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Amnesiac
June 13th, 2019, 11:03 PM
It was a stupid school field trip to the zoo. Zach and I hung around at the back, shoving and jostling, screwing around, scoffing at the exhibits, and mocking Mrs. Morgan, every time she told us to settle down and stay together with everyone.

As soon as everyone else was busy watching the monkeys, Zach gave me a nudge and we ducked behind another exhibit where he pulled out a couple of Marlboros. We smoked, hiding the cigarettes in cupped hands and I coughed a little, disguising it with laughter. We dropped the butts, ground them underfoot, and looked around for everyone. They were still watching the monkeys. Probably family members or something, I thought, and laughed to myself.

I glanced to the right and saw an enormous cage with rocks and a pool of water, and wondered what exhibit it was. We walked around to the front of the cage, but didn’t see anything. I rolled my eyes, and said, “This is stupid. There’s noth…” when we heard a low, menacing growl. A massive lion emerged from an artificial cave created by the rocks, his mane thick and deep, and his muscles rippled beneath his tawny coat as he sauntered toward us. He sat back on his haunches and stretched, much the way a house cat does, but when he extended his claws, each single claw looked as hard and sharp as the knife I carried in my pocket.

I glanced at Zach, but he was riveted on the lion who had settled, lying Sphinx-like, panting lightly, revealing sharp, yellowish teeth and a thick pink tongue. I began to say something sarcastic, but fell mute when the lion turned his golden eyes on me, fixing me with a predatory gaze. In those eyes, I saw the massive African sun beating down on the tall, yellow grass of the Savannah. In that flat stare, I saw the power of the hunt, the bunching and stretching of muscles as he bolted after his prey and the triumph of the take-down. For a brief moment, it was like I had merged with the lion’s thought-forms and become one with him… With a shudder, I jolted back to reality.

Zach, having grown bored, called, "Here, kitty, kitty!"

I shook my head. "Knock it off, man."

He turned toward me, "What’s the matter with you, you big wuss?"

I merely shrugged and glared, expressionless.

Neither of us noticed that the lion had risen and moved closer to the bars where we stood. Zach turned and recoiled in surprise, nearly tripped over his own feet, when the lion emitted a deafening roar; one that I felt certain was aimed directly at Zach.

Uneasy, we hurried a little beyond the monkey cage and caught up with everyone in front of the reptile cages. Zach kept trying to get me to fall back into the usual scoffing and clowning around, but it just seemed juvenile. I moved closer to the reptile cage and peered in at the various species, fascinated by their smooth, jewel-like colors.

Amnesiac
June 14th, 2019, 05:22 PM
(I already see a couple of sentences that need to be reworked...)

SueC
June 18th, 2019, 03:26 PM
Amnesiac, I like this. I am so fond of these small moments, especially in childhood, that shake us to our core and we come away from them with a different perspective. All the great doers in life - scientists, creators, inventors alike - all had moments such as these, and they most likely happened in boy or girl-hood. I can see the pictures you paint so well. My only suggestions, since this is a relatively short piece, is to expand on the process of discovery a bit.


I began to say something sarcastic, but fell mute when the lion turned his golden eyes on me, fixing me with a predatory gaze. In those eyes, I saw the massive African sun beating down on the tall, yellow grass of the Savannah. In that flat stare, I saw the power of the hunt, the bunching and stretching of muscles as he bolted after his prey and the triumph of the take-down. For a brief moment, it was like I had merged with the lion’s thought-forms and become one with him…

Instead of describing the power your boy is seeing from a "flat stare," maybe you could show us how the lion's movements at that moment gave the boy the visions he had. Instead of just a predatory gaze, maybe he could jump down from a rocky flat, or move quickly over some object (do lions play in their pens at zoos?). I don't know - just a thought that maybe you could expand on the "predatory gaze," and give more visuals, so that we, your readers, can more clearly see what the boy is seeing.

I hope you continue working on this - it looks awesome! :)

Amnesiac
June 18th, 2019, 03:48 PM
Thank you! I will definitely expand on it. It's funny: I can read and read and read over what I've written, and think, "Okay. I think this is good to go," until I post it, and then I read it here, and think, "OMG!! That's AWFUL!!! What the hell??" LOL!

This was just a bit of practice. I was kind of a punk when I was a young teen, but I also knew that it wasn't really who I was, so I was exploring the shift from being a rebellious little jerk and growing up a little. :-) And I love lions...

Bard_Daniel
June 18th, 2019, 11:28 PM
Frank,

This is a good piece. I loved the reflection that is uttered, almost as a plaintive thought, after witnessing the majesty of the lion. The description is very visceral and life-like-- right where it needs to be. The dialogue was good and your denouement was solid (one of my favorite parts about the piece.) You also capture the mentality of being a male youth (I felt this was another of the strengths of the piece) and you show, originally, where the paths converge between friends when it comes to things of importance.

A fine piece- well worth the read! Keep it up! :D

Amnesiac
June 19th, 2019, 02:32 AM
Thank you so much! I appreciate that. :)