Sundays we take Mikey to the zoo to fuck with the monkeys. We dress him like a monkey and lean him on the glass.
You’ll never be as smart as me, says Mikey. No matter what you think, you’ll never think like I think, he says.
The baboon sits on a high branch.
Cocksucker, says Mikey.
The baboon does not look at Mikey, but into its own puffy hands.
Mikey turns back to us. I bet his face got jacked up and he’s afraid to show it, he says. He bangs on the glass and calls the monkey a shit-eater and a coward.
Mikey stands on the handrail and leans his face on the glass. You’ve got nothing to look forward to, he says. Look at me. He bangs on the glass.
A fat man speaks to us like we’re his children. You are monsters, he says.
Mikey is about to rip the man’s cock off. We take him to the hippos. Mikey doesn’t give a shit about the hippos.
For me, I do not mind the monkeys. They lick their own fingers which are covered in shit.
What’s more: there is no reason for the prairie dog.
It digs in dirt and infests holes with babies.
I will show you. Here, I have with me a taped sandwich bag which I have filled with cayenne pepper.
Watch me as I take it and stand on Mikey’s back and dirty the monkey with my feet.
The prairie dog enclosure is plexiglass. It is about six-by-six feet full of dirt. There is a tiny family, standing very straight and leaning a little to the side.
I untape the bag and dump the red contents inside. I cayenne the prairie dogs.
At first they are curious. They come with their paws and their mouths and their eyes.
But when it touches their skin, immediately they curl like bugs and try to scratch off their faces. They dig through the dirt until they’re stopped by the glass.
C’est la vie. Que sera sera.
Three idiot boy scouts in blue shorts and yellow scarves are holding a spider next to a zookeeper in an expired green shirt and a big khaki hat. Three boys touching their fingertips and throning a spider. They all look into it and say wow. It’s just there so they can touch each other. They are a bunch of hiccuping butt-ticklers.
The zookeeper starts some bullshit about spiders.
One of the boy scouts, with a bracelet and a scowl like a deformity, says, like it’s a challenge, We’re the Boy Scouts of America.
The one to his left says, Pack two-two-two. He is a kid in a baseball cap and zoo animal backpack that was a leash at one point.
Pack two-two-two, says Eric. He pinches the kid.
The zookeeper knows we’re something to avoid but asks us, would we like to touch the spider?
You hand-fuck that spider all you want, I say.
The boy scouts look at their hands and stare into the spider. It is as if, for the first time, they are afraid of their own hands.
They are the kind of dead scum that grow up and have kids of their own. They are the kind of shit of the earth that look up to their fathers, do their fathers proud, read books and grow up to be their fathers. We look long and hard into our futures. We are only concerned with how shitty the animal kingdom is.
Eric hates anything larger than a human being. We call him “the whale.”
We will bring him to what he hates. But there are many things in the zoo.
“The whale” wants to move on.
Eric hates elephants. His hate is strong and old like elephants. You can see it in his body, getting close to them, his body gets like it’s suddenly infected.
When we get to the elephants he freezes. His hate becomes still and pure as desert wind. He cannot move if he’s got his eyes on an elephant.
We buy two strawberry milkshakes and climb onto the observation deck. The enclosure is very high and very large. The elephants sweep bits of the ground into their mouths, but otherwise stand still as tables. We milkshake the elephants. We have destroyed the elephants in the eyes of the people. Now they are nothing, they are pink and filthy.
A kid with a lion backpack that still is a leash, pushes his painted face up against the glass, his mom holding the leash. We’re going to throw him in the lion pit.
Wow, I say. So cool. Mikey says, Lions are the best. Eric leans into the safety railing and jumps up and down. Roar already! he says. The kid’s mom smiles at us, she’s on the phone. Three little boys, she says. They like the lions too. Everybody likes the lions.
Mikey gives me his knife. I get behind the kid and cut the leash off his backpack.
We go to see the dumbest animal of any zoo, the sun bear. I hate the sun bear most of all.
The sun bear thinks it’s everyone’s little brother.
The idiot lumbers over. I beat the glass and remind it it’s too dumb to kill itself. It yawns and sits beside the glass.
I hate the animal population because it continues, it survives, and it does not know how stupid it looks.
The sun bear, king of assholes, presses its paw on the glass against my hand. Its eyes widen, then it rolls out its ten-inch tongue.
Long Beach (Washington, not California) native, Cabdriver takes inspiration from the wildlife around him, the wildlife far below him when he’s out in his boat, and the wildlife he used to see as a child during his short visits to the Oregon Zoo. Cabdriver has been a writer-in-residence at the Sou’wester on fifteen separate occasions. And still nobody remembers him!