The Sloth’s Eye
Author: Linda Lombardi
Setting Decade: 2000s
Main Themes: Museums, WorkingExcerpt: We grabbed a place by the railing and waved to the staff hanging around in the elephant yard. It was warm for early November, with a blue sky full of unrealistically fluffy clouds, and there was a big crowd for a weekday. Elephants were so popular, people must take time off from work to see this, I thought. No one took a day off from work to see something happen at the Small Mammal House. And no one would send all these TV station cameras. Sometimes we felt a little second-class. Still, a crowd of people who’d made a special trip to see animals do a cool thing were my kind of people. For today I would forgive them for liking the elephants better than small mammals. The pumpkin stomp was always preceded by a lot of waiting. We leaned against the railing and watched the staff doing more or less nothing in the yard. There were a few pumpkins placed here and there, but we were waiting for a truck to come with more. There was no reason the pumpkins couldn’t all be there ahead of time—it was a ritual left over from the days when a dump truck would come and dump a whole pile of them. But the vets had declared that unsanitary, so now a cute little farm truck came, just to make an event of it, and more pumpkins were unloaded by hand. The giraffe in the adjacent yard came up to the wall and looked over it, checking out the odd interruption. I wondered if she could remember the same thing happening in previous years. I wished I had a camera. I loved the Elephant House, one of the zoo’s old-fashioned stone buildings. What a perfect picture it would be of the truck and the giraffe and everyone unloading the pumpkins in anticipation, with the blue sky and fall leaves and the Elephant House in the background. The elephants weren’t even out yet, and it was wonderful anyway.
Excerpt Page Number: 34
Address: National Zoological Park 20008