Kumbuka the London Zoo gorilla once escaped from his cage which inspired me to write a gorilla story.

Eric the Gorilla also decided to escape. Being a twenty-eight stone gorilla means you are strong. People just do not feel they can stop a gorilla if it approaches them. But you wouldn’t, would you?

Someone, for a reason only humans understand had thrown a £2 coin into Eric’s cage. So he picked it up and took a red spotted handkerchief to carry a change of underwear and all his belongings in. At the last minute he realised he did not wear clothes and had no belongings and so filled his handkerchief with food. And just walked out of the zoo. No one challenged him. But you wouldn’t, would you?

Eric was very intelligent he had taught himself human. He also knew to survive out of the zoo he needed money. Money to spend in shops and to take a female out and buy a car and buy the odd bag of chips or Chinese take away. He also knew the way you get money is by buying a lottery ticket.

So, he went to the newsagents and bought one. The newsagent didn’t bat an eyelid. He took Eric the Gorilla’s £2 and gave him a Lucky Dip. As he said afterwards, “I wasn’t going to argue with a gorilla.”

But you wouldn’t would you.?

Eric the Gorilla had no diary or calendar, so he did not have a clue what day it was. But you wouldn’t would you. It just happened to be a Tuesday, meaning his £2 lottery ticket was for Euromillions. It was triple double flip backward dive, pirouetted rollover which Eric did not realise, his reading skills were limited. He could only read words like zoo or animals, the, feed, not, do.

He checked his numbers watching TV through someone’s lounge window. The family just turned round and saw a gorilla at the window and ran away. But you would, wouldn’t you?

Eric checked and he had every number. So, Eric the Gorilla won £158 million. He wasn’t fazed, or excited. He just thought that was life on the outside. But you would, wouldn’t you?

So, he collected the cheque from the lottery office. The Lottery man took Eric’s winning ticket from him and gave him the cheque for £158 million. He asked Eric no questions. You wouldn’t, would you? He asked Eric to do just one publicity photo. He didn’t bother opening a bottle of champagne. Well, you wouldn’t, would you? Have you ever seen a gorilla drink a glass of champagne?

Eric took his cheque to the nearest bank to open an account. The lady behind the counter, opened it without question, even though she thought his signature was a little shaky You see she had adapted/sponsored a gorilla for a number of years paying £3 a month from her modest salary to keep him in the luxury he needed. She just thought it was he and he had been careful with his money and invested it wisely on the lottery. She thought he looked just like he looked in his photo he sent to her each year. Well, you would, wouldn’t you?

Eric had a nervous couple of days waiting for the cheque to clear. Well you would, wouldn’t you?

When it was cleared, he thought he would buy himself a house. A very modest3 bedroom semi.

The estate agent just sold it to him. He was not worried that it was a gorilla. It was a sale. The house had been on the market for a number of months, with no one viewing, Eric was prepared to pay well over the asking price and he was a cash buyer. So, you would, wouldn’t you?

So, Eric moved in. He enjoyed the house. He had no trouble from the neighbours. Well you wouldn’t, would you? If you lived next door to a gorilla and he played his music too loud would you dare knock on his door and ask him to turn it down a smidgen.

But Eric became bored sitting by himself every night watching Emmerdale. Well you would, wouldn’t you?

So, he had this amazingly brilliant idea. He would go and liberate many more of the animals from the zoo to come and live with him. And he did just that. A lion, a tiger, a giraffe, a snake even a crocodile or alligator as he preferred to call himself.

The animals at the zoo were so excited at the thought of freedom. Eric gradually broke the locks on their cages and led them to the exit. The zoo staff did not stand in their way. Coming face to face with a gorilla, you wouldn’t, would you?

They all made themselves comfortable in the modest 3 bedrooms semi, except the elephant of course. He was too big to get through the back door. So, he smashed his way into the conservatory. He couldn’t make it to the upstairs bathroom, he was too big and clumsy. So, he made his den in the conservatory. Well you would, wouldn’t you?

The alligator needed a pond and they all set to and dug a hole in the garden. The elephant poked his head through the kitchen window and took water from the kitchen tap into his trunk and then blew it all in the pond to fill it up.

The animals ordered their food online from Tesco. The Lion and tiger had lots of meat. There were lots of fresh leaves and buns as a treat for the elephant. Leaves and branches for the giraffe, Eric the Gorilla had a mainly vegetarian diet, feeding on stems, bamboo shoots and fruits. Whereas the crocodile, he had a big appetite for fish and other small marine creatures, but as he was quite a large individual, he ate small mammals, birds and turtles. The man from Tesco was very obliging and tried to fulfil all the animal’s needs, giving alternatives for just a few of the items on the crocodile’s order.

