An imposing figure, referred to as "Mr. Supervisor" by those around him, slid his cane between the metal bars of a cage and repeatedly jabbed a pathetic looking creature inside, which caused it to tremble and tighten even more into the corner opposite this intrusion.
"I don't know what to think," he finally declared. "It appears to have twelve sets of ribs, a pair of eyes, ears, a nose, and a mouth, and from the looks of it, may be malnourished. Let us try and feed it something."
At Mr. Supervisor's bidding, the six subordinates that had gathered to witness his investigation quickly went about gathering food. A banana, a cup of water, and a bowl of shelled peanuts were brought from a fridge in the staff room to the cage and carefully placed therein. The thing inside failed to respond to the offerings with any immediate enthusiasm, merely peeking out for a brief moment from behind a hairy limb that concealed a rather fearful set of eyes.
The group of spectators were ushered away and told to look preoccupied by the chief inquisitor in an effort to make it feel more comfortable. It uttered an unfamiliar sound and they all turned in wonderment, though it had done so without moving an inch. Mr. Supervisor at last determined that he and his staff should leave and let the creature alone awhile, and check later for any signs of progress. He led them out through the entrance of the warehouse, turned off the lights, closed and locked the door, before briefing his faithful employees and going home for the evening.
"Come sir, quickly!" one of the workers said excitedly when his superior entered the building the next morning.
The items of food and water, presented the day before, had not been eaten; rather, the being apparently used the articles as some means of expression. Each nut had been removed and placed in the glass of water, along with the peeled banana, whose skin was very intricately woven and placed beneath the glass to resemble a flower or some such thing. All this sat in the center of a peanut shell ring formed around the cage. The creature itself looked more relaxed, though it made an obvious attempt to avoid eye contact.
"How curious," Mr. Supervisor declared after observing the display. "It had no interest in sustenance, but performed some sort of ritual. This may be a symbol of holy entity. Perhaps, in that, it represents fertility. Notice the blossoming womb made of the banana peel. But wait, there, the banana itself protruding from the vital waters like a mighty phallus surrounded by seed!"
The gathered spectators stood amazed and enlightened by his pedantic explanations. The confusion of this senseless display and toying of food was explicated and now meaningful for them, though the designer offered no other intimations. He continued.
"The ring, however, astonishes me the most. How did it create such a perfect circle, and how did it reach out far enough around the entire perimeter to do so, and this in the dark? The whole arrangement, when I now consider it, is so very precise . . . "
His speech was interrupted when the creature suddenly lunged forward against the bars. The others in the audience mistook this action as a threat and jumped back. For Mr. Supervisor, it was a moment of great unveiling. The full and mysterious figure stood erect in the cage. It had upper limbs that extended from the shoulders down to the waist, a crotch shrouded with a thick blanket of hair, where genitalia emerged and withdrew in involuntary intervals, and a set of lower limbs that made up half its total height. It stood before him, grasping two of the confining bars, and emitting several foreign sounds, though the pitch and tone of voice seemed tractable. Indeed, he noted several features similar to his own.
"I don't think it's threatening," he assured the others around him. "A façade. Think how intimidating we must appear," he added confidently.
Mr. Supervisor approached the cage again as he spoke and bravely extended his hand between the bars. It cowered back at first, but after a moment, moved toward the intruding hand. A mouth and nose were gradually but timidly positioned above the outstretched fingers, at first smelling then licking with friendly but cautious curiosity.
"You see," he said. "Harmless."
Stepping back, the creature took its own hand, of a similar shape and size, and made a fist, which it struck against its lean chest with great force.
"Man, maaaan," it declared.
"Man," replied Mr. Supervisor somewhat puzzled. "I do believe that's what it calls itself."
A vigorous head shaking followed as if to confirm this hypothesis.
"Very well, we shall call you 'Man'"
There was thunderous applause from all around as the onlookers congratulated the always sagacious Mr. Supervisor for communicating with what enigmatically appeared in the warehouse only a day ago, for treating it most civilly, and for allowing it to establish a sense of trust in him.
Man was taken out from the confines of the cage and housed in the office of Mr. Supervisor, and every morning when the latter came in, he brought along a bag of food. On account of the strange circumstances of the arrival, and the stranger manner in which the guest initially acted, it was determined that Man be kept secured in that same office day and night and fed by the executive each morning; furthermore, nobody revealed the presence of the mysterious being in the building to anyone outside.
"Now let me see how well you use your utensils," he commanded upon entering.
Man obediently went to a shelf and took down a knife, fork, and plate, and then took a seat at the desk. Mr. Supervisor removed from a takeout bag a container and transferred the contents onto the plate. His subject began cutting a pancake into tiny pieces, stabbing them gently with the fork, and chewing calmly, which was repeated again with a pair of greasy sausages.
"Very good," he praised with his authoritative voice.
The stubborn and particular appetite of this diner was perplexing to him. Vegetables, legumes, and dairy products were refused with great vexation. Fast food happened to be the only acceptable form, and in consequence of this questionable diet, Man gained pound upon pound, which was only augmented by the fact that Man also remained in the office all day.
There was no shortage of amusement in Mr. Supervisor's business quarters. On one wall, a shelf held countless classic works of literature. It took very little time to teach Man all the complexities of language, and soon after, he began educating his pupil in regards to the colorful history, art, and philosophy of the society existing outside the building. The curious student became quite infatuated in particular with Thales. The day eventually arrived when the two sat across from each other in the office discussing the similarities between someone named Jesus and another named Socrates.
"Just think," Mr. Supervisor reflected to himself once. "Here, Man has absorbed nearly all the history of our race and what we know of the universe in a matter of months, and this without venturing from the office."