I was in a carrel, perusing an exquisite volume of 18th century erotica, when the lights went out.
"Put that dirty book away," said the librarian. "And go home."
I left the athenaeum and walked to Gorilla Girl's tree house. Every night she performed a mournful dance, and I liked to watch from the shadows. Her silhouette appeared on the shade shortly after I arrived. As I crept closer, a twig snapped, and she ceased her gyrations. I tried to hide, but it was too late. Gorilla Girl leaped from her window, knocked me down, and mounted me atop the moss.
No one knew how Gorilla Girl had come to be in the woods, but the townspeople were determined to drive her away.
"Filthy ape!" they taunted. "Go back to the circus!"
The authorities, however, could find no legal means of expelling her. She clothed herself in public, refrained from chest thumping, and never defecated in the open. When walking the streets she was a respectful, if grotesque, citizen.
I was a pariah of a different sort. My appearance was normal, even appealing, but my reputation as an addict of pornography had preceded me into town. I'd been sent to live with my estranged father after Mother discovered my collection of sexual literature in the subbasement of our apartment complex. She was a cultured woman—a renowned oboist, Shakespeare scholar, and MENSA member—and refused to share a domicile with someone who hoarded erotic pamphlets.
So I packed up my dirtiest tidbits and headed for Father's house. Unfortunately, he turned out to be a cruel and hateful man, who loved to see me suffer.
"My pervert son is moving in," he told his neighbors. "Better keep the curtains down, eh?"
Throughout my final year of high school, the girls snubbed me and the boys smeared my locker with Vaseline. The same students who urinated on my clothes while I attended gym class would solicit me in private, begging me to sell them pornographic folios. I supplied half the male population of the school with masturbatory aid, yet none of them would acknowledge my presence in public.
Only Gorilla Girl knew the depths of my misery, and only I knew hers. Despite its violent beginning, our affair blossomed into a perfect union. Lovemaking was a soul balm, and the more we were together, the faster our wounds healed.
As I left the tree house at the conclusion of our couplings, Gorilla Girl would try to accompany me home. Of course, I resisted. Due to the intolerant atmosphere that surrounded us, I always assumed our relationship would remain a hidden one. Gorilla Girl disagreed—she wanted to flaunt our felicity in the faces of those who'd rebuffed her. In a moment of defiance, she broke free from our bower and burst into the road. As she ran towards me, I saw that her legs had grown longer, and that her arms had thinned.
We began to take daily strolls so Gorilla Girl could become accustomed to her new physique. One morning, Samuel Bowdoin drove by in his pickup truck and spotted us. He must have gone directly to City Hall, because within an hour the town was in an uproar. The council went to work, scanning law texts for expulsionary grounds, while the mayor held a press conference.
"Can't you get him on bestiality?" asked a reporter.
"No," answered the mayor. "That Gorilla Girl looks more human every day."
It was true. Gorilla Girl had shed her fur, revealing toffee-colored skin, and an undeniably attractive figure. Though her bodily evolution continued at a steady pace, she remained intellectually backward. Her lack of linguistic ability precluded literary training, so I began her education with movies like Gone with the Wind, My Fair Lady and The Taming of the Shrew. When she tired of the classics, I took her to a video store for some naughtier fare.
Inside, a matronly cashier waited on a woman. A girl ran up to the counter, waving a DVD.
"Oh, just one more, Mummy! Please, just this one!"
Her blonde curls bounced.
"All right," said the woman. "One more couldn't hurt."
The girl handed her a copy of The Lion King or some such refuse, and cried, "Oh thank you, Mummy!"
Gorilla Girl smirked, sensing my disgust.
"Look," I said to the cashier. "We've been standing here for ten minutes. I'd just like to know where you keep the gorilla porn."
"I beg your pardon?"
"Don't pretend to be shocked, and don't gawk at me like I'm subnormal. After all, you're the smut peddler, madam."
"I have no idea what you're talking about."
"I'll tell you what I'm talking about. I'm talking about men having sex with female gorillas, women performing fellatio on male gorillas..."
The woman suctioned her palms to her daughter's ears.
"Kindly direct me," I said, "to Simian Suckfest."
Gorilla Girl raised her middle finger and grunted with delight.
"I'm going to ask you to leave," said the cashier. "And I hope I don't have to involve the police."
She was entirely calm, which enraged me all the more.
"If you'd like us to go, we will," I said. "But first I'd like to know what goes on behind that green door."
"The janitor's closet?"
"Awfully small shop to employ a janitor, isn't it? More likely we'll find your husband back there. Or your son the spanker, eh?"
She stared at me like a lobotomized sow.
"This has grown tiresome," I said. "You, madam, are a bore, and not worth another minute of our time."
We were about to exit when I heard the rapid "blah blah blah, blah blah blah, blah blah blah blah blah" of female voices behind us. When I saw that the little girl's ears were uncovered, I let loose again:
"Hey sweetums, did you ever see Baboon Buttslammers? How about Ape Orgy 6?"
The women gasped, and we went out chuckling.
