A Baby for Christmas
by Mary Urban
"Do you know where you are going?" I yelled. Van gave me a look that would melt icicles. Straight ahead of us was a small, rickety, dimly lit tunnel. It looked like there was room for only one car at a time. I knew we narrowly missed a calamity.
"Kari, YOU gave me the directions," Van shouted back.
Van was right. I grinned mischievously. "Sorry about that, hon. I was afraid that we would end up in an accident."
We had been driving for a few hours and I was hungry, queasy, irascible, and just plain wiped-out. For breakfast, a Diablo egg concoction was served to us at a small quaint hole-in-the-wall place located in no-mans-land.
Van Purry and I had been dating for a few months and decided to go on a trip together. We chose the Big Brown Zoo as our destination.
"I am looking forward to our little escapade. Do you think there will be any rides at the zoo?" I asked.
Van smiled and said, "The last time I was at this zoo, they had built a doozy of a ride. I think they named it ‘Asteroid Catastrophe'. The daily paper said that it was a killer ride; not for the faint of heart.
I was flabbergasted. My stomach was already feeling like jelly. I wasn't sure that I was up for this experience. "Is it hot in here?" I said as I wiped my brow.
Van torqued the air conditioner a bit more and turned the vent towards me. She asked, "Is that any better, Kari?"
A loud burping came out of me, this onomatopoeia was slightly flustering and I felt better because of it.
"Oops, sorry Van, I feel much better now. I wondered if that rhubarb crumb cake would have an ill effect on me."
In the road straight ahead, Van saw a sign that read ‘Big Brown Zoo' five miles. She looked at me with her indigo eyes. I knew I was helpless to resist her charms. I broke out of my bizarre trance and remembered tasting her luscious lips. I felt somewhat licentious in my thoughts of this sweet woman. This was an everlasting friendship in my mind.
"Here we are, Kari,"
"Oh, Cool," I exclaimed while trying not to think of Van's beautiful body.
Van parked her yellow Sunbird in the zoo parking lot. While waiting for Van to collect her belongings, I saw an airplane flying low in the sky. I thought to myself, boy it would be nice to take Van on a trip to Hawaii, wouldn't that be paradise? Van's door slammed shut and I woke up from my daydream.
The building had a unique design. Vines traveled down the front of it and along the side were brandy colored beads that sparkled. Along the steps were many effigies of small animals that look liked they were carved from opaque blocks of wax. There were several xenoliths on the premises in various shapes and sizes. The optical effect from this creation was too much for us hillbillies. Neither of us had seen anything like that before in our lives. We both shook our heads in amazement and laughed until we cried.
"Well, this is an interesting place. I can't wait to see the inside", I chuckled softly.
"Follow me, my sweet," Van whispered and proceeded to use the knocker on the door. The door to the zoo was covered in pictures of Unicorns. In limbo, she noticed the door was not locked and held it open for me.
Once inside, we waltzed right up to the ticket booth to buy 1 day of fun and adventure.
"Two all day tickets, please," I said as I handed her a twenty.
Van glanced my way and said, "Kari, I can pay my own way. I don't want to you to think of me as a parasite."
"Not a chance, hon. Remember, you paid at our breakfast stop."
Van nodded for me to pay for the both of us. Those fees were really jacked up in price. I almost threw the snarky woman my money. She treated us like we had leprosy. I had to harness my temper so that we wouldn't get kicked out of this place. Why was she so invective towards us? I almost asked for restitution for her rude behavior, and then decided to let it go. We both took umbrage at this woman's behavior, but decided to take off towards the entrance to the zoo.
The map on the wall had a geometric pattern too it. All of the main buildings were numerical as well as colorful. Pictured throughout the map were small gnomes playing tambourines and eating gourds. At each end of the map, I could see a naval battle between what looked like beautiful Amazons and some butt-ugly warlords. In the background of the map, I saw photons and numerous viceroys. Were they trying to whitewash us? The architects must have been slightly squirrelly when they designed this place.
