The giant silverback sat up on the operating table, his eyes ablaze, his muscles flexed and bulging. His teeth were big, shiny and white. He had broken one of this arm restraints and he was swinging and clutching at the air, assailing anything that would be foolish or unfortunate enough to get within his grasp.
I nearly jumped out of my shoes. I took two steps toward the door, but Elko grabbed me by my shirt collar and yanked me back. I couldn’t break his grip. I whipped my neck around to see the gorilla settling back on the table and returning to his slumber. Elko released his hold on my shirt and stood looking at the gorilla, nodding his head as if in approval.
“He does that all the time,” said Elko. “I think he has a bad dream from time to time. Nothing to worry about. He’s gone back to sleep.”
Easy for him to say. I had no experience standing next to a roaring gorilla and I would have been down the hall and halfway across the zoo if Elko hadn’t grabbed me.
Dr. Carlson walked over to the silverback and leaned over the gorilla’s head, probably to assess his breathing. “It might have been a bad dream, but it won’t be long before he wakes up. We’d better hurry,” said Dr. Carlson. “And I think we might need to fix the arm restraint.”
I was having a difficult time calming down after the gorilla outburst. The arm he’d been waving around seemed as big as an oak tree. When he’d roared, he’d opened his mouth so wide I’m sure someone could have stuffed a cantaloupe inside. But who would have wanted to do that? His canine teeth were as long as my index finger and probably sharp as nails. Finally, I collected myself long enough to speak.
“So, I’ve been injected with this gorilla’s genes?” I pointed at the gorilla on the table.
“Why kid, is there another gorilla you’re particularly fond of?” said Elko. Then he let out an uproarious laugh, almost as loud as the gorilla.
“Yes,” said Dr. Carlson. “He’s generally a rather pleasant fellow, except for when he has a bad dream.”
“Or when he goes on a rampage,” said Elko, chuckling.
“Elko, stop it,” snapped Dr. Carlson. “I’ve said enough, perhaps too much, and I’ve really got to get back to this gorilla. Call me if you notice any changes. And just for good measure, here’s an annual membership to the zoo,” he said, handing me a card that he pulled from his lab coat. “Elko, see him out.”
Just like that these crazy scientist wanted to escort me out. After accidentally injecting me with some sort of gorilla serum they felt that they could just toss me out. Well, I had been trespassing, but still...