The Rhino’s Got to Go

Director John Huston’s third wife gave him an ultimatum after his pet chimpanzee smashed her perfume bottles and defecated in her dresser drawers; he had to choose between her and the chimp. Huston chose the chimp.

John Huston, Courage and Art, Jeffrey Meyers

Huston: “I’m thinking, okay?”


Some people say the rhinocerous is the most dangerous animal on earth, but not my little rhino-whino, no, she’s a good girl isn’t she? Just because she ran her big–but beautiful, don’t get me wrong–horn through mommy’s BMW, that doesn’t make her a bad girl, no it doesn’t-wuznt. C’mere sweetie, daddy won’t let mommy talk about you that way ever, ever again–promise.

Daddy’s widdle girl


What? What’s your problem now? Oh come on–she got up on your precious Restoration Hardware couch? Puh-lease! A rhino’s a living, breathing being, a creature of God. A couch is a couch is a couch is a couch.

No, I’m not making fun of your fondness for Gertrude Stein–I mean it! You’re so materialistic sometimes. Five years from now you’ll be begging me to take that couch to the town dump. What? No, people will still claim it even if it has rhino tracks on it.

Put the rhino outside? Are you kidding? It’s freezing out there! Well, maybe I should have thought about that before she followed me home from Africa, but I couldn’t resist! Those big eyes! And feet, and trunk and . . . horn. And those cute widdle earsies!


What? The alligator needs to go out? I walked him last time–it’s your turn.

I thought we were going to share the gator. My idea? I don’t think so. He was our idea, remember?

Oh, that was before he ate your poodle. And your cat. And the bunny. Now all of a sudden he’s my alligator.

What? He took a dump in the sink? Are you sure it was him? It could have been any of the animals. Or a carpenter ant. Or a silverfish–that’s it, it was probably one of the silverfish. Those were your idea. I never liked them. They’re so cold . . . and indifferent . . . not like alligators.

What is it Harry Truman said–in Washington, D.C., if you want a friend buy an alligator.


I can’t hear you–what? Did I smash your perfume bottles? Are you kidding? Why would I do something like that?

Oh, now don’t go blaming the dingos–you’re the one who got all skittish after they bit the kid on the playground, not me.

I told you they weren’t indoors pets, but no-o-o-o. You said they’d be fine as long as we kept them fed.

Well, what are we supposed to do? I can’t let them run loose in the neighborhood. We only have three million in liability insurance, and we blew through a million of that with that damn baby they brought home.

I think you’re going to have to make a choice; either the perfume bottles go, or the dingos go.

What? What’s the third possibility?


But sugar–I’m only human. And humans are animals. I thought you liked animals.

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