Animals were grouped by family characteristics. Kangaroos and Wombats were located in the marsupial section along with opossums and koalas because all of their young are developed in a pouch on the mother's abdomen. I felt that their ovaries must hurt when their young do all of that moving around.
We decided to start out in the section that includes ivory tusks such as the elephants and the hippos. Over the entrance, this section was labeled 'Ivory Tusks' and it looked like it was carved in ivory as well. This was impressive to look at; however, it was a grievous situation for the poor animal that lost their tusks.
"I don't think that I will be buying ivory any time soon. It looks pretty on a piece of jewelry, but I keep thinking of the poor toothless animal". Van said with a frown.
I nodded and we walked into the bullpen where they had elephants of varying sizes milling about. Some of them were at the watering hole, while others were eating some of the greenery that the zoo supplied for the animals' diets. We both moved a little closer to find the optimum position to observe these animals. A few of the large male elephants stared straight at us fiercely. We decided to move on to the hippo bullpen.
The hippos that we were looking at were Pygmy hippos. They usually stand barely waist-high to an adult human. Two of the African mammals were lying in what looked like a man-made river. Others of this herd were not far away. After reading about the life of the Pygmy hippo, Van turned to me and said, "Kari, I am getting hungry. It has been at least 4 hours since we were at that hapless place they called a restaurant. What do you say?"
At that precise moment, my stomach growled. "Sounds like my body needs nourishment as well. I would like a beer and crunchy tater tots."
"Not me, I want some fruit, maybe an apple or cantaloupe. Then for desert, some ice cream with a liberal amount of hot fudge on top. MMMMMMMMMMM!" Van smiled and subtly took me by the hand.
There were a few people behind us while we were walking. They looked like bible fanatics to me. The whispers and the stares, I was all too familiar with. I believe these people were from a Rastafarian group which usually had an underlying agenda. I would bet that this righteous group would never belong in a monastery because they wouldn't be able to put down people that did not fit into their idea of a stellar society. Perhaps we could put these people onto a quasar so they would be out of our business. We both ignored their small-minded attitudes and headed off to eat.
Van and I made it to the food counter in a matter of minutes. We both looked at the listing on the board. The special was a knockwurst sandwich on wheat bread.
"Look at what they have on special. Do you like those sandwiches? They would go good with your beer and tater tot combination," giggled Van.
"Funny lady," I smirked. "For you Miss Purry, here are some juicy navel oranges."
"Well at least my food doesn't have a noxious smell to it."
"Yeah, yeah, let's sit over here by what looks like a dragon picture. Then after we're done eating, let's walk to the lion cages." I said to Van reflectively.
Van looked very girlish with her golden hair twisted in a ponytail, although I knew she was a former debutante about 10 years ago. All of a sudden she expectorated some of the seeds from the orange onto a napkin. Well, that blew the picture of my sweet innocent from my mind. Fifteen minutes later, Van finished all of her meal. Where did it all go? -- into an abyss? I know she could eat, but wow!
"What a fantastical meal – don't you think Kari?"
"Yes, it was, but my ice cream turned into slush before I could eat it all."
"Well, you shouldn't have been puttering around so much with your tater tots."
"I would have been fine, but a pesty person – who will remain nameless, kept on stealing those same tater tots." I winked at Van and smiled.
"Your food looked good with all of the frou-frou on the sandwich and the tater tots. I hope it doesn't have an affect on my recent appendectomy." Van said while rubbing her stomach.
"What is the happenstance of that? Besides those tater tots were just middling. It is a quarter past one o'clock, my queen, let's vacate this place and head out for the king of the jungle."
Van and I arrived at yet another bodacious entrance to the zoo animals. This one had pictures of the lions head and mane of the adult male.
"Van, I guess we are heading in the right direction, don't you think?"
"What was your first clue hon?" Van said saucily.
"Well, it could be the pictures or the mane, but hearing that lion's roar cinched it for me."
