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  • It was ouchy hot at the zoo the day the animals took control.

    The glaring sun burned away every cloud within sight. The walkways, concrete pens and fences were radiating heat, which occasionally provided amusing mirages of feet above heads, wavering like old 16MM films.

    The polar bear rested his head against the lip of his pool, the rest of his huge body submerged under tepid water. He sighed and looked across at the people staring at him. "It's too damn hot for this today," he growled, splashing water on his face, "Why don't they go to a nice cool museum?"

    The giraffe across the walkway from the polar bear nodded, and sighed. "If I had some more shade here this wouldn't be so bad. I've eaten off most of the leaves from this one. My bad."

    "We need to do something," the polar bear grunted, and then dipped his head under the water. Splashing back up to the surface, he continued, "We need to stage a protest."

    "A protest?" said the giraffe, straightening up to her full height, "What would that look like?"

    "Well, if we got out of our cages, they would have to close, right?"

    "Interesting. Go on" the giraffe said, pulling a branch down and munching off the leaves.

    "The keepers would have to close the zoo, clear all the tourists out second," A kid had thrown his paper wrapper from his ice cream cone over the wall, into the pool. The polar bear splashed over and grabbed the trash with his mouth, and then splashed back to the edge.

    "Pthah," he said as he spit the wrapper onto the edge of the hot pavement, "They'll clear the place and put us all inside. In the shade. Right?"

    "Hmmm," the giraffe said, as she pulled the top branches of the tree near the fence down, "Like before?"

    The bear gazed at a gaggle of people making roaring sounds, growling and generally being stupid.

    "Like before."

    He pulled himself out of the pool and stood up to his full seven foot height and roared, rushing toward the edge of the pit between him and the stupid humans.

    The giraffe pulled the tree down hard, stepping on the top branches, making an inclined ramp leading to the fence. "Just tall enough," she thought, as she stepped up on the tree and swung her front legs over.

    The tourists instinctively backed away from the menacing polar bear and right to the waiting giraffe, who was swinging her back legs over the fence. Her shadow fell across the group of terrified visitors, most of whom quickly spun around to peer up at her ten foot high head.

    "Boo!" she said, as the people scattered wildly, screaming.

    The polar bear guffawed and went back down onto all fours, moving quickly across the hot pavement back to the pool, "Won't be long now."

    The emergency alarm began to blare loudly and zoo employees scrambled for their stations, guiding panicked people to the exit.

    The giraffe, bent down and picked up a fallen straw hat, trying to maneuver it onto her sun-baked head. It was too small.

    The keepers started towards her, ropes and prods at the ready. She looked over at the polar bear and remarked, "They fall for this every time."

    Painting Credit: "Side-Eyed Giraffe" 7"x5", watercolor on claybord, ©ElishaDasenbrock2014
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