THEY EVEN HAVE CREDIT CARDS!
Walmart has nearly 5,000 stores in America, but only ONE can claim mountain gorillas as regular customers. When WWN heard about these extraordinary customers, we reached an agreement with the chain to report about this but keep the location secret. An hour later, this reporter landed in front of the store via rocket pack, once again sizzling his skivvies.
Doffing the gear, this masked journalist ran towards the entrance when he heard a woman screaming. Skidding into the store, this pressman was faced with the Walmart Greeter, Lem. He was a tall, elderly man whose large plastic shield revealed a walrus mustache and a hidden cowboy smile. “Howdy and welcome to Walmart.”
This reporter glanced around. The screaming was coming from within a huge cloud of whirling, swirling mist. “Don’t you see that? Don’t you hear that?”
Lem shrugged, “That’s Screaming Mimi. Comes in a couple of times a week riding on a cart. She goes straight to the frozen foods, tries to open too many doors and falls off her cart trying to reach stuff, with all the frozen doors open. That’s the cause of the fog.”
“Aren’t you going to help her?”
“Help’s already there, son,” Lem nodded.
GORILLAS IN THE FROZEN FOOD AISLE
From within the mist appeared a gigantic gorilla. Over one shoulder he carried a woman big enough to qualify for Captain Ahab pin-up status. Under his free arm he carried a “scooter” large enough to enter a tractor pull. The gorilla was large with a slice of silver fur lining his spine. He put down the scooter and tossed the woman, now giggling, into the air like a little child before expertly lowering her down to her scooter.
A second gorilla emerged from the mist. It seemed to be smaller than the white backed one. It carried two full shopping carts and “gave” them to the seated woman. All three nuzzled and the gorillas moved onto other aisles.
“Jimmy?” Lem called. “You gettin’ those doors closed?”
“On it,” came a barely pubescent voice.
WWN was aghast.
“Where are those animals trainer? You let them loose in here?”
Lem nodded. “I’m a seventy-four-year-old Nam vet. Gorilla fighting is so passé in my generation. See what I did there?”
The two apes roamed around the store, unnoticed. They waved occasionally to fellow shoppers. This journo didn’t get it. “You just let gorillas stroll around.”
Lem shrugged. “Dude? I’m a Walmart Greeter. I have 300 pound guys dressed as French Maids coming in here; bigger women coming in as Tinkerbelle. Gorillas come in? Same deal. They have a credit card? They’re shoppers.”
“Wait. They have credit cards?”
At that point a huge man in a Henry the Eighth suit (with fishnet garters) and an anorexic woman dressed as a unicorn lurched in. “Hello. I’m Lem, your greeter.”
Lem reached into the box next to him and produced two plastic encased Covid-19 masks. The “King” was repulsed. “A mask is a sign of weakness!”
Lem leaned forward. “Your Highness. It’s about preserving your royal legacy. And that of your beautiful miss, here.”
Lem delivered a ‘nailed it’ smile and the couple walked off, wearing their masks. “This is what I do, all day, ‘Hiya. Wear a mask.’”
TROUBLE ON AISLE SIX
At that point, a man in a Viking suit ran up to us. “Something’s up with the gorillas.”
Lem was on point. He turned to this scribe and said, “This is Vick the Viking. We stayed together after ‘Nam. Free-lanced for who and whatever would hire us.”
This columnist was dumbstruck. “You were mercenaries?”
“Let’s just say we were the first of the ‘gig’ generation,” said Vick.
“Then, I guess we became environmentalists. Bound to happen, being in various jungles all the time. You learn animals are your equals.”
WWN was puzzled. “You don’t have other animals coming into this store, do you?”
Lem chuckled. “Oh, yeah. The funniest ones are the moose. The male, with the antlers, has the shopping bags hanging from them.”
Vick added. “Jimmy’s the main animal guy. He’s the one who found out our gorillas were really gorillas and not folks in suits. The silverback, the male, is much taller than the tallest on record. When he stands? He’s a good eight feet. We call him ‘Sir.’ The female, ‘Madam.’ Now, for some reason, mountain gorillas are afraid of weird things like caterpillars and water. Jimmy spilled water on Madam and Sir threw him clear across the store.”
Lem continued. “Fortunately, he landed in the bird seed aisle. Sir came in for the kill and Madam fought him off. Eventually, Sir rubbed Jimmy’s head and gave him a banana.”
The three of us scanned the store for any sign of Sir and Madam. We found Madam, teeth-bared, facing forward. Sir was up on his hind legs in front of her.
“Okay,” Lem whispered. “This isn’t good. He’s beginning his ‘attack mode.’ It’s mostly a ceremonial show of force but if he starts stomping his left foot up and down?”
After hooting, beating his chest and tearing shrubs out of the gardening section, he began stomping up and down with his left leg.
NEVER PUNCH A GORILLA
“What’s your problem, Furball?” bellowed a leather-clad cretin who was in the midst of shoving a facemask down the throat of a beleaguered young man. “That’s Jimmy,” Lem whispered.
The cretin started raving about his right to free speech and how he shouldn’t be forced to wear a mask. Before the idiot had a moment to react, Sir snatched Jimmy and handed him, lovingly, to Madam. The self-proclaimed patriot reared back and hit Sir with a haymaker.
Lem winced. “Silverbacks are so strong, Sir probably didn’t feel that and that guy probably just busted his hand.”
“Owww!” the guy yelled. “You think you’re so special because of that costume? I’ll show you!”
The guy made a move to tear off Sir’s mask. It was then he realized he was face to face with a real mountain gorilla, a gorilla that was slowly lifting him five feet off the floor. Lem put his arm around this reporter and led him away. “You don’t need to see this.” Over his shoulder, he called: “Sir, through the open door and not through the plate glass, okay?”
The sound of a colossal tussle echoed through the store. Nobody noticed – probably because of the opera singer belting out an aria in the cookie aisle. Lem and Vick then discussed the gentle nature of mountain gorillas and listed the different types of animals that frequent the store, all with credit cards. Didn’t they think that was odd? Didn’t they mention it to the manager? Vick grinned. “We are the managers.”
“A lot of big honchos in this state owe us a lot of bigger favors. If animals show up and they’re willing to pay,” Lem, shrugged, “what harm is there? Everybody needs a place to be.”
The ruckus in the background continued with the cretin bellowing: “Oh, Jeez. That one hurt. Should my leg be pointing in that direction? Oh, the hurtness! The enormity of the owies! Oh, whoah!”
His oration ended with the sound of breaking glass.
Lem grew angry. “Dammit, Sir! We’re running out of plate glass!”
Sir, Madam and Jimmy walked over ruefully. Introductions were proffered, with Lem telling all, “This reporter is here to write about us.”
Sir snorted and glared angrily. Lem interceded. “It’s okay. He’s not going to tell everyone where we are, right, Mr. Reporter?”
He leaned in. “I could put a caterpillar on your shoulder right now and you’d be leaving here looking like a tripod.”
And that’s the way it is in Anytown, U.S.A.