Sidey’s Weekend Theme is “swings and roundabouts”…..
Something would have to be done about the Green Glade junction.
Each morning a line of apes would swing through the tress in a North-South direction, heading for the water-hole. At the same time a group heading to the banana-trees to the East would arrive from the West. There would be delays, grid-lock, and sometimes vine-rage.
Each evening the same thing would happen in the opposite direction.
Tarzan and Jane had decided to do something about it.
They made an odd couple. Tarzan, discovered as a baby in airplane wreckage by apes who then raised him, was not the sophisticated, clean-shaven, modestly loin-clothed creature we see in films. He was as naked as his foster-parents, walked as if he was carrying two invisible bowling-balls and continually rooted in his hair for fleas.
When he had first met Jane at the watering-hole he had beaten upon his chest, made that ape-noise that sounds like someone stepping into too cold a shower and then shown her his arse.
Jane too had been found in airplane wreckage, but by a herd of elephants, so she had replied by taking a huge mouthful of water and then blowing it down her nostrils into his face.
They had realised, though, that they were different, and this had drawn them together. And now, as they watched the daily traffic-jam at Green Glade junction they had come up with a plan.
“It’s called a roundabout,” said Tarzan, showing the apes the diagram that he had drawn on a huge leaf, with a stick. This tree here is the focal point. As you approach it, if there is an ape swinging towards you from the right you let him go first. When it’s your turn you swing around the tree and then off in the direction you want to go.”
“The two things to remember,” said Jane, flicking a bun up with a twitch of her nose and into her mouth, “is that you must indicate when you are leaving the roundabout, and that you must go around it in a clockwise direction.”
The apes looked doubtful, but they agreed, since they more than once seen Tarzan wrestle a crocodile, so generally tried not to piss him off.
The plan started from the following morning. Jane arrived in a traffic-cop outfit that she had made out of some old rags (Tarzan found himself oddly turned on the by the sight of her in a uniform and also, though he had no idea what they were, had to keep fighting off the urge to ask if she had made handcuffs). She blew her whistle, and the morning rush-hour began.
In the beginning all went well. The first ape to arrive grabbed a vine in his right hand, swung half-way round the tree, then grabbed another vine in his left and swung off in the desired direction.
As I say, the beginning went well. But that was the end of the beginning. What happened next was the beginning of the end.
As that first ape passed though the ape approaching from his left made the discovery that while yielding to traffic might be simple on paper (or leaf), on a vine travelling at speed it is no easy matter, since there is no known way of stopping it in mid-swing. His only answer was to let go, dropping onto a branch below like a schoolboy slipping off his bike-saddle and onto a crossbar, then sliding off to crash onto the jungle floor.
The next ape was doing fine as he went round the tree till he met an ape coming the other way, because if you don’t have clocks, then of course the word “clockwise” means nothing to you. The pair collided head-on, then dropped like stones, clinging to one another, onto the jungle floor.
The next ape remembered at the last second that he was supposed to indicate, and did so with the wrong hand, the one holding his vine. He joined the others on a jungle-floor that was increasingly being peppered by ape-droppings, in every meaning of that phrase.
The next ape lost his bearings as he swing around the roundabout, couldn’t figure out which was his exit and just continued to rotate around the tree, with his vine getting shorter and shorter, until he crashed face-first into it. He then dropped, not onto the jungle floor, but onto Jane’s Mum, who was passing by underneath. Enraged by this Jane’s Dad grabbed the ape in his trunk and, just when the ape had been thinking that he couldn’t possibly get any dizzier, swung him round and round before propelling him into a bush.
Within less than two minutes it was over and, in fairness, there was no traffic jam. Down below on the jungle floor, however, there were over thirty apes, in a huge heap of pain, dizziness and even flatter noses than usual.
Tarzan and Jane stared down at them.
“Now that,” said Tarzan, “is possibly the most literal use ever of the phrase “traffic pile-up”.”