Sunday, February 27, 2011


That is the only way Gonga can describe the weather he has been experiencing the last few days. He has decided that his state should not be Missouri. Instead, he prefers to mispronounce it as “mis-sery.” Rain and snow, and sleet and freezing drizzle. And all of that in the past week!

Gonga staggered past the Student Union, wind whipping around the clock tower and catching him sideways. A damp newspaper fluttered through the gust and plastered itself to Gonga’s leg.

There were times his job did not pay him enough.

Gonga peeled the newspaper off his leg and decided that this was one of those times. He didn’t care how many flyers he had left in his satchel, it was time to go home. No one else was out in this weather anyway.

The suitcase carrying Gonga’s accordion tugged wearily at his shoulder as he headed toward his downtown apartment. The wind cut through his fur, chilling him to the bone. Just a few more blocks and he would be inside his nice, warm quarters. Just a few more steps.

He caught himself as he slipped on a icy patch on the sidewalk. That wasn’t right. Rain spattered around him, on his face, in his fur, on his suitcase; and yet he almost killed himself on ice. Ice and rain should not exist in the same location at the same time.


Gonga decided.

This state should be called Missery

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Food Dare

Gonga stretched on tiptoes to reach into the cabinet above his refrigerator. His plasticine face contorted with the effort as he pushed boxes aside and scrabbled towards the very back of the shelf. His hand closed over the cardboard box he was searching for, and he pulled it out. ‘Nilla Wafers. His most favorite of favorites.

But the only problem with ‘Nilla Wafers is that you must have bananas to go with them.

So Gonga set out on a quest. First he visited the Mark Twain dining hall. No luck. Then he headed towards south campus, and the plethora of dining halls on that end. Eva Jae’s was packed with apples and oranges as well as other food. But no bananas. Wearily, Gonga trudged towards Plaza 900, wondering if his search would end in vain.

He pushed through the glass doors of Plaza 900 and stood in the entry-way to the little market area. Sometimes they had fruit, but he wasn’t sure if there would be anything for him today.

“I dare you.”

Gonga ignored the voice.

“I dare you,” a short, red-headed boy swaggered past.

His buddy just rolled his eyes. “And why would I ever be scared of one of your dares, Jeremy?”

Jeremy shrugged. “You won’t do it. Those bananas are a week old by now and probably mush. I can’t believe they haven’t thrown them out yet.”

Gonga swung around at the word, “Banana.”

“Fine, show me where they are,” Jeremy’s friend caved.

And so Jeremy showed him. But he never got to fulfill the dare because a large, hairy shape flitted between him and the mound of browning bananas. When he disappeared, the bananas went with him.

Some say he could have discovered the whereabouts of his missing bananas if he had cared to follow the trail of brown peels and ‘Nilla Wafer crumbs. But he never tried.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

TV Star

Dear Mommy,

Gonga typed slowely, his massive gorilla fingers hunting for each key.

Today I am TV-Star.

He paused, trying to determine how to describe the excitement he had felt earlier that evening while watching the brief TV spot featuring a narrative of his exploits. The camera caught him at various intervals on campus, playing his according or talking to random students who strolled past. His bright red Textbook Game T-shirt blared throughout. But more importantly, his accordion melodies haunted the background of the entire program.

Go to see this link.

He decided not to attempt description. His family would have to just watch for themselves. They probably still wouldn’t understand. But at least they could be proud of his accomplishments.

Carefully he navigated to the appropriate web page and copied the link into his e-mail.

He grunted in satisfaction. The cursor hovered over the send button. But he paused.


There, he had almost forgotten again. He knew she hated it when he forgot to write his love. Though sometimes he wondered why simply writing an e-mail updating his family on his activities was not enough. Wasn’t it obvious that he loved them if he took the time to type up an e-mail every week? Oh well. That thought could wait for another day.

He clicked the “Send” button and swiveled away from the computer. His accordion lay on the floor next to him. Smiling gently to himself, he picked it up and began playing. Joyous sounds swirled around him, conjuring up images of brightly dressed dancers, whirling scarves of red and blue and peacock green.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Snow Days

Snow in his fur. Snow stuck between his fingers. Snow packed in the creases between his costume and his ankles. Cold, cold, cold. And worst of all, one great big icicle hanging down from the nose holes in his mask. There were some days they did not pay him enough to be Gonga.

He crested the top of yet another snow drift on his hike across campus. Gonga himself enjoyed the brilliance of the snow, once the wind stopped blowing and the sun came out. He liked the strangeness of the power puffing out from beneath his foot, and the excitement that seemed to permeate the campus as students finally emerged from hibernation.

The campus had just survived the great snowpocoalypse of 2011. A grand total of 17 + inches of snow and three snow days in a row! That would not happen again in this decade.

Gonga paused next to a massive drift near one of the few plowed parking lots. He squinted in the sunshine, gauging the height and width of the drift. With a grunt of satisfaction, he knelt down and began to paw away at the side of the drift. In less than fifteen minutes, only his feet could be seen sticking out of the drift, twitching wildly as he carved out a snow cave. Every few minutes he emerged, dragging a huge pile of snow with him.

Once he finished the cave, Gonga crawled in a curled into a little ball. The effort of excavation took over and he quickly drifted into a deep sleep.

Thankfully no snow plows came along during his nap.

When he woke up, he capered over to Stankowskie field and spent the better part of an hour tramping out “THE TEXTBOOK GAME RULES!!!” in the snow. Having completed his work for the day, he added a pair of hearts to the edge of the field and inserted his initials in one. The other he left blank, unwilling to reveal even the first letter of his true love’s name. (And even more unwilling to admit that he had yet to meet her.)