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ENOUGH EXCITEMENT TO LAST A LIFETIME

Short story By: Philip Roberts
Thrillers



A millionaire playboy complains he can't get any excitement anymore. In Australia he gets enough excitement to last a lifetime.


Submitted:Dec 19, 2010    Reads: 30    Comments: 0    Likes: 0   


Day Two
Shaun Curry opened his eyes. "Jesus!" he said, blinking at the blinding sunlight
As he started to sit up a series of small atomic explosions went off inside his head.
"Oh, Lord!" he moaned, clutching at his head as he started to roll over....
Only to cry out again, clutching at his back as sabre blades of pain lanced through his spine. "Oh Christ, what was I drinking?" he moaned.
* * *
Day One
Shaun Curry stood by himself near the Swanston Street entrance of the smoke-filled public bar. He nursed a schooner of Australian beer in his left hand, while staring toward the gaggle of drinking, laughing, swearing men at the bar a few metres away.
Shaun looked toward the happy men enviously, wishing there were some way for him to break the ice with them. He took a small sip, grimaced at the strong hops taste, which Aussie apparently liked, but which Shaun found overwhelming. He now regretted his decision not to join an official tour of the country. But he had wanted to get out and meet -- and hopefully become pals with --real Australians. 'And what better place to meet them than in an authentic Aussie pub?' he thought.
Taking another sip, Shaun grimaced again, as he looked round toward the large glass covered painting on the wall to his left. "So this is the famous `Chloe'?" he said to no one in particular.
"Yes, that's her," said a booming Aussie voice behind him.
Looking round, Shaun saw an archetypal sun-bronzed Aussie male: tall, well muscled and fiercely blond. The exact opposite of Shaun, who was five foot six, with short black hair and almost anorexically thin.
"A bit of a let down, isn't she?" said the Aussie, who introduced himself as Gary Parker.
"I don't know," Shaun said, feeling obliged to defend the Aussie icon, although at heart he agreed. He winced at the power of the Aussie's grip as they shook hands.
"Just look at that pasty white complexion," insisted Gary. "I've seen ghosts with a more natural pallor. As for her figure, talk about straight-up-and-down, even fashion models have more curves than her."
* * *
Day Two
Shaking his head tentatively in a bid to clear it, Shaun Curry tried to remember what else had occurred the day before. He knew they had done some solid drinking. First Aussie beer, then later American Coors as Shaun tried to convince Gary of the superiority of the U. S. product.
* * *
Day One
Gary Parker grimaced at the taste of the lukewarm U. S. beer. Realising his new mate was waiting for a comment, finally he said, "Not too bad, I suppose."
"Told you you'd like it," began Shaun.
"If you like warm mud, that is," said Gary with a laugh.
At the other end of the long, black-marble topped bar, half a dozen drinkers snickered at the joke. Shaun blushed with embarrassment, but tried half-heartedly to join in the merriment.
* * *
Day Two
Finally his headache began to abate -- the nuclear explosions reduced to bass drum intensity -- and Shaun was able to open his eyes carefully and look up. To see the clear, blue sky overhead.
"Jesus, what am I doing sleeping outdoors?" he wondered aloud.
'Maybe I was rolled?' he thought. He started to reach for his wallet in the back pocket of his jeans, when a shadow passed overhead, blocking out the sunlight.
Looking up, he saw a tall, powerfully built man, blocking out the sun, holding something in his hands. At first Shaun thought the man was going to throw whatever it was at him. But instead the man dropped the substance at the opposite end of the compound. Where it landed with a strangely liquid splat.
As the substance landed, Shaun managed to ignore the bass drum in his head to force his blurry vision into focus. And saw that the substance was thirty or forty pounds of raw, bloody meat.
"Surely you don't expect me to eat that?" Shaun shouted up to the man.
