Disclaimer/Trigger Warning: This short story may potentially be upsetting to some with regards to the improper care and caging of wild animals, and I recommend you proceed at your own risk. You’ve heard of the Tiger King. Now meet the ape owner.
This story is being shared to give you a look at where I began in my writing journey. Below, you will run into a lot of “telling” and dreaded “ly” words. This is a depiction of an actual event that happened to me, a long time ago, in my pre-kindergarten years. The story is meant to be read for what it is, a four or five-year-old’s view of the situation. She is adventurous, fearless, and strong minded. Should you chose to dig deeper into the resulting consequences or the mindsets and actions of some individuals that made this event a possibility, you may find yourself bothered. As for myself, I choose to look at the positives that came out of what was a wild experience for a kid who, at the time, didn’t fully grasp limits. I can promise you, she (me) now does.
CURIOUS GEORGE MEETS HIS NEIGHBOR
Finally they were gone. Only a couple of days had passed, but I felt like I’d been waiting for months since the neighbors built that giant cage in their backyard. Nevertheless, the moment finally arrived. Now was my chance to take a peek. Like any six-year-old kid, I had to know what was inside.
I casually walked over to the old wooden fence and lifted the loose board in the corner. I quickly slipped through the narrow gap and into the back corner of my neighbor’s yard as I did a hundred times before. I sat still for a moment, crouched behind a thick wall of shrubbery. It was my favorite hiding place when I wanted to escape from the travails of being a kid.
But this time was different. I was going to venture beyond the bushes and actually cross to the other side of the yard for the first time.
I took a deep breath and slowly crawled alongside the shrubbery.
It was a warm, summer afternoon and I could feel the heat bearing down on my back. But it didn’t matter. I was already sweating because of the anticipation. As I neared the end of the bushes, I noticed several rows of ants leading to and from their hole in the ground. It was weird. I honestly thought I could hear the faint sounds of their tiny footsteps.
But I wasn’t concerned with such details for the time had come to make the long journey across the yard. I quickly ran through the plan in my head. First I would run to the backside of the oak tree in the middle of the yard, then jet over to the large woodpile next to the cage.
Excited by the absolute perfection of my plan, I was ready.
Three, two, one… I leaped from the bushes.
Not even two seconds into the plan and I hit a snag… literally. The Battlestar Galactica t-shirt my mom had given me after months of begging caught the end of a branch and was nearly torn in half! But it was too late now. I was in the open and had to carry on.
I ran straight for the tree and backed myself against it. I slowly peered around the trunk. The area was clear. I looked over at the woodpile. Behind it I could see the cage suddenly begin to jiggle. My curiosity grew even more.
I burst into a run using the tree as a starting block. As I approached the woodpile, I went into a slide thinking this would somehow be less conspicuous or perhaps speed up my arrival. After wiping the grass and dirt from my jeans, I stood up. The moment of truth had arrived. I walked around the woodpile toward the backside of the cage. Slowly coming into view was something big, dark and hairy.
I cautiously moved closer. Suddenly the beast inside whipped around and vaulted directly toward me. I jumped back, thinking I was about to be eaten alive. But as I slowly opened my eyes, I found myself face to face not with a beast but the most adorable chimp I had ever laid eyes upon. Not a hideous creature at all, but Curious George himself!I stepped up to the cage.
The chimp looked pleasantly surprised to see me. It wrapped its fingers around the bars and moved its face right up to mine. I couldn’t resist the temptation any longer. I had to pet him. Pushing my fingers through the bars, I began to rub his fur.
For a moment, the world disappeared and everywhere around me was white light… not because I had finally completed my quest but because Curious George had sunk his teeth into my fingers. The pain was unlike anything I had ever felt. I pulled away from the cage and ran toward the fence, tears streaming down my face.
Foregoing the scenic route, I dove under the bushes and careened into my favorite hiding place. I burst through the gap in the fence and leaped into the arms of my dad, who had stepped outside having heard my cries. Safety at last.
That evening I graciously gave my Curious George books to my little sister as a very early Christmas present. Mom was so proud, having raised such a giving daughter. Dad just laughed.
Follow up: The chimp was not euthanized as a result of this event, but was taken into the custody of an animal sanctuary, a more fitting environment for an animal meant to live in the wild. Wild animals are not meant to live in captivity, but if they are, they need a suitable habitat and professionally trained caregivers.
This short was an “interview” of sorts to determine if I had what it takes to be a children’s author. I was accepted into the Children’s Literary Institute and completed several courses before life happened. I later returned to my desire to write and took more classes, from other sources. The rest is history. As you probably already know, my stories are getting published.
This version is currently private and available to only my team members. You tell me, should I:
A. File this away, never to see the light of day again?
B. Share it with the public as is so that they may read, for themselves, my growth as an author.
C. Edit the story and then share it with the public.
D. Edit the story and only make it available to those who join one of my teams: Elite Readers, Street Team, or Insiders’s Club (Newsletter)?
Let me know in the comments below.