Vorarephobia

by | Jun 13, 2023 | Fiction, Issue Thirty-Three

Fear of being eaten is an evolutionary relic, but sometimes I do feel the twinge when I see a cement mixer, or a jet engine, or a customer service representative from Verizon.

“I want to talk about something which is interesting only to me,” I said.

The chimpanzees on the television show had a good day. They successfully defended the northern border and when they got back, there’s a marmot infestation. Marmot meat is delicious. It’s a beautiful afternoon in Uganda, and yes, it’s fucking fig season. But all is not well—the chimp, Worthington, has been brutally murdered!

The question is, did we unfairly overlay a human narrative, or do we really find close representations of ourselves in these animals? I mean, this is a really fascinating question. If you were really interested, you could do more research if you weren’t too busy.

It’s Mothers Day, so Grace is sleeping in while Gabe and I prepare her favorite breakfast. I assume one of the reasons Gabe prefers his mother to me is that he’s known her nine months longer.

People can talk their way out of things. They can make symbolic gestures to avoid being devoured. I’ve done research, and shopped for and prepared the ingredients. I present my inconvenience as a part of the gift. The real difficulty, of course, is that I’m chasing after a memory that Grace has of this dish, and, again, the minds of others are a mystery.

Now the chimpanzees on the show are getting hungry again. They’re starving. They’re chewing on these leaves you can tell they don’t even like. A friend requests we meet somewhere private to talk. I suppose he has the right to do this–I assume the worst.

“What have you heard?” he said.

“Basically nothing,” I said. “Nothing true, probably.”

We were talking in a space so public, it was private. Everyone was ignoring everything. It was the correct behavior in a grocery store parking lot.

My friend starts in on his, “What will happen? Where will I go?”when, a cashier rushed outside, yelling, “You left your card!” at another customer.

“I have no use for it,” the woman said. She was crying and had no groceries.

“It’s going to be ok,” the cashier yelled back.

Money eats again, and here, it is not fig season. When the episode ended, the chimpanzees were mourning for Worthington. But when the credits roll, in the dark forest, do the chimps eat their friend? They are ravenous.

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