A story by Mark Smith (part 5/7)
The big day came when everything was done and they put the dragons into the new exhibit. It was a really good thing they did it at 5:00 in the morning and not when the zoo had opened. The dragons didn’t like getting moved. They hissed and struggled as the keepers from the snake and lizard house manhandled them into their new place. After they got there, they wandered around a bit checking it out and the keepers were all there watching with big smiles. And then the dragons, with a speed that amazed us all, started to completely trash their new exhibit. So much for the special, ultra perfect environment. They ripped up all the plants and ground cover. They dug holes everywhere. They filled in the tropical pond with dirt until it was a mud hole. They then totally covered themselves with mud and went around smearing it everywhere. They then decided to try to smash the glass windows where the people were supposed to look in at them, but all they succeeded in doing was to totally cover them with mud so that nobody could see much of anything. The last things I remember watching were a couple of the now mud covered dragons slowing filling in the little river that fed the mud hole with more dirt. The whole thing went from a carefully designed Indonesian paradise to a shapeless heap. This went on for most of the day, and during all this there were crowds of people trying to look into the mud smeared windows and wondering what was going on. The keepers had to try to explain it all to them. They actually showed some emotion as they gazed at the sad remains of the new exhibit, which for ex-Army tough guys must have been hard indeed.
All my stuff mostly survived the destruction, but after the dragons were done there wasn’t much to measure. The curator really wanted me to test out the wireless sensor device that the dragons were supposed to swallow. We weren’t sure it would work at all. So he had an idea that I should try it with another species of large lizard that the zoo also had. They were called Water Monitors, and they were only about half as big as the dragons. Maybe a bit less. They also had personality and were actually fun to be around. Because the monitors were in a different exhibit, I had to do some extra work to get ready to try it so I agreed to stay an extra two weeks to get all that done. I didn’t realize that my sub-rental on the apartment ran out before that and I couldn’t extend it, and I couldn’t get anything easy to rent for only 2 weeks. The usual problem of a student trying to find a place to stay.
So I ended up living on the street in the back of a small truck.
Stay tuned for Part 6!