For a change, it wasn’t Kurt’s fault. He had been minding his own business, chatting to the elephants in Mahout at the time.
Logan, as tour guide, was waxing lyrical about the predators when a lioness, recognizing a threat, neatly snagged his face from behind and tried to drag him inside.
Fourteen mutants unleashed their powers at once, resulting in general panic, twenty escapes, and overall mayhem.
Kurt was the one who came to the rescue, with the help of the zoo’s Auntie of the elephants. Rescuing lost children onto her back and herding the escapees into cul-de-sacs where they could at least do no further harm until the cavalry arrived.
Ironically, Logans’ lecture had been about how wild animals could not be pets. He had not counted on being Exhibit A.
Sixteen mutants, including Logan, had gone on the field trip. Fifteen were banned from ever coming back. One got a job offer.
“…as a what?”
“Apprentice keeper,” said Kurt as he brushed his face. “I don’t get it. All I said was I had experience with the circus animals and he got this look… I felt like I had parsley in my ears.“
"Do you have any idea how rare it is to find someone your age with experience in the field?” pondered Ororo. “Most kids who try to sign up for a zoo job think it’s all playing with monkeys and grooming the kitty-cats…"
“…and draw the line at sweeping up poop, ja?”
“Poop’s only the beginning,” said Ororo darkly. “I paid off my university fees working there. Many of those poor creatures are rescued from rich pet-owners who think that owning a silverback is just like owning a capuchin.“
"Exactly,” she let herself into his room and sat so she could face him. “Given the trouble with your image inducer… are you sure you want to do this?“
"Frau… The way he was so glad to see me? I think he’d hire me if I had four feet.”
It only took him three weeks to patch together the beginnings of a crowd-drawing animal act. Whether or not the zoo owner, Mr Edmunton, ever knew of Kurt’s unique appearance, the rest of the X-men never knew.
But they were allowed to attend the show in small groups. Under guard.