Gorilla Girl's arms and hips were still somewhat bulky, but she had developed magnificent breasts. I dressed her in fine new clothes, and men began to take notice:
"Who is that woman in the ivory cloche? There, in the lavender gown?"
I was deeply in love, and wondered if Gorilla Girl felt the same. One night as we were leaving a beer garden, I pinned her against the wall. She unzipped my pants, grinning.
"No," I said. "It isn't that. It's that I love you. I love you, Gorilla Girl."
She slid downward.
"Please understand. I love you."
Her mouth swept across my genitals, and I yielded to her insistent lips.
If, during the first part of this narrative, I have slighted my father—if he has remained a shadow—it is for good reason. He was a sexual deviant with a taste for strange women. The prostitutes he favored had webbed feet and extra digits, hairy backs and protruding brows. So, when he began to question me about Gorilla Girl, my apprehension was more than justified.
I came into the kitchen that morning to find him masturbating over a photograph of Susan B. Anthony. He started to moan, then stopped and said, "Hold on. I think I'm gonna save this one."
I got some cereal and sat down.
"So," he said. "I hear you're humping the missing link."
"Would you mind closing your robe?"
He lit a cigarette and belched smoke in my face. "They say gorillas have more control over their vaginal musculature than any other mammal. I thought maybe you could verify that, boy. That is if you've ever fucked any other mammals."
"Why the sudden interest in my affairs?"
"I was just thinking maybe we ought to have your gorillafriend over to dinner, so I could get to know her. What do you say? I'll run into town and pick up a nice banana cream pie."
His pecker pronged up, and fury overtook me.
"She's never coming anywhere near this Godforsaken place! You're a dirty, drunken sex offender, and you won't get within fifty feet of Gorilla Girl. Do you hear me?"
"Sure," he said. "I hear you all right. And I'm real scared too. I'm so damn terrified I think I need a drink."
He went over to the cupboard, opened a bottle of gin, and cringed sarcastically in the corner.
"You better have one too," he said. "You look like you might just kill somebody."
Some days later, I went to the tree house to meet Gorilla Girl. She wasn't there, so I waited, eventually nodding off. When I awoke, distant music filled the air. It had a primitive pulse—the sort of soundtrack that might accompany a human sacrifice.
I climbed down and ran straight to Father's house. Inflatable palm trees were dispersed about the kitchen, and a half-consumed pineapple sat on the table. The mood-music grew more and more intense. Tom-toms thumped, monkeys whined and macaws screeched. The hypnotic beat pulled me into the rumpus room, where I saw what I most feared: Gorilla Girl atop my father, moving rhythmically, slapping against his thighs.
"Oooh," she moaned. "Ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh!"
I ripped open the cabinet and grabbed Father's loaded .38. The bongos built to a feverish crescendo as I cocked the hammer. Gorilla Girl saw me and laughed.
"Don't stop now," said Father. "He likes to watch!"
I dropped the pistol and ran out of the house.
The next day Gorilla Girl moved in with Father. Humiliated, I withdrew to the tree house. I was alone in the world once again, and the love nest where I had known so many happy hours became my chamber of tortures. Crippled by despair, I ate nothing for weeks, and began to waste away. I might well have perished, had not an accident intervened. I arose from the planks one day and began to descend the ladder. Halfway down, my foot slipped and I plummeted, landing hard on a root. The blow awakened my will to survive.
"As God is my witness, they're not going to defeat me," I said. "I'm going to live through this, and when it's all over I'll never be hungry again."
From my booth in the back of the tavern, I listened to Jim Glendinning play his guitar. The sorrowful chords rang out and he sang in a gruff Scottish brogue:
"I wander today to the hills, Maggie
To watch the scene below...
The creek and the creaking old mill, Maggie
Where we used to roam long ago."
The door banged open and Gorilla Girl stumbled through, clinging to Father. She was wearing a tight pink dress with black polka dots and a low bust. She slid her hand under his shirt and prodded his belly.
"Ho!" chortled Father. "Stop it... oh!"
When he saw me, his face contorted with mirth. I raised my glass.
"Well doggies," he said. "Would you look at this?"
Gorilla Girl started to open her mouth, but he placed a finger over her lips.
"First we dance," he said.
He fed the jukebox and the room exploded with horns. Gorilla Girl shimmied. He gave her a spin.
"Twist, twist, senora," went the chorus. "Twist all around."
Father whispered something in her ear, and when the verse started, she sang along:
"I want a pritty girl to ass-ist me. Come with me on a twist spree!"
She stuck her tongue out and jiggled her breasts.
After the song ended, she sat down and said, "Sorry." Not a trace of her gorilla qualities remained. I finished my whiskey and stood.
"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a—"
But I stopped. The truth was that I did give a damn, and that I was sorry too. Sorry for what Gorilla Girl had become. I made my exit. Dusk was invading the street, and when Father thrust his head out the door, I could scarcely discern his vile features.
"I love her," he said. "And I've never loved anyone!"
As I passed through the alley, I took a final look in the tavern window. Gorilla Girl was standing at the bar, massaging Samuel Bowdoin's neck.