Monday, March 27, 2006

Gorilla Boy

Gorilla Boy, part I

Georgie thought his father had lost his mind when he came home from work one day and announced that he'd signed Georgie up to take piano lessons from a gorilla. But no, his father was serious. Georgie had to go the zoo every day. His parents bought him a membership pass and he took the cross-town bus. His parents had never let him ride the bus alone before, but now he was not only riding the bus alone—hello?—but taking lessons from a gorilla. The gorilla, Elsie, had a special talent with the piano and loved children. keithy: did he have a Zoo key? Her own gorilla baby had been still born and she hadn't liked the suitor they brought her to try again. She had picked up the piano and beaned him with it and he had been unconscious for days and they had had to buy a new piano

Elsie had several other students before Georgie, but she took a particular liking to Georgie and would grab him and cradle him to her breast in a huge gorilla hug and shower him with big, wet gorilla kisses. The first time Georgie was terribly frightened and thought she was killing him and screamed bloody murder but the more he screamed the harder she squeezed so he started singing Papageno from Moozart's Magic Flute. He had no idea why that particular song had popped into his head, maybe because his dumb parents played it too much and maybe because his breathing sounded like that when she squeezed him: papa papa papa papa Papageno. Elsie immediately put him down and picked up the piano and set it down beside him and began playing Papageno on the piano. Georgie was sorry he'd started that because Papageno was hard to learn, but she wouldn't let it go. She showed him over and over how to curl is fingers and which keys to hit in which order. She was very strict about the hand curling business and if he let his fingers straighten she would take them and curl them again and make him start over at the beginning which really was annoying especially at first because he kept forgetting and relaxing his hands. Elsie sat beside him on the piano and sometimes played along with him. she tapped her foot to keep time or pounded one of her hands hard on the top of the piano. She kept grinning and showing her teeth when she was happy with him, and that was scary because she had big sharp teeth. If he concentrated hard and remembered to keep his fingers curled and which notes to play and not to speed up while he played, she gave him a big hug and a banana at the end of the lesson. The lessons were supposed to be a half hour long, but she often kept him over and then he had to run to catch the bus back home. There was usually another kid waiting for a lesson. He was a teenager with scraggly blond hair and a little bit of bears whose arms and legs seemed too long for him. He never seemed to know what to do with them. He ept looking at his watch whenever Elsie kept Georgie extra. Georgie would point at the kid, but Elsie ignored him and k Sometimes, Georgie could hear them and got really upset. But mostly, he had to concentrate too hard paying attention to Elsie. She didn't talk at all, she just showed him what to do, and it took extra attention to learn that way. One day, Georgie's class went to the zoo, and when they got to Elsie's cage and she saw Georgie standing outside, she began hooting and hollering and grabbed the bars and shook them. She wanted Georgie to come in, he knew that, but everyone thought she was fierce and scary. Which she was, because she was getting upset that he wasn't coming in for a hug. The zookeeper opened the door and Elsie came charging out and all the other kids and the teacher ran screaming away, but Elsie only had eyes for Georgie. She picked him up, hugged him ad squeezed him and kissed him and carried him back into her cage. She hugged him again and set him down at the piano. Georgie hadn't told his friends about Elsie, it was all too weird. But when he started playing the piano, they all gathered around and listened. Without realizing it, he had gotten quite good and everyone was really impressed. The teachertook pictures and posted them at school and on the internet and videos of the gorilla hauling him into her cage were circulating. Everyone started calling him Georgie the gorilla boy, and that wasn't really who Georgie wanted to be.

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