Monday, March 30, 2020

The Paralyzed Man-Ape

Joey was the only kid in the neighborhood that had a jungle gym in his yard. If the other kids wanted to climb a jungle gym, they either had to go to the park or the grounds of Herbert Hoover middle school. Or they could climb Joey’s jungle gym in his backyard. But then they had to play Joey’s game. And Joey only played one game.
     The Paralyzed Man-Ape was his game. And it went like this:

     Joey would play a “pre-humanoid anthropoid” (his words) or Man-Ape. Hunched over and chattering and loping across the arid Savanna grassland, he would climb to the top of the jungle gym and the other members of the “tribe” would throw rocks at him. Joey had instructed them to, “Huck `em hard!” and they would, aiming for his face. Pelted with rocks, Joey would topple from the jungle gym, pretending to shatter his spine. He would just lay there, immobile, until the saber-toothed tiger attacked him. Joey’s Man-Ape would release truly blood-curdling screams as he pretended to be ripped to shreds under the tiger’s huge, knife-like teeth. Then he would die. That was the signal for the other kids to drop their rocks and then they were free to climb the jungle gym. Joey would turn back into Joey and go into his house, leaving the other kids to play normal games for the rest of the day. Joey was satisfied with this arrangement. He never got tired of playing the game, bruised as he got.

     But if they could get a ride to the park, they preferred that to playing The Paralyzed Man-Ape. They thought Joey was really weird and sometimes they really hurt him with the rocks. Once they cut open his eye and he had to go to the hospital for stitches. They continued to play on the jungle gym while he went through that. Life in the Paleolithic Age was tough on Joey. He wouldn’t have it any other way.     

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