WE ONLY PART TO MEET AGAIN
“WE ONLY PART TO MEET AGAIN”
He was at his desk when I walked in. He stood to greet me. He towered over me. I reached to shake his hand but he gave me a hug, enveloping me with his massive lion frame. He offered me a chair and we sat. He called the steward and requested drinks for us.
“What took you so long, Maury?” asked Kenyan lion president, Shane Simba.
His piercing green eyes doubled on the verbal question. I squirmed though I had no reason to feel guilt. I had only been in the Mara three days at most. However, that was the way Shane could make you feel. His was a powerful personality with magnetism that knew no bounds. He still looked remarkable. He seemed ageless.
“Do you want your job back?” he inquired, lighting a cigarette.
“I’m not sure, Shane. I was thinking of teaching.”
“And waste your formidable PR skills, Maurice. You were an invaluable chief-of-staff to me. It hasn’t been the same here since you left.”
“I understand Betty took my place.”
“Yes, but a wife should never work for her husband especially when he runs a country. There can be noises made about corruption and internecine hanky panky. It’s risky to have that arrangement.”
“May I think on the offer a week or so, Shane. I sold my home, you know, and must find new lodgings and get settled again.”
“Of course you can, Maury. Betty tells me you are living with Bertram Baboon for the time being. How is that working for you?” He gave a slight chuckle as he said this.
“I am something of a loner, especially now. Bertram and I have a long history but all the more reason not to live there,” I giggled.
“So true, Maury, I am delighted you are back. Take your time finding a home and if things get too touchy with Bertram, Betty and I have a shitload of empty rooms since all of our offspring have gone their own ways being adults.”
I rang the doorbell at my mother’s showy mansion on the Mara River. An aging monkey answered the door. He had never seen me before this day, nor had I seen him.
.“I am Maurice, Mrs. Monkee’s son,” I announced.
He let me in without a word. As I entered the foyer, I realized that it was rather dank and sour of smell. I followed him into the back where Leila Monkee had usually sat in a rather large parlor facing the river. It took my eyes a few seconds to adapt to the dimness. There was mother in her usual chair. She looked more shrunken than I remembered. She did not rise to greet me. I gave her a kiss on her cheek which was rather damp and smelled of aging powder. I sat down in a chair close that had seen better days. It creaked with my descent sounding amazing like a whoopee cushion. I smiled slightly as if to say ‘that wasn’t me’.
“Maurice, your hair is hideous,” she stated.
“Glad to be back, Mother, I hope you are doing well.”
“I live alone now. My lover died. I have Boris who keeps house for me. He met you at the door.”
She rang a bell and Boris shuffled in.
“My son and I want tea, Boris”
My mother had not really changed at all. Beyond the frailty she was the same hard-bitten female that had scratched her way from India to Kenya, barely raising her offspring in the process. The tea came with Boris awkwardly serving it.
“I need to find you a wife, Maurice; you have obviously gone to pot. You look untidy.”
“I thought you knew that I was gay. After all I have been your son for many years now.”
I purposely slurped my tea in a loud fashion, almost sucking it into my mouth. Her mouth fell open.
“What has happened to my elegant son?” she screeched.
“I am no longer elegant but I am still a homosexual which pleases me greatly.”
I was obviously in a rebellious mood today but then my mother had always brought that out in me. I pushed back the thought that perhaps I was a bit mature to be too seditious.
“Mother, I want to hear all about your life and how you have getting along since my departure,” I said by way of a creating a gentler atmosphere in our rather belligerent meeting.
I drove toward the Watering Hole Condos. I had started out in that old and rather charming building and fancied a return. I reached my destination and got out, walking about the area. I gazed across the watering hole and saw the pub just a short walk away. I made my way to the rental office where I found a young jackal female sitting at the desk.
“What can I do for you?” she asked in friendly fashion.
“I lived here long ago. Are there any condos available here now?”
“Oh yes, we have one on the lower level that would be wonderful for you. It faces the watering hole.”
She had no doubt noticed my gray locks and decided that the second floor wasn’t correct for a monkey of my great age. She looked barely old enough to have left her mother’s teat but she was certainly savvy at her job. I wondered if she was kin to Jerrilyn Jackal but that I would ask later. She showed me a very nice condo, perfect for my needs.
“It needs painting,” I told her.
“We will do that. You can pick out your colors too,” she said brightly.
I was beginning to like her.
“I’ll take it,” I said. “Shall we go and sign a lease?”
“Oh, yes. It will only be my second lease. Thank you so much, sir.”
My fresh from the teat theory was to some extent correct, I mused.
“Maurice Monkee,” I told her.
“Let’s go back to the office and we’ll do the paper work, Mr. Monkee.”
Let’s and then I’ll take you to lunch at the Pub if you will be my guest,” I told her.
“Oh wow, I’d like that!”
The Watering Hole was jam packed with a colossal lunch crowd. Jill Jackal and I managed to get a table.
“Maurice Monkee,” squealed someone behind me. I turned to face Wally Warthog who gave me a hug that was as all enveloping as Shane Simba’s had been that morning.
I was really home again.