i switched elementary schools just before the ship trip in dana point harbor, the night when our class would pretend to be scurvy sailors and sleep on an historic clipper. the new class had a harbor day that emphasized biology - petting pools, kelp-smelling, watching swallows hack at the cliffs between mansions and beach. the highlight of this day was to be the monstrous old octopus in a tank at the visitors' center. as i had a love affair with scary things and a crippling fear of, er, krakens, i was thrilled. they were sort of the same thing in my head.

but the octopus had escaped, was the thing. hit the road, headed for the harbor, gotten the hell out of dodge, said our docent. in fact, the tank was ajar and there were suspicious squelchy marks on the table. i'm very gullible now, but i had an excellent bullshit detector then - i think it was true. though the octopus was probably piled like organ meat behind a door somewhere, it's awfully exciting to think that he might have executed fancy invertebrate cartwheels and rolled back into the ocean.

July 24, 1983: An Asian elephant, Misty, broke free from her chains at Lion Country Safari in Irvine, California. Head game warden Lee Keaton, apparently was attempting to put a chain around the elephant's leg when she turned on him, crushing his skull and killing him instantly. (Misty had attacked a handler, David Wilson, just three weeks earlier. The handler survived.) After Keaton was killed, Misty managed to run off the property, causing an evacuation of a nearby swap meet and a massive traffic jam on a nearby freeway. Misty was loose for three hours before being recaptured. At the time the elephant was owned by Gentle Jungle, a company that supplied animals for movies and television. Misty is now at Hawthorne Corporation giving rides to children.

i was four. i remember this - but i remember her on the 405, the same freeway (the same spot) where o.j. would joyride in his bronco ten years later. hadn't known how it ended, though.

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