TROPICAL RAINFOREST

At the San Diego zoo, a lion attacked his keeper. 

Karen turned the page, just after the gory details and the part about them having to shoot it.  Like it was the lion’s fault, she thought, eyeballing her husband as he bit into a slice of buttered toast.  An oily smear remained on his chin.  “I need to take the van in.”

“The brakes still squeaking?”

“It’s more like a grinding noise now.” 

Feet stampeded overhead.  Her eyes wandered to the counter where the lunchboxes waited to be filled.  A wicker basket piled with laundry loitered by the basement door.  In the wild, things were a lot simpler, she thought.  Gazelle eats grass; lion eats gazelle. Eat or be eaten.  Still, it must suck to be at the bottom of the food chain.  Not that the top was so great. 

He sighed.  “Fine, but call me with the quote before they do any work.”

“It’s hard to reach you.”

“I should be around this morning.”

“You know, the guy at the shop seems okay.  I’ll handle it.”

 “I’d prefer you call me,” he said.  “You can’t trust them.”

Karen picked up the cream and retreated to the fridge.  But that’s where the chain gets tricky, doesn’t it?—at the top.  Sort of like that business between the lion and the zookeeper.  As she brushed by him, a soapy, fruity scent met her nose. Tropical Rainforest.  His hair was still damp, ridged with teeth marks from the comb.  She leaned in and sniffed, past the delicate aromas of flowers and rain, imagining something…a gray taste.  Walnuts. Avocado.  Likely, a tangy flavour too.

“What are you doing?” he said, looking up.

She smiled and kissed his head.  “You smell nice.”

 

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