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Funny Fantasy Speculative

Tony and his new friend Smitty were sitting around in Tony's rec room, getting to know each other. The room, Smitty decided, was lovely. With oak paneling and a full-sized wet bar, it was an impressive “man cave.” The carpeting was deep, the TV set was just a little smaller than the screen you'd find in a movie theater and the pool table looked new.

“So,” Smitty surmised, “you play pool?” He was quite the pool shark himself and he was beginning to wonder if it would adversely affect their budding friendship if he soundly whipped Tony in a game of eight-ball.

Tony grimaced slightly. “Actually, no. I've just recently moved in here and the table came with the place. You sound like you're an affectionado, though. Maybe you can show me the ropes sometime.”

That was one thing that had immediately drawn Smitty to Tony. The guy was sharp. Just like that, even though they hardly knew each other, Tony could tell he was trying to hustle him. And Smitty was no easy read, you don't help pay your way through college by dropping hints that you're about to take a fellow for all his cash.

Gesturing towards the extra-large set, Smitty asked, “Watch a lot of TV?”

“Not a lot,” Tony admitted. “I mainly bought in for the football season. I'm a big football fan, both college and pro.”

“Yeah? Me too!” Smitty exclaimed. Then he ran his eye over Tony in a way he hadn't thought to do before. “You're a big guy, you play a little football yourself?”

“Yeah, I did,” Tony admitted sheepishly. “A little school you might have heard of. Florida State.”

Smitty whistled. “That's big time sports there, pal. I'm surprised you went there, though. A smart guy like you, I'd thought you'd have gone to some place with a better academic reputation.”

Tony's grin was obvious, even through all his facial hair. “Yeah, well, let's just say FSU didn't ask too many questions. They saw my size, strength and quickness and didn't really care about anything else.”

“So, you still keep in shape?”

“Not like I'd like to. Tore up both knees pretty bad my senior year.”

“So when you're not working – and lord knows you work hard enough – what do you do for fun? You must have a hobby or two.”

Now Tony's smile was huge. “Actually I do have one thing. I have a pet. Would you like to meet him?”

Smitty readily agreed and Tony took him back upstairs and toward the back door. As he stepped out into the yard, he called back over his shoulder, “Please excuse the shape of my backyard. It's a bit of a jungle out here.”

As he stepped out onto the back porch, Smitty had to pick his jaw up off the ground. He had no idea the guy meant it literally. This looked little a for-real jungle in every sense of the word.

For one thing, the yard was huge. And it seemed utterly packed with trees and plants of every description. It was green, green, green. He couldn't imagine what his water bill must be like.

Tony was already ahead of him, pushing through the vegetation. There didn't seem to be any kind of path, the dude just started wading into it all, parting bushes aside as he went. Smitty tentatively stepped in his tracks, hoping that his pet wasn't some kind of venomous snake.

As the shrubbery closed behind him, he began to feel a little nervous. They were entirely enclosed in greenery. He looked up and could barely see the sky through the canopy. The call of a very exotic-sounding bird made him jump."

Vines hung down from trees as he brushed past them. Little unseen insects buzzed everywhere. He wasn't sure, but it seemed like it was getting more humid back here. Smitty wiped his brow with the back of an already-soaked hand.

“Hey,” he called out, “how much farther?” He hoped his new friend couldn't hear the shear terror in his voice.

“Not much farther,” Tony hollered back. “We're almost there.”

And then, like magic, the vegetation parted and they were in a clearing. True, they were surrounded on all sides by plant life, but Smitty found a certain relief in not having its proximity forced on him. Obsessed in the moment at that sense of vegetative freedom, it took him a moment to discover that the two of them were not alone.

At Tony's feet squatted a young adult male who, judging by appearances, was of European descent. He seemed lean but well-muscled, as was extremely evident in that the young man was nude. Tony seemed rather fond of the nudist, in that he was patting the fellow's light brown hair. Occasionally he varied that by scratching the man behind one ear.

Knowing how observant his host was, and how good he was at detecting one's emotions by the most subtle of “tells,” Smitty did little to hide his sudden realization that this was, in effect, Tony's pet. Metaphorically speaking, his jaw not only fell open and hit the ground, but rolled off somewhere into the shrubbery.

A sad look came into Tony's large, dark eyes. “I've offended you, haven't I?” he asked softly.

“No, no, not at all,” Smitty struggled to maintain his composure. “Although I admit I was rather taken back at first. It isn't everyone who has a human as a pet.”

“Smitty,” Tony continued in that same hurt kind of voice, “you knew I was a gorilla when you met me.”

His new friend very badly wanted an alcoholic beverage at that moment but realized the request would probably be misconstrued. Instead he stammered, hemmed, hawed and floated out a variety of sounds such as “er”and “um.” He was obviously having a disconnect between reality and his past perception of the same.

Tony had to be given credit for his patience. He waited until his new friend's knees stopped shaking and his eyes ceased to glaze over. “You probably assumed I had a kitten, didn't you?”

“Well, I, er...”

“Is that so?” A sudden light came on in Tony's eyes. “Well, I do come from another world. Different continents, different cultures, all that.”

“That must be it,” Smitty gulped. “Ah...does he have a name?”

Tony smiled as he crouched down beside his pet, the better to scratch behind both ears of the man. “I call him Spot. Because he has a brown spot of fur on top of his head.”

“Makes sense,” Smitty agreed. “So how do you interact with him?”

“Interact?”

“You know, do you play with him, brush his fur, give him baths? Maybe teach him tricks?'

Tony wriggled his eyebrows, something Smitty had been unaware that gorillas could do. “Shake hands with the nice man, Spot,” he sang out in a tone one might use with a child.

The man stood up and took a step forward. He offered his hand and put their guest in the spot of being obliged to shake his hand, whether he wanted to or not. Smitty was surprised to find the fellow had a firm but not bruising grip.

“Very impressive.”

“You ain't seen nothing yet,” Tony beamed. “Speak, Spot, speak!”

“How do you do?” the young man, in all his nudity, asked in a polite, well-mannered way.

Their guest was totally flummoxed at this point. “I...I don't know what to say.”

“Believe me, it hasn't been easy,” Tony allowed. “When I first came across him he was totally wild. Did nothing but kill his fellow creatures. It's been a ton of work, but I think I've got him somewhat domesticated now.”

Smitty was having a harder and harder time not thinking about the wet bar back in the rec room. “Does he prefer living out here? I mean, is he allowed in the house?”

Tony chuckled. “I should think not! He's not house-broken. But I'm being an inconsiderate host. You look like you could use another drink. Let's go back inside.”

As they picked their way back through the jungle, it occurred to Smitty that what Tony was doing was highly illegal. It didn't matter what the man's past was like, you couldn't keep him like this. It was slavery or kidnapping, or something. But as he settled back into the comfortable leather couch back inside, a cool, tall one in his hand, he reflected further on the matter.

Let's face it, old man, he said to himself, if you went to the police with this, it would be you they'd be locking up. Then I'd be wishing I was in Spot's position, instead.

Besides, the office gossip was that Tony was in line for the next big promotion. The last thing he wanted to do was get on the wrong side of his potential new boss.

January 24, 2021 19:59

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