Imagine being the most popular person to be called for a party and then being the most unpopular person there. That was exactly Lorise’s problem. She was called for all the parties as her ten toes and fingers were designed for grasping. This really helped when you had a heap of party decorations.
Most animals couldn’t twist the vine around the flowers to make the multi-coloured garland. Or string fireflies on a Banyan tree prop root for those much needed disco lights. They couldn’t even make the cute little leaf umbrellas for the palm toddy cocktail (One part palm toddy, one part spring water, fresh berries and a dash of bark for bitterness). Even if all the decorations were made, none of the animals could climb and tie them around the party venue with as much ease as Lorise.
Before a party, everybody loved Lorise. She was sweet, friendly, helpful and always willing to go that extra mile for the decor. Once, for the kingfisher’s baby shower, she even hung-up ten dead fish on a branch. Now, this may not be everyone’s ideal party decoration but let us not get judgemental. The kingfisher was thrilled to bits and even today, when her fledglings have flown from the nest, talks about that day being the happiest in her life.
The problem with Lorise was that once the party started, she got really excited. So excited that she would shoot down four palm toddy shots at one go. The other animals had tried advising her. Go slow. The alcohol won’t run off. You have a small body, you get drunk faster. She would nod sadly, her hungover head in her hands, ashamed about the shenanigans of the previous day.
Come the next party and she was up to her monkey tricks again. Down four shots of palm toddy, start teasing the ladies at the party, make burping, farting noises when a male and female animal were talking, pull down all the decorations she had so carefully put up and sometimes, she even shat on the party table, which was groaning under the weight of all that yummy food.
The animals were furious. Their carefully curated treats would sit temptingly on the wooden log bench and none of them could touch it. Monkey shit had an unbearable stench. They would go home hungry, angry and completely miserable. The host would feel even worse. Her party had been a humungous disaster and it was all the fault of that stupid monkey.
What happened next was predictable. The animals began calling Lorise to put up their decoration. Then, they would find some pretence to send her away. ‘It’s an elephants-only party, My husband is allergic to monkeys, It’s a non-veg party, etc.’.
Lorise was completely miserable but she couldn’t stop herself from going and putting up those decorations. The animals were kind, they would let her eat a little of the party food. Also, it was the closest she got to happiness, this being near a fun venue before the fun began.
It was New Year’s Eve and the panther was throwing the biggest party of the year. The entire jungle was invited. Lorise was summoned to put up the decoration. She worked two days with just four banana breaks to make it look spectacular. The panther was highly impressed.
Poor Lorise. She was too scared to ask the panther whether she could attend the party. After all it was New Year’s. Her shoulders sagged and she began walking away, a pitiful primate, sorrow-struck on New Year’s Eve.
The panther’s heart melted. He invited Lorise to stay. She whooped in joy and almost kissed the panther’s whiskers. The party started. She downed four shots of palm toddy, started teasing the ladies, made burping, farting noises. Just as she positioned herself to shit on the food table, the panther growled, leaped 20 feet across the woods, pounced on Lorise and hit her with his giant paw, killing her instantly. Some of the animals brought in the new year by chewing on yummy monkey heart. For them, it was definitely a Happy New Year.
Moral: Don’t party with anybody who can eat you.
Lorise and the panther are drawn by the fabulous Bijoy Venugopal. You can find more of his wonderful stuff here bijoyvenugopal.com