The Lion Tamer

by Moreng Swinburne


By Moreng Swinburne

It was the very first time I had been in this arena. I was looking up at a crowd of Lions, They must be waiting to be tamed I thought. It had been a very hot day, a warm gentle breeze blew. The sky was a deep electric blue.

I heard piano music playing, beautiful music. I had never before heard such beautiful music; in fact, I had never before had time to listen to any music. Looking over my shoulder, I saw a large piano perched on the uppermost layer of the arena churning out the music all of its own, I wanted the music to take me. There was a telegraph pole nearby, wires hung loose from the cross-bars and they battled to sway in time with the music, but it was all too often drowned out by growling. The Sun beat down hard and tar oozed out of the telegraph pole forming shiny black globules, in them tiny windows reflected a large woodpecker higher up the pole tap tap tapping the wood trying to get insects to come out, the woodpecker was wasting its time; no insect could possibly live in there, too dry. Half way between the telegraph pole and where I stood a hole appeared in the ground; a crocodile poked its head through and smirked at me, the lower jaw fell open...

'going round the engine looking for a leak...going round the leak for an engine looking for a light at night...going round the engine at night looking for a petrol leak with a lighted match ...... BOOM...... It sniggered.

This droning hodgepodge of non-sense annoyed me and I ran forward kicking out sharply at the crocodile, caught it under the jaw, and snapped it shut. The telegraph pole cracked in two and the woodpecker fell. It lay dead, beak sticking in the hard dry earth. At that instant the music stopped, the growling became very low. I stood in absolute silence watching, waiting, didn't know why or for what. The breeze charming the telephone wires became harsh and turned into a furious wind. Everything started spinning and the sky turned a dark red. I was whooshed aside and where I had been standing only the burned out stumps of old trees remained. The wind blew strong, I became cold tired and afraid. I saw a book lying on the ground through the swirling dust and debris. It was open, pages threshing about in the violent wind. Pinning them down, I saw the beginning of a story and began to read. It was about a wingless Pelican who lived in a flock of Pelicans.

One day the other birds flew off leaving the wingless Pelican behind. Fending for himself didn't please him too much because he was starving and badly needed help to feed.

Without the others strutting about in the water the mud settled and he could see many small fish swimming about below the surface easy to catch. He trapped and ate, ate and trapped. Later the other birds flew back famished after not finding any food and found the wingless Pelican crouched in the water bloated and drowsy. It was obvious that while they had been away he'd been feasting on his own; they wanted to know where the food had come from. The wingless Pelican tried to explain that if they all stopped strutting about, the water would become clear and they would be able to trap the fish that swam below their feet without having to use their wings, but before he'd finished he fell fast asleep. They became very suspicious and angry and pecked him half to death with their long beaks. His blood slowly trickled away in the water and its scent picked up by the crocodile. Minutes later the wingless Pelican unable to fly away was trapped. About to be eaten alive.

I kept asking myself a question over and over again, it was to do with something I had done in order to survive and it had made a lot of people very angry, I couldn't work out whether I had been right or wrong. Suddenly thousands of tiny images began to appear in the pages, very faint at first then clear but they disappeared as quickly as they had come. I sat back with a gasp then one large image appeared, it was me and I was thrashing about in a lake trying to swim. The Crocodile appeared again only this time it approached menacingly and its great jaws opened ready to swallow me whole...........

It had taken four of them to drag me out of my cell because I didn't want to go, I wasn't ready.........

Long after the struggle was over, two men and a holy-man walked into the chamber. One of them smirked at me while another checked the straps and fixed up an intravenous drip to my arm, the holy-man took a step toward me but I willed him away.

Then I had the answer to the question I had been asking myself. I had been right in doing what I did, absolutely right. Feeling drowsy and again looking up, I am for the last time in the Arena only this time there won't be any taming this time I'll fly away..................and kill all the fucking Lions.

The men who had done the killing looked slightly worried, they weren't sure if the drip had worked properly, so they pressed the big yellow button on the wall and called for help. Almost immediately a door opened and a scruffy maintenance man walked into the chamber. He held in his hand a small glass tube of dark blue liquid and fitted it into the intravenous drip. A plastic screwdriver handle and a black greasy comb stuck out of his back pocket.

'That should do the trick', he said, 'damn things get stuck sometimes, the pumps need lubrication, drip blocks up and the client only gets half the dose. When it's working right its gotta be the best way to go though, they wanted to fry this one in the electric chair but George forgot to change the batteries. Everything's become damned unsafe since Georges been around'.

One of the men standing next to the holy-man said...

'Yeh, that's right, next time we oughta fry George'.

The two other men nodded in agreement but the holy-man looked down at his highly polished boots and shook his head.

The Lion Tamer by Moreng Swinburne

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