With his vision finally focusing, Shaun looked around himself at last. And for the first time realised that he was in a huge arena. Made of long sheets of corrugated-iron two or three sheets high (six to eight metres) laid out in a circular pattern, as though he was inside a giant metal drum standing on end -- with a diameter of perhaps a hundred metres.
"What the hell is going on here?" Shaun shouted.
Receiving no reply, he desperately looked about the arena, thinking, 'There must be something I can use to get my way out of here?' However, the arena was empty apart from a small concrete trough near the raw meat. And an overturned two-hundred-litre steel drum lying beside the trough. Inside the drum was a collection of filthy-looking rags and blankets.
'Surely they don't expect me to sleep in there,' thought Shaun, 'I'll get fleas!'
He began scratching just at the thought, and started across the hard dirt toward the barrel, stopping when he heard a metallic scraping brrrrrrrrr at the other side of the arena.
Looking round lie saw a hidden door opening and thought, 'Thank God for that. I knew it had to be some kind of sick joke!'
Shaun started to run across toward the open door. But stopped and backed away again when he saw something large entering the arena. He realised the door hadn't opened to let him out, but to let something else in.
'Who ... who's there?" he asked. He stopped and backed away hurriedly when the large, yellow-brown figure sauntered into the arena.
"A ... a lion!" Shaun said. He suddenly remembered what else he and Gary Parker had spoken about the previous night.
* * *
Day One
"Boooooooooor-riiiiiiiiiing!" said Shaun Curry later that evening, as they downed their umpteenth beer in their umpteenth pub. "That's what being the millionaire-son of a wealthy U. S. industrialist is like."
"What you need is excitement in your life," suggested Gary Parker. Turning round to the redheaded barmaid he flashed her a suggestive smile and a quick wink. "Exactly," agreed Shaun.
"Your problem is that you've got too much spare time," suggested Gary. "You not only have the normal man's leisure time, but by not having to go to work each day, you have another fifty hours spare time a week, twenty-five-hundred extra hours a year to fill up."
"I've tried, believe me. But what is there left for me to do? I've already done everything, been everywhere, seen everything. And I just can't get any excitement anymore."
* * *
Day Two
'I just can't get any excitement anymore?' thought Shaun Curry. Echoing his words of the previous day as he watched the lion sauntering into the corrugated iron-walled arena. 'If this is excitement, give me boredom any time!'
For a moment the lion stood at the opposite end of the cage, staring across at Shaun with its steely-grey eyes. 'Shoo! Shoo!' thought Shaun, too afraid to say it aloud. Afraid any sound or sudden movement might cause the lion to charge him.
'Go away!' he tried to will it. But for an eternity -- which must have lasted a full minute -- the lion stood its ground, staring across toward the young American.
'Just don't panic!' Shaun told himself, trying his best to remain motionless. Despite his innate urge to run screaming in terror.
'Run screaming where though?' he thought, looking round the grey cylinder of iron in which he was imprisoned.
Desperately searching for a way out of the cage. Shaun tentatively pressed the corrugated iron, thinking, 'If there's one hidden doorway where the lion entered, maybe there's others where I can exit?'
He tried to lightly press at the join between two sheets of iron. But quickly stopped when the metal screeched beneath his probing.
"Rowrrrrrrrrr!" snarled the lion, angered by the metallic screech.
Almost overcome by nausea, Shaun nearly fainted as a foul smell filled the cage. At first he thought it was the lion. Then he realised it was him: his bowels had released into his jockey shorts.
"Oh Jesus!" he said, squirming at the slimy feeling.
* * *
Day One
"What if I can promise you enough excitement to last a lifetime?" asked Gary Parker as they ambled down the bitumen footpath toward the redbrick facade of Flinders Street Station. Each man carrying a bag of clinking beer bottles wider his left arm.
"Jesus, I'd pay a million dollars if you could do that," promised Shaun Curry, as they stopped at the lights on the corner of Flinders and Swanston Streets.
"You've got a deal!" said Gary Parker, holding out his right hand to shake. "For a million bucks I'll see you get enough excitement to last a lifetime."
