Picture a by sdaferv


									Picture a                                              By James Ashcroft
cave. A dark                                               Illustrated by
                                                          Darryl W. Funk
and secluded
cave amid
the trees
and ferns
of a tropical
rainforest. No
matter how hot it
may be outside, inside
our cave it stays cool. And
dry, too. And no matter how much it rains or snows...well, it’s not
going to snow in a tropical rainforest, but IF it did snow (that’s ‘if’
with a capital I F) the cave would stay nice and dry.
  This cave would not be easy to find, of course. In fact, if you
weren’t creating it in your mind’s eye right now, you’d probably
never find it.
  So, we have our cave. Now this cave is too small for a person.
But if you were a ‘kinkajou’, maybe even a ‘spelunking’ kinkajou,
you could squeeze through the opening and make your way down
the passageway past the stalactites. Or are those stalagmites?
Doesn’t matter. What would you see?
  Bats. Thousands of bats! Now don’t worry, these are fruit bats,
they’re not going to hurt you. Besides, they’re sleeping. But there
are thousands of ‘em! Thousands and thousands! Hanging every-
where. Anywhere there’s a spot to hang on the ceiling, there’s a
bat. You might think the goings-on inside a cave full of bats would
be rather interesting. Nope. They tend to sleep a lot. But out of
these thousands and thousands of sleeping bats, how are we to
pick out the hero of our story?
   Oh, there he is. The chubby one in the corner, snoring.
   So now that we’ve found Meep the bat, this is the part of the
story where we become a more passive audience and switch from
present tense to past tense. So sit back and enjoy the tale.
   By and by, the sleeping bats began to wake. It was getting dark
outside and the colony’s collective internal clock said it was time
to move. So they stretched and yawned and wiggled their wings
44 Zamoof!
about. Many ‘Excuse me’ and ‘Oh, I’m terribly sorry’ and ‘No
no, it was my fault entirely’ could be heard echoing through the
   You see, for a fruit bat living shoulder to shoulder with ten
thousand other fruit bats, politeness is a must. Soon the entire
colony was awake and flapping toward the exit. The entire colo-
ny, that is, except for Meep. He stayed behind and snored.
   The bats swarmed into the night air. A giant column of leathery
wings and clawed feet swirling to the sky. It was quite a sight
when the whole colony would head out to feed. Oh right. The
whole colony except, of course, for Meep. He remained, his tum-
my protruding slightly from his folded wings, comfortably hanging
upside down and sleeping. His eyes moved rapidly beneath closed
   Before long most of the bats had found a suitable fruit tree in
which to hang and eat. They set hungrily to their night’s work.
And still Meep snored. But even a bat
who loves sleep as much
as Meep can’t spend all
night dreaming in a
cave. His eyes flew
he muttered.
“Weird dream!”
He blinked and
scanned the
empty darkness.
He shivered. It’s a
strange thing for a
bat to be alone in a
cave. With a sigh he
dropped from the ceiling
and winged quickly towards the
outside world.
   As he emerged, the sounds and smells of the forest smacked
him in the face like a warm, wet towel. Night time is when a
                                       www.zamoofmag.com        45
tropical forest truly comes to life. All the nocturnal creatures
were out now. They yowled and screeched and grumbled and
groaned. It was as if Meep was showing up late for a Halloween
party where the music was blaring and the whole forest was say-
ing, “Meep! Where’ve you been? We’re just about to start the
breakdancing competition, you in? Oh here, try some of this spin-
ach dip! It’s amazing!” Meep ignored all this. The strange dream
was still fresh in his mind and he wanted to find someone to talk
to before it faded away.
  He took a swooping left and hurriedly flapped to the stand of
fruit trees where he knew he’d find all the other bats. After a
few minutes he located his good friend Beep happily devouring a
papaya. Meep settled in beside his friend and nodded.
  “Soooooo, what’s on the menu this evening?” Meep asked. “Oh,
fruit again, huh?”
  “Well, we are fruit bats,” Beep giggled. He offered Meep a half
eaten papaya.