Having said that the man from Tesco dropped the order on the doorstep and never waited for a signature. Well, you wouldn’t, would you?

But life became a little tedious at the house. It was so small and crowded. Everyone was getting ratty with each other, not just the rats. Well you would, wouldn’t you?

Then after a coach trip day out to Longleat Safari Park, Eric inspired thinking it was possibly time to splash out the cash on a new bigger home. A stately home.

He found one bought it and they all moved in. Life was amazing. Every animal had his or her own bedroom. The rooms were high enough for even the giraffe to stand upright in. And a special reinforced lift was installed so that the elephant could have a room right at the top of the house. His dream come true. The crocodile even had a river to swim in.

The only drawback was that the Tesco deliveryman would come no further than the front gate, but they took it in turns to pick the order up from there. Well you would, wouldn’t you?

They had special rooms for eating and a cinema room for watching films and TV, one for playing games, a library, a gallery of pictures, a music room and a ballroom. They even had a room specially for playing Bridge in. But as none of the animals knew how to play bridge it was a bit of a waste.

And there were acres of garden. So they played cricket, football and beach volley ball.

But life was too easy, and Eric and the animals soon became bored just watching boring soaps on TV, dancing and playing hide and seek. They decided cricket was boring, football had been spoilt by the money and corruption that ruled it and the lack of sand spoilt the beach volleyball. Well it would wouldn’t it?

One breakfast meeting in the Grand Ballroom, Eric was reading out notices and announced that night there was to be a special showing of the Disney film Jungle Book in the Home Cinema room at 7.00pm sharp. No late comers admitted. There was a great gasp and roar of excitement. And a huge boing as the snake recoiled with pleasure.

That evening whilst watching the film Eric came up with a brain wave. They could all go back to the jungle.

The animals had a meeting and Eric put his idea forward. He was supposed to give seven days’ notice but that was deemed not necessary. Well would you want to argue with Eric, after all he was a gorilla and the leader. And so, it was accepted unanimously. Well, it would be wouldn’t it?

That day Eric got straight down to making arrangements. He went to see an airfreight company to transport the animals out to the jungle. They reached a deal, although they charged him a bit extra because he was a gorilla. Eric didn’t mind and the airline was happy enough, they said it was all good for turnover. Well you would, wouldn’t you?

The elephant was happy because the plane was a cargo plane and had huge doors that could be opened for him to walk on. The giraffe was a bit luke warm as he was slightly too tall, as usual, and as usual no one seemed to care, so he had to lie down on the floor to be comfortable. Well, you would, wouldn’t you?

So as the animals had no bags to pack they just upped and went to the airport.

Security was easy with no bags. Passport control was a little more difficult. The Passport Control personnel had never had to deal with a party of animals before. But Eric the Gorilla had a quiet word with the senior supervisor, pointing out particularly the lion, the tiger, the boa constrictor and the four-metre-long crocodile and she kindly waved them through without question. Well, you would, wouldn’t you?

As the animals were boarding the aircraft the crew looked on a little nervously. But they had been given a special bonus for this flight. So, they locked themselves securely in the cockpit and prepared for take-off. Well, you would, wouldn’t you?

The flight was not bad, a little bumpy from turbulence at times. Crocodile was a little air sick, he said he needed a swamp full of water, but all they could find him was a tumbler full. Not quite what he needed.

As they flew over the jungle a message came over the radio.

“This is your flight captain speaking. We thank you for flying Freight Airways. We hope you have had a pleasant journey. At the back of the aircraft you will find a heap of parachutes. Please share them out one each and put them on. Then when the back doors open please jump out. The parachute will automatically open, hopefully. Due to health and safety issues, please do not crowd the doorway. When you land on earth, that is the jungle.

“Again, thank you for flying Freight Airways, we hope you will choose to fly with us again one day.”

Eric the Gorilla was not expecting this. None of the animals had ever done a parachute jump before. There was only Eric who had the hands to help put the parachutes on all the animals and he was clumsy and not too good. But he had no choice. Once the doors opened gradually, they jumped, one by one. Eric the Gorilla waited until last to ensure all were out ok, like the good leader he was. then he jumped, too.

Once on the ground Eric gathered the animals together to ensure they were ok and granted them their freedom. There was such excitement and celebration to be back home, except for the crocodile, he was not from the jungle but swamp lands. On the other hand, the animals were sad because they had all become such good friends looking out for one another. Well, you would, wouldn’t you?

“Okey Dokey.” Said Eric, very casually. “Why don’t we meet up every Friday and have a drink and a bit of lunch together.”

“But I don’t know which day of the week is which.” Said the elephant. “I forget.”

