by ♫~ Kenword~♫
A Famous Bonobo Ostrich Performs Hip-Hop Hits At The Emeraldton Zoo? Could Happen!
Never Tell A Lie
“ALL TrUckS StOp hErE!!”
Tula Point's sign worked perfectly every time. The truck carrying new animal exhibits for the Emeraldton Park Zoo stopped with its tires covering the bright blue mark on the loading dock's floor. The two men in orange suits, who never spoke to Tula, lifted all the crates off the truck safely but one.
It was the pine wood crate from Lukura, Africa that jumped up off the truck bed as though it had legs of its own. And to Tula's great surprise, the crate did have legs. Giant chicken legs. The crate rocked fiercely forward and then slammed against the pavement with a violent crash. Pine wood splintered and flew across the dock and floor. Out from the rubble of wood staggered a beast that must have been about 9 feet tall and appeared to weigh as much as a giant boulder, maybe 500 pounds.
Tula Point, a lovely porcupine, with silver tipped quills, buried her bespectacled nose into the zoo forms on the Emeraldton Park Zoo official clip board, and looked for the words: “giant chicken” on the list of animals scheduled to arrive that day, but the only animal left on the list was “Bonobo”. Next to the animal check box on the list was the name: Mariposa Lane.
Tula's throat was extremely dry and she wished she had one of her mixed berry juice boxes. It would certainly help one to think clearly about this situation.
“It stated...states...er, says here, that you are a Bonobo,” Tula stammered.
The giant bird's puny head rose several inches on its drain pipe of a neck. Just below its beak its neck swelled up to twice its sized and pushed out a deep rumble: “Haaarrrrrrpooonnnaarang,” said Mariposa.
Her neck coiled down over Tula's shoulder to look at the list.
“Well you're certainly reading your own list all right honey” Mariposa said. “I am Mariposa Lane from Somalia. I am indeed a Bonobo, which is a Somali kind of Ostrich. I'm from Somalia. That's in Africa.”
“I know its in Africa,” Tula said in her deep grumpy voice. She spun into the bird's neck, scratching bird feathers with her sharp quills. She nearly cried as she sighed. “It says on my zoo form that you're from Lukura, not Somalia, and you are suppose to be a Bonobo. Nothing here about an Ostrich!”
“Haarrrpoonnarang,” said the new arrival. “I'm Mariposa Lane and I am not just a Bonobo! I am a Bonobo Ostrich. I am the world's one and only nine foot three, Somali Lukurian hip-hop artist. Its all in the books sweetie.” Mariposa once again stretched her neck up so that she towered over Tula Point. “You know about books right? You should read one once in a while. And honey, I've been hired by your puny zoo P-pill to come and perform my hit hip-hop songs in some of this zoo's shows.”
Tula peered over her spectacles as the bright rays of the mid morning sun lit up Mariposa's massive feathers. My whole family of eight could use two of her feather's as a fluffy oversized bed, Tula thought. She scratched her head with the tip of her pencil as she tried to remember what hip-hop songs began with a long bellowing: “haaarrrrrpoooonnnaaarrrang!”
Tula looked again at her list and noticed the pairing arranged by the Emeraldton Park Zoo P-pill.
“You may be happy about his Mariposa,” Tula said slowly. “They have put you in Chong's group. Chong is from Somalia. He's probably from the part where the savannah of Somalia meets the jungles of Lukura.” Tula was gaining back some of her natural confidence as a zoo administrator. “Of course I'll have to check the book on that to make sure,” she said.
Mariposa's neck expanded and she exhaled rumblings from her throat, as her neck swiveled to put her giant beak several inches from Tula's nose.
“Realllllllyyy,” Mariposa breathed out into Tula's face causing her spiky quills to lay flat across her back. “From Somalia you say. An actual Chong? What is this Chong?”
Mariposa hissed when she spoke the word Chong. Her manner of speaking was so dramatic that Tula had a close up view of Mariposa's tonsils dangling deep at the back of her cave like throat.
Tula pointed down the main road into the zoo. “Chong is the producer of all of the Emeraldton Park Zoo shows. I'm sure you've heard of him. Chong Cheetah Chang? Fastest producer, director, actor, singer, dancer and runner Somalia has ever known? Which I guess, according to the books, makes Chong the best and fastest in the world.”
