An animal's eyes have the power to speak a great language.

Martin Buber


Sylvia Leopard Cougar

“Maurice!” exclaimed Sylvia Leopard Cougar. “I have never been as glad to see anyone.”

Tears were rolling down her cheeks, her leopard eyes shimmered with them. 

“Berns,” she called to her American cougar husband of long years.  “Look who I have here.”

The still stunningly handsome Bernard Cougar gave me a hug.  They both looked splendid, not showing their ages at all.  More old and dear friends followed my entrance into Mildred and Ralph Lyon’s party.  Dorian Cheetah, having lost his beloved mate, looked drawn and older.  Roy Lee Simba and his wife, Janice Jaguar Simba, my former partner in a clothing design business, embraced me warmly.  The party was held outside in the star filled African night so that my larger friends could attend. Charlotte Elephanti and Gerald Giraffe rolled up in a very large chauffeured truck.  Their party included Cappie Cape Buffalo.  Cappie greeted me with emotional grunts.  Thankfully he couldn’t embrace me though he tried to.  I barely missed a lethal horn as he rolled his great head against me.  Betty and Shane arrived late.  I was sitting with Roy Lee Simba and Ralph Lyon when they arrived in a limo with his Masai honor guards hovering closely. 

“Hi Bro,” shouted Roy Lee at his younger sibling.  “Maurice, are you going to work for Shane again?”

“Yes, I will return Monday,” I answered.

“You know he’s as crooked as a dog’s hind leg, don’t you, Maury?  He’s my kid bro and I love him but crooked – whoopee!”

“Shane’s not corrupt,” protested Ralph Lyon who had put him in office after his retirement. 

“Yep, he’s a crook, Ralph but aren’t they all?” roared Roy Lee. 

This banter was hastily ended when Shane and Betty came over to greet us.

Bubba Simba and his lionesses attended as did Michelle Mamba.

In an aside to his wife, Ralph Lyon asked in alarm, “Jesus H. Christ, Millie did you invite a bloody venomous snake?”

“Yes, dear,” she said, patting him on his cheek.  “Michelle was a neighbor and friend of Maurice.”

                        It was an awe-inspiring bash.  Under the infinite blanket of the East African night, we re-bonded and I celebrated inwardly and outwardly my return to the country and friends that I love. 


“Maurice, Betty wants you to come with us to Mombasa.”

We were sitting in Shane’s office. 

“Who will take care of affairs here, if I am gone from the office, Shane?”
“I’ll get Sloane to oversee things.”

“You need a good two weeks, Shane; to relax from the pressure you’ve been under.  What if I come for the first weekend?”

“Good idea, Maury.”



“Boo!” said Dickey Simba when Imani Lyon answered his knock on her condo door.     

“I hate you, Dickey!”

“I have, god help me, missed you, Imani.  Let me in.  I have come bearing gifts of the best hashish in the Mara.”

She let him in and burst into tears.  He kissed her on the nose.

“Hush the blubbering.  Remember, I like the churlish Imani.”

”You bonked that disgusting female.  You’re a major shit.”

“I am an alcoholic hashish head, Imani.  Did you think this squeeze with me was going to be rose-colored?”

“I thought I could change you, Dickey,” she wailed.

“You can’t change anyone, Imani.  Big lesson!”

He lit his bong with the hashish and gave it to her.

“What do you have in the way of booze?”


“I HATE rum.  It’s not a real drink.  I guess we can repair to my place if that’s all you have by way of liquid refreshments.  I’ll give you time to take the rollers out,” he chuckled.


            When she arrived at his place his favorite jazz drifted through the room.  It was a slow sensual horn played by his favorite musician and she had to admit that it really got the juices flowing.

“Let’s get undressed and enjoy the mood, Imani.”

“You feel it too, don’t you, Dickey?  That music runs through the body.”

“I have always felt it, Imani.  It kept me alive.”

“Tell me why you are so sad, Dickey.”

For the first time in her life, Imani Janice Lyon truly wanted to know about someone other than herself and her own unsettling tribulations.  They got naked and sat on his sofa.

