By overwhelming lack of demand, here's the previous story I wrote dealing with unnatural panda attraction that I mentioned last time. I don't know if it'll help to clear my name of any accusations in advance or just dig a deeper hole, though compared to that horrendous thing I posted earlier in the week, this one's actually quite... sweet? Alright, it's still bloody weird.
This was originally written to be part of a longer story, but as I was going through a New-Year-motivated period of ambition and arrogance at the time, I submitted this scene to the monthly Melting Pot sketch show at The Stand Comedy Club in Edinburgh, and was astonished when it was accepted.
It was an incredible experience to see people laughing at my stupid jokes, getting tense at the right moments and presumably wondering where the laughs were in the extremely long, pointless tangents I really should have taken out. It was performed by John MacIsaac and Vladimir McTavish, if you're familiar with their work, and they imbued it with more passion and humanity than it deserved. Thanks, guys!
(I just remembered you're not supposed to know it's about a panda or that ruins the whole point. So try to forget that).
SIMON, paranoid and somewhat eccentric.
PETE, the straight man.
A cramped, dark, dank, dungeonesque garden shed. Multiple locks are unbolted and SIMON and PETE enter, addressing the unseen MIKOMI.
SIMON: Good morning, Mikomi. Don't be frightened, it's just me and Pete. You remember Pete.
PETE: (Waves awkwardly) Hi.
SIMON: Damn, she hasn't been eating again.
PETE: (Points to stalks on floor). Why do you feed her this rubbish?
SIMON: It's all she'll eat. I tried bringing her fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, she just refuses to eat it. I think she might be depressed.
PETE: Yeah, I wonder why that could be? There's no nutrition in this at all, no wonder she looks so ill all the time.
SIMON: Do you think so?
PETE: And why's she naked, mate? We’re in the middle of the Scottish winter, this isn't her natural climate. And what’s going on here, you said were getting rid of these chains. (Points at chains)
SIMON: I tried, but then she tried to impale herself on the rake. I have to save her from herself as well as those who are after her.
PETE: (Sighs) You are so paranoid.
SIMON: They’re very real, Pete, and they possess almost limitless intelligence. You weren't there when me and Sambo found Mikomi in the mountains, shivering and alone–
PETE: Look mate, I appreciate that you think you're doing the right thing, but just come out of your head and think about it for a second. It's been three months, no one’s showed up asking for her, it’s just you and Mikomi. Think how this would look, if word got out. You’re a kidnapper.
SIMON: But only you and I know about it. So how could word get out?
PETE: It couldn’t. Yet. But you’re going to have to deal with this some day, and can you imagine the uproar when people find out? You’re like that Austrian bloke who locked his daughter in the cellar.
SIMON: How dare you compare me to Josef Fritzl! My relationship with Mikomi is based on compassion. And if it does, naturally, through the course of our friendship, evolve into anything more intimate, then that will be a completely consensual decision.
PETE: Alright, that’s it. I’ve been absurdly patient with you so far, but I did not hear that. I'm going.
SIMON: (Halts him) I love her, Pete!
PETE: Oh Jesus, please don't make this worse than it already is. Remind me why I’m your friend again?
SIMON: What’s so wrong with the idea?
SIMON: Well alright, I know it's not exactly conventional, but I was never one for mainstream tastes.
PETE: Mainstream tastes? We're not talking about a fucking Soundgarden album, Simon. This is illegal.
SIMON: Why? It’s not like I’m some kind of sick rapist. If Mikomi and I are both consensual–
PETE: How can you tell if she consents? She can't even speak English!
SIMON: We don't need language, it's instinct, Pete. Sometimes I sit in the dark and stare for hours into those big black eyes. It's like I can read her mind.
PETE: Is that why she backs into the corner every time you approach?
SIMON: That's just because you’re here.
PETE: Is it?
SIMON: (Pause) I don't understand, I saved her. I should be her hero, for god's sake.
PETE: It might not be personal, maybe she's just not... sexually mature yet?
SIMON: Of course she is, look at her. She's got to be at least four.
PETE: (Shakes head) I can’t believe we’re having this conversation. Maybe you'll just have to accept that you're both too different.
SIMON: Oh right, just because she's Chinese, we're too different?
PETE: No, because she's a fucking panda!
There is a pause.
SIMON: She should be grateful. I saved her from certain poaching.
PETE: Fighting fire with fire, that was your answer? All you’ve done is save her from her home in the wild, to be held prisoner in a shed by a beastophile.
PETE: What's the difference?
SIMON: Bestophilia refers to penetrative sexual acts only. We’re not even at first base yet.
PETE: So what's that make you? 'Zoocurious?'
SIMON: I don't know, what am I, the Zoopedia?
PETE: You’re like that bloke who died shagging the horse.
SIMON: I admire Kenneth Pinyan. He took a chance, against society’s bigoted taboos, to express his feelings of pure, equine love. We’re of a like mind, Ken and I. His was a beautiful love story, until his colon perforated.
PETE: Serves him right.
SIMON: Excuse me? Served him right for what? Receiving anal sex from a horse?
SIMON: Well obviously I wouldn’t do that. I’m not some kind of gay.
PETE: No, that would be unnatural, wouldn’t it? (Shakes head) Has it even crossed your mind that maybe Mikomi just isn't as sexually adventurous as you? What if she's only attracted to other pandas?
SIMON: I think that’s a bit far-fetched, Pete. Pandas are just notoriously difficult to turn on in captivity. I’ve tried dressing up. I even bought that David Attenbrough ‘Giant Panda’ DVD, with all the hot mating scenes. I was going to show it to her, to see if that got her going.
PETE: And did it?
SIMON: I didn't get that far. I had to watch it through beforehand, to check it was filthy enough, but when it got round to showing the actual mating... well, I couldn’t help visualising me and her, and I had a bit of a…
PETE: Jesus, Simon.
SIMON: Yeah, well... I couldn't show it to her after I’d sullied it like that.
PETE: So you admit it's weird what you're doing.
SIMON: Of course it's weird! I'm having erotic thoughts about a panda for Christ's sake! You don't think I'd noticed that wasn't normal? I clearly need help. But I love her, Pete! I've never felt this way about a human. I just saw her sitting there on her rock, chomping on a bit of bamboo, and I knew, just knew she was the one. You can’t rationalise these things. (Notices PETE’s attention drifting) Are you even listening? I’m sort of looking for counsel here, mate.
PETE: (Wakes) Yeah, sorry, I was just thinking though... if someone’s a bibliophile, that just means they like books, yeah?
SIMON: (Pause) Come on, let’s get some pizza.
Yes, that's actually the ending to this.
I'll try to show you something that isn't nearly five years old next time. It's come to this - dredging up tenuously linked artefacts from my old blog to plug holes in this one. You're witnessing a blog in its death throes.