One day, an out-of-work mime is visiting the zoo and attempts to earn some money as a street performer. As soon as he starts to draw a crowd, a zoo keeper grabs him and drags him into his office.
The zoo keeper explains to the mime that the zoo’s most popular attraction, a gorilla, has died suddenly and the keeper fears that attendance at the zoo will fall away. He offers the mime a job of dressing up as the gorilla until they can get another one.
The mime accepts.
The next morning, the mime pulls on a gorilla suit and enters the cage before the crowd comes. He discovers it’s a great job! He can sleep all he wants, can play and make fun of people, and draws bigger crowds than he ever did as a mime.
However, eventually the crowds tire of him and he tires of swinging on tyres.
He notices that the people are paying more attention to the lion in the cage next to his.
Not wanting to lose the attention of his audience, he climbs to the top of his cage, crawls across the partition and dangles from the top of the lion’s cage. Of course, this makes the lion furious but the crowd loves it.
At the end of the day, the zoo keeper comes and gives the mime a raise for being such a good attraction.
This goes on for some time. The mime keeps taunting the lion, the crowds grow larger, and his salary keeps going up.
Then, one terrible day, while he is dangling over the furious lion, the mime slips and falls into the lion enclosure. He is terrified. The lion gathers itself and prepares to pounce.
The mime is so scared that he begins to run around the cage with the lion chasing closely behind. Finally, the mime starts to scream and yell, “Help! Help me!” but the lion pounces.
The mime finds himself flat on his back looking up at the angry lion.
“Shut up you idiot!” hisses the lion. “Do you want to get us both fired?”