Never ending story of The Jungle started by Teresa Grabs….
Sweat dripped from the tip of Matthew’s nose as he paused under a kapok tree, scanning the thick jungle floor for ants. He didn’t want to go through that experience again.
“Come along, Mr. Howard,” the guide called, waving his arms. “Camp is just a few more kilometers.”
Matthew sighed and wiped his face with his sleeve. Go find yourself, they said. Travel the world, they said. You’ll have a great time, they said. He groaned as a howler monkey sounded in the distance setting off a cacophony. Sudden movement by his foot startled him. “What in the devil is that?”
Crawling out from under a large fern, a small creature with long brown and white fur paused and looked up at Matthew.
“Hey, Carlos!” He waited for a response. “Carlos! Guide! Hey!” No response. The jungle that engulfed him had suddenly become very quiet. Nothing stirred except his imagination and growing concern that he was now lost in the rain forest, surely to be eaten by a stray jaguar or wayward tiger. “This isn’t a movie, man.” He chuckled and glanced back toward the ground where the creature was only to gasp when he saw …
when he saw that it had grown quite a bit in that short time. It was looking inquiringly at him. It’s large anime type eyes giving him the feeling as if it was understanding what was going through Mathew’s mind at that moment. Mathew started to feel as if he was in a dream world. It cannot happen in real life, he thought. This is a jungle, not a Hollywood movie set. Just then the creature started blinking its eyes in a rapid, Morse code-like manner while pointing towards a clearing in the vegetation. “What the hell!” He thought and started following the creature. The guide was nowhere to be seen anyway.
In a while, they reached a circular clearing in the jungle, over-hung with thick rope-like tree vines. The creature gestured with its eyes and limbs for Mathew to climb up the tree, using one of the vines. When he reached the thick branches, he found a platform had been built there and more of the creatures roaming about there.
Tentatively he landed on the platform testing its strength. It felt solid enough to bear his weight. Mathew was not sure that he was in a dream or reality and made another crazy decision.
Using gestures and simple words he asked his new guide what was happening and where he was. To his intense astonishment……..
….astonishment the being spoke in crisp English tones. “You are in a place. A place of sights and sounds…” the being recited the entire opening spiel to “Twilight Zone” (the retro TV version with Rod Serling). Matthew stared and wondered about the efficacy of that sketchy burrito he’d had for lunch. It was all the economy fare airline offered and he had been hungry, but really? What had they laced that thing with? A little LSD? The striped creature’s eyes boggled. It shook its head, a little sadly. He could almost hear it thinking “What a sad thing man is. No trust. No imagination..” Maybe this WAS the ‘Twilight Zone’. Except with humidity. And a lot of lush plant life.
Matthew started for the vine ladder to exit this surreal castle in the sky. The brown and white furry creature with the googly eyes moved swiftly in front of him and the rest of the herd (?) surrounded him in a tightly knit circle. They all shook their heads in a NO! gesture. Synchronized. Matthew almost expected them to leap into an intricate ballet and Esther Williams to appear, water dancing her way …………….
Matthew shook his head vigorously, causing a small ripple of dismay in the creatures and a widening of the tight circle that surrounded him. “Okay then, I’ll stay!” he exclaimed, “But you have to tell me WHAT YOU WANT! Can you take me to your leader at least?!” The beasts/creatures all pointed at the first googly eye that Matthew had encountered. It smiled, which was creepy, given it had a snout instead of a mouth exactly… There was a loud CRASH and all the heads turned (in synchronized motion obviously)…Matthew leapt up and turned around rapidly to see…
This is where Di picked up the story………….
a huge hand snaking into the tree top from above where he and his new companions were situated.
The creatures bolted leaving him alone to face the music. Those searching fingertips were getting dangerously close.
Matthew had no weapons and did the only thing he could think of when the hand closed around him.
He opened his mouth as wide as he could and brought his teeth down hard.
The bellow was like nothing he had ever heard in his life as he was immediately released. He slid awkwardly down the vine to the relative safety of the jungle floor and out of reach, even if it was only likely to be temporary.
He had an audience as he tried to catch his breath and slow his rampant heartbeat. The creatures stood in awe and started to bow at their saviour, chanting something which he hoped was his name in their native language.
Matthew was both embarrassed and pleased at his new status, but knew there was more to this scenario than met the eye. His jaw hurt and he could taste blood, but wasn’t sure if he’d jarred a tooth loose or it was that of the hand he’d bitten. Either way his head started to spin and he felt himself falling.
The creatures gathered around him and before he knew it, he was lifted up on hundreds of shoulders like some kind of Gulliver and carried further into the jungle where…………………
Now it became my turn…..
the googly eyed creatures placed Matthew on a fire ant mound and told him that if he could spend the night there that they would follow him forever. Matthew said, “I am not looking for any stinking followers and how the hell did I get talked into visiting the jungle. I feel like John McClane when he went out to the coast to have a good time and he ran into Hans Gruber. I feel like Indiana Jones when he was thrown into that pit with all the snakes and I told Carlos that I hate ants and fire ants are the worst.” Just then Carlos the guide showed up with bug spray and said, “You are a very good sport Mr. Howard, thanks for going along with this and if you have to blame anybody, your brother told me to do this.”
Matthew said, “That dirty rat bastard, I should have known he was pranking me back for what I had done to him in Tahiti last year with those men I paid to dress up like cannibals. I am not done with him yet and revenge is a dish best served cold, so I will get back at him no matter how long it takes and he will regret ever messing with me. Carlos, did you bring any ointment with you for the fire ant bites?” Carlos said, “Yes but while it will help with your itching, it also contains fermions that attract wild monkeys.” Matthew said, “Just give it to me” and then…..
I will see if Paula Light wants to continue the story from here.