5:00 am Saturday morning and I can't sleep. I need a couple of things so I decide to go to the 24-Hour Super Wal-Mart. I hate Wal-Mart because it's usually crowded, but I've found that at 5:00 there's hardly anyone shopping. One of the few benefits of insomnia.
It is a cold gray morning with a thin line of sunlight just edging the horizon. I reach Wal-Mart without incident. I wander about the store, wishing I'd made a list. As I turn a corner I come face to face with Tarzan of the Apes.
Tarzan is moving in a stalking crouch, his jungle hardened thews rippling beneath his bronze skin. He clutches his father's hunting knife in his right hand. He glares at me for a moment with his iron gray eyes, then straightens up and says, “Sorry, I thought you were Numa, the lion.”
“Um, no. Just doing a little early shopping. Do they get a lot of lions in here?”
“You'd be surprised where Numa stalks his prey.”
There's a slight noise from the next aisle over and Tarzan glides in that direction. I follow, along. A small herd of zebra duck from the cover of the paper products aisle. “Bah,” says Tarzan. “It is only pacco and his brothers.”
“Rak,” I say, getting into the spirit of things.
Tarzan glances over at me. “You speak the language of the great apes?”
Tarzan nods. We stroll for as bit, chatting amiably. I ask about Jane. About Miriam and Korak, and has Tarzan heard from Jason Gridley since he returned from Pellucidar? Tarzan answers most of my questions but then there's a flash of amber fur and a tawny mane over near the frozen food section.
“Kreegah, Numa!” Tarzan shouts, sprinting away,”Tarzan Bundolo!”
This translates roughly to 'Beware, Numa. Tarzan kills.' I'm not even going to try to keep up with the lord of the jungle in his relentless pursuit of Numa the lion, so I find the things I need and head for the parking lot. Starbucks should be open now, I think. Vando. (good)