Where to start- the chimp, the elephant, the poodles.
Lets have the chimp first shall we.
The chimp was large with matted fur and was stored in a wooden box 6ft high, solitary confinement.
The chimp was in a cage inside a large wooden box, the top vertical plank missing so that to him his world was a dark box with a sliver of light facing the sky his only view, food was thrown in over to him.
The chimp was irreparably insane.
A large, debilitating hunk of heel was missing from the head trainer and so said irreparably insane chimp languished.
The reason I could see him was that I was on stilts and tall enough to look down at him. The white faced, black helmeted pantomime was the only contact the mad monkey had.
The shaft of light would frame his maniacal countenance (Do forgive, mad monkeys get me all hyperbolic)
He would bear his stained teeth exposing pale gums and fix you with a stare that conveyed perfectly the depth of his hell while slowly and forcefully clapping.
A slow clap that got faster and faster and then stopped all whilst unflinchingly glaring.
This was, I was told. part of his old act.
I didn’t like his new act at all, he was trying far too hard.
The poodles numbered about fifteen. If you synthesized their collective brains and put them in a body of, lets call it a super poodle, the intelligence of this individual would still see it good for nothing more than incessant barking and frantic overactivity that was harnessed for precisely 4 minutes a day,(8 on weekends)
spending the rest of its day staining on its lead and yapping unrelentingly.
Of course if you add a three meter stilt loping giant into the midst of 15 already hyperventilating poodles what can you expect, certainly not a settled backstage before entry into the big tent. What with the poodles cacophony and the insane chimps clapping and dreadful stare, what more could you possible endure.
Oh look over there in a tent at the end, its an elephant, lets totter over and have a look.
I was warned about the elephant, ‘Never trust the elephant.’ I was told.
Setting out to prove that one man can make a difference I walked in my strange elongated form up to the opening in the tent, determined to trust the elephant.
The elephant swayed in perpetual boredom , one leg tethered by chain to a peg in the ground. I knew that as babys, elephants were trained by pegging and as adults, could easily dislodge the chains but programming ran so deep they ceased to question the strength of their bonds, (and these are some of the sorts of personalities I’m forced to work with.)
I approached the elephant cautiously, slowly and with my hand outstretched.
The elephant stretched also and we met hand to nostril, tentative, or so I thought.
It coiled it’s trunk slyly around my arm and started dragging me slowly, yet with purpose, towards itsself while looking directly, unflinchingly, into my eyes, a gaze I feared and wrenched, at the last possible moment, my arm away.
Its whole demeanor seemed to shrug, looking underwhelmed, denied its chance to excel.
The elephant had called my bluff, wanting me a blood soaked pulp and should it been able to disguise it in a fit of pique, I,m sure it would have ground me into the surrounding dung.
I stood back trusting nothing, man or beast.Being yapped at by the poodles, grinned at and generally freaked out by the chimps insanity and to have a real sense that the elephant wanted to kill me was enough to tell me this was no ordinary gig.
But wait...theres more.
Every morning, unheeded, I would in my bed , be vacuumed around by Japanese maids, they would bang their attachments noisily against my very bedlegs as I continued to feign unconsciousness.
They were abominable.
--You do not exist, westerner, you lie in your bed and we ignore your very existence and clean round you, welcome to our world.-(maniacal subvocal laughter)-
Meanwhile inside my mind--You do not exist cleaners,- you brandish your attatchments but you impress me not a jot. I am your guest and yet you treat me like lint- begone foul unintelligible crones.
(and these are some of the sorts of personalities I’m forced to work with.)
I was the only non Phillipino in the cast, And the only person in Japan it seemed who slept past midday.
I did the gig for ten days, Japan can be guarrenteed to inspire and revolt in equal measure. I’m due some inspiration.