The King (Kong) of Skyscraper Cleaning

In “Anecdotal Tales”, stories will be told.  Some will be fun, some will not.  Some will be great, some will be less so.  Some stories are true, some are merely possible.  This is one of them.

The King (Kong) of Skyscraper Cleaning

Good things never last Mr. Dehnam.” –King Kong (2005)

King Kong sat at the window of The Briar Patch and sipped from his bucket-sized shot glass.  The piña colada was much too small for his tastes, but it was all that Br’er Rabbit had in stock.  Unfortunately there was a giants’ family reunion not too far away.  The behemoths had not only taken up all the extra-large, reinforced stools inside the tavern, but they had helped themselves to all the super jumbo glasses as well.  Terrific, Kong thought to himself.  One more surprise in my stinkin’ life.

Br’er Rabbit couldn’t stand having his curiosity unrequited.  In what appeared to the other patrons to be a rare show of kindness, Br’er Rabbit closed up the bar and walked outside.  He looked at the giant gorilla seated on the dry ground.  A few stalwart blades of grass grew here or there, but most of the landscape was as dismal and depressing as Kong’s furrowed brow.  That’s the way things are when our dreams don’t quite go our way.  The rain may fall and grow our hope for another day, but in the meantime we’re left sitting outside and squinting at the harsh sun.

Kong took another gulp of his drink and looked down at Br’er Rabbit.  Normally, a creature so small would have been beneath his notice.  But Br’er Rabbit was not just any animal.  As the host, and with a following that gave him presence, Br’er Rabbit cast a shadow as big as Kong’s; perhaps even bigger.

Finally, Kong stared the rabbit right in the face.  The bartender let his hind leg scratch behind his ear as he looked at the massive mammal quixotically.  Seeing Kong focusing on him, Br’er Rabbit put down his foot, tilted his head to one side, and twitched his nose.

“What?”  Kong was never known for his patience, even on his better days.

“Now I don’t mean no disrespect.  If a critter wants to drink itself into a stupid, I can certainly accommodate that.  I was only wondering what’s got you all worked up today.  You’ve been throwing back drinks like I haven’t seen any man or creature do in quite some time.”

“I feel like drinking.  Is that so wrong?”

“I reckon I just told you that I was happy to provide drinks.  Only I can’t seem to figure it all out.”

“What’s so hard to understand”, Kong asked.

“I don’t quite know how to ask this.  I mean, I’ve seen you ‘round here several times.  Now it’s gotten to that point where it’s a little awkward to ask, if you follow my drift.”

“Spit it out!”  The gorilla slammed his massive fist onto the ground as a show of his impatience.  Br’er Rabbit was tossed up twenty feet in the air from the blow, but he landed comfortably enough.  Being surrounded by larger-than-life creatures who liked to drink had only quickened his reflexes.

“The thing is”, Br’er Rabbit continued.  “I heard it told that you were dead.  You went and made your debut as the Eighth Wonder of the World and all that, and then you fell off a skyscraper.  Splat.  Isn’t that how it happened?”

The gorilla handed Br’er Rabbit an empty bucket and shook his head.  “You of all people should know that dead never really means dead for us.  They want to tell our story again, so there we are.  If we aren’t alive in their story, then they won’t retell it.”

“Now I’ve certainly found that to be true”, Br’er Rabbit conceded.  “I still think there might be a little more to your tale.”

King Kong only grunted and snorted out of his two gigantic nostrils in response.  Br’er Rabbit ducked and tried to avoid the gust that flew towards him.  Snot blown on a forest creature was immensely disgusting, no matter how big or small it was.

“I tell you what”, Br’er Rabbit said after he checked himself over and found he was still clean.  “I’ll get you five more pina coladas if’n you’ll just tell me what’s depressing you so much today.”

“Make it six”, Kong declared.

“Fair enough.”

“You heard my story more or less correctly.  I fell.  The story itself is nothing new.  A woman led me to get carried away, caught me up in a worthless feud, and then I ended up with nothing.  Word is that she’s doing fine for herself.  Hurmph.”

