Looking over his shoulder at his back in the mirror, Logan had to accept it was once again time to wax. The next club night hook-up was weeks if not months away, but Logan was still going to wax. Might as well hit it all, he thought—chest, legs, arms, the tops of his feet. Some other parts needed attention, too.
Logan tapped on his roommate’s door. There was no response, so he kept tapping.
“You in there? Can I borrow your Pro-Wax 1000? I promise no used wax this time. And I’m only doing my chest tonight. You know, not the other bits. Also, do you still have that roll of waxing strips because I’m all out, but I have plenty of applicator sticks if you need any? Hello?”
Was she blowing him off? Or wasn’t she in there? He wandered downstairs to see if she was in the kitchen. She wasn’t, but everyone else was.
“Seen Monica?” he said to the other roommates, Seth, Bailey, and Vanessa, who were standing around the kitchen island looking serious. “Did somebody die?”
They all looked back and forth between each other. Something was going on. Not Seth standing too close to Bailey. Not her wrinkling her nose while Vanessa tried to get closer to Seth. That dance was always happening.
“Is Monica dead?”
“No, Monica’s not dead,” said Seth. He was a skinny barista who always wore black. All the caffeine he consumed made him short-tempered and tremulous. “She’s hiding in her room.”
“Really?” Logan hopped over to the fruit bowl. “Okay if I take the last banana?” He didn’t wait for an answer. “I was just knocking on her door.”
“She’s hiding,” said Seth, “because we received some very disturbing news this morning.”
Logan grunted through a mouthful of banana. He was trying to say “What?”, which didn’t make it out, but the muffled noise conveyed the right tone.
“That you’re not a lanky auditor from Georgia, but instead you’re a super-intelligent gibbon that escaped from a research facility.”
Logan nearly choked.
“Who told you that, Seth? You believe this shit Bailey? Vanessa?”
Bailey had moved around the island, away from Seth, closer to Logan, and was chewing a thumbnail. She shrugged. “You are very lanky. Your arms are crazy long for your height. And you’re not that tall.”
“Yeah,” agreed Vanessa, shifting to stand at Seth’s shoulder. “And the body hair.”
“Yeah, the body hair,” echoed Bailey.
He couldn’t believe what he was hearing.
“Everyone in my family is hairy. Even the women. You should see my grandma. Since grandpa died she stopped shaving and has gone back to combing her face.”
“Any gibbon could say the same thing,” said Seth.
“If they could talk,” added Vanessa.
Logan jumped up on the counter.
“I’m not a gibbon. Somebody tells you I’m a gibbon, an escaped gibbon from what? A research facility? And you believe them? After all we’ve been through? Bailey, who helped you when you caught lice from your niece? Vanessa, didn’t I rescue Mr Tibbles when he was stuck in the top of the oak tree on the corner?”
“You eat a lot of bananas,” said Seth.
“You drink a lot of beer,” said Logan, thumping his chest for emphasis. “Does that mean anything? So I like bananas. Lots of people, people who aren’t gibbons, like bananas. They’re delicious and, if I’ve had more than my share…”
“They are kind of hard to get at the moment,” said Bailey.
“Like a lot of things,” said Vanessa. “And you just ate the last one, and I didn’t get any.”
“I hear you,” said Logan, “and I’m sorry. I’ll order extra bananas tonight, just for you, Vanessa, and I’ll try not to eat them all.”
“It’s not just the bananas,” said Seth.
“Okay. Tell me, Seth. Tell me what else makes you believe this nonsense that I’m a gibbon.”
“Well, buddy, you’re always climbing and jumping on the furniture and the counters. Like right now.
“I’m getting down. I’m getting down.”
“And you only wear pants when you leave the house. You’re not wearing pants now and it’s not pretty.”
“You can’t wax your own butt and not expect to miss patches,” said Bailey. “I know.”
Logan held up his hands. He knew his dream run wasn’t going to last forever. Two and a half years was about two years, five months and twenty seven days longer than he had expected. The situation might still be fixable. All might not be lost.
“Okay. Fine. You got me. It’s all true. I am an auditor. Bailey, you visited me at Deloitte. And despite the lack of an accent I am from Georgia. That’s where the Primate Advancement Lab is. We share a building with the CDC in Atlanta. But! I didn’t escape.”
Seth’s expression grew arrogant, triumphant, even haughty.
“Well, I’m not living with a monkey.”
“I’m not a monkey. I’m a lesser ape. With a high paying job. I pay my rent on time.”
“I don’t care if you’re a great ape and independently wealthy. I’m the leaseholder and I’m kicking you out.”
“We didn’t discuss evictions,” said Bailey.
“We only had gibbon suspicions,” said Vanessa, her chin lifting to mirror Seth’s haughtiness. “But now we’ve had a gibbon confession.”
Logan gave a deep, frustrated sigh. It sounded like a low “Woooop” gliding down-scale. This kind of bullshit is why he left the lab.
“You can’t evict him during lockdown,” said Bailey. “There’s nowhere for him to go.”
“Not my problem,” said Seth, crossing his arms and looking smug.
“It’s Logan’s problem,” said Vanessa.
“That leaves us only one choice,” said Logan.
“You think there’s a choice?” said Seth. “What choice is that?”
“We have to fight over territory and females.”
“I’m not figh…”
Logan leapt at Seth, kicking him in the chest with both feet and knocking him to the ground. It wasn’t a very hard kick, but Seth wasn’t particularly strong and Logan had used only a tiny fraction of his monkey strength. He didn’t want to kill the guy. There’d be no-one to dominate.
Logan hooted, bounced off the fridge, swung off a cupboard handle, and landed on Seth’s back. He grabbed a handful of his hair and pulled Seth’s head up.
“Can I stay, Seth?”
Seth groaned. Bonk. Logan banged his head against the floor and lifted it up again.
“Can I stay now, Seth?”
“Yes. Just let me go.”
“Can we swap rooms?”
Seth had the master bedroom. Logan’s might have once been a nursery. Bonk.
“Can we swap rooms?”
“Get off him,” said Vanessa.
“Let them work it out,” said Bailey.
“And you stay away from the females.”
Bonk. Logan let go of his hair, then grabbed his ears and humped the back of his head a few times to display his dominance. It felt kind of wrong, but like they say, you can take the monkey out of the jungle, etc.
“What’s going on?” said Monica, entering the kitchen with her Pro-Wax 1000 under her arm. “I brought you the heater, Logan.”
Logan stepped off Seth, who remained face down on the floor, playing up his embarrassment as injury and really just wanting to go wash the back of his head.
“Thanks, Monica. But I don’t think I’m going to need it anymore.”