Cannibal Boy

by on August 17th, 2010
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Ogo was born a cannibal: Fifth generation, and proud of it. Raised amidst the lush, verdant and totally pristine jungles of Pagu Hagu, an isolated spit of land located somewhere in the uncharted South Pacific, he had grown up in an environment that said:

“Yes, we are proud cannibals. Does not the great Great Moon God provide for us at each Full Moon’s feast by causing people (mostly disoriented, dim witted outsiders looking for some place called “New Zeeland”)) to trust us and to mindlessly drink our banana grog? To agree to sleep in our spare cots in the back and thus make themselves available to us for digestion?”

Yes, Ogo’s eloquence in defending cannibalism was deeply inspired. Were not Mom and Dad cannibals of a most ancient and royal order? And was there anyone more noble, more honored for the keeping of this most organic of traditions than his late Great Uncle Wabu Babu (who, unfortunately, had disappeared long ago after a visit by “outsiders” claiming to be from a tribe called “anthropologists” and who were merely intent upon collecting “souveneirs”).

Ogo’s father, Ogo Sr., was a Head Hunter with twenty-seven years in the business. Ogo’s mother, Uga, was a Head Hunter’s Helper, fiercely proud of her position. After all was it not she who was trusted with the mixing of the Magic Potion, derived in part from the ever plenty mango, a liquid in which she marinated the endless procession of heads acquired by her husband throughout the course of a typical workweek.

And did not Mama Uga decide, after shrinkage, the precise arrangement the newly shrunken heads should be festively arranged, so as to bring the best price at market? Why just recently Uga had said to her fierce, head hunting warrior husband:

“No no, Papa Ogo. You know a Wabango warrior’s head can never be placed to the right of a Jijuti Witchdoctor head! That would bring bad fortune onto our household. What were you thinking? I knew your grandfather should never have taken his sister as his fourth wife!”

To which Ogo Sr., the most dreaded and feared warrior on the island of Pagu Hagu, would respond through dull yellow, razor sharp teeth: “Yes dear. Sorry dear. You’re right dear.”

And so this is how life went for young Ogo, until shortly after his eighteenth birthday when the island was again visited by yet another outsider. But this outsider was different: He refused to drink the grog or to sleep in the proffered cot choosing instead to rest on his floating house, which he called “hizyacht.”.

To the locals he was a bizarre and unpleasant looking man, spectacled and scrawny, with not much meat on his bones. Bug Ogo had been raised right. He had been taught to look past a person’s looks, to gaze deeper inside the human before him. And that meant that with enough patience, kindness and jungle herbs, this man would make for a most decent appetizer for the upcoming Full Moon Festival. After all, was it not Great Uncle Wabu Babu, the eternal optimist, who always counseled patience and would say, time and time again: “Worry not, my people. For when it is said and done, they all taste like chicken!”

This newest visitor claimed to be something called “a billionaire.” It seems he had grown rich by inventing a way whereby computer users could download their forbidden images five seconds faster than any of his competitors. For this he was deemed “a computer genius.” Ogo totally misunderstood the meaning of “download” and had no idea what a “computer genius” was. Obviously it was something very important back in “Amerikah,” where the visitor said he came from and to which he had to return to immediately, opting not to hang around until the next Full Moon festival (which greatly depressed the locals).

But before he left the billionaire was determined to give away something which he called “Merit Based Scholarships.”

“Because you are who you are, I want you to go university!” exclaimed the billionaire (Ogo was yet unfamiliar with the yearnings of the super rich to give away infinitesimal portions of their wealth in the name of something called “Brotherhood”).

As Ogo was the oldest son of very socially ambitious cannibals he was soon packed off with his scholarship to the prestigious New Yawk University in Green Ich Village, a prestigious institution where Ogo’s total lack of English would not hinder his studies nor affect his grade point average upon which his continued receipt of said scholarship was based.

“You will learn to read at university,” his mother said with great joy and unconscious irony derived from the fact that her culture did not have a written language.

Within a week on his arrival Ogo found himself Fast tracked by the NYU faculty and soon found himself ensconced front row center in the liberal and tolerant Ms. Palma Shapely’s English Lit 101 class.

