Table Twenty-Five: Joseph Suglia

She is lying in the road. You do not know what she is doing there, lying in the road. She is lying at the intersection of Clark Street and Grand Avenue.

You tread past the woman lying in the middle of the road. She smiles at you with her eyes closed.

Lurching forward are the orangutans, walking with their arms in front of them. A troop of orangutans is debouching from the Abercrombie & Fitch and, slouchingly and screamingly, into the street. They are bawling like oxen, flailing their red arms over their heads. The orangutans are orange gnomes with corrugated faces and humanoid ears, gentle-eyed orange gnomes that are hunched over and knuckle-treading out of the Abercrombie & Fitch.

A white-paneled truck rolls up. Slowing to a standstill, the truck pauses in front of the pharmacy, the motor still running.

An explosion of birds magnetizes the orangutans, prompting them into action.

Now, the orangutans are rushing to the truck, gathering tomatoes from the back of the truck, and are hurling the tomatoes at the billboard. The tomatoes smear the face of the fashion model. The ground-thumping apes are pounding the street in approval, their fists and their feet thudding against the tar. The tomatoes are splattering against the billboard.

Recoiling before the thudding orangutan mass is a lonesome man with a receding hairline.

The apes seem indifferently self-contained, unaware of you and of him. What need have they of human animals? You are neither adversary nor prey. Why should they care about you?

Swinging its arms rhythmically, a one-legged orangutan stumbles across the street. The apparition of the beast frightens you.

The orangutan stops about fifteen feet in front of you, inspecting his paw-nails. He looks a bit like a discharged marine.

You creep toward the great primate.

You come close. Long-faced and orange-tufted, the ape looks at you quizzically, its mind working furiously and silently, the pensive-faced orangutan.

You reach out with your slowly unclenching right hand and smooth the sleek and slick orange fur of the orangutan. You are palpating, you are caressing the great beast. As you are caressing the great beast, it smiles at you a summery smile. With an almost ridiculous earnestness, you massage the back of the mighty beast.

Your glance is caught by the pink cowboy hat of a woman who resembles Maria Menounos. Howling squeals of delight, the woman is plucking red flowers from the fur of a gorilla.

The air is scented with the acrid aroma of orangutan and gasoline.

Five miles north, down Clark Street, you see banana-shaped plumes of smoke, vaporous pillars, ascending into the sky, as if the city were on fire. Perhaps it is.

A castle of smoke rises from the city’s lower levels and engulfs the sky—a sky that is pierced with fighter jets.

Panicked, frenzied animals are jumping up and down, a frenzy of manic animals. Wild orangutans are roaring, and clouded leopards are bellowing. The orangutans are fluttering their arms, and the clouded leopards are pacing seethingly in a circle, pards ready to pounce.

The columns of black smoke are expanding over the blaze, the columns of black smoke are spreading, they are fattening.

You keep on walking.

The fire is blazing and popping loudly.

Copyright 2014 by Joseph Suglia


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