  “Thanks,” Meep nodded. He took a bite. “You know, Beep,
there’s one thing I can’t under-
  “Like, why we do everything
hanging upside down?” Beep
  “Well, okay, two
things,” Meep said after
a pause. “But why is it
that you eat so much and
stay thin whereas I barely
touch my food and stay
so plump.” Meep prodded
his own belly.
  “I know,” Beep agreed.
“It’s pretty frustrating, I’ve
been trying to bulk up but it’s
not working.”
  “Hmmm,” Meep shrugged. “Oh,
hey, wanna hear about this crazy
46 Zamoof!
dream I had last night?”
  “Okay, first there was this kinkajou in our cave watching me
  “A spelunking kinkajou?” Beep asked dubiously.
  “I know, I know,” Meep said quickly, “but then I was dreaming I
was a vampire bat! It was amazing! I think it means something.”
  “What?” Beep asked.
  “Well, maybe I was meant to be a vampire bat. Not a fruit bat,”
Meep suggested.
  “You know,” Beep began, chewing his papaya thoughtfully, “this
sort of reminds me of the time when you dreamt you were a Venus
Fly Trap and then you spent a week sitting on a branch waiting for
bugs to fly into your mouth. Remember that?”
  “Bah,” Meep scoffed. “This is completely different.”
  “Uh huh,” Beep nodded slowly.
  “Look, Beep,” Meep implored, “don’t you ever get tired of eat-
ing papayas?”
  Beep stared at his friend as though Meep had just grown an ex-
tra nose, and then that new nose grew its own nose.
  “Uhm, nope,” Beep said. He let the mostly eaten papaya husk
fall and then grabbed a fresh fruit.
  “But just think of the freedom,” Meep exclaimed. “No more
being stuck in a tree eating boring old fruit. We’d be out there!”
He nodded his head in no particular direction. “Stalking our prey!
Really living, you know?”
  “Uh, we?” Beep asked. “And how, exactly, would you achieve
this miraculous transformation?”
  “Well,” Meep said slowly, realizing he hadn’t thought that far
ahead, “maybe I’d meet a vampire bat and they’d sort of, kind of,
teach me?”
  Beep stopped eating.
  “Look Meep,” he said earnestly, “we’re fruit bats. This is what
we do. We’re a vital part of the forest’s ecosystem. We eat fruit
and help the trees grow and in turn the trees provide us with
  “Yeah, yeah.” Meep waved a wing vaguely. He’d heard all this
                                       www.zamoofmag.com       47
 talk before. “I’m sure the trees would get along just fine without
    “Well, I dunno,” Beep muttered. He resumed the consumption
                                         of his papaya. Meep looked
                                            at his own three-fifths
                                               eaten piece of fruit.
                                                 All around him other
                                                 fruit bats hung in
                                                 branches eating
                                                 papaya. Was this it?
                                                 Did all he have to
                                               look forward to was a
                                           lifetime of eating various
                                       tropical fruits?
                                    “Blah,” he said quietly to the
  papaya, “I vant to suck your blood.” With a sigh, he took a bite
 and chewed listlessly. As he ate, his super sensitive ears constant-
 ly swiveled to pick up the various sounds from the trees around
 him. He’d never met a vampire bat before, but he knew they
 were out there, somewhere. Every once in a while he’d hear their
 distinctive squeaking through the trees. He looked over at Beep,
 who was happily munching on another papaya. Well, if he was go-
 ing to become a vampire bat, it was clear his friend would be no
 help. But how to get away without drawing too much attention?
 With an exaggerated stretch and a groan he said:
    “Well, I’m stuffed.”
    “You barely ate anything,” Beep noticed.
    “Ah, well, you know, I’m trying to slim down. Pants are fitting a
 bit tight these days,” Meep said, patting his belly.
    “You don’t wear pants,” Beep stated.
    “Ah, heheh, well, you know,” Meep mumbled hopelessly. “Uh,
 I’ll catch you back at the cave.”
    “Okay,” Beep muttered shaking his head, “see you later.”
    Meep dropped from the branch and flapped away. With his
 senses highly tuned for night flying, he began his search for some-
 one to teach him the ways of vampire battedness. z
                        (Continued in Next Issue)
48 Zamoof!

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