The Ape Costume

The Ape Costume.jpg

In a mansion, there is a basement. In that basement is a very large cage. In that cage is a man named Golias. Golias is wearing an ape costume.

“My name is Golias,” Golias says, speaking to nobody. “Contrary to how I appear, I am not an ape. I am a man. A man in love. That’s why I’m wearing this ape costume. That’s why I’m in this cage in a basement of a mansion. That’s why whenever the man who owns this mansion or his servants come down to the basement, I do my best to appear as ape-like as possible.

“I did not always wear this ape costume and I was not always confined to this cage. How I ended up like this is a funny story. Well, ‘funny’ is probably the wrong term to use. I certainly don’t find my story funny. I find it horrible and tragic and anger-inducing. But someone who takes pleasure in the misery of others might find my story funny.

“I was just a regular man once. A man who owned a house and had a wife and didn’t wear an ape costume and wasn’t confined to a cage. Life was okay, I guess. Not satisfying, but okay.

“Then I got a phone call from a friend I hadn’t heard from in years. His name was and is Bradford. Bradford and I had met in college. We had shared a dorm room and been in a lot of the same classes. Although we had been friends during college, we had never been that close. It hadn’t surprised me at all that we had lost touch immediately after college ended. It did surprise me that now, many years later, he was calling me.

“He was calling me to catch up and invite me over for dinner. I asked if I could bring my wife. He said absolutely.

“So, a few nights later, my wife and I arrived at the address Bradford had given me, the address to where he now lived, the address to where me and my wife were to have dinner with Bradford and his wife.

“Bradford lived in a mansion. I wasn’t surprised by this revelation. Bradford comes from a very rich family, something I’d already been aware of.

“My wife and I went into his mansion, where Bradford was there to greet us. Then his wife appeared to also greet us.

“And that’s when everything changed for me. I often wonder where I would be now if I had declined Bradford’s dinner invitation and thus never met Bradford’s wife. Would I be a free man? Probably. Would I not be wearing an ape costume? Most definitely.

“Bradford’s wife was and is named Clora. Before Clora said one word to me, I had already fallen madly in love with her. Needless to say, Clora was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen, much more beautiful than my wife.

“My wife… I still think about her sometimes. Sometimes I feel guilty about leaving her the way I did. I know it was wrong, but I was just so madly…

“But I’m getting ahead of myself. So anyway, like I was saying, I had fallen madly in love with Bradford’s beautiful wife Clora.

“That night in the mansion, my wife and I had dinner with Bradford and Clora. It was a pleasant dinner. Pleasant for everyone but me, that is. I had to spend the evening sitting directly across from the woman I love, tortured by the idea that she was forever out of my reach.

“During the dinner, many different topics were discussed among the four of us. One of the topics discussed was Clora’s pet ape Fido, who had died just a few days earlier. Bradford had bought Fido for Clora as a gift for their first wedding anniversary, as Clora had always been fond of apes, and had always wanted to have an ape as a pet. Unfortunately, Fido was a very dangerous animal to keep as a pet. Fido’s species of ape has a tendency to be very violent toward other creatures. So, during Fido’s time as Clora’s pet, Fido had been confined to a cage, this cage. Now that Fido was dead, Clora was interested in getting a new ape, a replacement ape.

“How ironic that while Clora was telling me and my wife about all of this ape stuff I had no idea it was relevant to my own future! I was barely listening to Clora talking about apes, as I was very distracted by her shapely body.

“At the end of the dinner, my wife and I exchanged a lot of friendly, meaningless pleasantries with Bradford and Clora: ‘It’s been fun.’; ‘It was good to see you again.’; ‘Nice meeting you.’; ‘We should do this again soon.’; etcetera. Then my wife and I left.

“I now hated Bradford. I hated him for being married to Clora. I hated my wife for not being Clora.

“I thought about Clora a lot over the next few days. I wanted to see her again, but without Bradford or my wife or anyone else around. But I couldn’t think of any logical, non-infidelious pretense to make such a meeting occur. And, to add to the hopelessness of my situation, it seemed like Clora wasn’t the type of woman I normally would have a chance with, even if she wasn’t married. Clora is beautiful and… I’m sure she probably has other wonderful qualities, but her beauty alone puts her in a league that I and most other people are not a part of. I truly believed that Clora was forever out of my reach.

“Then, a few days after the dinner, I received a phone call from Clora. She told me that she’d found my eyeglasses in one of the couches in her mansion. She said that she wanted to return the eyeglasses to me. She suggested I stop by to pick them up.

“Without hesitation, I agreed to do so, even though I don’t wear eyeglasses. So I went back to the mansion.

“When I arrived at the mansion, only Clora was there. Bradford was away on a multi-day fishing trip with some friends, and all of Bradford and Clora’s servants were gone for the day.

“Much to my delighted surprise, Clora initiated an affair with me. It was a dream come true for me. I was more happy that day than any day that came before or after it. If only I could’ve stayed in that day forever!

“A little later that day, Clora told me that Bradford was always suspecting her of infidelity. Clora said Bradford was now so suspicious that he no longer invited most of his male friends to the mansion, for fear that something might happen between Clora and one of them.

“Clora said that the only reason Bradford was okay with inviting me over for dinner was because he thought I was too much of a loser to ever attract a woman like her. Clora reassured me that Bradford was wrong. She told me that she had fallen in love with me. I was so overjoyed to hear this.

