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Mr. Siegal
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Mr. Siegal

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Uncle Stetson's Trip to the Zoo Empty
PostSubject: Uncle Stetson's Trip to the Zoo   Uncle Stetson's Trip to the Zoo EmptyMon Oct 15, 2012 12:12 am

Hey, folks! A lot of you have been wondering what has been up with me lately. And, frankly, what is up with a lot of things. Well, to save time, I’m just gonna answer all these questions now with a little explanation.

I went to the Zoo last week, as you might have heard. Lately I’ve had a fascination with a certain Great Ape, and I just had to pay them a visit. Plus, I hadn’t been to the Zoo lately, and I always find it good for a bit of renewal. Changes things up a bit.

Well, I was in luck. They just re-opened the primate exhibit after that incident a few months back. Let me tell you, they’ve really stepped up security. Visitor badges on the front of your shirt, and barcode stickers on the back. It seems a tad much, but you can never be too careful with these things.

The Gorilla Exhibit was obviously my first stop. Luckily, I came just in time for the feeding. I put a quarter in the telescope and looked up at the catwalk above the cages. Two Zookeepers, in full Hazmat suits, wheeled out a cart filled with meat. Slowly, they tossed a slab into each cage. Monstrous roars of anticipation reverberated through my bones, and I had to plug my ears due to the beasts’ shrieks of delight. The only glimpse I caught of a gorilla itself was an enormous arm- thicker than I am wide- clamoring to grab a bloody chunk of lunch.

“What do you do with the suits?” I asked one of the Zookeepers as he threw his mask into the meat cart.

“Oh, we incinerate those. Can’t risk having even a trace of the scent on us,” he said. “Feeding those things is the scariest part of the job. I prefer to stay around the monkeys.”

With that, he led me to the monkey area. A few more security checks were on the way. The zoo is a lot more tedious to navigate now. Constant fingerprinting and sticker-scanning. I heard someone had to do a blood test, recently. I suppose the Zookeepers do what they have to. Where else are you going to see monkeys?

As I stepped up to the cage, a larger monkey leaped up to the glass. As I touched the glass, it mimicked me. I backed away, and it did the same. Entertained, I began to dance, delighted as the monkey repeated each step perfectly.

“Be careful now, you’ll start to think you’re looking in a mirror.” The Zookeeper chuckled as a monkey began imitating him. “Yeah, I’m sure you heard how one of these almost escaped. Put on my uniform when I left for the night. Copied my features perfectly, right down to every hair of my moustache. The only thing that gave it away was the tail.”

A third monkey walked between the other two. Its face twisted to resemble my features, but it caught a glimpse of the Zookeeper. Confused, it took on qualities of the both of us, until its twisted visage became too much to look upon.

“I’m not supposed to do this,” said the Zookeeper. “But do you want to see the Whale?”

My heart leaped with excitement. Of course I did! The world’s only Blue Whale, here under our Zoo. And I would be the only civilian to see it.

He unlocked the door and input a code. Holding his eye to the retina scanner, he waited for the door to unlock. Its massive metal gears turned deliberately, as the steel vault slowly parted. He gave me a wink as we began to descend the spiral staircase. It seemed like hours passed as we climbed down.

“There’s an elevator at the bottom of this pit,” he explained. “It only goes up, so I gotta use the stairs every damn day.”

The Whale Tank was surrounded by scientists and security guards. Cameras and recorders were pointed at every inch of the Whale, while teams gathered around computers to analyze every detail. The Whale itself was massive and smooth, its featureless blue shell making a perfect sphere. “FRAGILE” was written in large red letters around the sides of the tank.

“The waiting’s the hardest part,” he reflected. “You never know just when it’s gonna want out.”

I have told you all how lucky I am with this kind of thing. I know you will not believe me, but I swear it began to utter a whale song. The angelic harmonies shook the Tank, and I felt weak and overwhelmed by the beauty of the thing. The Zookeeper collapsed at the monument of what was occurring.

I admit it was a nasty thing, but this was the only chance I had. I tore the barcode sticker from the back of his shirt and proceeded to push the alarm. Immediately the place was in chaos, as the security teams scattered about the place in confusion. The Zookeeper was taken up and handcuffed. He writhed and kicked and shouted in protest.

“Check my bottom, I don’t have a tail! I’m not one of them!”

I pressed the elevator button and stepped upon the platform. It rocketed up, throwing me upon its floor. My arms and legs were pinned to the ground by the velocity.

When it reached the top, I was tossed out of the interior and landed on my side. I may have twisted my ankle, but nothing I had not prepared for. I limped through the burgeoning riot caused by the lockdown. The Zookeepers hid under the windows of the Safe Room, which was being pelted with rocks by the visitors. The checkpoints had largely been abandoned, as the security teams fled to the exits.

I dragged myself to the Zoo’s largest exhibit, the Weeping Willow. DO NOT STIR TREE was plastered in signs of every language around the perimeter.

With great effort, I slid through the bars. The Tree extended farther than my sight in every direction. Roots wriggled from the ground, and the trunk pulsed with sap every second.

I did not know if they were still looking for me at the Zoo when I started my climb. I do not know if they had abandoned the place completely. I made step by careful step, driving my dagger into the bark to steady myself. Streams of red sap spewed from the Tree, staining my clothes and coating my skin.

It took me more of than two days to complete the ascent. I was starving and dizzy when I pulled myself onto the pinnacle. Thick vines covered in purple flowers whipped the center of the platform, slowing with each step I took closer.

The vines stopped moving altogether for a few moments. They slithered snakelike to the midpoint, where they began to entangle. Rising into a complex pattern, I realized it was taking my form. I looked upon a statue of myself constructed the knotted vines of the Weeping Willow itself.

It was acting just like a monkey. At that moment, this seemed the funniest thing I had thought in my life. I laughed hysterically, doubling over while tears streamed my face. Staring at my dagger, I rubbed the ruby encrusted on its handle.

I first drove my dagger through the Vine-Man’s left foot. It spewed sap, but showed little other reaction. I drove it then into the right foot, producing a deafening cry from the Tree’s base. My ears became warm, and I suspect they were bleeding, though the red sap made it impossible to tell.

I took the Vine-Man’s wrists and stabbed my dagger through both. The tree’s cry had become a scream, and it was now quaking. Sap erupted from the crevices of the trunk, the red liquid washing out in torrents. The ground below, as much as I could see it, was becoming flooded.

Colors began to float off of the leaves and stain the sky. The blue was replaced by reds and greens that blotted the sun. Clouds were painted with hues heretofore unimaginable, primaries previously unseen by the human eye.

Finally, I plunged the knife into the Vine-Man’s side. The tree’s many sections detached themselves from each other, but did not fall to the ground. They drifted through the air as if the atmosphere had become a vacuum. I remained anchored to the platform, though it was floating upside-down.

As I looked toward the Zoo, I saw that smooth blue orb rising from its tank. Hovering above Creation, it shook and cracked. The Whale was beginning to hatch. A dagger-like beak pierced through the shell’s interior, as a ruby-red eye gazed accusingly at Earth below.

I wiped the tears from my face, but they were no longer from laughter.
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