"What kind of excitement?" asked Shaun. Staring at the tall, blond Aussie, recalling the easy way lie chatted up the barmaid earlier, the American thought, 'Surely he can't be a faggot?'
"Don't worry, I'm not a pooftah," said the Aussie with a laugh.
`Then what?"
"Can't tell you. It'd spoil the surprise. Part of the excitement is not knowing what's in store for you."
Seeing the light change colour, Gary grabbed the American's right arm, saying, "Come on."
They ran across the wide intersection toward the twenty or so stone steps leading up to the railway station.
"Then can you at least guarantee that it won't kill me?" asked Shaun. He lowered his voice as he saw two blue-uniformed cops in the shadowy alcove outside Flinders Street Station.
"Oh no, you'll have to take your chances!" said Gary with a laugh. He dragged the American toward the glass-fronted ramp leading down to platforms four and five. "Evening officers," he said, trying to sound sober as they went past the two cops.
* * *
Day Two
'You'll have to take your chances!' thought Shaun Curry, recalling the tall, blond Aussie's words as he watched the seemingly gigantic lion. Which stood frozen, staring across the corrugated-iron cage toward him.
Trying to ignore the faecal mess in his trousers Shaun continued to watch the lion, afraid to see it, yet afraid to look away. 'It'sprobably just as shocked to see me here as I am to see it?" he thought. And hoped.
After what seemed like hours to Shaun, the lion finally looked away from him. Turning to the left it padded across to the small mound of raw meat the man above -- Gary Parker? -- had dropped into the iron arena earlier.
Reaching the meat the lion turned back toward Shaun, as though to assert its claim to the feast.
"That's all right you go ahead, I'm not hungry!" said Shaun. And as though understanding his words the lion returned its gaze to the meat and began to feed noisily.
Hoping the meat would hold the animal's interest for a while, Shaun slowly removed his trousers, so that he could remove his soiled jockey shorts. Then after using a handkerchief to clean himself as best he could, he put on his trousers again.
Trying not to make too much noise for fear of disturbing the lion, Shaun flung his soiled underpants far across the cage. However, he flung the underpants too hard, so that they crashed against the corrugated-iron wall on the opposite side of the arena.
Startled, Shaun fell backwards and had to stop himself from crashing into the corrugated iron behind him.
Looking across the arena, he saw the lion standing well away from the pile of meat, where it had obviously fled, startled by the metallic crash.
"Sorry to disturb you!" said Shaun. He hoped the animal would understand him --as it had seemed to do earlier -- and return to its meal.
Instead the lion seemed to have completely forgotten the meat. It continued to stand well away from the food, staring intently across toward the American.
'Go back to eating your lovely meat!' he thought, desperately trying to will the lion to look away from him.
Staring intently at Shaun, the animal let out a deep snarl, and then started slowly across the arena toward the dark-haired American.
'Go away, shoo!' thought Shaun, too terrified to speak aloud. He started slowly edging backwards around the perimeter of the cage. But stopped, and almost shat himself again, when the lion roared again.
For seconds that seemed like hours the two of them, sat/stood staring across at each other. Then Shaun realised the lion might be merely trying to stare him down to establish its territorial ownership of the arena. So, reluctantly, Shaun forced himself to look down at his own feet. Trying his best to fight his own fear, to fight the urge to scream in terror.
'You mustn't show your fear!' he thought. 'Animals can smell fear.' He hoped the lion would accept his looking down as an act of submission, rather than fear.
The lion roared again, as though to exert its authority again. And, to Shaun's dismay, for a while it seemed to have completely forgotten its meal.
Then finally, to his relief, Shaun heard the pad-pad-pad of the lion's retreating feet. He tentatively raised his head and saw the creature returning to the feast which it had already half consumed.
'Thank God for that!' he thought. He hoped the lion would keep its distance now until it was hungry again.
