Friday, May 1, 2009

THE MAID, THE MONGOOSE AND THE COBRA


Once upon a time in a galaxy far away there lived an overweight, deluded, alcoholic casting agent called Jan Schneider. She lived in a big house that her ex-husband had bought her so that she would stop showing up at his house where he lived with his new wife, who understandably felt awkward about having her predecessor at such close quarters, the social conventions in this far away galaxy were very similar to ours.

Jan shared the big house with her brother Bo-Erik. For his whole life, Jan had been convinced that Bo-Erik was a retard and therefore treated him like any ignorant, partonising douche-nozzle would treat someone with learning difficulties. Even though Jan had a big and surprisingly beautiful house, she spent most of her time either in her office or in her car, leaving Bo-Erik to fend for himself, save for the daily visit from Dolores, the maid. Despite owning a fondness for one another, Dolores and Bo-Erik did not have enough common ground to become close friends. This saddened both of them as neither of them knew anyone else apart from Jan, and she was awful.

One morning, as Jan was trying to leave the house without being seen, Bo-Erik intercepted her escape route and demanded a pet to ease his loneliness. After a short but intense struggle involving an IKEA catalogue and an umbrella stand, Jan relented and promised that she would get Bo-Erik an appropriate pet, if he would just let her go.

An hour later, Jan found herself in her office googling for exotic pets whilst tucking into a large bowl of cocktail sausages, eating fistfuls of them at a time and rinsing them down with chugs of Bailey’s Irish Cream, the novelty mint flavoured one. As she happened on a page entitled “Mongoose – Snake Killer and Lovable Pet” she froze and some of the sausage she had squeezed into her mouth fell out. Having read the title, and seen a picture she immediately pressed the “Add to Basket” button and was at the virtual checkout within seconds. Jan Schneider had impulse bought a mongoose, which was odd and peculiar, even for this remote solar system.

In her covetous haste, Jan had failed to observe some of the basic information provided on the site, most importantly of course the special offer of a free cobra with every online mongoose purchase. A vital piece of information as mongooses and cobras are natural enemies in the wild and you probably shouldn’t bring either of then into your home, especially not a cobra, they’re venomous and skittish. It is OK to have a skittish pet, but it would have to be otherwise harmless, like a rabbit or a tiny kitten, or mouse or something like that; not a venomous snake, that’s just silly and quite dangerous.

As Rudyard Kipling astutely depicts in Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, having cobras and mongooses around is quite a stressful, as they will fight to the death and that is after the snakes threaten to kill your children after you’ve destroyed their eggs. Just thinking about it is exhausting.

Anyway, after a few days of anxious wait and preparation, the parcel containing mongoose and cobra arrived; it was very exciting for everybody. In fact, Jan was so excited that she tore at the cardboard like a lunatic and the cobra was able to slither away unseen in the furore and hide in the laundry hamper. Blissfully unaware of the danger in their home, Jan, Dolores and Bo-Erik melted as soon as they saw the mongoose’s little face. Jan had bought matching sailor suits for Dolores, Bo-Erik and the Mongoose, they dressed up in them and after Jan had left the three of them watched On the Town and learned all of the dream sequence dance routine. Bo-Erik, who was secretly an extremely talented dancer, blew the mongoose and Dolores away with his natural and effortless moves.

The mongoose, who it transpired, was a bit of a renaissance mongoose, was very impressed with Bo-Erik’s light-footed prowess, began trading his own talents and knowledge for lessons in dance. In this exchange Bo-Erik and the mongoose, whose name was Ori, became deeply and passionately involved with each other spiritually and emotionally, eventually when they could no longer hold back their love for one another, the relationship was consummated in an explosion of mutual desire. They had each other’s names tattooed. Ori taught Bo-Erik about literature, physics, politics, kung fu and art, Bo-Erik taught Ori the dance routine for All the Single Ladies as well as Gene Kelly’s entire back catalogue, they were so happy together and they shared their happiness with Dolores, the three of them becoming very close.

One fateful day, Dolores went upstairs to fetch the dirty laundry; she was at the top of the stairs whistling Nessun Dorma, as she began her descent. Suddenly the lid of the hamper came flying off and the cobra reared itself out of the hamper. The cobra bit Dolores clean on the neck, killing her instantly, her body tumbling down the stairs, the laundry scattering all around.

On hearing the commotion, Ori came in from the back garden and saw Dolores lying on the floor surrounded by dirty clothes. He screamed in anguish and desperation when he saw the distinctive bite marks on the maid’s neck and his natural cobra killing instincts were awakened. Bo-Erik came in and they wept together over Dolores’ lifeless body. Ori swore vengeance on the cobra and asked Bo-Erik to wait for him outside. Bo-Erik ran towards the swimming pool weeping stripping his clothes off as he ran, stark naked he put on his orange inflatables by the poolside, before cannonballing into the deep end. There he remained, weeping, bopping around in the pool like a depressed sea otter.

Meanwhile, inside the house Ori was hot on the cobra’s trail and a dramatic stand-off ensued, after some swift blows, ducking and diving, Ori the mongoose managed to kill the cobra much in the same way that the cobra had killed his friend. At this moment Jan returned home from a 3-day binge. Appalled by the scene that met her, she blamed Ori and dragged Bo-Erik, who was too distraught to fight, out of the pool and into her car, then drove off.

Now both Bo-Erik and Ori are deeply unhappy, trying every day to be reunited and regain the happiness they shared. Please let their unhappy fate be a lesson to you all, do not, whatever you do, rush into the purchase of an exotic pet and remember that many of these animals are wild and will revert o their natural instincts when under stress. Remember Grizzly Man, or that guy in New York who had a pet alligator as well as a lion, not to mention Siegfried & Roy’s tiger debacle.

Thank You!

Mia Tagg 2009®

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