Buckets

Leave a comment

September 25, 2018 by The Citron Review

by Patricia Q. Bidar

 

Randy and Taiko are standing at the chimp habitat. Taiko doesn’t recall the sight of the chimps ever affecting her this way. They just look so miserable. One perches atop a fat jutting pole. Rounded like driftwood. Do apes heave sighs? This one looks about to.

The zoo is a small but nice one. Less than a mile from their modest home. This is their first visit in years. They are neither the age of the unshowered mothers and tousle-headed fathers, or the grandparents with their utility hairstyles and dark blue jeans.

They watch along with the melancholy chimp as a young mom—no makeup, hair scraped back —tucks Cheerios into her toddler’s upturned mouth. “Go with Daddy,” says the mom when she is done.

A gaggle of four-year-olds arrives, herded by their teacher and an elderly male docent. They stand against the glass, watching the chimp with solemn eyes. The docent is explaining that when human beings make eye contact, it means we are curious. “It means something different to these guys,” he says.

“What about smiling?” a fat little boy asks.

“Well, to them it might mean you’re angry,” the old man says. As if in response, the chimp circumnavigates the enclosure, swinging and screaming. When he drops to the ground, the docent tells the children to get back. Their damp handprints vanish from the glass.

On the way to the brand-new sky ride, they pass the old retired one, the one they used to ride with their kids. The mechanism remains, its pale yellow buckets stilled. How nervous it had made Taiko to ascend in the old ride, just a few yards above the slumbering tiger.

In contrast, the new “aerial gondolas” are carpeted and enclosed. One by one, they glide to an almost stop on a wide concrete pad. Plenty of young staff members are there to guide riders in. Taiko and Randy sit across from each other.

It is only when they’re alone that he reassures her that he intends to stay connected. He’ll be living with his girlfriend at her apartment. Taiko will keep the house. They’ll tell the kids later, on Skype. Neither of them has slept.

Taiko says at last, “This place is a kind of portal.” To their earlier years, she means. Imparting the animals’ habitats, eating preferences, and extinction statuses as though they weren’t reading from the placards. Just like all the young parents are doing today, as young parents have always done. The snacks, the strollers; all of it. They pass a large billboard, announcing the future home of brown bears, buffalo, eagles. California fauna. “This was a bad idea,” she says.

Back on terra firma, Randy excuses himself to use the restroom. He asks if she’ll be okay, and Taiko snaps, “Of course.” She regards the hyenas. She doesn’t recall them looking so sinister. A young mom in yoga pants approaches with her kids: a toddler boy and an older girl. The children begin laughing, loudly and falsely. Taiko realizes why: they are called “laughing” hyenas. She even joins in, but her laugh comes out more like a bark, or sob. The mom and the girl look alarmed, but the son shambles over to Taiko and takes her face in his sticky hands. He meets her eyes and smiles at her, showing tiny wet teeth.

 

Patricia Q. Bidar is a San Leandro, CA-based writer and alum of the UC Davis Graduate Writing Program. Her stories have been published in Flash Flood, formercactus, Postcard Shorts, Spillwords and forthcoming in Wigleaf, and Jellyfish Review. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Mushrooms

🍋10th Anniversary

Fall 2019 IssueSeptember 23rd, 2019
Cheers to 10 great years!

🍋 Instagram

Fiction Editor JR Walsh luxuriates in micros shaken and most definitely stirred. https://citronreview.com/2019/09/23/notes-on-the-micro-fiction-selections/ #amreading #microfiction
Grab a two foot scrap of wood and step up to home plate with Ronald Hartley in "Batting Stones." https://citronreview.com/2019/09/23/batting-stones/ Hartley's stories have been published by Sky Island Journal, Literary Juice, After the Pause, Gravel Magazine and Mobius: The Journal for Social Change. #amreading #flashfiction
We're reading for our Winter Issue, but a deadline is coming soon. Please consider submitting your best poetry, flash, and micros before December 1. Our editors will continue reading creative nonfiction through the new year, but we'd love to see your excellent work even sooner. https://citronreview.com/submission/ #TheCitronReview #onlinejournal #briefliterature #celebratingtheshortform #cheersto10years #Citron10 #callforsubmissions #poetry #cnf #fiction
Marissa Hoffman's creative nonfiction covers the directions that a life may take in "A Route Plan From Dad to Dad." https://citronreview.com/2019/09/23/a-route-plan-from-dad-to-dad/ #amreading #flashcnf Marissa Hoffman has published FlashBack Fiction, Bending Genres, and The Drabble. She is a fiction reader for Atticus Review.
Managing Editor Eric Steineger illuminates ten years of Citron Poetry. https://citronreview.com/2019/09/23/notes-on-the-poetry-selections-12/
When raising children is like "Fighting with God," Jennifer Woodworth dives into each poetic moment. https://citronreview.com/2019/09/23/fighting-with-god/ Jennifer Woodworth is the author of the chapbook, How I Kiss Her Turning Head (Monkey Puzzle Press.) Her writing has appeared in Bending Genres Journal, The Eastern Iowa Review, Star 82 Review, among others. Her blog is fishclamor.com. #amreading #poetry

Enter your email address to follow us and receive notifications of new issues by email.

%d bloggers like this: