Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Zoo

by Jeff McNeil

My name’s Bunny.  They call me that cause I get around so quick on my scooter.  A scooter is what I call my motorcycle.  I call it that cause one time I was paying a visit to my old lady’s ex-boyfriend and there were some kids riding scooters in the street and I pulled them by a rope and then I pulled my old lady’s ex-boyfriend by a rope through some pretty thick briars.  I guess I call it that because it reminds me of that time.  And it’s kind of funny to call a motorcycle a scooter, mostly because a motorcycle is so much bigger and it gets people expecting something else.  It’s funny if you really think about it.

When I’m on the scooter I wear these goggles that cover the eyes like a swimmer wears, only they’re tinted yellow because of the sun.  I have a leather jacket, too.  When I pull up next to a pretty young lady at a stop light I rev up the engine and stare at her.  They love that.  I have a few friends I meet down at this place called The Zoo.  It’s just a brick shell of a building now, sitting out in the desert with no roof or windows or doors or even a floor.  It used to be a nightclub called The Zoo.  Even though it burned down we still call it that.  We can see the stars where the roof used to be.

I have a tattoo of a bird over my heart because I’m a free spirit.  I didn’t start out this way.  I used to be a propaganda writer for a guy I can’t name in a country near the middle of Africa.  But I slipped up and they tried to take my memory away, but I said, “Uh-uh.  No way.”  And then I don’t remember what happened.  I woke up in a hotel room in Libya with a pretty full beard and a plane ticket paper-clipped to my shirt.  When I got back to Arizona I shaved and there were marks all over my face under the hair.  Purple and red marks that were almost perfect circles.  I let the beard grow back without shaving it. 

I live with my mom now.  I take care of her.  It’s only fair don’t you think?  She had an accident and now she’s basically blind but her eyes are also really really sensitive to light so she has to exist in complete darkness all the time like an underground mushroom and  I think it has an effect on my eyes too.  When I open the refrigerator for beer the light comes on and I can feel my pupils getting smaller.  It doesn’t hurt.  It feels like I’m getting the chills.  Not on my skin but in my eyes.  I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to show up at The Zoo.

-previously published in Kitty Snacks #1, which is now out of print.