Mariposa staggered for a moment and then bellowed four enormous: “haaarrrrrpoooonnnaaarrrang!” Her throat seemed to grow six sizes wider and the noise blaring from her beak seemed to be sending out warning signals to all other Bonobo Ostriches on the planet.
The boulder sized bird's tiny head swooped down so that her eyes, now filled with tears, looked straight into Tula's face.
“This Chong Cheetah Chang is an actual cheetah?” Mariposa asked. “Not just a bob cat with a cool name?” She closed her eyes tight. Tears leaked past her giant eye lashes, splashing on Tula's front paws. Her beak trembled as she waited for the answer she feared.
Tula's sad face lit up with a knowing smile. “Oh I get it. I did read a book once and it said Cheetahs and Bonobo Ostriches are mortal enemies. So you probably don't hang together back home do you?”
Mariposa shook her head.
“Well not to worry there Mariposa,” Tula said, “Chong is an old cat now. Walks with a limp and a cane and is almost completely a vegetarian. I mean, he's still got the fierce growl, but we're pretty sure those aren't his own teeth he's snarling with these days.”
Small sniffles and clucking sounds were coming from Mariposa and she sounded very much like a chicken pecking at the ground for food. Tula arched her eyebrows and looked suspiciously at the new member of the Emeraldton Park Zoo Troupe of players. Hip – Hop artist? She wondered.
“You know, Mariposa,” Tula said, “Chong Cheetah Chang is an old cat. The fact is I bet he probably knows every performer who ever sang and danced in Africa. To entertain P-pill, I mean.”
Mariposa shook her head and took some cautious steps around the loading dock. She flapped out her fluffy feathers and settled herself down before Tula's curious gaze.
At last Mariposa said, “Well I will certainly look forward to meeting Chong Cheetah Chang, honey. But it has been a long tiring trip. May I go to my new home now?”
“But of course. Oh, I am so sorry Ms. Lane,” Tula's voice seemed filled with the sound of squeaky peeps. “I completely forgot my duty to show you zoo hospitality. Lets do indeed get you settled into your new home.”
They left the loading dock and entered the green paths of the zoo. Along the mossy paths through the zoo, many animals came out to the edge of their imitation homelands to shout out their greetings.
The bears loved new-comers and they whistled and danced about singing: “You're the Mariposa Lane of Lukura, and the dancer who rocks, tell us a story in rhymes baby, while we the bears wash our socks. Mariposa! Hoot – hoot –- hoot. Mariposa! Hoot – hoot – hoot! ” The nearby hyenas laughed and waved. “Welcome Mariposa,” they howled and jumped to the sound of the growling bear beat echoing through the zoo. It was a moment filled with joy.
After a vigorous ten minute walk Tula stopped short in front of a large iron fence. “Are you ready for this?”
Tula pointed at the gate next to the Giraffe habitat. “These are the tallest trees in the park. You will love the jungle touches in the corners of your new home. And look at the water fall cascading into your own pool. See you have a stream flowing past a rocky island filled with all kinds of flowers and pretty birds from your homeland, Lukura."
Tears welled up in Mariposa's eyes as she remembered the scorched land of Somalia she had escaped from. She nosed the gate open with her blunt beak and stepped into the cool shade within a meadow hedged with 10 foot tall ferns, orchids of ivory, pink and purple petals and three baby Kapok trees that were nearly as tall as two story houses.
Tula Point's buttons would have burst off her vest if she could wear vests. She was so proud that her crew and the zoo P-pill had constructed a beautiful replica of a Lukura home for the Bonobo Ostrich.
Mariposa swayed her round feather basket like body on her spindly legs and stepped with regal grace into her new home. At last all of her fears were gone. She knelt down into the spongy moss by the gurgling stream, tucked her legs under her enormous torso, clucked with a few hen type sounds, tucked her head into the billowy white feathers behind her wings, and went to sleep.
Tula Point looked at the mound of feathers and sighed. Though she was happy about making a zoo guest like Mariposa content, something just wasn't quite right. She could feel it in her quills. She looked at her clip board to check one more time. “What is a Bonobo?” she wondered softly, but speaking the words out loud.
