Here kitty, kitty

The tiger lunged at me and roared in astonishing fury, roaring and roaring, his giant incisors ready to crush my skull, his enormous claws slashing through the space between us, six feet and a thick steel mesh. It was an incredible display of violence, just marvelous. He lunged at me again, louder and angrier. But for the steel mesh, that big cat could kill me in seconds, I thought, crush my skull with one chomp, scoop out my insides with a swipe of that paw. A docent came up and drew me to the side, in front of another pen and another tiger, a tigress lolling lazily in the sun and paying me no heed whatsoever. Rajah doesn’t like great big men, she said. Your size is threatening. I’m threatening him? It’s a territorial thing, she said. Rajah got another glimpse of me and snarled viciously. Slash. The docent pulled me back into a corner, out of view. Rajah settled down, but I couldn’t stay hidden in there. Maybe it’s the blazer, I said. It was sandy brown and perhaps in it I somehow looked like a tiger’s worst enemy back in the jungles of Malaya. Maybe, she said, so I took off the coat and walked past the cage in a bright Kelly green shirt. It fooled Rajah for a minute. But just for a minute, and as I walked away he let out an absolutely blood curdling murderous roar and lunged one last time, all huge teeth and gigantic claws and rippling tiger muscularity. The children watching screeched and scattered, their mothers running after them. Wow. That was the coolest thing, and I felt strangely pleased with myself, a week shy of 62 and intimidating a man-eating tiger.

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