For The Scherherazade Project.
God I hate that gorilla.
I work at Percy’s Music. You know, the one right by the freeway exit? The one with a big, blue gorilla on the roof? With the "Piano Sale" sign? Yeah. That gorilla.
Like, what kind of advertising is that? I mean, does anyone look at a giant, blue, inflatable gorilla, baring his giant, inflatable fangs, and think:
Gee. You know what would make my life complete? A white baby grand. That way I can give my kids yet another reason to resent my existence when I force them to take lessons. I should get off the freeway RIGHT NOW and plunk down a huge wad of cash for an outdated status symbol. Only then will my life have meaning.
Yeah. I don’t think so.
And have any of you noticed that there’s always a piano sale at Percy’s music? Always. Every goddamned morning I have to climb the stairs to the roof and inflate that goddamned gorilla with his goddamned sign. The boss doesn’t like to leave him inflated over night. Worried he’s going to float away or get stolen or something. I wish.
Look. I didn’t apply for a job at Percy’s Music to play inflatable zookeeper. I did it so I could photocopy sheet music and get a discount on my reeds. The discount’s doing fine but the only shift time safe enough to pirate sheet music is before the store opens. And having to go pump up a 15 foot gorilla is cutting into my time. I really wish he would just go away. Or that someone else would get stuck with him.
But damn, Percy loves his gorilla. Got him on sale from a used car dealership. Thinks he’s the greatest thing since the invention of the spit valve for the trumpet. He loves him so much he gave him a name: Cam. Who names a gorilla Cam? Percy, that's who. And for some reason Percy likes me. Trusts me. Well, trusts me enough that I’m the one who gets to pull Cam out every morning, inspect him, and blow him up. He doesn’t trust me enough to believe me when I say that Cam isn’t the killer advertising medium the used car salesman convinced him it was. Percy just points out how many people mention Cam when they come in. How many people know him by name. Cam the Piano Hawking Gorilla. Percy doesn’t care if they’re laughing, just as long as he’s got their attention. I get the feeling he was the class clown in that one-roomed schoolhouse I’m sure he must have attended. Or maybe he was the dunce, sitting in the corner with a cone-head, thinking everyone thought his antics were cool.
So a few weeks ago I “accidentally” poked a hole in Cam. Then I went down and told Percy that his gorilla had a hole and it must have come from Sandra’s taking him down the night before. It’s not that Sandra had pissed me off lately (she had, though) but more because I didn’t want him thinking I had done it. Oh my god, did his face get pale. He raced up the stairs demanding that I show him the hole. I’d done a good job. It looked like a snag and tear. Perfect staged accident. He looked at the tear for a while, god, I thought he was going to cry, and then he went and called his wife. She arrived in a half hour and had Cam all stitched up and back to normal in about 10 minutes. Foiled again. At least I got some satisfaction from eavesdropping on Sandra’s chewing out.
When I’m cleaning the rental instruments, I dream of getting rid of Cam for good. I see myself climbing the stairs with a knife some windy afternoon. When I get to the roof, Cam’s up there straining at his ropes, trying to fly. I think to myself. “Hey, Cam’s unhappy up here. A music store roof is not his natural habitat. He’s full of helium, he’s meant for the sky.” And then I take my knife and one by one I cut the ropes holding him down. As Cam rises into the sky, a crosscurrent rips the “Piano Sale” sign from his balloon hands and carries it across the freeway. Cam keeps rising, twisting this way and that, and the wind pushes him away from Percy’s Music and off to the edge of town. Traffic stops on the freeway as people stare at the emancipated inflatable gorilla. Helicopters dodge him. Percy is crying, but finally free of the beast and the embarrassment.
I wonder how far he’d get…
Criticism and comments welcome and encouraged.