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The Art

exhibitions:
Creatures of the Hour
Peculiar Beasts
A Woodland Recital
The Pumpkin Gang
Pandacorn Park
Flombagoo
Animalopolis
The Nym Nums
March of the Fat Babies
books:
The Nym Nums: The Book >
selected works :
Series I
Series II
 
organics:
Kore
Swoon
Dead Rose Red

 

Charlie Tiger Goes Team Electric
A Sample Story from the Nym Nums. Written by Michael Sasi


Robert’s grade three class had a special assignment this month. They would be teamed up with professionals and exchange several letters like pen pals over traditional post. This exercise would expose them to industry, it was explained to his parents, while improving their letter writing skills. Robert was excited because he wrote in one of his earlier journal entries about how he liked animals and was paired with Charlie Tiger from the zoo!

Dear Charlie Tiger: My name is Robert. I live in New York City. What’s your job like? I like animals and shooting them with guns. Yours Truly, Robert.

Dear Robert: When will it end? I’m referring to the chaffing of my uniform, naturally. It chafes and itches like you wouldn’t believe. The skin on my thighs is moist and red and tender. I never wanted much. I only wanted to have a bath, before they brought me here and put me in this job…this cage. Now I’m just another screwball in the Electric Happy Face Machine, but that’s okay, I guess. There are worse things. If you haven’t heard of them—if they keep you in a cave or a dark closet over there on Long Island—they’re the company that made your washing machine. Well, turns out they also own the zoo. My manager, he rings the bell and they come, the people flock to me like I’m Ganesha. They come from all over to touch me. I’m nice to touch, so I understand, but sometimes they lick me, and sometimes I like it and sometimes I don’t.

Dear Charlie Tiger: Guess what? My dad owns stocks in Electric Happy Face Corporation. So in a way I kind of own you! Isn’t that funny? I like your name. It’s funny, too. I bet you’re really funny and annoying. I won’t shoot you Charlie Tiger. Where are you from? Do people feed you peanuts? Sincerely, Robert.

Dear Robert: You know what’s funny, Robert? I don’t think it will ever end. I’m so tired, and every day it’s the same damn thing. I have no identity. I wake up. I put on the uniform. I don’t know why I go back…I guess it’s comfortable. There’s a bar across my platform that suggests they shouldn’t touch me. It says: Don’t Touch the White Elephant. But they do it anyway. I’m not from here originally. I’m actually the only one like me on the face of the planet. I’m from the Arctic and I came to Chicago on an airplane. Comes with us, he said, the man with the bell. Comes with us and we’ll bring the world to you. What do I have to do? I asked him. Oh, not much. They might pat your back or tickle your toes. Maybe you’ll like it, he said. Some people like having their backs patted. I was naïve, Robert. I was really naïve. No one is allowed to feed me peanuts anymore, sadly. It was like my one joy in life.

Dear Charlie Tiger: I’m glad you’re on our team. You’re rock and roll. This is my last letter because it’s the end of the exercise. If I’m in Chicago and we stop by the zoo, maybe we’ll come see you after the monkeys, if we have time. How many years can you live for? Yours Truly, Robert.

Dear Robert: I give and I give and then they take what I’ve gotten. The abdominoplasties. The augmentations. They put a window on my stomach with a door, so that the people can see inside me, and not in the way you’re seeing inside me now. They replaced my hind legs with wheels. They dyed my hair. They keep telling me this is the last one, the last surgery. Then I will be perfect. It’s a business of sadness, Robert. I haven’t lived in a long time. Good luck with your studies. I really only wanted to have a bath.