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  1. Bad Boys

    Thursday, July 12, 2012

    I’m a sucker for a “bad boy”.  A lack of daddy love and my ensuing abandonment issues have given me a lifetime pass on taking any responsibility for my poor attachment choices, time after disappointing time.  If he has a quirky charm AND is prone to unpredictable violent outbursts – I’m fascinated!  So for years now, I’ve been enthralled by an entertainer, whose majestic capacity to perform, is only heightened by his lightning speed ability to strike fear and abject terror. Yes Tilikum the Bull Orca Whale, star of SeaWorld and known murderer is my badass “bad boy”!

    So you can understand my shock and dismay when I learned Tilikum was sent to a medical pool. Through the cooperation of an unnamed source* I am not at liberty to reveal, I have come to possess a short portion of Tilikum’s recent medical file.  For Your Eyes Only my friend, I present the following excerpt from a confidential transcript.

    Dr. Jennifer Melfi                                                  Thursday, March 22, 2012
    New patient intake session

    For the fifth time in fifteen minutes the gruff park attendant, Colleen, quizzed me on my safety instructions.  I recited by rote as I arranged myself in the blue nylon hammock suspended over the orca medical pool, “(1) Maintain the required distance from the patient as specified in Judge Welsch’s court order. (2) In the event the patient becomes agitated, volatile or violent; as loud as possible - yell ‘Help’!” 

    Satisfied with my response Colleen hefted a bucket of fish onto the nearby platform and, with a practiced underhand toss, lobbed a bullhorn at me.  It landed on my files and set the unwieldy net hammock to rocking.  Colleen swaggered off to a remote corner of the stadium’s backstage area.  She stationed herself under a sun-bleached Dine With Shamu sign, giving me privacy with my patient and giving Colleen the opportunity to smoke her cigar. I picked up the bullhorn, steadied the hammock and began.

    Dr. Melfi: Good morning, Tilikum.

    Tilikum: (No response)

    Dr. Melfi: (Turning on the bullhorn) Good morning, Tilikum. I’m Dr. Melfi.

    Tilikum:  How you doing?  My friends call me Tili.

    Dr. Melfi: Friends like Anthony Soprano?

    Tilikum:  Yeah, it was Tony got word to me about you. Said you don’t judge and you might be able to help… (Turns away)

    Dr. Melfi: Do you need help, Tili?

    Tilikum:  (Shrugging) Who knows?

    Dr. Melfi: What’s bothering you, Tili?

    Tilikum:  Nothing…

    Dr. Melfi:  Nothing… Then why am I in this hammock?  I’ve got issues with heights, this life vest is itchy and -

    Tilikum:  I miss my work…the cheering crowds, star billing… (Sob) I miss My Chum.

    Dr. Melfi:  (Reaching for the bucket on the nearby platform) You miss these chopped bits of fish?

    Tilikum:  No, Dawn! (Quietly) I miss Dawn…

    Dr. Melfi:  Your trainer?

    Tilikum:  I called her… affectionately, (Sob) My Chum.

    Dr. Melfi:  Tili, you killed her.

    Tilikum:  That’s no reason to punish me. Jeez! First they censor my performance then snatch me from the stage all together.  I need my work. I’m an artiste!  

    Dr. Melfi:  You’re a serial killer!

    Tilikum:  So I’ve done a little killing on the side…

    Dr. Melfi:  Three dead human beings is “a little killing on the side?”

    Tilikum:  Hey, I got nothing close to Tony Soprano’s numbers! And the official report said that naked guy found dead on my back died from hypothermia.  (Shuddering) Aggh!  Frankly, I felt violated…

    Dr. Melfi: How do think the audience felt seeing you kill Dawn, your affectionate “Chum?”

    Tilikum:  Doc, they got what they came for.  I’ll admit my act is pretty exciting, all that kissing and hugging with a beautiful blonde.  And boy, oh boy, the synchronized swimming is a real crowd pleaser. Don’t even mention our ballet duet.

    Dr. Melfi:  Your ballet duet?

    Tilikum:  (Sternly) I told you not to mention that!

    Dr. Melfi:  (At this point I discreetly cast my glance toward the Dine With Shamu marquee in the distance.  Colleen is nowhere in sight.  A faint wisp of cigar smoke hovers in the dank empty air like a mocking smile.  Tili shifts his 22-foot mass in the 8 foot deep pool beneath me and commands my attention) Yes, Tili!

    Tilikum:  As I was saying, Doc, the crowd loves all the rehearsed tricks, bells and whistles.  But what’s that ticket really buying?  It buys the unlikely but ever-present  thrill that I might drop the Shamu mask and be my authentic, animal self: Tillikum, Bull Orca KILLER Whale! All it takes is a moment to leave the crowd, the training, the friendship all behind.  Even less than a moment to grab the fragile mammal beside me and sink to the watery calm below, below dragging the pale hairy hunter, who captured me at the age of two, clamped firmly…

    Dr. Melfi:  Tili, you are in pain.

    Tilikum:  Whoa, stop the presses!

    Dr. Melfi:  These months of isolation have been hard on you. You’ve lost a ton of weight.

    Tilikum: You think?  I’m down to 10,000 pounds, Doc, just skin and bones! I think Colleen’s been hiding meds in my herring.  (Withering disdain) Herring?  I should be eating sea lions. I’ve got no energy, no appetite. I haven’t had a live dolphin in decades. Do you know what it’s like for me here in eight feet of water!?? Take a bath in your kitchen sink!

    Dr. Melfi: Tili…

    Tilikum:  And I’ve been having these dreams Dr. Melfi…

    Dr. Melfi:  Tili, our time is up.

    Tilikum:  Since when is thirty-five minutes an hour?

    Dr. Melfi:  Since 2009! (Quietly) And this bullhorn is killing my eardrums…

    Tilikum:  What’s that, Doc?

    Dr. Melfi:  I said this might take some time.

    Tilikum:  I gotta get back on stage now, Doc!

    Dr. Melfi:  Do you have insurance?

    Tilikum:  (Menacing lunge) After more than twenty years of jumping through hoops and kissing ass, I’d better have insurance.  (Gentle nod) Colleen will handle the paperwork.

    Dr. Melfi:  Same time next Thursday?

    Tilikum: (Turning away) If I’m in the mood…

    Unfortunately my friend, this is the extent of the excerpt I am at liberty to share. I dare say I’ve already done the electric slide across the line of doctor/patient confidentiality.  Divulging any more would put my anonymous source* at risk.

    But you certainly see my attraction to Tili’s looming strength yet seductive vulnerability.  I know “bad boy” Tili and I will never have a real relationship or even work together.  Who’s ever heard of a stand-up comic opening for a Bull Orca Whale?  “It was a great show ladies and gentlemen. We both killed!”  I kid, dear friend, because… it’s my job.

    In any event, my plan is to complete my online course in whale training and then sit by the phone.  He just might call…

    See you next Thursday!

    *Colleen Ebbets

    Dawn Brancheau, a trainer with Shamu, The Killer Whale in Orlando, Fla.
    Another whale, Tilikum, killed her in 2012

  2. 4 comments:

    1. Haha! That was great! Thanks Rhonda!

    2. Lady Ha Ha said...

      First of all, I love Dr. Melfi. Second of all, I was a bad boy lover... just ask my ex-husband. See how that works out?

      Wonderfully creative post!

    3. loislane911 said...

      FUNNY BRILLIANT post!!! Made me wonder if animal actors get guild insurance? Whales are very well-endowed (just go to you tube). But I guess you're aware of this already. Bad Boy indeed!

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