Wrong Turn

Fun Bit for Readers: Imagine any two people, real or fictitious, having the following conversation.


“So I turned left when I should’ve turned right, and then things got a little weird.”

“Okay. How weird are we talking here?”

“Well, I spotted a yellow elephant with blue polka-dots.”

“What.”

“Then I realized it was just part of the décor at the local flea market.”

“Oh… oh, that elephant. Yeah. I told you about that.”

“That’s how I figured it out. I thought to myself, ‘It looks so real!’—and that was when the real elephant showed up!”

“Wait. Real elephant?”

“Yeah. Big one. Looks full grown. Anyway, it came down the street and started to follow me.”

“Dare I ask how the elephant is keeping up with your car?”

“Well, I’ve been driving slow since the tiger crawled into my backseat.”

“Wait, wait, wait—A TIGER?”

“I kid you not. Should’ve probably told you this, but after the elephant started to follow me, I figured, ‘I should grab a map and see if there’s a zoo nearby.’ Because—you know—I thought this place must have a zoo, right?”

“It does, but how has that tiger not mauled you yet?”

“I’m getting to that. See, when I stopped by the gas station, I went into the convenience store, picked up a map, and went back to the car. And poof! Tiger, right there, walking up next to my car and sitting down. It must not have been hungry because it didn’t try to eat me when I approached. I got into my seat and just felt bad about leaving it there, so—”

“You actually let the tiger into your back seat.”

“Right!”

“And you saw nothing wrong with this? Th-this whole inviting a tiger to sit in the back of your car thing?”

“Well, I figured if I drove kind of slow, nothing would happen. And it lets the elephant keep up better.”

“Argh, never mind. L-Let me see if I understand this: You’re in your car… with a tiger in the back seat… driving down some street somewhere… at eleven-thirty at night… after a full-grown elephant started to follow you.”

“Yeah. The elephant’s still following me, by the way. Not sure why.”

“And you didn’t think to call me until now.”

“That’s right.”

“Why?”

“For directions.”

“Didn’t you just buy a map?”

“Yeah, but I accidentally threw it in the back and the tiger started to play with it. Force of habit—throwing things in the back seat, I mean.”

“I get it. And way to go.”

“I know, I know. Sorry. I think the map said that the zoo’s in the northeast part of the city, but I can’t remember if it’s five blocks away or six.”

“I’ll punch you for this later. Where are you now?”

“I’m at a set of lights.”

“You got a street name for me?”

“Hold on… looks like Maple?”

“You’re on Maple? Okay, then you want to go six blocks. That should bring you to Elm. When you get there, turn left.”

“’Kay. So how have you been?”

“Oh, you know… Nothing special on my end. The only other thing that went into my car besides myself was just the food I picked up from the local shop. Got you your usual. No elephants or tigers for me.”

“Ooh, thanks! And yeah, I don’t know what happened. I don’t even work at the zoo.”

“So, er… how’s the tiger?”

“Doing fine. Not sure if it’s a boy or a girl; I didn’t get a good look. It’s not trying to bat my head or anything, so that’s good.”

“Yeah, kind of. Elephant still following you?”

“Uh-huh. The tiger keeps taking peeks out the back window, but I can see the big guy in my rear view mirror. La da de dum…. All right, this should be block number six. What does that sign say…? Elm. Okay. Turning right.”

“Right? No, left! I said turn left! Left!”

“Oh, you did? Whoops, uh… too late. Crap, is there a place I can turn around? The tiger’s getting restless.”

“J-just turn at the nearest street. Before you get mauled.”

“Nearest street, nearest— This’ll do! No, wait, it’s one way. I’m going the wrong way crap crap crap—!”

“Turn around, you idiot!”

“Working on it! Please let there be no one please let there be no one please let no one come down this way oh gosh—”

“Whatever you’re doing right now, do it fast!”

“Kind of in the middle of a turn here. What’s that light? Crap, headlights! Someone’s coming—”

“What was that last part? All I heard was tiger roaring.”

“Not now gotta turn… oh please let me go, person coming down the street—”

“Are you effing kidding me?”

“Uh, nope. Almost got it— There! Phew!”

“Wait… you’re still alive? You’re okay?”

“Yup! The person stopped just in time. I had enough room to pivot and drive out of there. And I made the right turn this time. So now I’m heading to the zoo.”

“Oh. Okay. Good. Then just keep going straight. You should start seeing signs for the zoo pretty soon.”

“I see them. Oh, hey, the elephant stopped at the place where I took that wrong turn just now. A-a-and now it’s following me again. All the way to the zoo, it looks like.”

“Better hope there are some security people out there ready to take the animals back.”

“Believe me, I am.”

“The tiger’s not mauling you, is it?”

“Would I be talking this well if it were? It actually stopped growling the second I started going the right way. I’m thinking it might be a sign.”

“Then don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. Especially if it’s in the form of a tiger. Or some other animal that eats meat.”

“Right, right. Ooh… I see a lot of security up ahead. I may have to hang up soon. In fact, let me park the car right about… here… and let the tiger out.”

“In the middle of the street? Are you nuts?”

“Don’t worry! I’m, like, right by the security peeps. Oh, hold up. They need to ask me questions, it looks like.”

“Gotcha. And just so you know, I’m going to go all wild tiger on you if the car’s been scratched. Or if you get arrested. Or—”

“I get it; stop worrying. Heh. I’ll have everything cleared up soon. Just give me a few minutes.”

“Wait, did you just set the phone down? I thought you said you’d be hanging up. Oh, wait. You’re not there now. I can overhear you talking to the security peeps. Dear lord….”

“Hey! Everything’s all set.”

“You’re done! Good! That took only what? Five minutes?”

“Yeah, just about. The security peeps were just as confused as I was about the elephant following me, but as it turns out, the tiger and the elephant are friends. Seems that when one got loose, the other followed it. Guess they were trying to look for each other in the past few hours.”

“Wha… seriously?”

“Yeah! And I thought my story was going to sound out of this world. So anyway, I guess the reason the elephant was following me at first was because I was heading to where the tiger had gone.”

“Then it kept following you because the tiger was in your car.”

“Apparently.”

“So did the security peeps just let you go?”

“Yup! Rounded up the animals and sent me on my way. Except, of course, I haven’t actually left yet.”

“Better late than never. Come on home, you crazy tiger taxi you.”

“Right. I’ve started the car and now I’m moving again. So, which way do I go from here?”

“Well, when you reach the intersection with the lights, turn right. It should take you back onto Maple.”

“Turn right… where? Oh, onto Maple? Shoot, I just missed it.”

“You what? Geezum crow….”

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