"Hey, look over at the pride of lions." I said while nimbly stroking my face.
The female lions were watching their young, while the adult males lay around sleeping in unity, acting much like human men and women. Some of the cubs wrestled about which looked like a donnybrook from where we were watching. One cub was victorious as it walked off with what looked like a small discolored rag. This cub would be a kick-ass leader some day. After all, it takes confidence and a willful disposition to take control and avoid any fiascoes.
Suddenly, one of the female lions became very effusive. This was a conundrum because we did not spot anything happening out of the ordinary. A quartet of males suddenly stood up and roared loudly.
"Kari, this is making me a wee bit nervous. It looks to me like they are having a revolution and I don't want to be nearby when it happens.
"I am not sure what is going on, they seem to have their own jurisprudence where their family is concerned."
"To quote a truism, -- let's beat it." Van said as she started to jog to the exit.
"I am right behind ya sweetheart."
The last of our inside tour led us to the apes, guerillas and chimpanzees. Along the entrance they had pictures of bananas and tree vines. At least there were not any animal body parts on this entrance.
"Let's go monkey around, Van", I said with a wicked smile.
"Hmmm, sounds nice, but we need to visit the apes and their cousins first." Van said with a promise of a very pleasant time to come.
We looked at where the chimps were flying from limb to limb often times holding onto their young. Once in awhile you would see a junior chimp fly across by himself.
"I bet they are using the Montessori Method to train their offspring, don't you think Kari?"
"I am not sure, Van. Let's visit the guerrillas. What does that plaque say over there?"
"Let's see, it says that they are expecting a baby guerrilla to be born on Christmas day this year. They are looking for some boy names."
"All I can think of are names like Cornelius, or Xenia or Xenon." I said in jest.
"I don't like any of those names Kari."
"Do you have Xenophobia?"
"I don't like the sounds of them because they remind me of those barbarians from the 12th century."
"Well, I hate to disagree, but the name of the mother is Xena, and I think it is a very noble set of names. I wonder why she has manacles on her feet." I said wistfully.
"Apparently, it says here that she can have major PMS and will sometimes try and hurt the other smaller guerrillas. Maybe we should head out and finally try those awesome rides"
"Well, I suppose, but do you think there are any kiddie rides I can go on"
"Kari, you are just too funny for words, let's go sweetie."
We exited the main doors and made our way to the outside amusement park. I looked at some of the rides and my heart sank directly to my feet. I wonder if Van would care if I didn't go on any of the adult rides. No such luck, I bet after all, I am supposed to be the brave one.
"Kari, let's go on this ride. The name is Belly Roll, I think. It only wraps around at 50 miles per hour. That's small potatoes don't you think?"
I gulped loudly, "Sure, I guess so." I knew I should have told her that I needed to get home.
At the start of the ride, I heard people screaming. I looked around and it seemed like they were just having fun. Oh, boy, I can hardly wait till this one is over. Suddenly, it took off rapidly and started to roll. I knew we were strapped in but my butt was not firmly planted in my seat. I felt like was in a rinse cycle of a washing machine -- over, and over and over we turned. I wondered how Van was taking this ride. She wasn't screaming. I couldn't look at her through my tightly shut eyes. At last after way too long, it stopped and we got out.
"That was awesome! I haven't had this much fun in ages." Van said and turned towards me. "Honey, are you ok?"
I knew that I could hear her sweet voice, but other then that I could hardly focus and my stomach was tied up in knots. Just then I fainted.
"Oh dear, we need some help here. My friend fainted. She looks quite green about the gills." A kind man gave her a 7 up to give to me so my stomach would settle.
I heard her sing to me "Supercalifragisticexpiatidocious, a spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down in a most delightful way." I smiled and took a few sips.
"Van, if you don't mind can we leave this wonderful place and go monkey around?"
"I did promise you didn't I? Let's get you up and walk out to the car. It has been a very adventurous day, I think. I can hardly wait until our next trip."
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