* * *
Day One
Shaun Curry had to fight the overwhelming urge to look back as they started down the ramp, convinced the eyes of the two cops were watching them all the way. At the bottom of the ramp he could see a shiny silver and orange Coming train waiting for passengers.
"Last train for ...now leaving platform five..." a metallic, SF-robot-like voice announced.
"Come on," shouted Gary Parker almost pulling Shaun's right arm out of its socket as he began dragging the American down the ramp.
When they reached the train the electric doors had already sealed shut. However, ignoring a glare from the platform attendant, the blond Assume grabbed the handle. Then, handing his beer bottles to Shaun Curry, lie lowered his shoulder to the door handle and used brute strength to force the door open.
"Do you mind?" called the station attendant, chequered flag in one hand, "I'm trying to flag this train out."
"Not without us, mate!" shouted back Gary. He held the protesting door open for Shaun Curry, then followed him aboard the train.
* * *
An hour later they alighted at a small outer suburbs station. Ten minutes later they were standing outside a double-fronted, double-storey, redbrick house, like a hundred others in the town. However, the inside of the house was not like any other Shaun had ever seen.
"Wow!" said the American in awe, looking round the trophy room walls. Rhino, lion, and tiger heads lined one wall. The largest marlin Shaun had ever seen was mounted on another wall, along with various lesser catches.
"Those are from my younger days," said Gary. Putting the bag of beer bottles on a small glass-topped table, he asked, "Fancy a game?" He pointed toward the eight-foot billiard table in the centre of the room.
"Okay," agreed Shaun. For the first time he realised the Aussie was in his late forties, not his thirties as Shaun himself was.
* * *
Day Two
After what seemed a remarkably short time, the lion finished the raw meat.
'Hopefully that will keep him satisfied for a few hours?' thought Shaun, squatting on the hard earth near the corrugated-iron wall across the arena from the lion.
The lion burped loudly and trotted across to the concrete water trough.
After lapping up seemingly gallons of the water, the lion preened its mane. Then it turned and glared across at Shaun again. As though to let him know he hadn't been forgotten.
'Now take a nice nap!' thought Shaun, hoping to will the lion to go to sleep. Instead it seemed more intent upon staring across the cage toward the American. 'Now come on, you've just had a nice feed,' thought Shaun. 'I'm all skin and bones!'
By way of answer the lion let out a loud yawn, followed by an equally loud fart.
'Phew, and I thought I stank the place up earlier!' thought Shaun. He had to hold his nose to stop from gagging.
The lion roared again and started slowly across the arena toward him.
Trying his best not to rattle the corrugated iron, Shaun edged backwards around the metal arena. Still crouching, he was unable to move quickly, but decided against standing for fear of surrendering to the urge to give in to panic and run.
Shaun edged slowly around the arena looking left and right, hoping to discover some way out. 'A ladder I haven't noticed before would be nice!' he thought. Or at least something to climb out of reach of the stalking lion. However, there was nothing. Apart from himself and the animal, the only things in the cage were the drinking trough and the two-hundred-litre drum lying on its side.
Realising there was nowhere to hide and nothing to climb onto; Shaun stopped edging round the arena. He pressed himself back against the corrugated iron, hoping to make himself less visible.
The iron squealed in protest -- drawing an answering growl from the lion.
At least one nail broke away from the sheet. And as he continued to press against the iron, it pulled away from the wooden framework it was nailed to. And Shaun wondered if he could push it away enough for him to squeeze through the gap.
'Freedom!' he thought, peering out through the gap. He squinted desperately to see the outside world, eager for some clue to where he was. But all he could see was more hard brown dirt. Not even grass let alone any sign of recent human habitation. And the iron refused to pull away more than a few centimetres at the one corner. Not enough for Shaun to squeeze through.
'Maybe if I turn around and kick at it I can force it open enough to squeeze out?' he wondered. But as he pressed against the iron, it shrieked again and the lion let out a loud answering growl!
This time the big cat began to trot across to investigate. Not stopping until it was more than halfway across the one-hundred-metre diameter of the arena.
