(C) The Sunny Zoo 陽光動物園 2017
On this bleary hot Thursday afternoon, the Sunny Zoo family is gathered in the backyard for a family meeting.
Almost everyone is here (except the fish and the mystery snails, whose life support system does not support out-of-aquarium excursions at this stage, which has been an item on the to-do list for the human employees in a while). Some are enjoying the sun (Knobby the bearded dragon and Banana the python), some are hating the sun (the frogs and Marbles the gecko, who have hidden themselves under the unmowed grass in the corner), and some are as always eating in the sun (all the guinea pigs, and Ellie the parrot who is decimating the new capsicums in the veggie patch, hoping the human employees would not notice).
It is an important day. They have taken time out of their respective busy schedules (mostly involving napping and snacking) to actually get together and talk about WHAT they want to say for the very very very first blog post on the Sunny Zoo website!
"Order! Order!" Banana raps a branch against Knobby's basking rock. "Are we ready? Who is doing messaging duty for the fish and snails today?"
There is suddenly a rare silence, broken only by the occasional surreptitious sound of hay-chewing by Chocolate the guinea pig. Sadly, messaging duty for their aquatic friends is not one of the more popular jobs around the house. It involves constant running back and forth between the outdoors and the indoors, telling the fish and the golden snails what has been said outside, and telling those outside what their aquarium mates think. Kind of like interpreting, except with a lot more physical exercise than what any of the animals consider personally healthy.
Banana sighs, slithers to a storage box by the lawn, and pulls out a glass jar. In the jar are several small pieces of paper, all neatly folded (she likes everything to be organised). "Since there are no volunteers, we're going to draw lots again!"
"Awwwww............." There are groans all round.
Banana ignores them and pulls out a piece of paper with her teeth. "Blacky! You're up today! Where are you?"
Blacky the guinea pig is nowhere to be found, and it takes the others quite some time before they locate him at the other end of the lawn behind a succulent bush. It seems he has already gone back to his scheduled nap. They have to wake him up, remind him of the important task at hand, and it is only with bribery of extra carrots that he agrees to do messaging duty today.
"Right, are we ready, can we get on with it now?" Banana asks with her usual serpentine patience, while the guinea pigs slowly totter back to sit in a circle around her. In the mean time, the frogs and Marbles the gecko have dozed off - being nocturnal, they find it extremely difficult to stay awake in the day time, and often miss big chunks of the others' conversations during family meetings. Frequently they are surprised they didn't know about something, and the others are also surprised they didn't know about something!
The others wait as Ellie the parrot gently pokes the frogs and Marbles awake with a pointy claw. "Ouch that hurts!" spits Marbles, not appreciating the wakeup call. "What did you do that for?"
"Yeah right! Yeah right! Yeah right!" chorus the frogs, all staring at Ellie accusingly.
"Wake up, wake up!" screeches Ellie. "Meeting time! Meeting time!"
"I know it's meeting time, you didn't have to poke me!" spits Marbles again, and wipes his sleepy eyes with his tongue. "How would you like it if I poked you with a sharp stick when you're asleep?"
"Yeah right! Yeah right! Yeah right!" chorus the frogs, always ready for some fracas.
Marbles continues to grumble. Ellie, whose language skills do not yet match her mental capabilities, resorts to childish screaming at the top of her voice. Before moving in with the others she had lived in a pet shop being caged next to a cockatoo, and apparently that cockatoo had won a few noise-making competitions! From that remarkable expert, Ellie had learned quite a few negotiation skills. Since then Ellie has perfected the scream to a certain high-frequency pitch that Knobby once described as "a skinny nail being constantly driven into one's brain".
Banana sighs again, feeling her patience wither away. She gazes around: the guinea pigs are chatting amongst themselves and chewing on grass, all except for Blacky who has fallen asleep (the fish would not be happy about THAT!); Knobby the beardie has gone into stiff-mode because the sun is setting and temperature has dropped significantly; Ellie, Marbles and the frogs are still busy trying to outdo each other in a screaming match.
Slowly Banana removes the hearing aid from her head (ah, blissful silence!), glides away from all the family hustle and bustle, and slips into the house. She carefully and elegantly coils herself at the computer keyboard.
They'll just have to live with whatever she types up then!!
The Sunny Zoo
The animals at the Sunny Zoo enjoy their many freedoms, including having access to the Internet and a blog.
(C) The Sunny Zoo 陽光動物園 2017