KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 12: Summer 2019
[4] Flash Fiction: 536 words

Edible Grace:
An e-Collection of 12 Micro-Prose

by Guy Biederman
[4] How Do We Get Back Into the Zoo?

You don’t know how you get into these sorts of things, and for years you didn’t know how to get out of them. But here you are once again, this time at a party thrown by Giraffes, and you’re feeling not only short, but hungry, too. You hate leaf appetizers and the smell of eucalyptus makes you woozy. Now you’re trapped in the corner with a sad-faced ape who, by his reckoning and with tacit agreement from his girlfriend, Toucan Pam, is a card-carrying genius. Carnivores are all afraid of being laughed at, he says. Herbivores are afraid of being killed. Know what I mean, know what I mean? He punches your shoulder for emphasis. You try to ignore, but find yourself knocked a little off balance. Sad Face doesn’t notice. Toucan Pam does. She smiles as a cracker disappears inside her extraordinary beak. You try not to stare. Sad Face won’t stop. The world’s a colossal mess, he goes; Giraffes are nice enough, but they walk around with their heads in the clouds. Am I right, am I right?

He revels in his cleverness, revealing huge yellow teeth, red gums. This time you dip your shoulder before his playful punch connects, and resist the urge to sink your pearly whites into his long hairy arm. Not so playfully. You look around for Kailey, that cute coyote you were hoping would show, it being close to sundown. Spotted skunk holds court near punch-bowl pond. Industrious gophers make mounds on the shore near a bumper crop of cattail reeds. A frog bellows. Another answers. You’re thinking, I’m outta here. But Sad Face has cut off your exit and now a hippo joins in. They stare at you. You wolves don’t talk much do you, says Sad, cat got your tongue?

Toucan Pam cracks up and her bird friends join in a cacophony of bird sputter and laughter, and you think, gadzooks, does everyone know how badly it ended between me and Lady Panther? It hadn’t exactly been a fair fight when her oafish bear friend sat on your tail and pinned you to the tundra as you were finishing your rabbit stew. You growl back at Sad Face—wolves don’t bark. It’s so beside the point, but you don’t care to explain. Pam gets it. Sad Face shakes his sorry head and scratches himself. You evaluate your options: go for his throat or exit stage left...when at that moment, Leo the lion and his pride make an entrance.

The soiree grows quiet. Giraffes stop chewing. Everyone freezes as Leo and company saunter with impressive ease, and you’re thinking, well, now it’s a party. You slip into the shadows of tall trees, pleased to get away from the boorish ape without bloodshed. A rabbit twitches an ear. Someone squeaks, Anyone know how we get back in the zoo? The ape can’t help himself, raises both arms and screeches, Buy a ticket, dummy! Leo and his pride are on him in an instant and they devour old Sad Face, genius card and all, while everyone watches from a respectful distance. Behind you Kailey quietly whispers, Wanna bounce? And off you go.

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