A MUSEUM AFTER CLOSING TIME
As the darkness of night fell, the last of the visitor's wet umbrellas
disappeared beyond the granite steps. Their loudly cultured chatter was
replaced by the relentless pelting of rain on the glass and bronze doors.
The night watchman's aloneness was amplified by occasional blasts of blue
light and distant thunder. He checked the locks, then thought a hot cup of
tea would be the best way to begin his dark and stormy night in the museum.
He turned his chained key in the lobby's watch box then stepped over the
velvet ropes, ignoring the meandering paths. In the Hudson River School
Gallery, on his way to the back room where the hot plate is kept, he was
suddenly startled by a quick shadow darkening the pink marble baseboard!
She had been sitting atop a wooden table, studying a picture with lush
forests, imagining all the wonderful places one could hide in the foliage,
when she heard the sound of large feet. Holding her breath, she leapt on
the floor to safety, scurried along the shiney flooring, all the while
wishing she had had more time to appreciate the way the light glinted off
the water in the picture. Just in time, as the human approached, she
ducked behind a chair, squeeking softly as she barely was able to pull her
pink tail out of the way of those heavy boots.
Hey!! The watchman shouted with a start and froze in his tracks as
the exclamation repeated itself in fainting echos through the empty halls.
"By God, I'm really jumpy tonight ", the man mumbled," ..too many night
shifts with only Rats, Roaches and other Pests for company."
"Mice!!!!" chirped a high pitched, obviously irate, reply from under
the nearby chair;...."Mice dammit!"
Emile' said nothing as he lay flattened stealthly on the shining floor.
He could have joined the cacophony with a statement that cockroaches were
one of the oldest known creatures on this planet and the fact they they
still exist where uncounted species have come and gone seems to point to the
conclusion that this is his planet and these two interlopers are the
"pests". But he didn't. Emile was more upset by the fact that the H.
Sapiens not only called him the "R" word but had actually presumed himself
to be fit company for the likes of Emile'. Yes , Emile d'Ra was a snob,
an aristocrat, from a long line of snobs and aristocrats dating back to the
palaces and tombs of Pharoah and beyond, and it was through this liniage
that caused his ancesters to migrate to the new world in a gold-embellished
sarcophagus. Emile's current residence of course was in the Egyption wing
of the great marble structure and this suited his nature. But the hall of
the impressionalists was where there were riches to be had. In this
atmosphere of shapeless masses of piled petroleum and gaudy pigment
thousands of excited Sapien beings came every week to leave him offerings of
candy bits and crumbs and to gaze at the canvassed walls- from a distance of
course, ( for these strange creations of "man" could only recognized from
afar )the effect was , he admitted, quite appealing. >>
<< Yes, quite appealing, for these sculpturous heaps and piles of masses
were created from the candy and crumbs the Sapiens left for Tangaroa, the
elegant feline who lived beneath the pyramid ruins - remanents of a past
civilization. Beacons of a past - the past of Tangaroa's anscestors.
The generations forgotten. Forgotten in their language and song, but not
in their images. The images were still there on those canvassed walls.
Those walls - those walls--- what did they mean. No one now could read
the hieroglyphics - that is no one but Tangaroa. And he would not
share their meanings. The Sapiens tried with coaxing and bribing and
pleading; but Tangaroa would not share. Would never share the secrets of
those lovely, haunting images on those precious canvassed walls. What
could they mean? How could they know? Tangaroa was the last remaining
Royal Globe feline on the planet. He was getting up in years. His hair
was even thinning around the edge of his lips; his claws ragged. But his
age did not deter him from his royal duties. He guarded those wall
images - those ghostly messages from an ancient past - those vaults of
fiber protecting the secrets. This is why the Sapiens worshiped him.
They delivered the candy and crumbs each evening. Bowing low before the
Royal Tangaroa; delivering the offering, filling the golden chalice with
warm milk and backing away with faces low; and glancing, always glancing
up to see what the mighty feline god had created the night before from
the offerings. It was not just the frescoed images on the canvassed
walls that was the mystery of the planet, but the Tangaroanian sculptures
created by their feline wisecat. These sculptures created miraculously
overnight. Made from the candy, crumbs and papers from the candy. They
were glorious. They were gigantic. They filled the halls of the pyramid
ruins. The shone and glittered and glisened in the shaded light which
filtered from the minute slits of windows in the thick pyramid walls.
These sculptures reminiscent of gods and men and felines. But they were
more than this. They told a story; maybe the story of the wall images;
maybe a new story of the future. The Sapiens had a counsel with Tangaroa
and pleaded for him to share his secrets - his wisdom. Tangaroa finally
promised that when the moon turned red and the seas rose and the clouds
touched the mist on the sea he would free the secrets from the walls and
sculptures. .... Finally, one night the moon turned an amber-red and the
next day the sea rose; and that evening, the mist gently touched the sea
and the amber-red moon rose again. The Sapiens gathered anxiously
together as the whole group went to deliver the evening offering in
extreme anticipation of confronting Tangaroa with his promise. As they
stepped into the canvassed-walled hall, they glimpsed a young feline -
one they had never seen. They quickly asked about the whereabouts of
Tangaroa. The feline replied, "Don't you know me, my friends? It is I,
Tangaroa. Waiting here to reveal the secrets to you." But before he
could speak another syllable, the sculptures all around began to throb
with brillant light. Light so bring that all in the hallway fell to
their knees. There was a whirring should, blinking bright lights,
whoosing of wind ... and then darkness...... As the Sapiens began to
regain their senses, they looked around in the darkness. The sculptures
were gone - the walls images were smoked beyond recognition and Tangaroa
- he was gone.....never to be seen again. >>