Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Rescue of Cornelius

I made a random purchase this Saturday that I wanted to share with those who wouldn't mock my geek-conscious sensibilities. Here goes.

In a small parking lot located in the heart of Chelsea, a weekend flea market is held for wise pack rats to sell 'vintage' (i.e., old) clothing and rusted jewelry to a random assortment of cityfolk with cash on hand. Wandering by, I was drawn to a dirty table with a few old dolls laying in what seemed like a heap of bodies following a nuclear blast. Dangling on the edge was this aging leftover from The Planet of the Apes.

"Is this an original?" I asked the owner who seemed far more preoccupied with his toothpick.
"Yeah, you know what that's from? The apes movies. You know them?"

I'm no expert on these films, but darned if I don't know a Cornelius when I see him. Nothing against the Apes series; I've just never really sat down for a marathon starring my least favorite late hypocritical NRA flag waver. Still, I have a deep appreciation for toys that look perfectly ridiculous next to Barbie, so I asked him the price.

"Eh, five bucks. They're in crappy condition." To demonstrate this, he proceeded to bend Cornelius' back and shake his legs. I bit my lip. This did not feel right. "See?" He flicked the left ankle where a foot no longer existed. The right hand was the same, a plastic stump that some dog or rabid child had once taken for a snack. When someone else picked up a book further down the table, the owner chucked poor Cornelius back on the heap. I could hear a small thud.

Needless to say, I bought the poor half-limbed simian. It felt wrong not to, like when I used to pass old women in Russia selling embryo-sized bunnies to sympathetic animal lovers in the subway tunnels. I averted my eyes then knowing that I wasn't equipped to give a live creature much of a life. Cornelius, however, just might make it.

Especially since he's way taller than all my Star Wars action figures.

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