The boy with the butterfly on his nose sat on the path, his cotton-candy coated hands moving slowly towards his face. Quickly, without missing a step on her walk through the insect exhibit, Prunella reached out and tweaked his cap. The butterfly flew to the safety of the trees as the boy’s small mean eyes focused on Prunella’s name Tag--“P. Bird, Head Keeper.”
“You may not touch the butterflies!”, she barked. The boy made a noise of a piglet in distress, half squeal -- half grunt, and fled to the arms of his parents who looked daggers at Pru. Giving them a queen’s wave to the troops she continued her march to her office.
Twelve years of Zoo work had taught her it was useless stopping to discuss behavior modification with a family group that sported mismatched socks, plaid shorts and three different plastic animal noses from the gift shop. This was the type that would teeter their small children unattended on the edge of the savanna overlook rail while they were busy downloading ringtones for their cell phones. Oh well, as Walter the grumpiest man at the Zoo once told her, “ It’s no loss, better the Hippo Pool than the gene pool.”
Due in no small part to her brisk and purposeful stride, Prunella had exited the insect house, passed through the reptile house and reached the Savanna Plains compound before the family caught up with her.
"Ma'am," the objectionable, plaid father accosted her. "Listen here, we're customers at this here zoo and you ain't got no business talking to customers like that."
"Really?" Miss P. looked the "customers" up and down and sniffed. "Well customers should look and not touch"-- she fixed her gaze on the boy -- "so if you'd be so kind as to return the monkey to its enclosure..."
"Well I never!" the mother exclaimed, letting out a grunt not unlike a rhino in heat--which was somewhat unfortunate as the gate to the compound was not secured and the bull rhino was feeling particularly frisky.
Needless to say, this was a vacation the "Plaid" family would remember for years, not least because Mrs. Plaid had to stand the whole way home.
Opening: RW Glover.....Continuation: Anon.