'Go away … please!' thought Shaun. 'There's nothing of interest going on over here.' And to his relief, after a few seconds the lion stopped.
Stopped and stood its ground. Standing in the centre of the arena, staring at the American, Bather than returning to its own side of the arena.
'Maybe I can wait till it goes to sleep?' thought Shaun, wondering how sound a sleeper it was. 'And how many kicks it will take before it wakes up again in a mean mood?'
For what felt like hours the lion stood staring toward Shaun. But finally it turned and started to trot back toward its own side of the compound.
"Phew!" said Shaun loudly. Immediately regretting it, since the lion roared again in answer and span round to glare at him again.
'All right, all right, you're the boss!' thought Shaun. 'No more loud noises without your permission.'
As though satisfied by this, the lion turned again and started toward the two-hundred-litre drum for a nap.
'Good idea, have a short coma!' thought the American. However, just as it was about to enter the drum, the lion's attention was captured by something to the left of the drum.
'No, no, don't be side-tracked again, just go to bed!' willed Shaun. However, the lion continued toward the object. Which Shaun realised was his soiled underpants, where he had flung them across the arena.
The lion sniffed at the soiled pants for a moment then sneeze and looked up.
'You can't talk!' thought Shaun. 'You don't exactly smell like a bed of roses yourself!' He wrinkled up his nose in disgust at the musky "over-rip" aroma of the lion, which smelt as though it had not been bathed in years.
Finally, to Shaun's relief, the lion turned and sauntered back toward the steel drum.
Where, with some difficulty, it managed to reverse into the drum -- as though used to sleeping in it -- then quickly settled down to sleep. Its head facing out toward Shaun, snoring like the proverbial cattle dog.
Shaun waited what he hoped was nearly ten minutes, before turning round to kick at the corrugated iron. But as soon as he started kicking at the metal, he heard the sound of running feet outside the compound.
"Hey!" shouted Shaun, forgetting about the sleeping lion as the corrugated iron was roughly pushed back into place. He heard the bang-bang-bang of fresh nails being hammered into the iron. And to his dismay the corrugated iron was fixed fast again.
Realising lie could no longer hear the cattle dog-like snoring, Shaun looked round. And saw the lion standing up outside the, drum again, staring wide-eyed across the arena at him.
* * *
Day One
"First one to five thousand points?" asked Gary Parker, pointing toward the billiard table with the neck of his bottle of Fosters Lager.
"Yeah, okay, sure," said Shaun Curry. Nervous, uncertain of what he was in store for, he hoped the game would help to calm his nerves.
Over the next few hours Shaun and Gary played billiards while sipping beer straight from the bottle, in the blond Aussie's trophy room. Shaun tried not to be distracted by the animal heads that ringed the walls of the trophy room. 'They're dead, they can't harm me in any way!' he thought, staring up from the brightly lit billiard table. With the main lights off, the over table fluorescents lit up the table, leaving the rest of the room in darkness. So the heads should have been all but invisible. But for some inexplicable reason, they seemed to standout from the darkness as though individually lit.
'Go away, you don't scare me!' thought Shaun, before turning back to the simplest of canons. Which he missed, giving Gary Parker control of the table.
Over the next hour as the Aussie accumulated a two-thousand-plus break, Shaun had plenty of opportunity to watch the open-mouthed staring heads.
'Concentrate on the game!' thought Shaun, looking round despite the near hypnotic attraction of the animal heads.
"4998 points," called Gary Parker to the American's relief. Then one canon later, "Five thousand and one, to win the game."
'Thank God for that!' thought Shaun. He wasn't concerned about the routing nearly as much as the eerie ambience in the trophy room.
After downing the last of his beer, the blond Aussie asked, "Ready?"
His own beer bottle still more than half full, the dark-haired American started to say no, and then realised Gary was not referring to the beer. "Ready as I'll ever be," Shaun conceded. "Still got time to chicken out," offered Gary Parker, doing his best "Buk-buk-buk" chicken impersonation.
