Gorillas in the Midst
by Professor Cramulus
"Gorillas live in that house now." That's what I almost said. But I thought better of spilling my secret. Instead, I told Dana that the house was still abandoned. She turned her music back on and kept jogging. It's only a partial lie. Another one.
I like jogging with Dana because she wears headphones. I like this because it means she is not talking to me, she's singing along to her music. When we get back, she'll hop in the shower and I have about twenty minutes of freedom to find the good stuff. Her off-key singing echoes through the house and I know it'll be stuck in my head for hours. She's singing the same line from some shitty song over and over again. I try to distract myself but not even hardcore pornography can get last week's argument out of my mind. It must be Spring, because she wants kids again. I want to drink bleach.
You know your marriage is in the pits when you can't even bring yourself to masturbate. Jesus, what an irritating argument. We haven't had sex in months. Maybe even a year now. We never really matched up in the bedroom. She liked burly, hairy-chested men and I'm a smooth skinny guy. She makes a lot of noise and I'm notoriously silent. I can tell she's lonely, but I don't care.
Late at night, the windows of the house next door were dark. I hid in the bushes until I knew it was safe. Then, carefully, I crept up to the window and peered in.
There they were. Gorillas. Like, five fucking gorillas. I don't how they found their way into a house in the suburbs of New England. I don't think that they knew either. They sounded sort of lonely. Sort of desperate. All I know is that the last guy who lived there, Tom, was evicted two years ago. I think he's in a mental hospital now. The house has been quiet ever since. But that has zero to do with these goddamned gorillas.
I first noticed them last Friday. I was standing on my back deck, spying on the angry elderly Scandinavian couple that lives behind us. That's when I saw them. The gorillas were standing in a circle in Tom's back yard. I lowered the binoculars and rubbed my eyes but it seemed real enough. Some of them were smoking cigarettes. One busted me staring at them from my deck, my binoculars in one hand and a bottle of Jim Beam in the other. The gorilla made a noise which startled the others. They scattered like huge lumbering cockroaches, spiking their cigarettes into the driveway before hurrying inside the house. Then it was dark.
Was Dana serious? Kids? Apparently we have to have this argument every year. Her biological clock is ticking loudly and it's keeping me awake. That woman is going to be the death of me.
As I looked in the window, the gorillas were talking. Something about missing the jungle I think. I thought I heard one say “That bastard's probably humping my mate by now.” The whole place reeked of feces. Big sweaty gorilla feces. Smelly enough to let you know whose fucking territory this was. Apparently, they hadn't been eating very well. They must be very hungry by now.
Then, the big one said something about kidnapping a human, and the others were nodding. One was licking his lips. Another rubbed his hands together. That's all I needed to hear. I boogied out of there so fast I spilled Jim Beam all over my bathrobe.
The next day, Dana was in the garden with a concerned look on her face. There were gorilla-sized footprints in her fresh topsoil. A few of her homegrown tomatoes were gone. She was always going on about those fucking tomatoes.
"We can buy more, honey," I said, not looking up from the paper.
"You can't buy homegrown tomatoes," said Dana, annoyed. I rolled my eyes, knowing that the bluegrass was coming again. "There's only two things that money can't buy,"
she sang. I was so sick of this song. "And that's true love - and homegrown tomatoes.”
My eyeball twitched.
"Besides," she said, "what am I going to put in the gift-basket for our new neighbors?"
"Neighbors?" I said, looking over the top of the newspaper. Behind her, a dark, hairy face with wide eyes was staring in through the window, looking at Dana, licking his lips.
"Yeah," she said. "Last night I saw lights on next door. I think someone moved into Tom's old house."
"You don't say," I said all deadpan.
"I'm gonna go give them a gift basket."
The words "fucking gorillas," were on the tip of my tongue. But I bit it.
"Do you wanna come?" asked Dana.
"No," I said.
"Are you sure?"
I nodded my head slowly. My palms had gotten clammy all of the sudden.
When Dana left and the house was finally silent, I went to my stash and poured myself a victory shot.
The shrieking was brief and intense. As I recall, the gorillas tearing her apart and eating her had a sort of melodious, musical quality. Almost erotic. I knew that this song was going to be stuck in my head, and for once, I was going to enjoy it. Then it was silent again and I poured myself another shot. Fucking gorillas.
I never saw Dana again. After that, the gorillas disappeared too. It was a quiet neighborhood now, just me and the crotchety Scandinavians. The garden in the back yard began to wither and I could finally masturbate in peace.
Two weeks later, there was a note in the mailbox. Dana's lilting handwriting reminded me of when we were first dating. It was a long, tear-stained, goodbye letter. I read the first few lines, then skimmed down to the good parts.
"I met some men," she wrote, and "they're taking good care of me." I swigged my bourbon, swishing it around in my mouth as I thought about that shrieking. Five fucking gorillas.
"I won't see you again," the letter said. "Its probably for the best."
"Yeah," I said out loud. "Probably."
And somehow, we all lived happily ever after.