea off himself and ate it.
“Remember when you and I spent all day here, and you bet me I couldn’t rip that wishbone loose from those heavy bolts?” said Gary. “Remember that?”
“Oh yeah,” said Clyde, still dripping from the lips and laughing. “Nobody in town could do that but you.”
“Remember why we were going to do it?” said Gary. “All the havoc it would cause?”
“Psychological havoc, really,” said Clyde. “Except for cubs and puppies, nobody really believes that thing is anything more than a bone anchored to some steel and concrete.”
“I don’t know,” said Gary. “Every Sunday morning, all over downtown, we’ve got flocks and herds reliving the story of the first pairs to go onto the ark. One ape’s superstition is another ape’s common sense.”
“Fine,” said Clyde. “But don’t look for reason in the ways of the cold-bloods.” He lowered his lips to the water.
Clyde pelted the holetender, a pudgy beaver, with a tight, hard jolt of spit. “Run a tab, buddy. We may be here a while, and I’ve got two humps to fill,” he said. “What are you getting at, ape?
“You’ve seen the difference in the way things look.” said Gary.
“Things always look a little goofy when I leave here,” said Clyde.
“You know what I mean,” said Gary. “The thing the mayor was saying, about the disappearance of the bone and the colorblindness, they could be connected.
“The alligator, he was in here for a long time the other night, and he kept going on about unity and division, about this guy being green with envy and that one being red with anger. He was in rare form.”
Gary scratched at his massive chest, and patted the crown of his head. “The colors and the bone and the whole sordid, ugly business – it makes about as much sense as the story of the ark.”
Wednesday, Chapter 8: An effort to locate the wishbone takes a turn for the worse.