Archive for August 28th, 2007

The 24-Carat Ape

Like a rare exotic pampered in the orchid-perfect climate of a Kew Gardens greenhouse, Judy the Chimp was accustomed to feeling special. Doting upon had been de rigueur since the minute her birth made national headlines: World’s First Known Golden Chimpanzee Born.

To say she was a special simian was an understatement: Judy was a jewel — a gleaming, 165-pound primate the color of 24-carat gold from head to opposable thumb-like toe — and she knew it.

Like an opus designed to set her praises in stone so generations hence could learn the libretto and join in the worship of Judy, the routine that filled her days was perfectly orchestrated.

She would never suffer the humiliation of nostrils inhaling the product of last night’s monkey chow. Between the specially designed ventilation system in her den and the immediate attention paid to every evacuation she so satisfyingly deposited, all potential for fug was removed almost before it hit the floor.

Not that monkey chow featured prominently. No, Judy’s dinners usually started off with a nice gazpacho, then followed a gourmet curve that put the “pan” in Pan troglodytes.

If you think the girl was content with her lot in life, you’re wrong. The call of the wild came late to Judy, but it did come.

Due to well-meaning, but misguided attempts to encourage Judy toward an amorous inclination in the direction of a baboon of a chimp named Joe, she’d been subjected to hours of moving images from a small box regularly wheeled just beyond arm’s reach and developed other ideas.

Judy’s viewing of Jane Goodall’s outtakes … “Survivor” should be ashamed by comparison … resulted in her first experience with horripilation of full piloerection variety and a yearning for the day her present innocence could be embraced as salad days fondly recalled, but not missed.

From the minute she set eyes on the feral males of Gombe Group freely cavorting like the burly, hirsute, untamed gorgeous hunks of ape-flesh they are, Judy was agog.

Suddenly she saw her posh accommodation as dull and uncomfortably confining, her human companions as puny and pitifully depilated. Her longing for the wild eroded her contentment. As she became increasingly restless, thoughts to abscond developed.

Formulating a plan of escape isn’t a simple process for a chimp, especially a chimp who’d never ventured beyond the squeeze-shoot leading to her private examining room, and years of aloof snobbery toward her neighbors, all lesser apes and downright monkeys, made it likely there would be no fifth-column to pass information or create diversions that might allow her to reconnoiter.

In desperation, she turned to the one hope she had as co-conspirator: the ever-frustrated, yet hopeful, Joe.

“You want to do what?” he coughed; then lip-flipped for emphasis. “Are you out of your pretty little anthropoid mind?”

“But I want to be a wild girl!” Judy insisted.

Pant-grunting to beat the band, Joe mulled this for only a moment before resorting to an attention-getting bout of chest beating.

“You have no idea, do you?” he waa-barked. “Do you actually think you could cut it out there?”

“And why couldn’t I?”

“Miss Golden Ape 2007 in the wild? Don’t make me laugh?”

Grunting softly, Joe raised his arm and presented the back of his wrist in the classic pose of conciliation.

“Listen, Judy, before I came here I was housed with a wild-caught chimp, an old guy who’d tell stories about life in the jungle. Sure, it sounded exciting, all that running around, playing and copulating whenever the mood hit, but there was more; stories of war and death, of starvation and disease, and of chimps that didn’t fit in, so spent their lives wandering alone.

“Look at yourself,” he said, moving toward her slowly and settling down to groom her shoulder before he continued. “You’re yellowier than an orangutan and almost as ugly. What self-respecting wild chimp would have anything to do with you?”

Just then, a female human carrying a fruit basket lunch interrupted them.

“Would you like some of my pineapple, Joe?” Judy offered.

“Thank you,” he answered.

Soft lips smacks filled the den as Judy relaxed under Joe’s deft fingers.

“You’re not all that ugly,” he said, pineapple juice soaking his hairy chin. “A funny color, yes, but you don’t really look like an orangutan.”

“Have a mango, Joe,” Judy grunted.

This is another turn on the treadmill-for-the-brain for Answers.com’s creative writing challenge in which the ‘must use and link’ words are: fifth-column, gazpacho, agog, horripilation, simian ,fug, opus, salad days, abscond and Kew Gardens.
Here is my last attempt which didn’t win anything, but was fun to write.

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