Last updateFri, 21 Jan 2022 10am


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It's that time again when the animals gab and gripe

There's an old Mexican tale that on Christmas Eve, the animals will lie about the barn and speak with one another while others will argue with the movie, "It's a Wonderful Life."

Acquired from folks hiding in barn lofts and hay fields, here's what one surveillance group heard and rushed to this newspaper at the last minute, before they entered the hospital with two cases of Lyme disease.

Big Sow waddled up to Goat (a fellow so good-natured he was voted most likely to wind up in a birria dish). “Do you remember when they called pork 'the other white meat'?” Big Sow asked. “We pigs felt pretty good about that. I mean me and conservative white supremacists were equal in a weird sort of way.”

“Except that you roll in the mud to cool off,” Goat clarified. “When they do it, it's a lifestyle statement.” Big Sow was quick to agree. “And they've given their disease to us this year,” Goat added. “The unvaccinated pinheads are walking petri dishes.”

“They should all be forced to nose-swab a buffalo herd,” Quick Brown Fox quipped.

Slumbering Horse rose to his feet: “You know, we lost a lot of fellow creatures last year ... rhinoceroses are pretty much gone. For their horns. The poor things were reproducing like crazy so they might evolve a bit ... all they got were more little rhinos and females with headaches every night. I don't know about this evolution business. I mean Homo sapiens is more sap than sapient.”

“You want to stay on this planet. You need to be in a Disney movie,” Quick Brown Fox proclaimed.

“You know how hard it is to get into Hollywood? That humiliating casting couch. You have to do tricks ... (clarifying) Wait, that would be real tricks like walking on two legs kind of stuff. I'm proud to say I never did any of it,” Homeless Dog boasted.

Goat then confessed: “To get an audition, I did learn to give a high five for them. Actually, in my case, it was a high two.”

Wise Old Owl flew into the barn like the sheriff. “Quit the focus group on Hollywood. They're sick. I want to hear about real animal heroes. And how animals are forced into dangerous jobs — transport, security, testing, experiments, medical training, sniffing mines, travelling on United.”

Donkey piped right up: “Yeah, these are heroes. I was in the transport business all my life. Risked heart failure and bad knees. (A nice newspaper writer here also has bad knees and promised to mention me.) Animals get no statues or even action figures. I want to be an action figure, damn it. And I don't mean a lawn ornament!”

Rat squealed an agreement: “They disrespect us. All of us. Let's organize another plague. I'm in.”

Mexico's famous Laughing Falcon finally flew onto a barn rafter: “Yeah, with no heroes, humans are only a couple of psychotic leaders away from extinction. And they don't see the risks. So, think positively, we might be whatever is left after they've laid waste to the planet, burning it up slowly with greenhouse gases or swiftly with a nuclear disaster. Take your pick. And it's no laughing matter.” Laughing Falcon laughed uproariously as he alighted on Old Milk Cow's back.

“But remember the divine baby was born in a stable.” Old Milk Cow found her tongue. “So, what does that tell you?”

“That Trip Advisor lost their inn reservation?” Rat cracked.

“No, that great heroes are humble. Not self-important or supreme,” Old Milk Cow said, adding, “Real heroes remain quiet and pious about heroism. That's what animals do, Donkey.”

The discussion came to a fidgety quiet like actors who'd forgotten their lines. A thumping outside the barn reached a boom and the barn door swung open. There was a gasp.

The legendary Mexican vigilante crypto-creature was back again this year; he postured at the doorway, his hairless body and spiked spine amess with clinging forest-floor debris, mangy hackles and patches of mold. The vile smell rushed into the barn like tear gas, telegraphing who was there and in what mood. The name-tag he was wearing, CHUPACABRA, was totally redundant. “The ancients everywhere worshipped us,” the blackish, hump-backed goat-dog-marsupial barked. “Their gods and goddesses worshiped us. Today, they name their cars after us, their sports teams, and they treat us like dirt.”

“And they use us for all,” Donkey tried to agree.

“Shut up, Donkey! I'm talking,” Chupacabra raced on. “It's self-serving ignorance and abuse.”

A gripping silence shrunk the barn to an intimate prayer meeting.

“My fellow creatures?” Chupacabra postulated. “The world's not a petting zoo. Biggest problem is that human minds have too many tools to mangle truth. Truth itself is inconvenient.” Chupacabra stretched his arms in front to their longest reach, “The savior that they celebrate every year ... he didn't come here to save humans from the devil. He came to save humans from themselves. The devil just laughs.”

And then the clock struck 12.