"No, I said I'll do it and I will," insisted Shaun. He only hoped his pride wasn't making him do something suicidal.
* * *
Day Two
'It wasn't me!' thought Shaun, hoping to will the lion to go back to sleep. 'It wasn't me hammering It came from outside!' He pointed back over his left shoulder toward the corrugated iron.
The lion let out an angry growl! Louder than any before. And to Shaun Curry's dismay, it started slowly across the hard brown earth toward him again.
'No, no, go back!' thought Shaun, for some reason thinking of the decapitated animal heads in Gary Parker's trophy room. He wished they were all he had to contend with now. 'Go back to sleep and I promise there']] be no more banging!' he thought.
"No more banging," said Shaun aloud, knowing the lion could not understand him.
But this time the lion refused to be placated, and continued to pad across the compound toward the American.
"No more banging, if you just go back to sleep," Shaun almost shouted at the lion. Failing to keep his composure, despite his earlier resolution not to show fear in front of the animal.
Trying his best to remain calm, Shaun began backing around the corrugated-iron wall encircling the area. Being careful not to press against the iron again. Wary of startling the lion once more. But now the animal would not be appeased so readily. Having been roused from its slumbers, the beast was unwilling to be placated.
As Shaun backed round the iron-walled cage, the lion continued after him. Still slowly, allowing Shaun to keep his distance from it. But now determined not to ignore him.
Careful as he was to avoid banging into the corrugated iron, he was alarmed when he suddenly crashed into a metal surface with a resounding boom.
"Jesus!" Cried Shaun, cursing his own stupidity. Looking up startled, he expected to see the lion charging. And indeed it had stepped up its pace, closing the gap as it followed him around the inner perimeter of the circular prison.
The Lion roared again at this latest clanging of metal.
Shaun risked a quick look behind him, expecting to find that he had crashed into the iron wall. Instead he saw the two-hundred-litre drum the lion had planned to use as a bed.
'May be I can use it to climb out of here?' thought Shaun. He looked up toward the rim of the corrugated-iron wall and wondered how high he would have to jump to reach it. 'And how much damage it will do to my hands?' he wondered, noticing the sharp rim at the top of the iron. Having never had to do work during his adult life, his hands were soft and would slice easily.
The lion roared again and Shaun thought, 'And how would that effect that monster, if I fall back into this prison with my hands badly cut and bleeding?'
He didn't have time to consider the matter any further though. With another ear-splitting roar the lion finally started round the arena at a full run.
"Jesus!" cried Shaun. Almost gagging at the smell of urine, sweat, and faeces, Shaun leant into the drum to grab the blankets and rags to quickly throw them out onto the ground. He hurriedly turned the drum onto end, before hesitantly climbing onto it.
"Oh God!" he cursed as the barrel rocked precariously beneath him. 'Don't knock it over, just don't knock it over!' he thought, as he stretched up as high as he could, trying to reach up toward the inn of the grey-metal sheets .…
Only to discover that the top of the iron was still well over a metre above his hands.
'Oh no!' thought Shaun. He almost cried from desperation, as the drum rocked and rolled beneath him, threatening to pitch him into the jaws of the fast-approaching lion.
'Well here goes nothing!' he thought as he took the plunge. And in desperation leapt toward the top of the corrugated-iron sheeting.
"I'm going to make it!" he cried in hope as much as belief. And for just a second it seemed as though he were going to make it. The tips of his fingers soared toward the edge of the grey metal and got within millimetres of the rim.
Then the American was falling again.
"Oh, Jesus!" he shrieked, expecting to fall into the jaws of the lion.
Instead he fell with a crash against the corrugated iron wall, which crumpled slightly under him for a moment. Allowing him to hope it was going to collapse and allow him to escape. But finally the wall rebounded, trampolining him into the steel drum. Which boomed like a kettledrum as Shaun crashed to the ground.
