Cute and Unlikely Human Companions, by Ralph Gamelli

By

Stepping out her door, Helen Malloy was completely unprepared for what she saw. There on the front yard, her husband Gus—famous for angrily warning kids away from his beloved lawn—was playing baseball catch with a ten-year-old boy from the neighborhood. Stunned, she took out her phone and began recording as the two natural adversaries continued to play.

After several minutes both of them scampered away, the boy continuing on to the local park, her husband going to the garage to rearrange his workbench. Mrs. Malloy has no explanation for what she witnessed, but keeps her camera close in case something similar should happen again. Her video has to date gotten over 30,000 views online.

***

Bartender Travis Phelps expected the worst when a meek-looking man in a tweed sport coat wandered into Sam’s Saloon, a notorious biker bar. Angry snarls greeted him through the haze of cigarette smoke, and it looked like violence was imminent until Big Joe Kowalski wrapped a beefy, tattooed arm around the hapless newcomer’s shoulder and ushered him safely to the bar. There, they could be seen ordering cocktails, discussing local theater and even making plans to collaborate on an historical novel.

After that day, the tweed-wearing stranger made frequent return visits, always enjoying the protection of Big Joe, who seemed to have adopted him. From his front-row seat behind the bar, Mr. Phelps watched this unique bond develop and decided to call the local TV station, which agreed it would make an adorable story. Unfortunately, before the film crew arrived, Big Joe made a quick trip to the men’s room, the regulars pounced on their prey, and the TV station instead aired a heartwarming segment about a chimp that enjoyed grooming a kitten.

***

Seventeen-year-old Kristi Oliver wasn’t happy when her parents forced her to take her younger brother, Jeremy, to a sci-fi convention. Nevertheless, she was soon intrigued by the sight of Jeremy, dressed in his homemade Star Trek uniform, interacting with a boy in a different style of Trek uniform. Despite knowing little about Star Trek, or science-fiction in general, or her brother, Kristi understood that different uniforms signified different Trek shows, meaning the two of them should have been acting with open hostility. Yet they were friendly toward each other.

Aware of how improbable this was, and excited at the prospect of posting a viral video, she immediately began recording the encounter only to realize the other boy’s stupid costume was actually something from Star Wars. So she snapped a shot of her brother in his nerd clothes and posted it on her Facebook page, where it received many satisfactorily snarky comments.

***

From his second-floor window, Arthur Doogan was used to shooting video of his bikini-clad neighbor as she sunbathed poolside. One day, however, he was astonished to find that a dowdy librarian with glasses, a severe bun, and an ankle-length dress had found her way into the sexy neighbor’s yard. Mr. Doogan expected to capture nature’s abundant cruelty on film, yet to his astonishment they greeted each other with a hug. (He would later learn that the two had been introduced into a shared environment when they were only babies and didn’t even comprehend that they were from different species.)

In a touching act of unconscious imitation, the bikini girl put up her hair and the librarian took off her sensible shoes to get some sun on her ankles. Mr. Doogan’s video has to date gotten over 14 million views online.

Ralph Gamelli has been published at McSweeneys Internet Tendency, The Morning News and The Bygone Bureau. He’s written the very first Internet author’s bio not to include a Twitter link.

Cute and Unlikely Human Companions, by Ralph Gamelli