OCtober Day 26: Naga

I wasn’t quite expecting to see her of all people in Nirvana.

It was a sunny weekend, and I had all the time in the world. What better day than any to go to the zoo, I thought. Well, Noah’s Ark Zoo is much more than just that. Tripling as a nature reserve, garden and educational facility, it stood on its own turf within the Nirvana borders. After a chilled out tram ride, and one ticket later I strolled on through the gates. 

So clean, and so green, and just so many animals. I’d made sure to arrive so I could circle the entire park, see all there was to see. For the better part of the morning I’d spent my time strolling past some of the larger enclosures. Gushing over the strange giraffes, the soft llamas and the gargantuan elephants, I must’ve seemed like a kid at a candy store. A monkey almost stole my wallet too. How exciting!

It was mid afternoon in the reptile room when I finally saw her. 

Naga, I believe her name was. I’d learned it through conversation with the pastel nightmare known as Bubblegum. They claimed to be her best friend. When compared to the big bad snake lady, I was somewhat skeptical, but I’d since seen them chatting. Opposites attract, as they say. Nevertheless, there she stood, snakeless, and casually fawning over a couple of iguanas. 

Her face was still as I remembered it. Dark green hair in a short, neat undercut with the fringe sweeping over one side. Narrow, olive green eyes, reptilian in style. One of her eyebrows had a thin slit shaved into it. Multiple piercings were scattered around; a septum ring, lip ring and an insurmountable number of spikes in each ear. Naga was a little more dressed up than I’d seen her before though. She had on this black and green tartan skirt and open blouse combo, with a black undershirt and a white bow around the collar, accentuated by a pair of black boots. Her skin had a light sepia brown tone to it, and much of it was rife with tattoos. Two caught my eye especially; a trailing vine of flowers on the left leg, and a serpent coiling around the right arm. The rest were various traditional looking intricate designs, across her collarbone and other limbs. One could assume they covered the unseen parts as well. For as short and slender as she looked at times, this did nothing to hinder her intimidating nature.

I hadn’t planned to interrupt her day out. However, with what happened next, it unfortunately became necessary.

A strange man approached Naga from the opposite side of where I stood. He was well dressed, but something about that cocky smirk rubbed me the wrong way. I stayed close by, keeping an eye on the situation. The stranger sidled up real close, arm rubbing against hers.

“Oi, mate. Too close, back up” I hear her growl. She doesn’t move herself, seemingly frozen.

“I just wanted a closer look at your beautiful face” he purred. “Come one girl, it’s a compliment”

“Please go away…” Naga replied weakly. It was so unlike the bold, brash, bum kicking bouncer I’d see guarding the N.A.

Something was seriously wrong.

“So, you with anyone, or did you come alone?” he asked a little more forcefully, leaning in real close to the shrinking violet. Naga’s head craned my way, and we made eye contact.

She looked on the verge of a panic attack. No snakes or baseball bat on hand probably left her feeling defenseless. Her pleading eyes bored into mine and I couldn’t take it anymore. Storming over, I placed myself right in the man’s face.

“Sir, I think you need to leave. You’re clearly making her uncomfortable”

“Excuse me, we’re having a convers-”

I lightly shoved him off her.

“Leave, or I’m calling security”

He scowled, but thankfully slinks out of the reptile room. I turn to check on the poor girl, but find that she’s dropped to the floor, hands over her face and struggling to breathe. I knelt down to her level.

“It’s alright Naga, he’s gone. You’re alright. I’m not going to hurt you”

“Get...get me out of here” Naga pleaded in between short breaths.

Gently, I helped her stand up and we swiftly moved outside. We got to a bench, and I gave her time for the panic attack to pass. Once calmer, I offered her my water bottle

“Thanks…” she mumbled, taking a long gulp from it. “Fuck, this is so embaressing…”

“These things happen, nothing to be ashamed of. Pardon my language, but that arsehole on the other and can get entirely fucked” I expressed, trying to lighten the mood.

“Yeah...fucking men. Can’t trust any of them. Shits like that...fucking make me feel weak. I hate it” Naga laments.

“Well, if it’s any consolation you still scare the heck out of me”

At that point, the dire mood was quite suddenly crashed by the white, pink and blue ball of sugar that is Bubblegum. Not entirely surprising; they’re friends after all.

“OMG Naga where were you what happened I couldn’t find you I was so scared!?” 

“Calm your not-tits Bubbles I’m fine. Some dickhead tried to talk to me and I had a little panic attack. Elf ears from the club helped me out though. Uh, thanks for that by the way” Naga managed to croak out.

“Oh, I shouldn’t have left, this is all my fault I’m such a bad friend” Bubblegum wailed dramatically, flopping down on the bench. It managed to make Naga chuckle a bit. She laid her head on their shoulder.

“Hey don’t blame yourself Bubbles. What am I gonna do, just not let you take a piss when you need one?”

“Gross! Don’t tell people I was in the toilet” 

The two proceeded to laugh about it, teasing one another and devolving into tickling at one point. Recognising the mood had improved, I got up to take my leave. Just as I did though, Naga piped up.

“Hey, we were gonna catch the sea lion show. Bubbles totally wants you to join us” 

“Hey!” they yelled, objecting to the statement. “She’s fibbing, the big fibber, she totally wants you to come but won’t admit it. You should totally come cuz though it’s awesome. Lots of splashing!”

Naga hissed, but did not object. I rolled my eyes, amused.

“Well, I was planning to head that way myself, so no harm in travelling together”

I followed along with the pair as they nattered on, thinking about the different side I’d seen of the snake lady that day.