The Zoo Keeper - Part 5

Ok, let's go and explore the park...

The Zoo Keeper
Part 5 of 10
By Amanda Sington-Williams

I wandered over to the park, to the restaurant with its striped blue and white parasols. Waiters rushed from table to table, balancing plates as if executing part of a juggling technique, careful not to sweat too much, tea towels slung over an arm. Fish, lentils, rice, succulent juice from roasting, frying, or boiling, wine glasses never allowed to fall empty. The customers chatted and drank, preparing for their afternoon of love and slumber.

I drifted past, following the path that wound round the park, trying to find a bit that I’d missed the day before. But I couldn’t imagine how a zoo could possibly function in a park of this size.

I turned a corner in the park. There was a loud roar. Close this time. And another. I backed in the direction of the restaurant and the park gates. My hands were beginning to sweat and I broke into a run. I would go home and take a siesta. I would sleep for the rest of the afternoon then find another apartment with a city view.

There was no shade and I felt the weight of the heat bearing down on me so I decided to try a short cut and catching my breath I walked round a purple bougainvillea climbing up the park railings. A man was ahead of me, his ear to the railings. Should I turn back, retrace my steps and resume my return home? But I was curious. What was he doing? Slowly, I began to walk in his direction and as I neared I realised just what he was up to. He was adjusting a loud speaker that was attached to the park railings. Perhaps there was going to be a concert. My mood lifted and quickened my pace.

Into my left ear and from one of the loud speakers came a fierce roar and a howl that resonated around the park. I stood still and watched. Fiddling with a couple of the leads, the man didn’t notice me. But who could be bothered broadcasting zoo sounds across a city park on a stifling afternoon? I walked up to him.

‘It’s you?’ I said. ‘It’s all make believe. Not a real zoo.’ I was so put out, my usual timid approach had been replaced by an out of character boldness.

A make believe zoo? What is this man up to? Make sure you come back on Wednesday to find out!


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