The quality of mercy

Towards the end of my circus career I had grown into a big and powerful ape. My human friends came to me with their problems and disputes as if I were a cross between Don Corleone and King Kong. One such incident occurred when we were performing in Essex. It was the summer, and the circus had hired a pair of school leavers on some kind of government training programme. These two lads, called Callum and Travis, were not the best bred examples of English youth, and had a habit of leering at the female acrobats. One of these young women complained to me about them:

“They told me they liked my pink underwear!” she huffed.

“A bit cheeky perhaps,” I replied. “But we can’t punish them for admiring your lingerie.”

“But how do they know I wear pink knickers?” she protested. “They’ve either been rummaging through my locker or spying at me when I’m changing.”

This was a serious allegation. The peeping tom has no place in the modern circus and must be exposed and shamed without mercy.

“I will investigate,” I said gravely.

Our venue was a playing field next to a sports complex in which the circus performers limbered up. I inspected the changing room used by the female acrobats and looked for a hidden vantage point that could be used by a voyeur. I had no success until I noticed a wooden trapdoor on the ceiling. I went to the room above – a large storage facility – and saw that a crack along the edge of the trapdoor had been enlarged with a screwdriver. I put my eye next to the opening and obtained a good view of the changing room below.

After our next show had ended, I observed the entrance of the sports complex and saw the acrobats enter in their performing gear. Callum and Travis followed them a couple of minutes later. When I got to the store room, I saw the two rogues lying next to each other on the floor, peering through the crack in the trapdoor. Their trousers were pulled down to their ankles, and they were panting with hands busy in self-gratification. I could have easily jumped across and collared them, but I decided to give them the chance to surrender by announcing myself:


They dropped their cocks alright, but did not reach for their socks. Instead, they scampered to the fire exit at the end of the room, holding up their trousers by hand, and clambered on to the outdoor staircase. Unfortunately for them, they were immediately noticed by some people below, and soon the eyes of hundreds of departing patrons were turned towards them. In their desperation to escape attention, they climbed up the stairs rather than down them and ended up on the flat roof of the building.

To say that I was in hot pursuit would be a gross exaggeration. A couple of scrawny human adolescents would not escape from a gorilla if he were sleep-walking. I pulled myself up the fire stairs, to much applause below, and saw the two scoundrels hobbling away on the roof, still holding up their trousers by hand. I bounded up to them and tripped them up like a cheetah bringing down a pair of gazelle fawns. Their trousers fell down as they dropped to the ground, revealing some unpleasantly white skin. I glowered at them sternly from above. It was Travis who spoke first:

“Downt queer us up, Gorilla!” he pleaded. “Bummin’ gives ya AIDS.”

“E’s right, Gorilla!” agreed Callum earnestly.

“Don’t be absurd!” I snorted. “Queer you up indeed! I’ve a good mind to throw you off the roof and say it was an accident. How would you like that?”

“You can’t kill us, Gorilla!” begged Callum. “We ain't never ‘ad a woman. Honest! That’s why we wuz lookin’ at dem gals.”

As I had no intention of killing them, I decided to use this revelation as grounds for mercy. “Pull up your trousers,” I said grimly. “I have decided to spare you – not because I attach any value to your worthless lives, but to avoid the bad luck that would befall the circus from killing two virgins. Climb down the stairs and make your way to your supervisor’s trailer – and don’t forget that I’ll be right behind the pair of you.”

Their supervisor was a burly foreman called Eric. On hearing my report, he told the boys they were dismissed and asked them for their cash. They emptied their wallets and he counted it up.

“Should be enough,” said Eric.

He then ordered them into his van and drove away with them – to where I knew not. It seemed a bit odd, but who was I to interfere in the machinery of human justice? Like Captain Picard, I obeyed the prime directive not to interfere in the cultural practices of other life forms unless absolutely necessary, which it wasn’t in this case.

Months later I discovered that Eric had taken them to the house of a middle-aged woman known as Fat Suzie, who had the dubious distinction of being the cheapest whore in Chelmsford – or rather the cheapest ex-whore in Chelmsford, as she had not entertained a client for two years when Callum and Travis were delivered into her clutches. It seems they weren’t too keen to party with her at first, but Eric insisted that they got their money’s worth while he waited outside, and that’s exactly what Fat Suzie gave them. I don’t know if any good became of those two young layabouts, but at least they could no longer use their virginity as an excuse for being peeping toms.

* This line was originally used in a movie, but the actors were not actually holding their cocks at the time.

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