Working at the local zoo is no picnic it is hard work. I am there early in the morning and stay til late at night. Being the reptile curator keeps me busy. The only relaxation I get is on my lunch hour, when I can work on my painting. Painting helps me to relax and the cares of the day seem to fade away. Everyone knows I paint and they usually leave me alone for an hour or so. I've made myself a nice little corner in my office to work. I am careful to clean up my paints when I am finished, so the animals are not smelling them all day. Then I take my artwork home each night to dry. The paint I use dry’s pretty fast.
That is my typical day. Wake up... Shower... Breakfast... Animals... Lunch... Paint... Animals... Home... Dinner... Sleep... and then the day starts over again. Week after week... Month after month... It's been going on for almost a year now and I am beginning to feel exhausted. That MUST be the reason for... the incident!
The days were beginning to be a jumble of animals, food, and painting. I didn't realize I was working myself so hard. I hardly got any time off and I wasn't sleeping well. The days I took off I got called back to the zoo to take care of some reptilian matter. The reptiles were my responsibility even on my day off and I love working with them. It's a small zoo and they cannot afford to hire anyone to help me. I searched for a month for someone to work as a volunteer. I finally found a local high school student, named John, who enjoys reptiles as much as I do and could work a few hours a week.
One afternoon when I had just finished my painting John came rushing through the door. "Professor (he insisted on calling me that)... Come quick!!!" Now... what could the problem be??? I'd already been taken away from my painting twice during my lunch from the boy. Both false alarms. He just needs to use his head once in the while to reason things out. Was this another false alarm???
I stood up from my painting... Put my brushes in their cleaning solution... then followed the boy to the back room of the Reptile cages. As he opened the door I could see the problem right away. All I could say was... "Good heavens boy... WHAT have you done?"