I was zapping pictures of zebras and zebus at the Bronx Zoo with my zoom lens one fine day. Needing a rest, I was about to zone outlike a zombie on the park bench to catch some Z's when a stranger sat next to me. Evoking the Zeitgeist of the early 40's with his zany zoot-suit, he said, "Hi! I'm Zeke!" and producing a small pouch, proclaimed that beyond that zipper lay the most fantastic jewel ever offered for sale. I figured, "He must think I'm Zippy the Pinhead or something!" but then I remembered that my horoscope under the Zodiac sign of Leo had said that it would be my lucky day financially. He unzipped the pouch and ZOWIE! It was so dazzling it was like I had been zapped by a zip gun.

He said he had recently converted from Zorastrianism (also called Mazdaism) where he had studied the Zend Avesta over to Zen Buddhism. Through deep meditation, he had now found inner peace and sworn off drinking and drugs, therefore no more getting zonked on zinfandel or Zoloft, and like Zeno the Stoic, he no longer had any need for worldly possessions. According to his legend, the jewel was originally found in an ancient Babylonian ziggurat then followed a zigzag path through the hands of various rulers and adventurers. It first went south to Africa at Zanzibar, Tanzania then west to Zaire next south to Zambia then down the Zambezi River to Mozambique from where it went east to Zimbabwe and after that, further south to Zululand. From there it traveled east over the ocean to New Zealand then north up to Europe at Zuider Zee in the Netherlands before landing in a Swiss bank account in Zurich owned by the Czar of Zagreb of whom good old Zeke was the sole living heir.

I paid him fifty bucks for it confident I was now a zillionaire at the zenith of wealth, richer than the Almighty Zeus. I figured I could just retire and tend to my zinnia and zucchini gardens. I would have time for music lessons and learn to play Led Zeppelin, Frank Zappa, ZZ Top, and even some Buckwheat Zydeco on my zither. It was like I was floating on air like the zephyr wind zooming a few zip codes away to the diamond district to see my friend Zeppo Ziegfeld, not only a zealous Zionist but a hell of an appraiser. Ziegfeld said my elation was pure folly since I had been zinged. ZOUNDS! The jewel was merely cubic zirconium and worth Zippo! Zero! Zilch! Now I have to cancel my plans to leave my homely wife Zelda, so zitty she needs zinc ointment, more zaftig than Don Zimmer, but good at making a mean ziti with a zesty sauce, and go break the news to the lovely Catherine Zeta Jones.

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