Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Prompt: Growing Up In A Zoo

I love days like today, when my afternoon school bus is on time. We get to the zoo entrance at 4:35, and as I’m standing at the door, I shout out, “Hey, Zeus! I’m coming to see you!”

And the lion roars. Everyone on the bus, including Mizz Sheila, thinks Zeus is talking back to me.

I’ve been riding the bus for three years now, and no one has figured out my secret. The visitor trolley passes by the Big Cat House at 4:35. Zeus always ruffles his mane and roars when it goes by. Seven times a day. Three hundred and sixty three days a year. Jane says he must think it’s an intruder, and he should have figured out by now that it isn’t going to mess with him. She’s the head Big Cat handler, so I guess she knows a thing or two. But I personally think he just likes putting on a show, and maybe saying hi to something that’s about as noisy as he is.

I go in the staff entrance and stash my backpack in the research building lounge. I always run by the hospital viewing windows to see if anything interesting is going on. I’m not allowed in the treatment rooms, although sometimes I get to help out with some of the recovery, especially if an animal needs a lot of hands-on attention.

There’s no one in there today. I skip on outside and head around the polar bear exhibit to see if Jake or Josh are swimming. I love to watch them underwater, but they’re sprawled out on the rocks, dozing. I’ll stop by later and see if they’re awake.

I take the long way around, by the African Plains exhibits, so I can pass the zebras, rhinos, and giraffes. Betty is in the Giraffe exhibit, so I stop and say hi. She lets me feed them sometimes, when it’s not too crowded. Today she calls up to me, “Hey, Jenny. Look how big Ambese is getting. She’s due any day now. Isn’t it going to be exciting to have another baby on the plains?”

I nod agreement and wave goodbye. Dad won’t let me camp out with Betty for the delivery. He says maybe next time, when I’m older. Jeesh, I’m almost fourteen, already. He still thinks I’m a kid. When I say that to him, he always makes goat bleating noises at me. Parents are so goofy sometimes.

As I turn up to the aviary, Jeff comes up behind me and beeps the horn. “Hey cutie, wanna ride?”

“Can I drive?”

“Are you sixteen yet?”

I make a face and climb in next to him. I love spending every day at the zoo, but it is kind of like having a whole pack of parents instead of just the one. Jeff drops me off at the aviary, and I go in to find Dad. He’s in the kitchen, and I jump in to help chop fruit and veg for the birds.

Dogs in house:

February word count:

1 comment:

  1. This is the "picture paints a thousand words" problem. How much detail do you include to set a scene? Of course, that depends on how long to total work is, to some regard. Looks like this is shaping up to be a longer story. Is it too slow? Or are you intrigued enough by seeing life at the zoo to want all the details?