Friday, January 9, 2009

Like Bookends...

Today, I am inspired by Susanna and the clever title of her blog. So tell me, what exactly would happen if a squid and a monkey walked into a store? Or what would happen if a bull and a flamingo skip into a china shop? Or maybe a turtle and a gorilla mosey into a saloon? Go ape shit :)

Phillip scanned the menu. Burgers, salads, steaks, vegetable platter...
- How bout a Turkey O'Toole?

Barry stared back across the table at him. This was one of the reasons they rarely hung out anymore.
- Phillip...Look at me! I'm a friggin' Penguin. Do I look like a bloody cannibal. Seriously?
- Well, I dunno. I mean, it's Turkey. Turkey O'Toole. Not Penguin O'Toole. Fer fuck sake.
- You don't see me asking you if you wanna try the monkey bread.
- How is that even a comeback? First of all, it's not like monkey bread is even made out of monkeys. And B, it's not even that same animal. Apes and monkeys are about as different as whales and fish.
- Well, seeing as how I occupy the slot right between them on the food chain, I concede that point. But, I won't eat anything else on the same rung.
- Hawks and eagles do it all the time.
- Well, hawks and eagles can just go fuck themselves, can't they.

They sat in silence for a while. It always went back to this. Ever since Barry started seeing Valerie. Phillip could be civil for the first hour or two, but eventually, the frost settled in and the bickering started. But, they'd known each other for too long to just walk away. They were the bad habit they couldn't break.

- What are you thinking of getting, Barry asked.
- Veg plate. Maybe the fruit platter. I can't decide.
- Yeah. Me neither. I could go with the shrimp cocktail, but I sick of shrimp. I'm sick of fish.
- I guess the chicken's out as well, Phillip said with a crooked smile.

Barry chuckled.

-Yeah. No chicken...Sorry I got upset.
-No. My fault. I don't think sometimes. You know something funny though. You know how you said about monkeybread?
- Yeah.
- I heard somewhere, that Chimps'll eat monkeys.
- What?
- Yeah. Snatch 'em out of the trees and just club 'em or rip them apart with their hands and just eat them right there.

Barry sat open beaked.

- Why the hell do you wanna say something like that before we eat?
- I just though it was funny, how you make a monkeybread comment since I'm an ape and everything, but it turns out that there really is another ape that WOULD eat monkeybread. I mean if it were made with real monkeys...
- What the hell is the matter with you?
- Everyone assumes that we're vegetarians. I mean, gorillas don't really hunt or anything, but we do eat bugs sometimes.
- Do I know you?
- What?
- Phillips! Why can't we have a normal conversation anymore? Did you see that movie? have you heard that song? How's Valerie? You know. Normal shit.
- I don't go to the movies. I don't own a radio. And frankly, I could give a shit about Valerie.
- Here we go.
- No. Yeah. Here we go. You don't wanna hear it, but it's gotta be said.
- You should stop before you even start.
- You're no fun anymore.
-She dresses you like an asshole now.
- She's the reason why Justin stopped hanging out with us.
- NOW!
- If you want to settle for for less that's your business, but someone has to say it to you.
- I'm going.
- No one says you have to marry the first girl you lay.
- Phillip. Since you're in the mood for honesty, let me fill you in on something. The reason Justin stopped hanging out with us, is that he couldn't take your incessant complaining. Having a sad gorilla face is no excuse. You bitch all the time and it was bumming him out. It bums me out too, frankly, but I just felt too sorry for you to walk away. I dreaded the thought of leaving you alone in the world, but at this point, I just don't bloody care anymore. You've alienated every friend you have in the world and if you don't do something about it, you. will. die. ALONE!

Barry shuddered with nervous energy. He'd held that rant in reserve for months and had practiced every word in his head. He never thought he'd ever have occasion to wield it, but now that it was out there, he felt a great pressure off his chest. It needed to be said.

Phillip just sat there with his sad gorilla face.

- Aren't you going to say anything?

Phillips was silent. Barry stared back at him and for a moment felt like he'd just made a mistake. For a moment he felt like he'd like to take back every word he'd just said. But he knew that not only was it far too late for that, but it really should have been done sooner. He knew that his life with Valerie was the most important thing he's ever had in his life and that he would do everything in his power to insure that it stayed that way. If that meant severing ties with his oldest friend, then he was okay with that. Phillip would never learn.

- I'm going, Barry said.

Phillip was silent. Barry hopped down off the booth seat and shuffled across the dining area of the Bennigan's. About half way across, he turned and looked back. Phillip still hadn't moved. He just sat there with his sad gorilla face. Barry turned away and shuffled out the front door. Eventually, a waitress came to his table.

- How's it goin'? May name's Brianna. I'll be your server. Can I start you off with a drink order?

Bill Withers - For My Friend


JPM said...

poignantly funny. I think it is the shuffling in the near last paragraph that gets me. I'd like to thing they will eventually reconcile, since he looked back.

tipsy texter said...

dude, you need to write a whole book like this. short stories about animal couplings. this was the best. and not just because i love animals...