Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Shin-Kicker Again? Part II

When I reached the alley I heard a muffled yelp and looked around the corner just in time to see the shin-kicker tumbled on the ground with two guys on top of him and a third ripping the backpack off his shoulders.

I wanted to cheer. Finally someone was getting what they deserved. Let them take his textbooks. He could spare the couple hundred bucks of cash. Let him get tripped up in a dark alley on a muggy Missouri evening. It served him right.

It was like a club descended out of the darkness and crashed against my skull.
“Remember the mission!”

The mission? No way. No, please. The mission didn’t include the shin-kicker. Not him! I was supposed to protect people. That meant normal people. Not people who go around kicking immigrant gorilla’s shins for no reason. Come on. Please. Be reasonable.

No good.

With my most fear inspiring gorilla howl I sprang around the corner of the alley, both arms flailing to increase the perception of my size, praying that the dimness of the night and the padding in my costume would combine to form the image of an invincible foe in the minds of the attackers.

The guy with the backpack, who had been charging toward the alley entrance froze. I couldn’t really tell how big he was. All I saw were the whites of his eyes. In a second he had dropped the backpack with a thump and whipped around down the alley. The two thugs on top of the shin-kicker raced after him, slowed only momentarily by the shin-kicker grabbing at their heels as they leapt up.

I let out one more Gonga howl and stopped right in front of the shin-kicker. I held out my hand.

He paused for a second in shock, then grabbed it and jumped to his feet, almost
toppling me over in the process.

I pounded my chest and threw back my head in a vicory howl, then ran down the alley after the attackers. I knew a shortcut home from there. And besides, I really didn’t want to stay around and talk to the shin-kicker. Saving his books was one thing. Letting him thank me was quite another.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Shin-Kicker Again? Part I

It was a muggy Missouri evening. I had spent the day in my gorilla suit, walking around campus and playing Gonga. Thankfully I spent a good part of the day sitting in the shade at Speaker’s Circle, playing my accordion while my buddies handed out flyers.

I was hot. I was sweaty. I was stuffed up from that ridiculous cold which had decided to make me it’s pet and kept me from hearing much of anything. So I probably stank as well. But at least I couldn’t smell myself. I’ve never washed my costume…never mind.

I saw the familiar flash of white teeth and curly black hair as my campus nemesis, the shin-kicker turned down the street ahead of me. Thankfully he hadn’t seen me. He swung easily along, his huge knees bending at each step and his feet seeming poised, even at this distance, to fling a kick at the shins of any haphazard passerby who happened to be dressed in an anonymous gorilla suit. At least, that’s how he always treated me. I had taken to avoiding particular parts of campus at particular times because of him.

I slowed to a shuffle to let him get further down the street. It would be a good end to the day if I could avoid him.

He turned down an alley, his neon green backpack flashing in the dusk.

I breathed a sigh of relief. And yes, I took my time. Let him get as far away as he wants.

But of course, things never happen the way they should.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

To Make A Buck Or Two

Gonga will do anything to support his family. He is a very loyal, self-sacrificing individual. He also loves playing music, which makes for perfect harmony when you place an accordion in his hands and tell him to go play in public. Back in Africa, he liked to set a little cap on the ground and play tunes for anyone who threw money into the cap. Sometimes people just threw pennies. But every now and then a gold dollar would land in the cap. Then Gonga would dance as well as sing!

Now he doesn’t set a cap on the ground. Instead he sets up his board with his employer’s logo and plays to his heart’s content. He likes it much better that way. Now he doesn’t have to worry about the “shin-kicker” coming along and stealing his hard earned wages.

But playing for money only works for those with musical ability. What if you can’t keep a beat to save your life and even the birds fly away squawking when you open your mouth? Besides investing in a psycho-music-therapist, there might be an easier way to get a buck or two.

Yes, I’m talking about selling textbooks. But what if you’ve already sold all your books and are sitting around a home, wondering how to afford to go out this Thursday (or Friday, if you’re not lucky enough to be in the business school and have Fridays off.) So you pick up your room-mate’s biology textbook and trot it down to The Textbook Game. Viola! You have $$$!

Better yet, after exhausting your room-mate’s stash (thankfully he’s at some study group for most of the day) you could go stake out the library. Just wait till someone leaves their nook for a bathroom break. Nonchalantly saunter over to their hide-away and pick up that big fat Calculus textbook. Slip it into your own knapsack and carry it off to The Textbook Game.

On second thought…maybe not.

(Disclaimer: The Textbook Game is not liable for anyone who interprets this advice as anything but farcical and will refuse to purchase textbooks which it has reason to believe were stolen.)