Friday, July 29, 2011

Chapter 14: Seeds

After lunch and before their next tour, Nora decided to take Tristan on her own little tour. “Have you ever been to the park as a guest before?” Nora asked Tristan as they were exiting the employee’s lounge.

“Um…no.” he said sheepishly. Nora glanced over at him and Tristan couldn’t tell if she was glaring of if she was just squinting because of the sunlight that was suddenly in their eyes.

“And yet you had the audacity to come here and protest…” Nora muttered. Tristan inferred from that statement that she was glaring at him, not squinting.

The two of them walked in silence for a moment, Nora clenching and unclenching her fists as she walked. Tristan glanced down at her hesitantly and saw that she no longer looked angry, just slightly annoyed. Tristan caught himself feeling relieved that she wasn’t angry. Anger was what he had originally hoped for with this job, wasn’t it? Didn’t he want to make her miserable? Didn’t he want to make her lash out in anger? Tristan squeezed his eyes shut, wishing he knew why his emotions were playing tricks with his mind.

“How are you going to see anything on the tour if your eyes are closed?” Tristan heard Nora ask from a short ways behind him. He stopped abruptly and turned around. Nora was standing a few feet behind him with her arms folded over her chest. She was raising an eyebrow and tapping her foot impatiently. Tristan smiled sheepishly then dashed back over to her. Once Tristan had reached her side, Nora turned to the large structure beside her.

“This side of the park houses our largest and most popular attractions, not our rides. We’ll get to the rides another day. Also, because we’re short on time,” Nora paused to glance down at her watch, “we won’t actually be going into any of the attractions. I’ll just tell you what they’re about.”

“This--” Nora paused dramatically. Tristan motioned for her to get on with what she was saying. “Is the Dolphin House. Although there are some dolphins in the zoo, this is where all of the trained dolphins are kept and where they do their tricks.” Nora explained.

“Oh, so this is where the inhumane stuff happens…” Tristan said, taking a step towards the building. “I should have gotten a job in there…” Nora suddenly grabbed Tristan’s arm and began pulling him down the paved pathway towards another building.

“Moving on!” Nora said as she tugged Tristan along behind her. Tristan quickly straightened up and turned around, pulling at his shirt indignantly. “This is the Orca Dome. It was named the Orca Dome because the building is enclosed by a dome-like roof and it houses the orcas.” Nora explained, sounding exactly like her tour-guide self.

“Orcas are killer whales, right?” Tristan asked, looking up at the enormous building.

“Yes, ‘orca’ is the scientific name for killer whales.” Nora replied with a sigh.

“So, all of the park’s killer whales--”


“Live in there?” Tristan asked, glancing over at Nora. Nora nodded. “And that’s also where they do all of their tricks and stuff?” Tristan continued. Nora shot him a glare.

“Yes. Yes, it is.” she replied shortly.

“Huh…I bet that’s worse than the Dolphin House…” Tristan muttered. Nora stormed past him, stomping on his foot as she went. Tristan sucked in a breath and his eyes went wide from the pain in his foot.

“Are you coming?” Nora called over her shoulder.

“Yeah, just as soon as I find the toes on my right foot again!” Tristan said, inhaling deeply after he spoke. He finally turned and hobbled after Nora as quickly as he could.

“Up here are a few of the shows we do that involve more people that aren’t just trainers. We have actual actors and actresses who don’t do anything more with the animals than what’s called for in the script. Most of the people that are on the stage are trainers or other employees who have some acting experience, though.” Nora explained as they walked past two buildings on opposite sides of the path. Tristan glanced up at them both as they passed. He heard laughter coming from one and screaming coming from the other. “Sounds like the audience just got wet.” Nora said, glancing back at Tristan with a smile on her face.

“Do you have any acting experience, Nora?” Tristan asked, jogging to catch up with her.

“Not really…” Nora said slowly. “I’ve really only ever acted in front of the mirror…”

“I did a little acting in school… I wonder how well the animals are treated in there…” Tristan murmured more to himself than to Nora. Nora sighed and rolled her eyes.

“The animals are treated well here, Tristan. In ever area of the park.” she said, sounding exasperated.

“How do you know? Have you worked in every area of the park?” Tristan asked, snapping his head over to look at Nora.

“No, but I’m sure that I would have heard of some mistreatment by now if there was any.” Nora said, walking faster. Tristan noticed that she was clenching and unclenching her fists again.

“Well, they might have--” Tristan began, but Nora cut him off by holding up her hand.

“Save it. We have to go back to work now.” she said shortly. Nora turned around and walked off briskly, not waiting for Tristan. Tristan watched as her ponytail bobbed away from him. He had certainly done a very good job of upsetting her. She certainly looked angry...

But the problem was, Tristan wasn’t happy anymore, either…

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