Uit: The Blow-off
“The recording started once again from the beginning.
“No,” was all she said.
The limp and faded banner hanging over the entrance to the tent featured a screaming, bikini-clad beauty held loosely in the clutches of what appeared to be a twelve-foot-tall gorilla who, likewise, was screaming about something. His (as promised) wicked yellow fangs were dripping blood. Behind them, for some reason, stood a single palm tree.
“C’mon,” he said, his voice distant, his eyes fixed on the crudely painted banner. His legs were already moving toward the tent, and he was tugging at her immovable arm like a Jack Russell terrier who’d just spotted something in the gutter. A slice of pizza or the severed wing of a pigeon.
“No,” Annie repeated more firmly. She leaned back, digging her heels into the blacktop, which had softened in the unbearable heat of the past three days. She wrenched her arm free from his sweaty grip. There was no question or hesitation in her tone, no opening for negotiations. She folded her arms and waited for him to turn around and meet her unwavering gaze.
The heavy air around them reeked of burnt sugar and sweat and howled with a collision of warped calliope music, classic rock, and screams. Where they stood, they were hemmed in on all sides by thousands of dancing and whirling and throbbing pinpoint lights.
Hank’s eyes snapped away from the banner and back to his wife, his confusion deepening. “No? Whaddya mean no? It’s a Girl-to-Gorilla show.” He spoke the term as if merely uttering it aloud would clarify everything.
“Look, sweetie—Annie—like the tape says, there’s nothing to worry about. It’s in a cage. I’ve seen this show a dozen times and it gets me every time. Great little trick. It’s done with mirrors, you know.” He stared at her expectantly.
“That’s great, Marv. Really. But no.”
Jim Knipfel (Green Bay, 2 juni 1965)