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Thomas Howarth’s Uni Confessions – The Zoo Experiment

HOLD YOUR BREATH, PINCH YOUR NOSE AND DIVE HEAD FIRST INTO THE ABSURD WORLD OF THOMAS HOWARTH’S UNI CONFESSIONS.

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We signed up blindly for the psychology experiment. Two hundred of us in total. Fifty of us were given matching green uniforms, and the rest were led off to the costume room of the drama building. At random, I was appointed Boss, and, finally the deal was explained.

The squat headquarters building sat at the centre of the compound, surrounded by enclosures. Back from the drama block, one hundred and fifty students, all dressed as animals, were herded through cage doors and locked in. Psychology professors bade us farewell, and vanished from the zoo.

We went out for a few months in first year, but now she was a porcupine and I was to view her as such.

A week passed. I observed with slight compassion as a girl in a porcupine onesie struggled through the weather. Sammy Lynch, she’d once been called. We went out for a few months in first year, but now she was a porcupine and I was to view her as such. I requested of my keepers that she be transported back to her enclosure and given a nourishing feed. Sheltered in my office, I got to work on some emergency administration. There were reports that the pandas had begun to misbehave. I glanced to the top desk drawer. I’d been entrusted with a pistol, ‘just in case’.

I was receiving reports that a pair of toucans were going around stealing nets and tranquilliser guns.

A fortnight ambled by. I knocked back about five Kalms and wiped my brow. Lizards had been sighted in the bear enclosure, and I was receiving reports that a pair of toucans were going around stealing nets and tranquilliser guns. As I set about preparing orders for my fleet of keepers, a pangolin stumbled into the room. Before it could scamper back the way it came, I shot it between the eyes. I will not have pangolins in the office.

As the mammal lay twitching, I gathered my papers and made for The Bunker. Our little universe was beginning to disintegrate. The Bunker wasn’t invincible, but it would hold up for a while against the entropy.

An ocelot had somehow got hold of a Tyrannosaurus costume, and had evolved itself into the dinosaur.

I pushed through the rain, pistol aloft. My papers tore away on the wind, drenched. An ocelot had somehow got hold of a Tyrannosaurus costume, and had evolved itself into the dinosaur. I fired upon the approaching beast and ducked into a dented portaloo as another monster entered our arena. The new arrival, an African elephant, squared up to the dinosaur, bellowing like an engine. The Tyrannosaurus’ tail whipped around and struck my capsule, hurtling it like the TARDIS over the edge of the hill.

I noted other members of staff living in similar conditions, boxed into broken portaloos and vehicles.

I spent the next few days living in this battered cuboid, staving off starvation with its internal liquids. On brief excursions I noted other members of staff living in similar conditions, boxed into broken portaloos and vehicles. I saw one man forced back into his lifeless car by an ostrich, which had come, by some sick fortune, into the possession of a keeper’s hat and baton.

The animals were forging into a singular force, divisions of body and nature relegated to arbitrary decoration. It soon became easy to overlook the incidental differences between, say, an iguana and a lion, and to see them as one and the same.

I spent the next few days living in this battered cuboid, staving off starvation with its internal liquids.

Weeks passed coldly. Under an evening gloom I broke away from my enclosure, and headed back up to the headquarters building. Trembling, I peered through the window into my old office. Inside, by artificial lamplight, a range of creatures were busy sifting through my files and notes. I looked from leopard to elk, and from gorilla to sloth, and from newt to zebra; but it was almost impossible to say which was which.

Thomas Howarth 

Read more of Thomas’s confessions here!

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