“I told Clora that I had fallen in love with her too. I asked her to marry me.

“I was expecting her to say yes, but she said no. She told me that although she very much wanted to be my wife, she could not get divorced from Bradford.

“I didn’t understand. I mean, if she really loved me, she’d gladly leave Bradford for me, right?

“Right?

“Clora then explained the whole situation between her and Bradford. She had never loved Bradford. She had married him for his money. Although Clora didn’t love Bradford, she very much loved the luxurious lifestyle that came with being married to him. In order to get married to Bradford, Clora had had to sign a prenuptial agreement. As part of the agreement, Bradford would get to keep all of his and Clora’s money and assets if they ever got divorced. Clora didn’t want to give up her luxurious lifestyle, but she would have to if she left Bradford for me. I certainly didn’t have the financial means to provide her with such a lifestyle.

“I told Clora that I would do anything to be able to spend more time alone with her, even if it meant continuing sneaking around behind Bradford’s back.

“But Clora said that that scenario would be problematic. She explained that Bradford’s distrust of her was more extreme than I realized; that Bradford had surveillance cameras set up all around the outside of the mansion, recording every time someone entered or exited the mansion; and that he had hired private investigators to keep tabs on her, to wait outside the mansion and follow her whenever she left the mansion. Clora also suspected that Bradford was paying the servants a little extra to keep tabs on Clora as well. Clora said that this secret meeting she had had with me today was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that could never happen again. She said that when Bradford questioned her about the footage of me entering and exiting the mansion today, she would tell him that I was just here to pick up my eyeglasses, nothing more. She said that Bradford would believe her, given his conviction that she could never be attracted to a loser like me. But she said that Bradford would realize what was going on if he came across any additional footage of me entering and exiting the mansion.

“It seemed that the situation was hopeless; that I would never get to spend time alone with Clora again.

“But then Clora told me that she had a solution to our dilemma; that she had come up with a plan that would allow us to continue our affair and also allow her to continue having her luxurious lifestyle.

“I was ready and willing to go along with whatever plan Clora had, as long as it meant getting to continue being with her.

“She led me down to her mansion’s basement, this basement, where she had kept Fido before he died. In the basement, I saw Fido’s cage, this cage. Outside of the cage was a very large box. Clora told me to open the box. So I did. In the box was an ape costume, this ape costume. Clora said that she had ordered it a few days ago, the day after she met me. She told me to put the ape costume on. So I did. She told me to get into the cage. So I did. She closed the cage’s door, then locked it.

“I didn’t understand what was going on.

“Clora said that the ape costume had been delivered to her this morning in that very large box. Clora said that she was going to tell Bradford that it wasn’t an ape costume that had been delivered in that box, but rather a new ape she had ordered to replace Fido. She said that Bradford would believe that lie, as she had been talking to him a lot about buying a new ape. She said that when Fido was alive, she would visit the ape often, spending hours alone in the basement with the ape, so Bradford or the servants would not think it was strange that Clora was spending so much time in the basement with Fido’s replacement. Clora said all I had to do was act ape-like whenever Bradford or the servants or anyone else other than Clora was down here in the basement.

“I had reservations about Clora’s plan, not because I wasn’t willing to go along with it, but surely, there must have been a better solution to our dilemma.

“Clora insisted that there wasn’t. So I went along with Clora’s plan.

“I never saw my wife again, nor did I ever send her a goodbye note explaining my sudden disappearance.

“At first, the situation wasn’t entirely misery-inducing. Clora would regularly come to visit me. She would spend hours at a time down here with me, with the basement’s door locked.

“Bradford and the servants bought into the deception. They genuinely believe that I’m an ape.

“The time between Clora’s visits was torture. I never knew exactly how long it would be before I got to see Clora again. Sometimes it would be just a few hours. Sometimes it would be several days.

“But when she returned to me, how happy I was! If only things had stayed that way!

“One day, during one of Clora’s visits, Clora told me she’d been having second thoughts about our relationship. She said that she didn’t definitely want to end our relationship, but that she wanted to take a break from it, to evaluate it, to figure out if I truly was her soul mate or just some guy she found attractive.

“She told me to remain here in the cage until she returned. I asked her how long she would be gone for. She said that she didn’t know, perhaps weeks, perhaps months, perhaps longer. She said that if I truly loved her, I would stay in the cage and keep pretending to be an ape during her absence. So I do.

“Clora still hasn’t returned since that day she told me she wanted to take a break from our relationship. I don’t know exactly how long it’s been. Months, years maybe? It’s hard to estimate the passage of time down here in the basement. But it feels like it’s been a very, very long time.

“I never see Bradford anymore. He’s never had any interest in Clora’s apes.

“I see the servants regularly though. They come down here three times a day, to bring me my meals.

“They’re usually very quiet, though one time I overheard them gossiping about Bradford and Clora. One of the servants was sharing a rumor with the other servants. The rumor was that Clora had left Bradford for another, richer man.

“I never heard the servants discuss that rumor again. Which leads me to believe that the rumor turned out to be blatantly false. Clora didn’t leave me. She’s just still working out her feelings for me, that’s all. She will return to me.

“Until that wonderful day, I will continue waiting for her, talking to nobody to pass the time.”

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