Monday, January 25, 2010

Pale Apes in the River

I warn you now, this is going to be a long one...
Last semester I took a Illustrative Drawing class where we went to the zoo and drew animals from life and then wrote a story and developed characters that would go along with the animals we had studied. I started to look at different fairy tales and children's stories and decided to base mine off of some native american styles of storytelling.

My story takes place along the amazon river during the mid 1960's where a group of explorers venture into the relatively unknown jungles surrounding the river. The group of five men have been sent from a university in hopes of beginning the arduous task of sketching and categorizing the various species that can be found in the area.

The men are friendly toward the animals and often use food to coax them out of hiding. The animals (including the a dimwitted flamingo named Moche ((named after a tribe who is known for creating artwork based around flamingos)) and a cranky alligator snapping turtle named Coenraad((named after the discoverer of his species)) grow increasingly accustom to this and begin to visit the explorers on a daily basis. They grow lazy and depend on the explorers’ food.
One day, Edwin (one of the explorers) follows a bird through the forest in hopes of sketching him. This chase leads him to a portion of the jungle the group has yet to explore. Through mangrove trees he finds a small creek with a deep pool in it. Bathing in the pool are three beautiful, nude women. Edwin steps into the water to speak to the ladies.Hours later, his fellow explorers become concerned that their friend has not returned so they go in search of him. A few more of the explorers (Daniel and Richard) stumble upon these women and each one walks into the water to meet them, only to discover at the last minute that they are mermaids that lure them underwater, drown, and eat them.

A few animals witness this and the next day word spreads to Coenraad. Not wishing to lose his newfound food source, Coenraad enlists the help of Moche (who is a social outcast) try to formulate a plan to save the remaining explorers, eventually deciding to go to the witch doctor.

They venture to the tree where the witch doctor resides. It is large, gnarled and coated in intensely colorful poison dart frogs and Panamanian golden frogs. They beg the doctor to get rid of the mermaids. He agrees they are a problem as they killed many of this fellow tribesmen but he claims killing a species is against his beliefs, regardless of how vicious they may seem.
So instead, the animals plead that the witch doctor make the mermaids unappealing to the humans. He agrees and says he will make the mermaids fat, wrinkled and gray which is something no man should find attractive. The mermaids begin to transform and become what we now know as manatees.

The manatees spend the rest of their lives under the water, ashamed of their new physique. The animals take note of Coenraad and Moche self determination and they realize they don’t need to rely on humans to survive. The duo is finally accepted by the animals around them. The remaining humans are picked up by their boat and leave for home. As they float away, Charles sketches a manatee from the boat, and remarks on what odd beasts nature creates.

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