“I have a son- a real lion implanted in my human wife’s uterus – at her insistence.  We are divorced and he lives with her in Kansas.  I worry like hell about him.  Is he in a zoo somewhere in the crazy heartland of America?”

“Did you love Cutty?”

“Not really.  She sort of pushed the envelope on marriage.”

“Have you ever loved anyone for real, Dickey?”

“No, Imani.  Probably not.  I am far too fucked up.”

“You will love me,” she declared.

“Oh, don’t start that crap with me, Imani.”

She silenced him with some kisses that the older generations generally refer to as absolute French.


             Carrie Caracal was on a mission.  She was headed for the president of Kenya’s office.  She wore her Essence of Gardenia perfume and she meant business.  Her disability check had faltered from Tanzania now that Carl had accepted a job in Kenya.  She had messed with his head earlier but he was too weary to even answer her.  Carl was not well.  He smoked like a fiend and had a cough that sounded consumptive.  

             Two apes were in the front office when she entered Shane Simba’s headquarters.  They were looking over data prints and looked up at the same time.

“May I help you?” I asked.

“I need to see the president of Kenya,” declared Carrie.

“Do you have an appointment?” asked Betty.

“Nah, it’s about my benefits.”

Betty’s brow rose.  “You need to go to an office in Nairobi to deal with that subject.  This is the president’s office.  I can give you that address.”

At that moment, Shane came out. 

“What is going on?”

“She needs to get welfare,” said Betty.  “I was getting an address for the Nairobi office.”

“Come on in to my office,” invited Shane. 

Carrie followed gladly. 

Once inside the inner sanctum, Shane sat down behind his desk, with the cheaply perfumed caracal in front of him.

“Now what do you need?” he asked, lighting a cigarette.

“I’m from the Serengeti and I lost my disability check when my husband took a job in Kenya.”

“What is your disability?  You look pretty damn robust to me.”

“Sir, I have all sorts of back problems.  I can’t barely sit.  I am always in pain,” she whined. 

“Hmmm,” was our leader’s reply. 

“Carl don’t make no money to speak of.  He works for Lewis Lyon Construction.”

“The welfare department is in Nairobi.”

“That’s what those monkeys told me,” she simpered.  Her legs fell apart and she was wearing no underwear.

Shane Simba breathed deeply.  Fortunately his wife entered his office just as the sight of Carrie’s crotch was getting the best of him.

“Betty, give this lady the address in Nairobi,” stated Shane. 

“I was just giving the ‘lady’ the address in Nairobi when you intervened, sir.”

Carrie’s displeasure was palpable.  She had almost won this lion over and the ape stepped in.


            Betty faced Shane when they got home from the State House.  He could tell his wife was incensed.  It was written all over her.  He opened his mouth to speak. 

“Don’t say a word, Shane.  I can see you are in one of your roving modes again. You throw out the Mayor of the Masai Mara and yet you see that tart who wants her ‘benefits.”

“Betts, Jesus, give me a break.  I just felt pity for her,” he protested in vain.

“My ass, Shane.  Who do you think you’re talking to? Me remember?”

She poked at her chest with a finger. 

“I’m not going to Mombasa with you, Shane. Frank Tigeres is getting together a group to go to Somalia to help those starving children.”

“Please, Betts.  I need you there.  I adore you,” he pleaded.

She sat down and lit a cigarette.

“I’ll go because we invited Maurice.”

He sat beside her. 

“Go because we love each other, Betts, and I need you so badly.  I know I can be an asshole.”

She looked at him.  She had such a history with him and her love for him was still intense.  In addition, she was his wife and the mother of three of his children.  She melted a bit and leaned into him.  He kissed her.

“I’ll go to Mombasa, Shane,” she acquiesced.  “But I am warning you!  If you even look at another female I will cut your dick and balls off.”

He threw his head back and laughed.

“Now that’s a deal I can’t resist.”

Shane in Mombasa

Betty in Mombasa


"The story continues..."