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“And you say they’ve been here how long?”

      “We don’t know exactly. Our estimate is a month, approximately. It’s difficult to be sure, we don’t keep tabs on our employees, so it could well be longer, a month and a few days, perhaps.”

      “And what have you done about it?”

      “I don’t quite understand your question, ma’am.”

      “Right, yes, you know, have you told them they should leave?”

      “Yes, right, we have invited them to leave. In the reserve we have an advanced loudspeaker system; you may try it out yourself if you’d like, you’ll see, you’ll see how powerful it is.”

      “No, thank you, I don’t believe that will be necessary.”

      “You’re missing out on an opportunity, it’s an extraordinary system, I assure you, I’ve never heard the like. When you speak through this loudspeaker your voice is amplified in such a way, the timbre is enhanced in such a manner, the harmonics vibrate with such intensity that … That more than a human voice your voice seems to be, how could I explain it? Something greater, understand? Something superhuman.”

      “Right, right, yes, we can leave that for the end, if you don’t mind, I’d first like for you to dispel my doubts.”

      “Yes, yes, but of course, first your doubts.”

      “My question is: Have you not tried to remove them from here?”

      “Right, as I’ve already told you, we did invite them to leave, with our magnificent loudspeaker.”

      “And nothing more?”

      “Right, well I don’t know what else we could do.”

      “Call the police to come get them out, perhaps?”

      “The police?”

      “Yes, you know, the security force of the State.”

      “Oh, we don’t think that will be necessary. You see, the police aren’t permitted access to the reserve. In fact no one with weapons can enter the reserve. Our laws are very strict in this respect: no weapons.”

      “But, correct me if I’m wrong, by your rules isn’t it illegal for the caretakers to live inside the reserve?”

      “Ah, but you see, in respect to that our regulations say nothing. There isn’t much that can be done. The regulations are, without a doubt, exhaustive in other respects. Would you like me to teach you? They are brilliant rules, you’ll see; we have rules for almost everything: rules for tolerable noise levels, for pollutants, for the provision of food, for the treatment of newborns if the mother rejects them … You’ve never seen the like. Shall I bring you in?”

      “No, thank you, perhaps later, I think for the moment it would be better if we focused on the facts, I mean to say, don’t you fear for the safety of your caretakers? Isn’t it dangerous for people to be inside with those, those … Creatures?”

      “See now, it really isn’t, the caregivers have been here for years, understand? They know them, the gorillas know them, I think it’s unlikely they would make an attempt on a caregiver’s life. The gorillas have strict codes of conduct, you understand? They would never harm anyone they consider their own.”

      “And why are you so sure the gorillas consider them their own?”

      “Right, well if they didn’t, our caregivers wouldn’t be walking around anymore, of that you can be sure, ma’am. I’ve held this position for longer than I can remember and you don’t know the number of things I’ve seen … Oh, we have an extremely precise video surveillance system. Would you like to take a peek? You’ll see things you can’t even imagine, oh, that I assure you.”

      “Right, well, perhaps later … It’s just that there are still many things I don’t understand. Do you happen to be acquainted with these caretakers, I mean to say, do you have any idea why someone would voluntarily put themselves in a cage with animals?”

      “Ah, that. Right, you see, the reserve isn’t exactly a cage, it extends more than twenty-five-thousand hectares, that’s bigger than most cities where people live. What’s more it has a lake, a river, abundant vegetation, a good climate, shelter, and food. Of course there are no traces of fumes or pollution here and when the food supply begins to dwindle the necessary amounts are shipped in from the outside. It’s just that you haven’t seen it yet, you have to see it, you must accompany me to the video room, there you can confirm what I’m telling you for yourself. It’s a magnificent, magnificent place, I assure you.”

      “But, I don’t understand, what do they do in there? I mean to say, how do these people spend their time?”

      “Ah, listen: the mealtime alarm. Accompany me, please, ma’am, it’s our lunch hour. Oh, we have some exquisite lunches in the reserve cafeteria, if you would be so kind as to accompany me, we’ll continue talking while we eat.”

      “Right, if there’s no other way.”

      “Oh, but don’t get angry now, you’ll see, you are going to love it, in the reserve we only serve food of the highest quality. None of that genetically modified trash; it’s all organic foodstuffs, pure. The same we use to prepare food for the gorillas, we can’t give trash food to the gorillas, understand? That wouldn’t be good, because they’re a part of nature, it would be like mistreating them, understand?

      “But try, try these fruits, ma’am, you’ve never eaten the like, I assure you. But no, not like that, eat them with your hands. There, much better, there’s nothing like eating food by hand, you see how good that is? Like that, very good, perfect, I see we’re understanding each other.”

Pilar Fraile Amador is a Spanish writer and poet highly regarded for her writing across several genres. She has published the short story collection Los Nuevos Pobladores, as well as four poetry collections:  Falta (Ed. Amargord), Larva & Cerca (Ed. Amargord), La pecera subterránea (Ed. Amargord) and El límite de la ceniza (Prensas universitarias de Zaragoza). Her work (both translated and original) has appeared in diverse anthologies and magazines across the globe, and her anticipated first novel, Las ventajas de la vida en el campo, has just been released by Penguin Random House branch Caballo de Troya in March 2018.
Heather D. Davis is a translator and writer living in Providence, Rhode Island. Her short story translations have been published by magazines such as Conjunctions and The Brooklyn Rail.