Episode the Sixteenth: A Day in the Life of a Big, Hairy Gorilla

By: Mr. E. S. Stranger

In the beginning of important history, at the center of the Universe, in a house, lived a little girl named Dot. She had brown hair in pigtails, wore big glasses, and was little. Little Dot had parents and a brother, who was, aside from being her brother, a big, hairy gorilla. This story is about Dot's brother the gorilla.

Dot and her brother sat in the living room watching TV together before dinner. Her brother was disturbed to see that she was counting beads using her right hand and working an all-white puzzle with her left. He chose to ignore it and watch his show. It was an exciting one. Just as the true identity of the villain was about to be revealed, Dot spoke up.

"I think I'm missing a piece. Have you seen-"

"Shh!" her brother responded. "I'm trying to watch my show."

He missed the line. Oh well. He'd have to figure it out from the next scene. Finally, the show quit for a commercial break, and a furniture ad came on. The gorilla turned to Dot.

"Okay, now what were you-"

"Shh!" Dot said. "I'm trying to watch my show."

Her brother shook his head and tried to ignore her for the rest of the episode. Soon, their mother called them for dinner. As usual, Dot made sure there were clear alleys between the different foods on her plate. Her brother stared as he salted his food.

"Why are you so afraid of your foods' touching?"

"Why do you cover everything in salt?" she retorted.

"Maybe I just need a lot of salt."

"Yeah?" she said. "Well, maybe I get sick if my foods mix."

"I don't think that's how it works."

Dot kept eating. She grimaced after putting a bite of peas into her mouth. With some effort, she chewed and swallowed.

"Those peas had spaghetti sauce on them," she said.

Her brother just stared for a moment, shook his head, and kept eating. As Dot was finishing her last bites, she began to sniffle. After her last bite, she took a sip of water and fell to coughing.

"See?" she asked. Coughing, she left the table and went into her room. The coughing continued, and her mom went in after her. Her brother finished his meal, cleared his place, and went toward his room. He glanced in on the way.

"Is she gonna live?" he asked.

"I'm sick," Dot said with a frown, and she coughed again.

Her mother was feeling her cheeks. "I don't feel a fever, but let's check again tomorrow. Your dad will have to watch you tomorrow if you're staying home." She turned to Dot's brother. "Will you find your dad and ask if he can watch Dot tomorrow?"

Dot's brother nodded and went back out into the rest of the house. He didn't find their dad in any of the rooms, so he went to the bookcase and started opening up some of the books. He found their dad on page twenty-six of a physics textbook.

"Oh, hey," their dad said. "What's happening?"

"Dot might have to stay home tomorrow," the gorilla replied. "Mom needs you to watch her."

Their dad looked around at the letters on the page. "Uh...ok, I guess that's fine. Sure. Is she ok?"

"She's fine," Dot's brother replied.

"Good," said his dad. "Ok, good night, then."

"Good night," the gorilla replied, and he closed the book.

On his way to his room, he glanced in Dot's room again. Dot was holding a tissue in one hand and moving the mouse of her computer with the other. The gorilla went to his room and got on his own computer to do a few things before bed. A few minutes later, he heard a shout from Dot's room, and then Dot was standing angrily at his door.

"What did you do to my pinball game?"

He looked at her calmly. "I don't know what you're talking about."

"Your score. How did you get nine trillion points?"

"I'm good."

"I'm better than you at that game, and I've only ever got up to two million."

"I practiced," he replied.

"You cheated," she returned. "What did you do?"

"I implemented an enhancement."

Dot crossed her arms. "An enhancement? Meaning what?"

"I improved the scoring. Now the top player can have way more points."

"But you're not the top player!"

"I do have nine trillion points," he countered. "Scores don't lie."

"You broke into my computer!"

"Hacked," he corrected.

"Hacked?" she repeated, bewildered. "Is that another word for 'broke'?"

"No," he said, "hacking takes skill."

She stared at him with fire in her eyes for a moment. "I'm still better at the game."

"Well, get nine trillion and one points, and we'll talk."

She stood there for a bit and then stormed out. He heard her door slam and went back to his computer. After a little while, he went to bed.

The next morning, Dot's mom took Dot's temperature and saw that Dot had a fever. She asked Dot's brother if their dad would watch Dot for the day. The gorilla nodded. Dot's mom got Dot tucked in with a cup of bouillon, grabbed her things, and hurried off to work. Dot's brother kept getting ready. At last, it was time for him to go to school.

"See you later, Dot," he said.

"Later," Dot weakly croaked.

Dot's brother opened the door and had just stepped outside when their dad rushed past him, muttering nervously about being late. The door closed behind him. Dot was all alone in the house, and her brother was all alone on the front porch. He stood there for a few minutes, unsure what to do. If he went back in, Dot would know he hadn't gone to school, and their mom would be furious. He couldn't leave her alone, though. There was only one possible solution. He would have to keep watch invisibly.

He walked around to the back. He could peek at Dot through the windows back there, and he could still tell if anyone were approaching the house. He'd make a couple rounds here and there to be sure.

As he reached the back yard, he saw that Jimi was there. The dog looked at the gorilla. You too, huh? that look said. Dot's brother grunted. This wouldn't be very comfortable. He had a lunch with him, but he'd have to use the faucet in the back to get a drink. And keeping cool would be difficult. This wasn't the height of summer, but the day would get warm.

He set up camp under the porch covering and began waiting. This turned out to be the hard part. When he was sure he had been keeping watch for at least an hour, he examined the shadows. It seemed that the sun had actually gone slightly eastward in the sky. He was fairly certain that wasn't how it was supposed to work, but there was no one to complain to. He kept waiting, and the hours dragged on.

Multiple times, he heard someone approaching with malicious intent. Yes, he was sure he heard malicious intent, and he rushed to the spot and beat his chest, but most of the time the coast was clear, and once it was a postal worker. This grew tiring after a while. The day grew warmer, and the sweat trickled. Jimi at last took to gazing alternately at Dot's brother and the back door.

If I had opposable thumbs, I'd have the sense to open the door and go inside, Jimi's gaze said. But Dot's brother couldn't go in yet. Then his mom would find out that he had skipped school to watch his sister.

The hours passed, little by little, and the shadows on the bright ground crept to the east. The water in the backyard tasted horrible, but Dot's brother was thirsty enough to drink it a couple times. His lunch wasn't enough; his stomach growled, and Jimi jumped up a few times at the sound, afraid the mysterious dog that lived nearby had returned.

He peeked in at his sister a few times here and there to be sure she was ok. Yes, she was fine; she watched TV, played with beads, ate some leftover macaroni and some celery with peanut butter, talked to that creepy-looking shoestring doll, and hung out in her room. Whenever he peeked in at her, he felt how cool the window glass was. Air conditioning. He wished he had some out there.

For the last of it, he and Jimi just sat near each other and tried not to do anything that would generate heat. After a while, Dot's brother peeked in and saw the clock. It was time for him to come home. He went to the front and knocked on the door. After a few minutes, Dot opened it and let him in. Shortly afterward, their dad wandered in and asked how things were on his way to his book. Soon, it was just Dot and her brother again.

Dot was fine the rest of the evening. Their mother came home. The watched TV and ate dinner, and then they went to their rooms. The gorilla hadn't been there long before Dot walked in holding a solved Rubik's cube.

"Did it," she said.

Her brother's eyebrows went up. "You solved that?"



"I hacked it," Dot answered, grinning.

"You took the stickers off."

"I hacked it," Dot replied. "That takes skill."

She walked away. Her brother didn't know what to say. After a few more minutes, he decided to go to bed. It had been a long day.