Just count the daybreaks and come here on the seventh.” Said Eric the Gorilla.

It then emerged the tip was most useful to all the animals as none of them knew the days of the week.

The following Friday they all gathered around the water hole as agreed. Eric asked how they were settling in. They all said they were loving the jungle and their newfound freedom and spoke of their adventures.  They were very excited about their new lives which had renewed meaning. Well, you would be, wouldn’t you?

But then, Elephant said, “The only thing is I hate having to search out my own food and decide whether it is right for me to eat. There are so many dangerous leaves in the jungle, some disagree with my stomach. I assume some could kill me. I don’t know which.

The other animals nodded their heads sympathetically. Well you would wouldn’t you.

“I really miss someone turning up at the same time each day with a few kind words and leaving me with some good food and a nice clean bedding.”

“I know exactly what you mean.” said Lion. “I’m expected to chase the poor old wildebeests and kill them for supper. After the first one I gave up. It is so barbaric, and I can’t run like I used to.

“I’ve also had to retake on my role as King of the Jungle. How time consuming is that? And I’m scared of all the responsibility that falls on my shoulders. So many papers to go through and sign. Then there is the “Red Box” containing all the jungle parliamentary papers, to go through and sign, every day but Christmas Day. They are even talking about replacing the box with an i-phone and you know me and technology, we just don’t work.”

“I agree it’s a real jungle out here.” Said Giraffe and then laughed when he realised, he had made a joke. Well, you would wouldn’t you.

“I have to admit,” said Eric the Gorilla, “I miss people watching. They are so cute and interesting and say and do the funniest of things. You should see some of the faces they pull at me and the gestures they make. I often think I ought to get a video camera and film them and put them on YouTube” Well you would wouldn’t you?

“So, if I’m judging the mood right everyone wants to go back to the zoo, then?” Asked Eric.

“Oh yes please!” they all shouted excitedly.  All, that is except the crocodile.

“No.” He snapped. I know I am not from these parts, but I like it here. I feel I’m on holiday, every day. Out in the fresh air being able to roam where I want instead of being stuck in a claustrophobic tank in mucky, murky water with horrible kid’s noses pressed up to the side. I feel nicely retired and relaxed here. I no longer dread Saturdays and Sundays.” Well, you wouldn’t, would you?

“Also, there are a lot of very exotic tasty small mammals for my tea. They are so easy to catch because they have never seen a crocodile before and don’t run away, they do not know I’m dangerous until I have gobbled them up.”

So the band of merry animals, excluding the crocodile set off to find an airport. It took a few days, as the jungle is a very big place and they had no maps, just instinct.

Finally, they found one. Eric the Gorilla took ages to negotiate a flight home. You see he had problems convincing the personnel at the airline and airport that they were not animals escaping from the jungle but were English zoo animals returning home after a holiday. Well you would wouldn’t you.?

Fortunately, an old London bus ticket had become tangled in his fur. It must have been there for years. He could not remember the last time he caught a bus. Of course, that convinced them. Well it would wouldn’t it.?

Disembarkation from the aircraft was quite normal, on the ground, this time, no parachutes. Fortunately the same Passport Control Supervisor was on duty. She was on days this week, but she preferred nights. Well, you would, wouldn’t you? She had a quiet word with various colleagues, and the animals cleared customs and immigration in record time, all thanks to Eric the Gorilla. Well, you would wouldn’t you?

The animals, with Eric the Gorilla leading, left the airport and marched in a long line back to the zoo. They looked like the Parade of Animals from the days of old, when the circus came to town. Crowds began to line the route and started cheering. Well you would, wouldn’t you? TV cameras turned up to film the event for the early evening national and international news that night. Well, you would, wouldn’t you?

So, the zoo was ready for them when they arrived.

“Ah!, You’re back then.” Said the Zookeeper. “Thought you might be. You thought the grass would be greener on the other side.”

Eric the Gorilla did not answer. He did not want to offend him. Well, you wouldn’t, would you?

But Eric had to admit he had never given the colour of the grass a second thought. Well, you wouldn’t would you?

“Come on then, you young rascals,” Said the zookeeper lightening his tone. After all, the animals had created amazing publicity for the zoo. “But I’m afraid you’ll have to share with some new inmates.” Well you would wouldn’t you?

But Eric the Gorilla had one more job to do. He popped out and bought a camera and an i-pad, to put his people watch on film “Life on Earth – Zoo Watch” he titled it.  Well you would, wouldn’t you?

So if you visit a zoo and the gorilla has a camera filming you, you will know it is Eric. Wave and shout: “Filming me? Well you would wouldn’t you?”


©2019 Phil Robinson