Zootown, USA Matt Liebel Micro-Fiction

pages Zootown, USA

by Matt Liebel

Published in Issue No. 24 ~ May, 1999

One morning at the St. Louis Zoo, the Camel and the Giraffe got to talking.

"What the hell are we doing in St. Louis?" the Giraffe asked.

"I’m on the outskirts of Riyadh back in ’89," the Camel said, "113 in the goddamn shade. People burnin’ in their turbans. But I’m cool, I can go without a drink for weeks –

I’m in the desert."

The Giraffe craned his neck forward. The Camel continued.

"And then one day it’s like, boom! These total Armani suit Mafioso zoo dudes fly by in a chopper and start chasing me like I’m Schwarzenegger in Commando or something. Now… I can run fast, but let me reiterate: they had a helicopter! So they dip down and drop this net on me. I figure maybe I can bite through it with my teeth, some of which are sharply pointed, but they yanked me up first. And here I am. St. Louis. Zootown, U.S.A."

The Giraffe shook his head. He munched on some leafy vegetation.

"So I walk into this bar over in Soulard the other night," the Camel continued. "The place is just brimming with smoke, beer and perfume. I’m thinking, yeah, I wish I needed to get drunk. I’m ready to prance on in and swing my humps to whatever Kool and the Gang number is kickin’ on the jukebox, but the bouncer stops me and goes, ‘hey, let me see some i.d.’ and I tell him I don’t have any i.d., and he says ‘why not?’ and I go ‘oh, I don’t know, maybe its because I’m a fucking CAMEL,’ and that’s when the brawl started."

"I’ve been known to kill lions with one kick," the Giraffe said.

"Well, you shoulda been there that night," the Camel answered.

"Hey, do you want any of these acacia or mimosa leaves?"

"Nah, I’m cool. You know, my humps."

"All I have are these leafy vines," the Giraffe replied wistfully.

The zoo keeper started making the rounds. "Ah shit," the Camel said.

The zoo opened.

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Matt Leibel works as a freelance copywriter in San Francisco. He has published stories in several print and on-line magazines, including Parting Gifts, Cafe Irreal, and the San Francisco Bay Guardian. He has visited zoos on three continents.