Silverback

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Central Africa. Old. Scarred. It was black and silver. It was very large. It was in the forest and it was pissed. That’s how it should be. His forest. His trees. His group. Defend until the end. Of course, the Silverback gorilla had no such thoughts, nor could he. Its mind was a primitive engine. Amygdala. Eat, sleep, kill, propagate. The shadow side in all human beings… just a few tiny evolutional steps away. For all he knew, he was the largest of his kind. He certainly had never killed anything larger. It was dusk and the rest of the group were sleeping in the brush and under trees. Some were softly chewing leaves, their big, dark eyes quietly regarding the forest noises. He had mated with most of the females and felt a stirring in his loins… Insects gnawed at him. He sat up straight, as he heard the rasp of a hunting leopard. Moving swiftly, he positioned himself at the edge of the group. The females pulled the smaller primates close. The Silverback peered in every direction. He would never let a challenge go unmet. He would never back down. He would prove himself to the death. Then he saw it. It wasn’t a leopard. It was a young Silverback. Huge, muscled and loathsome. It stood in the forest regarding him with cold, wet eyes. It had threatened the group before. In weeks past, it had attempted to move into the group. The females screamed as he had burst through the forest wall like an avenger. The young Silverback had fled… but not for long. It was back. They looked at each other. A momentary stillness hung in the air. A question mark. The roar reached the others and they shrank back as the two Silverbacks threw themselves at each other in primal rage. Dust, hair and debris filled the air. The forest shook with primitive combat and eventually the old Silverback retained his position, though not without a cost. Bloodied and filthy, standing over the corpse of the young Silverback, it screamed its fury at the treetops.

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America. Young. Egotistical. He was blonde and skinny. He was the best at the skatepark and he knew it. The REAL team had stopped by a few weeks ago and he showed them a thing or two about keeping it real… That guy from THRASHER magazine was there. Burnout. He was shooting photographs of the REAL team, so he kept on pulling big boosters over the hip and disasters directly in front of wherever Burnout was sitting. He wouldn’t be missed. He wasn’t going to let a challenge go unmet. He’d prove himself to the end. He was the best at the skatepark, make no mistake. Bulldog and Andy Neal watched the young skater and chuckled to themselves. Strange. They’d seen such a thing before. The Silverback is not restricted to Central Africa. It exists in every city and every walk of life. Chest beating. Manhood enflamed. Balls boiling with testosterone. “Look at me! You better pay attention to me! I’m the man.” Insecure. Threatened masculinity and weakness poorly hidden…  a babbling monkey. Nothing more. Andy and Bulldog flew to California. They came to skate pools. They came to escape the snow and ice. The Silverback wouldn’t be left behind. It was here in California. It was in every park and town. Growling. Making its presence known.

Bulldog and Andy

Bulldog and Andy

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They found a backyard pool with friends. They cleaned and drained it. The Silverbacks were kept away as they couldn’t find Andy, Bulldog or their friends. They skated the pool and had so much fun. They spoke among themselves about the strangeness of the Silverbacks. They continued riding. There were no ‘one-ups’. There was no posturing or chest beating. It was only friends and fun. Andy and Bulldog couldn’t think of a proper name for the new pool. Their friend Lance casually offered up “Gorilla”… and so it was.

Bulldog

Bulldog

Andy Neal

Andy Neal

Lance Mountain

Lance Mountain

Thanks to Andy Neal and Jon Bulldog for the Silverback stories and the recent adventures. Such fun. Thanks to Lance for joining us and MRZ for the image. Skate and don’t be a Silverback. – Ozzie

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