Steve Wacksman
October 2010
Apeskin: A Gallery Of Gorilla Masks

My sketchbooks have been overflowing with gorilla masks lately. I figured I'd be neighborly and let you all get a peek at 'em. It's the season, after all.
I've included an excerpt from Chester Romaine's excellent "Breathe In Breathe Out" to further enhance the experience.
The Lung was never late. He was, in fact, almost always early. That you could count on. He carried his apeskin everywhere, clutching it's tufted, rubbery mass to himself like a shield or a lover. When things got bad, as they so often did in our chosen profession, he would duck under it and breathe deeply of its rank synthetic perfume. His spotty, birdlike hands would lovingly stroke the wiry black mane. 'Apeskin', came the low moan from under the simian shroud. 'Apeskin'.

It was always jarring to me, even after all these years, to hear that fragile and breathy voice tearfully issuing from the snarling visage of a vicious gorilla. But I would never even think to complain. Nobody could work the angles like The Lung; he'd put us on the map and just as effortlessly hidden us in the shadows. He'd turn on the taps and we'd be knee-deep in hot gravy. Complain? I'd be a fool to.

Out of the corner of my eye I could see him slouched in his seat absently twisting and petting the mask's harsh pelt. He was nervous, running hot. And it was only Tuesday. Goddamn apeskin.

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