Kong began to motion for a drink, but Br’er Rabbit just stood there.  Apparently payment would wait until after all services had been rendered.

“I, of course, took that mighty tumble”, Kong continued.  “What they didn’t mention however, was that I didn’t die.  The darn fools didn’t know how to check a heartbeat properly, even though I would think it would have been pretty easy for them”, he shrugged.  “Turns out my injury only left me with a concussion.

“Those humans and their logic said that it was my fault.  I was the one that had climbed all those buildings.  I was the one that had caused all the ruckus, so I should have to make amends.  Also, they knew they didn’t have any jail cells or warehouses big enough to hold me.  Plus they could never manage my food bill without a public outcry on ‘wasteful spending’.  This government official told me that I would have to work off my debt to society.  ‘You like to climb buildings so much’, the man said.  ‘You are now sentenced to wash every window on every building for the next ten years’.

“That’s how things are now.  I can’t swim home because it’s too darn far.  I can’t get a day off because they keep raising more and more structures every day.  As soon as I’ve cleaned off a building and made my way around town, the first few are dirty again.  It’s an endless cycle, Rabbit.  Plus, I always have to start at the top and work my way down.  If they catch so much as one toe-print on their fancy windows, they make me clean the whole thing all over again.”

Pic from WPClipart

“How long can it really take you to clean one skyscraper?”

“If I were doing it my way, I’d be done in a matter of minutes”, Kong answered grouchily.  “The landlords; they won’t let me scurry up and climb how I want.  They say their buildings weren’t made to support my weight. The higher-ups complain that if I make dents in their cheap concrete that the bill will have to come out of my salary since their insurance doesn’t cover giant gorilla feet.  I tried to get them to submit their claims as an ‘act of god’, but apparently the agencies all updated their policies for New York City.  I have my very own exemption”, Kong said with a sigh.

“Instead I have to rig up a series of ropes and safeties for every building.  I’m faster than any other window washer, but I’m not an authentic gorilla.  A real gorilla wouldn’t stand for this”, Kong protested.  “A real gorilla would be set free and allowed to swing by vines, not safety lines.  I’d be free to mate and growl, not tethered up in some ugly harness that rides up and pulls on my fur.  Stupid city people”, Kong snarled.

“How many years do you have left?”  Br’er Rabbit was already forming an idea in his mind.

“Five”, Kong answered.  “It wouldn’t be so bad if I could just get a vacation.  I’d like to go out by the ocean and splash in the water.  Maybe make my way down the seaboard and live up the Florida scene.”

“So why don’t ya?”  Br’er Rabbit rubbed his ears together excitedly.  “Why don’t you hire someone to clean windows for you?”

“Go on now”, Kong growled.  “Who can possibly cover me?”

“Correct me if I’m wrong, but they’re not interested in your size.  It’s your speed that they really cherish, right?”

“Yeah”, Kong answered.  He took his hairy fingers and scratched the top of his head.

“What you need is someone who is an expert climber; someone who likes a challenge.  You, King Kong, need a guy who is crafty.  A person who is willing to help you out for a little bit and is already rich enough that money is not important.  Your substitute has to be a guy who likes a thrill every once in a while.”

“Br’er, you’re talking funny.  What sort of thinking are you working on down there?”

“I’ll tell you King Kong, but I gotta do two things first.  Oh, and of course there’ll be a minor finder’s fee for my services”, Br’er Rabbit said with a grin.

Public domain in the U.S. due to age

“Yeah?”

“Yeah.  First, I’m gonna go in and make you a few of those piña coladas I promised you.  Then I’m going to call up a regular customer of mine.  He gives me a great bargain on goose eggs.”

Br’er Rabbit headed inside.  He rubbed his paws together and chuckled with excitement.  “Yes, I think ol’ Jack is just the man we’re looking for.  Surely he can climb ropes just as well as stalks.”

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About anecdotaltales
He's a simple enough fellow. He likes movies, comics, radio shows from the 40's, and books. He likes to write and wishes his cat wouldn't shed on his laptop.

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