The cave was well-lit like waking up to a loud noise, like morning in the Midwest with big skies. The real sky outside was gone, hidden behind thunderclouds that shouted obscenities at passersby. The meercats were unconcerned, romping over and beneath capsized logs, in and around plastic play barrels that float rafts on Michigan lakes.
Curious little fellows, staring over the glass and right at me with beady black eyes like marbles or gypsies, they are. Impatient paws click like long, waiting nails on a desk or blackboard as they dart across the floor of the cave, jumping in and out craters on the moon. They wrestle relentlessly, a ball of tangled fabric rolling across and then back, no needles to unweave the imperfect mess of yarn. They rebound jovially from a fall on their bottom heavy behinds; they are pears bobbing in the water, on this red Arizona clay, in a make-believe cave.
The only meercat I used to know was Timon, who seemed friendly enough, always walking on hind legs, traveling the African plains with his warthog friend in Disney animation. You said meercats were rascally little creatures, that I couldn’t trust them. And even though one little meercat stood for minutes on a log looking wantingly at me, asking politely for me to play, I guess I really didn’t know, so I believed you and trailed behind to the anteater’s cave next door where you were sure we’d find him fast asleep and we did.