Hearing a loud snap, Shaun knew he had broken his left ankle even before he was struck with the white-hot pain.
At this latest crash the lion raced away a few metres in terror. Allowing Shaun a few seconds to desperately try to crawl inside the steel drum and turn it back on end. Before the lion raced forward again roaring loudly as it attacked.
* * *
Day One
"Follow me," instructed Gary Parker, putting his billiard cue in the wrack on the wall. Shaun Curry did likewise, as the blond Aussie walked over to click on the overhead lights. Then click off the fluorescent bars over the billiard table.
"Jesus!" said Shaun blinking against the sudden bright light. When he opened his eyes after a few seconds, he saw Gary Parker walking across to a low, black wood cabinet directly under the head of the lion. He started to walk across to the Aussie. But stopped when he saw what Gary had taken from the middle drawer of the cabinet.
"Ah, I'm not really into needles," said the dark-haired American, thinking, 'So that's all he was offering me, some kind of weird drug trip!'
"Don't worry," assured the Aussie, as though reading Shaun's thoughts. "This is just a sleeping draught. To knock you out for a few hours, so you won't see where I'm going to take you." When the American continued to hesitate, Gary added, "You have my word that this won't kill you. And it won't send you off on a psychedelic trip either."
After a moment Shaun reluctantly rolled up his left sleeve for the injection.
* * *
Day Two
From his platform near the top of the outside of the corrugated-iron arena, Gary Parker watched the American back around the cage with the angry lion following him.
"Time to get involved?" suggested the second Aussie -- a small thin man, with wire-rim glasses.
"Not yet, Bill," said Gary.
They watched as the slow pursuit turned to sudden panic after Shaun Curry crashed into the two-hundred-litre steel drum.
"That's done it," said Gary. Raising the dart-rifle to his shoulder he took aim toward the rearing lion.
"Oh, Lord," said Gary. He lowered the rifle as Shaun Curry climbed up onto the upended drum, obscuring the gunman's view of the lion.
"Come on, come on, you idiot," he cursed. A second later the American leapt off the drum toward the rim of the corrugated-iron fence.
"He's going to make it!" cried Bill. He hitched his glasses up along his nose with one finger, as they almost fell.
"No … he's not," corrected Gary. And seconds later the dark-haired American fell back to earth screaming as his ankle broke.
"Come on," said Gary, "we'll never save him from here."
"No time to get down there," protested Bill. But he followed as Gary Parker swung Tarzan-like down the wooden scaffolding outside the arena to race toward the nearest of four hidden doors in the metal enclosure.
"Come on!" repeated Gary Parker, as he raced into the cage. He swung up the dart-rifle to fire, however, the iron drum back on its side, was now between him and the lion.
"Georgie! Hey, Georgie!" called Gary, vainly hoping the lion would come at the call of its name. Or at least look up long enough for him to save the dark-haired American. "Georgie, get away from him! " shouted Bill, following closely behind Gary.
As they approached, they saw the legs of Shaun Curry sticking out of the drum. "Georgie!" Bill repeated.
This time the lion looked up and roared at the two approaching men. But before it could launch itself toward them Gary Parker fired the dart-rifle.
The lion roared in protest and ran away a few metres before collapsing, asleep. "Don't worry, we'll get you out of there..." said Bill, running across to the drum to look inside.
"Jesus, it's eaten most of his face!" said Bill. He quickly turned away and threw up. "Poor bastard," said Gary, dropping the rifle. "Well, I promised him enough excitement to last a lifetime, and I guess that's what he got."
After Bill finished throwing up, he said, "I suppose ... we'd better get Georgie crated and back to the zoo?" He hesitated, and then added, "What about that poor bugger?" He nodded back toward the drum, but did not look found for fear of seeing the gnawed corpse again.
"I'll take care of him," assured Gary Parker. "I'll bury him here. No one will ever find him.'
THE END
© Copyright 2010
Philip Roberts




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