“A Bonobo my dear Tula,” said Chong, slipping up beside the pondering porcupine, “is an ape who is most at home in the jungles of the Congo in central Africa. And this feathered imposter is Grumby Gork, an Ostrich from my homeland. Somalia.”
Chong gingerly patted his friend Tula on the head.
“I got a letter from my friend Mariposa just this morning. He says that this Grumby Gork creature heard him grumbling after one of his shows out on the savannah in Somalia. He was furious about being booked to give a show here at the Emeraldton Park Zoo.”
“Grumby saw an opportunity and told Maripsoa he could stay at her beach house and gave him her ticket on a train to Bardera. Mariposa was so happy to not leave Africa that in exchange he helped pack Grumby up in his crate. Grumbys beach house turned out to be a half dead palm tree by a dried up creek bed.” Chong's false teeth clicked twice as he chuckled, “Grumby was sick of the savannah life, so she lied to Mariposa, lied to the zoo P-pill. And it seems she has lied to you too my friend. Apparently she thought she could fool us because we are just small town zoo animals. What do we know about other animals and Africa and real world-class-entertainment? Right?”
Tula looked at Chong Cheetah Chang with astonished eyes that widened with the realization that she had been completely fooled. “There is no such thing as a Bonobo Ostrich?”
Chong laid down his cane and shrugged up his shoulders and dropped his belly towards the ground, “No my friend there is not. But our big bird here is about to give the zoo a fabulous show anyway.” Chong's paws were light on the path as she slipped stealthily into a catlike stance, ready to stalk its prey. His tail swished back and forth twice.
“Tula,” Chong said in a whisper, “please assemble the animals at the edge of their homes, and let them know that our friend from Africa is about to perform for the first time anywhere, the Emeraldton Park Zoo blazing feet, hip-hop dash or crash dance.”
Tula grinned and did not ask a single question. She scurried off with the mission to alert all of the citizens of the Emeraldton Park Zoo of Chong's first official appearance and performance with Grumby Gork.
Chong Cheetah Chang used every cat-stealth tactic to move within inches of the Ostrich's tucked in head. Baring his gleaming false teeth in a vicious pose to snarl, he opened wide his well armed jaws and screeched a long screaming howl.
Grumby Gork leaped to her feet, her big brown eyes spinning in fright behind her flapping eye lashes. She exploded with a surprised howl of her own as her feet began to beat against the earth. Two rapid pumps of her long legs and she was able to jump away from Chong's jaws of death.
Chong too leaped. It was a jump timed perfectly to put him beside Grumby's every stride, as they ran through the zoo, old and young legs increasing speed. The cheetah's age had not slowed him down at all and even though Grumby was able to run as fast as a car going forty miles per hour, Chong kept pace, stride for stride, even grinning and waving to his friends, as Ostrich and Cheetah streaked past all the animals in the zoo. Once. Twice. Three times around the park they raced. All the zoo animals applauded and shouted out their praise for the dazzling show. Even the zoo P-pill came out to watch the amazing performance.
On the fourth lap around the zoo, both Grumby and Chong began to slow down. The Cheetah saw that he had the perfect opportunity to attack the Ostrich.
“So Grumby,” Chong called out to the terrified Grumby Gork, “Can you think of at least one reason you should never, ever tell a lie?”
Grumby's tongue was dry and she could only squawk out a raspy reply: “Because the lie will always be found out?”
“Good answer,” shouted back Chong. “And what else, Gork?”
“A lie might get you eaten!” Grumby's legs stopped churning, her last bit of strength was gone. She seemed to no longer cared that the Cheetah might eat her. But Chong too, was done with the run.
“That's right Grumby. The lie will always find you out. So never lie. Fortunately for your I am in no mood for Ostrich burgers today.”
“Tula will let the zoo P-pill know you need to go back to Somalia," Chong said. "You have learned a valuable lesson here big bird. Never forget it. You should be glad to go back home with this new found wisdom.”
Both bird and cat lay together on the zoo park's mossy brick pathway and panted fiercely to get their breathing back to normal. All the zoo animals rushed from their homes to gather around the two hip – hop dashers and cheered them for the great show they had just put on.
Tula immediately gathered some new pine boards to build a big bird crate. Grumby, lesson learned, was just happy to be alive. She was going home.