For Lynn Wyddell, who gave us a story starter at the Book Fair.
I wish I had ordered a chicken sandwich instead of the Hulahula Chili.
I could tell it was going to be a problem by the time we were halfway through the 4th Annual Orangutan Fair. I’d also like to tell you that it was my only bad decision that day, but that wouldn’t be true.
The afternoon had started fine – get together with a few friends, have a few beers, then someone pulls out the tequila shots and a doobie, and the next thing you know you’re stumbling around an Orangutan Fair with the munchies.
The food truck we went to had a good line, so it seemed like a safer bet then some of the other, sketchier, offerings. I mean, you don’t really expect high class at a fair dedicated to orangutans, but some of the trucks looked like they’d just come from a third world country and brought the roaches.
Anyway, something about chili, hula girls, and little umbrellas appealed to my drunken stomach and that’s what I ordered. I don’t really remember much about what was in it, but boy do I remember it coming out.
Blacking out and going unconscious was a blessing. When I woke up, it was very dark, very cold, and I could feel movement. It was a steady rhythmic motion, and there was a rumbling sound. I felt in my pocket for my cell phone, but it wasn’t there. Groaning, my head fighting against my stomach, I sat up and felt around me. Imagine my surprise when I felt fur. Not dead fur either. This fur was attached to something warm and breathing.
With a growing suspicion, I felt the fur some more. It appeared to be an arm, a very, very long arm. My suspicions grew as I followed the arm up to a broad shoulder and then reached a face. With horror, I realized I was sitting next to an orangutan. I had no idea how I got there, or how long I had been there and my panic grew. Then the arm moved. My stomach did another flip and I tried not to puke as the arm curled around me and pulled me close.
I tried to remember everything, anything, about what to do when one finds oneself in a cage with a wild animal, but all I could think was that I was sitting in the dark, hungover, the awful taste of that chili lingering in my mouth, no cell phone, with a freaking orangutan.
The arm pulled me in closer and I felt the warmth of the massive body. It was actually rather pleasant to snuggle up to and I felt my chills start to ease. The train would have to stop sometime, and the handlers would check on their charges, right? I thought. Might as well stay warm and maybe get some sleep. I leaned my head into the shoulder of my travel companion, wiggled a little to get comfy, and drifted off to the gentle rocking of the train.