Mavis says they’re well past mating age. What with Ringo and Cilla, they’ve done their bit. So they should stop doing beastly things and making animal noises every Saturday night.
Tbh, Geoffrey has also lost the taste for that activity. His wife looks more and more like a sea-lion. Or hippo. Or boa constrictor. It’s the whiskers, the rolls of fat, the beady eyes.
Geoffrey has spent 26 years as senior keeper at the zoo. Today he retires. He isn’t sad. He doesn’t enjoy hosing piss or shovelling shit, or even feeding the sad animals locked up far from home.
On the other hand, from tomorrow he’ll be cooped up with Mavis.
Patrolling the zoo for the last time. Geoffrey unlocks all the cages and ushers their inmates to freedom. Monkeys, llamas, parrots, toucans. The albino leopard. Polar bears from their fibre-glass ice-scape, brown bears from their concrete pit. Only the sloth refuses to budge. And the koala, hugging tight to her favourite tree.
Finally, after smashing glass to release the reptiles and insects from their vivaria, Geoffrey padlocks himself in the empty gorilla pen and hurls his pass key into the adjacent penguin pool.
Smart in their evening dress, the pool’s last inmates are already waddling towards the exit, stalked by flamingos in party pink. The hyenas pad behind, laughing for real today.
Geoffrey will be famous now. There will be stories in the papers, news segments on TV. Lions and elephants and giraffes will roam the streets, tarantulas will creep into homes and bite people, snakes will slither into sofas.
And if a serpent or spider doesn’t do for Mavis, if she isn’t trampled by a rhino or savaged by a tiger, then maybe she’ll bring bananas to the zoo and poke them through his bars.