[ Yesterday I was discussing with my best friend Erika that Tanim and Daren are being stubborn right now; they want attention (especially when I’m doing something that doesn’t involve them, like reading) but when I sit down to write they won’t cooperate. She suggested I force them to do something they wouldn’t want to do in retaliation, something normal folk might do, and when I said “like go to the zoo?” it all went wonderfully downhill from there. The following is Erika’s idea of just what might happen when my boys try to be normal for once. You know it’s going to be good, because the last story she wrote about them was fucking hilarious. Her straight forward style works so well in these situations. Enjoy! ]



Tanim and Daren Go to the Zoo

One day Tanim was helping Daren nurse a wound he had received in a particularly nasty fight they had got into while getting groceries at the local grocery store. Daren had tried to kiss him in public which had made him uncomfortable, and then in turn offended Daren. Needless to say it ended up with a large cleanup of broken glass and blood on Aisle 6. They escaped just as the police arrived to escort one of them to a mental clinic.

“Why do we do this to ourselves every time? I mean, we are so dysfunctional! We can’t even hold it together while we are getting groceries! Why can’t we just be a normal couple?” Tanim complained as he was dressing Daren’s wounds.

“Darling – it’s just not in our nature…we seem destined for the same dysfunctional routine. Always caught in a cycle of destruction.” Daren paused. “Sometimes I feel as though our lives are just being written for us by some sick minded soul….but I know that sounds crazy.”

“I get the same feeling sometimes!” Tanim agreed. “You know what? Fuck this! This is dumb, we are the holders of our destiny and I want to just do something normal, have just one normal day. That’s all I am asking for.”

“Yeah, but…what do normal people do?”

They both thought about it a moment before Tanim said, “I know…we will go to the zoo!”

“The zoo…?”

“Yeah! The zoo! Normal people do it all the time! Or at least, I’m pretty sure. I think I have a vague memory of my mother taking me to one once. It was the closest thing I have ever felt to being a normal family.”

“Well alight then! The zoo it is. Tomorrow will be a totally normal day. Just two people hanging out at the zoo…”


The next day Tanim and Daren got up early and took the tram to the zoo, a picnic basket in hand. It was a great day to go to a zoo, sunny but not too hot on a lovely Saturday morning. Tanim and Daren felt so totally normal. When they got to the zoo the lines were bustling, kids were happily running around, and couples walked hand in hand.

“Where should we go first?” asked Tanim

“Um… let’s go see lions. I have always admired lions and have never been to see them.”

“Lions it is then!”

Tanim and Daren headed off to the large cat area of the zoo.

“Isn’t this great?” said Daren. “Don’t you feel just so normal?”

“Yeah! We are not making a scene, killing each other, being angsty or sexual or anything! Just having a good old time at the zoo!”

“Hey, let’s get some ice cream before we head to the lions!”

“Great idea!”

Tanim and Daren stopped at an ice cream cart to buy some ice cream. Tanim ordered strawberry for himself and chocolate for Daren.

“I’m sorry, we are out of chocolate,” said the clerk.

“Out of chocolate?” Daren choked. “OUT of chocolate…?”

This day… was supposed to be perfection… why must life torture me at every turn?

“HEY! HEY! STOP THAT!” Tanim yelled. “There will be NO italics in this day; do not start getting all angsty on me for stupid shit, Daren, we are a normal family today goddammit.”

“Okay, okay.” Daren stuck his tongue out. “Jeeze, you don’t have to yell at me in public, Mr. I-Don’t-Want-To-Make-Scenes. Okay, I’ll just get vanilla and we will head to the lions. We are still being normal.”

Feeling a bit shaken up but determined to have a LOVELY day at the zoo, Tanim and Daren headed over to the lion enclosure.

“Wow… look how majestic they are, Daren,” Tanim commented. “They are so beautiful. Do you think they are happy here? Such big beasts like that being in a caged environment? It just seems so…”

“HEY, LION!” yelled a rather plump kindergartner who appeared as though he had used his ice cream as a face cream, and was using the remainder to finger paint ice cream on the glass. “DO SOMETHING!! HEY. HEY. HEY. HEY. HEY. HEY LION. LION LION LION. HEY.” The kid banged on the glass, attempting to startle the lion into doing something entertaining.

Tanim froze; he could feel it welling up inside him, hot, spreading from the pit of his stomach, into his limbs, up his throat…

Free the beast…

Looking over, Daren could see Tanim’s eyes had glazed over.

“Shut up, kid! Don’t talk to animals like that,” Daren hastily yelled.

“EXCUSE ME? Don’t talk to my angel like that. He can talk to a lion however he feels!”


The mother and Daren spun around to see Tanim hacking away at a small metal gate to the lion den with a crow bar.


Free the beast…

“Okay…” Daren edged closer. “Um, Tanim… remember, we are supposed to be being normal. Come on now… put the crow bar down… This was your idea remember? Tanim, look at me. Seriously, you are going to let a lion loose in the zoo? Just think about that for a moment.”

But before Tanim could stop and think he swung the crow bar hard into the lock on the metal gate, which broke the lock and swung straight into some sort of metal pipe. Liquid and gasses started to rapidly escape. Fortunately, this seemed to snap Tanim out of whatever mental breakdown he was having.

“SHIT! What did I do? Oh my god… I ruined our zoo day…” Tan’s lip started to quiver.

“Hey… hey… it’s alright… maybe we just need to practice…it’s okay, Tanim,” Daren said, trying to be comforting. “Here, have a couple puffs of a cigarette and then let’s get the hell out of here.”

“Good idea…” Tanim lit up his cigarette but before he could smoke it two men in uniforms started to shout and run at them from a distance.

“Forget the cigarette, Tanim, we have to go!”

Tanim quickly threw the cigarette on the ground and started to make a run for it when–

BANG!!!! There was an explosion, taking out the gate and half of the wall to the lion enclosure. Flame quickly started to spread to all the liquid that had spilled on the ground and started engulfing the nearby shrubbery.

Both Tanim and Daren had been knocked of their feet and were on the ground.

“Daren, get up! We seriously need to get the fuck out of here!”

Daren arose just in time to see a large 350 pound lion emerge from the smoke and fire.

By now there were screams erupting and fire spreading rapidly. Tanim helped Daren get up and they started to hobble as fast as they could toward the exit. When they were a good distance away Tanim looked over his shoulder to look upon the zoo in flames, two lions waiting for the plump child and his mother to come down from a tree. Then Tanim looked over at Daren, who had his arm around Tanim’s, helping support both of them to safety.

“You know what…” Tanim said suddenly. “Fuck being normal! I don’t even know why I wanted to be normal in the first place. Yeah, thinking in italics and being angsty all the time can get tiring… but being normal is just so….boring.”

“Yeah! I agree! So what if we are doomed no matter what we do? At least we won’t be like that annoying child and his annoying mother! She was all like ‘EXCUSE ME!’” Daren grinned. “You looked so hot swinging that crowbar too…”

“Really? I don’t even know where I got it from! It just like appeared out of nowhere. It’s just like someone WANTS us to go bat shit crazy all the time!”

“I know what you mean! Our lives could be like a series of short stories or something… they are THAT fucked up.”

“I know, right? Well, at least you are here with me to share in the fucked -up-ness.”

“I’ll always gladly share in the fucked-up-ness with you, Tanim,” Daren said lovingly as they limped away from the burning, horrific scene behind them.

The End


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