A boy visits the zoo with his dad to see his favorite animals: the gorillas and the gazebos.

Welcome to my first story of the new year. A fun piece I hope you enjoy. Much more short fiction to come throughout the year.

Giraffes, Gazelles and Gazebos

Bob Gillen

The boy tugged at his dad’s hand as they passed through the gate and stepped inside the zoo. 

“I want to see the gorillas first,” the boy said.

“Let me check the directory,” the dad said. He steered them towards a large display alongside the path. 

“There’s a gorilla,” the boy pointed. “See the picture. That must be where they are.”

The dad nodded. “Right you are. It’s down this way.”

The two headed down a path crowded with people coming and going. “Lots of people here today,” the dad said.

“No worries,” the boy said. “We can deal.”

The dad smiled. That’s my kid!

When they reached the gorilla exhibit, there was a line to get in. A long line. “Do you want to wait?” the dad asked. “This could be a while.”

“It’s the only thing I want to see.” The boy looked around. “Gorillas…and the gazebos.”

“The what?”

“The gazebos. Mommy said be sure to visit the gazebos.”

“That’s not an animal.”

“Yes, it is. Mommy said. She told me you would know where they were.”

The dad peered at his son.

“Do you mean giraffes? Or gazelles?”

“She said gazebos.”

“Am I missing something?”

The line moved ahead just a bit.

“We were reading my gorilla book last night when I went to bed. She said there were wonderful gazebos here. We should visit them.”

The dad crouched down eye to eye with his son. “Gazebos are not animals.”

“Yes they are. Mommy said.”

“Do you remember the last time we went to the park…for the Fourth of July picnic?”

Credit: HGTV


“Remember there was a band that played music before the fireworks?”

The boy nodded.

“The band sat in a white covered platform…like an open shelter.”

The boy squinted. “I think I remember.”

“That was a gazebo. There are lots of them in parks all around our city.”

The boy shook his head. “Mommy said the gazebos at the zoo were special. She said you would know.”

The line moved forward. They were close to the entrance now.

The dad pulled out his phone and began texting. 

“Who are you texting?” the boy asked.

“Your mom. I’m confused.”

“She said you would know.”

What’s this about gazebos? He wants to see one.

A reply came though right away. The gazebo at the zoo’s picnic area. Remember, the one where you proposed to me?

Oh shit. Yeah, just checking.


Gotta go. We’re entering the gorrilla enclosure. He stuffed his phone back in his pocket.

“What did mommy say?”

“The gazebo here is the place where I asked her to marry me.”


“It’s a special place. That’s why mom talked about it.”

The boy looked at his dad. “But it’s not an animal?”


“Okay.” He tugged at his dad’s arm. “Then we can spend more time with the gorillas.”