Elijah and the Lion

Let me tell you about the lion, first off. Elijah was ten and there in a mall near his parents’ second home in Connecticut, was a very large “lion cub” – they called it, there in a cage waiting for someone with guts and cash to pay to have their photo taken with a real live lion. Elijah always had pretty open-minded parents, and that day was no different. So into this huge circle of a cage he went clutching his $8. Had two Instamatic photos taken smiling to beat the band. Didn’t want to let go. There were two men and one man walks over and takes the lion back which even at ten years old Elijah realized may have been drugged because it was “awful sleepy.” Elijah didn’t think he looked too swell in the pictures, but thought the lion “rocked out!” He always thought he’d grow up and work in a zoo with lions. But he realized by fifteen that he just wanted to own his own. By the time he was forty-five, he’d had enough of doing all the right things in respectable jobs. So he moved to California and has two lions now on his own reserve. Five hundred good acres that he “picked up for a song.” He’s in talks to buy more land. He’s got a gal of twenty-five, he calls Queenie who is a honey of a thing. Turns out she’s open-minded like his parents had always been. Elijah told his story on local television recently. This gets me. He says to the camera, “Now if we’re talking’ wild, you gotta meet Queenie.” And it’s an old gag between ’em. He pulls her over and she gives him an open-mouthed kiss. That TV station gets its highest ratings in years.