FRI11:30AM20MAY2011

Giraffe

I don’t know much about giraffes, so what can I say? I believe their color is yellow, or gold and tan like the factory stock coffee cups from the corner store. Also, they have spots of brown for camouflage as I learned from The Just So Stories.
If I were to touch my giraffe its fur would be coarse like a worn-down welcomemat, and it would bend its long neck to investigate my hand with animal sincerity. Its lips would be soft and doughy like a wet velvet balloon filled with flour.
A giraffe is very tall, I would suppose. Even not including its neck, which makes up much of its height, it would be as tall as my chest.
The fur is short, and beneath, I can see its muscles, tight and quivered under my palm.
When it runs, it balances its neck against the momentum by swaying it forward and then back and it turns by crossing its forelegs across its hind and hunching into the movement. Its long head stalk moves toward the new direction first, instigating and then exacting the trajectory.
Where they live it’s very hot and so they must nestle in the shade of what trees they can find. Like laying cows they state off at the show of passing time and busy themselves by switching their little tails against the swarms of tiny insects and swooning their necks to lick their giraffe companions behind the ears.
My giraffe is constantly alert. Keeping its head above the horizon not just for the greener leaves that the squat creatures can’t reach, but to watch for the ripple movement of cats in the tall beige grasses. When there are too many giraffes crowding mine, it rears up, cleverly climbing its forehooves against a tree trunk to reach even the leaves that the rear hadn’t thought to. My giraffe might get fat from being so clever an eventually would be slowed in a chase when the cats come hungry. It would run, as I’ve shown, kicking dust from the plains in chubby clouds when it turned, but the leanstarving cat would pounce and bite tightly into the meat of my giraffe’s neck.
A sound that it makes, like a squawking deer, very loud and sad and it would fall onto its hind knees first under the cat’s weight and then the others in the pride would be on it as well. They would pull it to the ground, fat rippling in the muscle and it would coil its neck up like a snake, but pathetic and at last it would be dead when the cats split its clever gut.
The other giraffes would watch from a good distance, aghast, poking their little heads above a further horizon, and some would be sad and some would be glad that they hadn’t been so clever, but still others would say:
“We knew about the higher leaves–he wasn’t so smart–but we were watching our figures. Hungry cats have a vicious head start.”

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