Upon first setting eyes on Ogo, all six foot two inches of him (this included the eight inches of incredibly curly and matted hair upon his head), Ms. Shapely was smitten. Upon first setting eyes on Ms. Shapely, Ogo’s mouth watered as he took in her luscious proportions and pondered what herbs his late uncle might have suggested.

Ms. Shapely was the product of fourth generation Communists now turned Upper West Side Ballet Instructors who loved nothing more than a good barbecue. This particular American heritage imbued in her the sense that it was her absolute duty to make Ogo welcome in her country, even though she unconsciously hated it. So after class one day, she suggested the two of them take a trip uptown to the Museum of Modern History over on Manhattan’s West Side across from the park. Ogo could not resist. Particularly since she offered to pay.

And so with the best of intentions, Ms. Shapely escorted Ogo by subway up through the bowels of New York City and into the giant chambers of the museum. It was at the Benny and Rootie Dickman “Hall of Human Origins – Oi!” that the problems began. The display was originally intended to represent the story of Homo Sapiens, showing the evolution of man with insights into the history of his creativity.

But as Ogo stared through the two inch glass plate separating him from a display which Ms. Shapely told him had read “Human Ancestors,” he began to shudder. For there, amidst a display of wild animals and even wilder looking men, stood his late great Uncle Wabu Babu.

Ogo shouted his name, but his glassy eyed uncle did not respond. Ogo banged on the glass, but still Uncle Wabu Babu did not flinch. Ogo was beside himself with anger and grief. Soon, museum security arrived and Ms. Shapely did her best to explain to all exactly what was happening.

Nevertheless, Ogo and Ms. Shapely were soon escorted outside. There they stood in the darkening night, across from the park. Poor Ms. Shapely did not understand, or to put it more properly, totally misperceived, as were here ilk’s tendency, the situation before her. A lifetime member of and part time terrorist for PETA, she had assumed his emotional outburst within the museum had arisen from the presence of the stuffed animals on display. She hugged him and had just begun an impromptu on-the-street dissertation about the evils of taxidermy when Ogo began to sniff her hair.

And it was there, standing on the corner of 80th and Central Park West that Ogo espied the thick sprout of green trees just a few yards away. Lush, dense foliage that reminded him of his home, rekindling in him his most ancient desire.

“Go there …go there” Ogo said, pointing his hand towards the park, his tears drying in his eyes and giving way to a different gleam.

“Oh yes …yes” said Ms. Shapely in one last, fateful misunderstanding. For it was at this moment that she decided she would give herself to him, this wild man from a wild world: Out on the Great Lawn, beneath the stars and tonight’s Full Moon.

“Oh yes …yes…” she moaned again. And despite the darkness and everything her mother had ever taught her, she followed this strangely erotic man into the park.

And as they strode into the ever darkening jungle that comprised 887 acres of what many real estate developers considered wasted, prime New York real estate, Ogo began to slowly chant, all while ceremoniously pulling leaves off of bushes, shredding flowers, gathering plants, and dry twigs. Ms. Shapely body was aflame, awed at the ancient aboriginal proceedings that she, the scion of a privileged, Upper West Side upbringing , was now privy to observe.

And as they moved further from the city lights, Ms. Shapely’s last conscious thoughts were on, as she mindlessly watched Ogo sniffing what appeared to be a fig leaf, children.

*******

About one o’clock that morning, inside the beautiful Dakota building, replete with its high gables, dormers, spandrels and balustrades, the late Palma Shapely’s mother got up from her bedroom overlooking Central Park West, peered out the window and noticed something.

“Oh look honey,” she said with glee, “Someone’s made a small fire in the park. Perhaps it’s a barbeque!”

“Shut up I’m trying to sleep,” came back the gruff response.

Ogo returned home to his jungle paradise, never having learned to read. His mother, happy to see that her son had put on weight, never knew the difference.

Palma Shapely never returned to NYU, and is rumored to have run off with her jungle love and to be living happily with he and her numerous children on the distant and wildly exotic shores of Pagu Hagu.


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