(A television news report)
“Rumors continue to swirl around the Cote d’ Azur regarding the ‘Gorilla of Ventimiglia’. But now it appears that they’re not just rumors. We spoke with several market goers, the mayor of Ventimiglia, a restaurant owner and even an anonymous celebrity. They all assure us that it is indeed true. A 200 kilo gorilla has been spotted throughout the world-famous venue. Here are some eye-witness accounts from a few of those who were indeed present yesterday at the Ventimiglia market. Over to Jason Linquini, live in Ventimiglia”:
“Thanks Chris. Beautiful Saturday here in Ventimiglia. Crazy day yesterday, though. Lot’s of happy faces still here. Lot’s of excitement in the air. A wonder what a gorilla can do. Let’s start talking with some of those happy folks who were here yesterday”…
“We were here yesterday. We come every Friday. So we were very surprised when we arrived. We spotted the first of many signs that announced the gorilla’s presence. That and that traffic seemed heavier than usual. Translated into English, the sign roughly read: Gorilla on Foot Patrol (big letters) Do not be alarmed. (slightly smaller) He is an important temporary member of the Ventimiglia Market Police Force. Carry on with your normal shopping. Please do not feed, photograph, distract or attempt to converse with him. (much smaller) Penalties for these infractions start at €150,00 for all non-Senegalese and Pakistani persons. (you need reading glasses) The above message was blared over loud speakers as well, in Italian, French, and English at regular ten-minute intervals, throughout the market. It added a somewhat disconcerting and unwanted edge of authority to an already uniquely novel market experience”.
Menton resident, Pierre Lafollett
“We learned at the info booth that the ape was added to the force for his remarkable agility and uncanny crime prevention instincts. I guess to help cut down on littering, illegal games of chance, shoplifting and such. I guess his size and potential for violence played into it as well. My wife and I witnessed one episode involving an elderly white-haired woman of a certain girth running as best she could, at that age, with the gorilla in hot pursuit. We heard screams in the commotion as the gorilla easily caught up with her, then quite casually stood in front of the culprit with his arms crossed. Funny, it looked like he was saying “come on, hand it over”. He was waving his right index finger. Sort of like a grade school teacher. Damnest thing I ever saw. The slack-jawed woman complied as she handed over three watches and half a dozen shawls. But the gorilla kept on with his wagging finger. She then relented by handing over the remains of her day’s larceny – a pair of women’s shoes, two cigarette lighters and a beach towel with an Elvis portrait on it. Both of them then just walked on in opposite directions, like it was nothing.”
Billy Bob Williams, Baton Rouge, Louisiana USA
“We seea the gorilla in many places. We thinka maybe that there are many of him. At half pasta one, we see himma by the fountaina. He wassa throwing orange fruita over hissa head. He then kick it witha his heel! It go over his head and he catcha with hissa righta handa! He thenna peela the orange. Everybody happy about dissa. Theya laugha. We too. Later, he starta talking witha all the Senegalese! They, all of dema, theya laughing and maka high five with himma. Theesa not normalla! We love thissa gorilla!”
Antonio Parmasiani, Ventimiglia resident.
“While budgetary considerations were an issue to add the ape to our force, the unfortunate inefficacy and misfeasance of several of the Ventimiglia market police was the prime reason for the experiment. With the market force reduced by some 40% on as yet to be determined future market days, the city will save upwards of €250 thousand per year with the ape on duty. More than a few vendors that I spoke with hailed the move, as theft and littering have been growing concerns. While the publicity potential for the market was not a reason (really?), we certainly are aware of its advantages. Incidentally, this remarkable ‘deputy’ has scored very well on the intelligence tests that are administered to all deputies. The gorilla outperformed many veteran officers as well as new recruits. Of course his huge strength, quickness and intimation potential is a big plus in the fight against crime, though we are assured by his trainers that he will never resort to violence”
Nino Zucchini Alfredo, Mayor of Ventimiglia
“I seeya fromma my restauranti. Thissa gorilla, he issa facinata witha the Pakistani toys. You knowa, the kinda thata turna into a frieda egga when you throwa atta the sidewalk. He looka at thissa a many times, because the doll, you know, it comma back fromma a fried egga to a dolla. Thissa funny, but I no likka thissa gorilla. Maybe he throwa somebody to the sidewalk and waita to see iffa they maka into a frieda egga. Dissa I no likka. I no likka why the policia maka him a duputia and do dissa thinga”. I donta serve himma, thissa gorilla, if he comma into my plassa”
Luigi Bambino Meatiballi, Ventimiglia restaurant owner
“I like it. I saw the primate yesterday. Exquisitely beautiful. Charming even. The eternal majesty of primordial rhythm. The sublime otherness. It’s good for Ventimiglia. It’s good for Italy. It’s good for the world. For the universe, maybe. I love this place. Life is good. I’m good. You’re good. Ya got to keep it simple. Screw complexity. Burn it. Blow it up. I’m everything and I’m nothing. Everything is nothing. I gotta tell Martin about this. Maybe a picture. Who knows. Existential message in all this. Could be big. Shame Hunter couldn’t see it. He’d have run with it big. Hunter was crazy. Gonzo crazy. I gotta go. Cut some grapes. Make some wine. Savour some boeuf bourguignon. Some coq au vin. Fine dine. Do a gig. Shoot a reel. Do a deal. Do a line. Make more wine. Live life. Love life. I gotta go. That’s enough for today”.
Johnny Depp Actor (incognito)
“ We saw him on the bridge. It looked like he was communicating by gesturing with the Romanian concertina player. Suddenly the music stopped and we never heard it again the rest of the day. (brother, do we need that ape in Antwerp) Then he quickly turned and climbed over the balustrade and leaped some fifteen feet to the ground below. He then disappeared behind some tall shrubs. I guess to take care of his natural needs. When he reappeared, he started picking up debris of all shapes and sizes. ‘Yeah!’ I heard a few in the crowd yell. ‘Trash left by members of another two-legged species’, somebody said. He was moving really fast, arranging it on the ground. After around fifteen minutes, we all could make out the word ‘pigs!’ in lettering a meter high. Everyone started clapping loud and long.”
Dr and Mrs Ernesto Davilo, tourists from Peru
“That’s it from Ventimiglia for now. Back to you, Chris”.
“Thanks Jason. Great job. We just received word from anonymous sources that the ape ’s acquisition and duration as a special police deputy will remain secret. Only that he will work the market on unannounced selected Fridays. It remains doubtful that this uncertainty will keep the avalanche of humanity from inundating the City by the Roya every Friday. We’ll keep you folks posted on this amazing story as details come in. In other news….”