Grow Your Gorilla
Number 13 of the eighteen stories in my debut short story collection, Mammals, I Think We Are Called.
A young boy faces the reality of environmental destruction when his electronic toy gorilla comes to life.
Read an excerpt:
On Christmas night, after my parents had gone to bed, I took you out of your pod for the first time and put you on the windowsill. I overwatered you; your tiny coat was ruffled and damp. I hung you from the radiator to dry. Your eyes hadn’t opened yet. But I didn’t switch you on. I couldn’t bear to. I was waiting for you to come alive by yourself.
Every day after school, as the winter dusk fell, I pedalled past the windows stretched along my street, two sad yellow eyes in each looking outwards at the rising moon and waiting for the miracle. They all came from the same factory, but only one belonged in the forest. They were already different sizes. I imagined the silver hairs starting to prick through the backs of some of them – the sign of the mature male – and I was tempted to switch you on.
After that Christmas, when the gorillas began to grow, they sold at a furious rate. Even adults were obsessed. They bought more and more until it became a frenzy: they all wanted the true one. Of course, I didn’t tell them that I already had you. News articles compared the relative size of the gorillas and discussed the genetics of the silver hair. There was even speculation about secret experiments.
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