18

A Mouse in the House – Part 2

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Where we are: John and Josie Mouse had been renting space with Matt and Sandy Manx until Josie’s brother Mortimer had accidentally alerted the homeowners’ association to the prohibited arrangement. John and Josie have been forced to live in a field until they find another arrangement.

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John and Josie have built a nice den on the edge of a corn field. The weather is warm and there’s plenty to eat.

John: Well this isn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

Josie: I agree. Although I could do without the dirt everywhere. We need to figure out what we’re going to do.

John: I’ve been thinking about that. How do you feel about joining a co-op out here and just staying? We don’t have the money to afford to buy a house.

Josie: I don’t know. I’m a house mouse.

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One of the neighbors comes to the door of the den.

Neighbor: I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this. The older lady mouse who came with you was just taken by an owl.

Josie (horrified): That’s why I like being a house mouse.

Mortimer: I’m so sorry. I know it’s my fault you’re out here.

John: That really doesn’t do Aunt Gertrude much good, does it?

Mortimer: I’ll find a way to fix this. I promise.

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Mortimer leaves the den to think. He doesn’t really understand the appeal of being in the suburbs. The field mice had dens. The city mice had their own communities. But Josie wanted to live out here. With cats!

He knows there’s only one way to fix the situation. He walks over to the homeowners’ association president’s house.

President: Hello. I thought I made it clear that you are not welcome here. You made such a fuss at the meeting that the animals are still talking about it.

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Mortimer: I came to apologize for that. I didn’t realize I was going to get everyone in trouble. I come from the city, and that’s the way we communicate. I feel terrible about what happened.

President: Thank you for coming. I appreciate your apology. What can I do for you?

Mortimer: I need to find a way to make things right for my sister. She’s never lived outside, and she’s scared. Can you help me?

President: Let’s see what we can do. Come inside and we can talk things over.

Later in the day, Mortimer returns to the den.

Mortimer (excited): Hey everybody! I’ve got great news!

John (sarcastically): You’re going back to the city?

Josie: John! Give him a chance to talk.Image result for working animals

Mortimer: I went over and talked to Mike, the president of that association where you lived. I told him how sorry I was about what happened and asked for his help.

Josie: What did he say?

Mortimer: He looked through all the rules those animals have to follow for that place. He said that there was one exception to the rule prohibiting having non-family members in the house. Employees of the owners can live there.

Josie: Employees? What kind of employees would people have at home?

Mortimer: The agreement said that there would be exceptions for nannies and housekeepers.

John: That’s great. But how does it help us?

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Mortimer: Well, it turns out that those cats missed you guys. Mike called them up, and they would be happy to have Josie as their housekeeper. And you can stay too.

Josie: That’s wonderful! Thank you, Mortimer.

Mortimer: After I got you kicked out, I had to make it right. There’s just one condition.

Josie: What’s that?

Mortimer: They won’t let me back. I guess I caused too much trouble at that meeting and upset everyone.

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Josie: Mortie! Where will you go?

Mortimer: That Mike is a pretty amazing guy. He has friends all over. Turns out a local church is looking for a librarian. I can live there too.

Josie: Good for you! So we can still be together.

Mortimer: Yep. As long as I can make it through probation.

Josie: What does that mean?

Mortimer: I have to make it through ninety days and not eat any of the books. And follow the most important rule. I have to be “quiet as a church mouse.”

John and Josie start to laugh.

Mortimer: Hey! I can do it.

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13

A Mouse in the House

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The homeowners’ association meeting was near its’ end, when the President asked if there were any issues someone wanted to raise.

Mortimer Mouse: I have a complaint to file against the cats in my neighborhood. Some of them stay up all night and hunt right outside my windows. It’s very traumatic.

President: You must have known there were cats in the neighborhood when you moved in. And cats do hunt at night.

Mortimer: They don’t have to do it right outside my window.

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President: You are aware that we don’t generally sell homes to mice in predator neighborhoods.

Mortimer: I don’t actually own the house. I’m visiting.

President: Are you visiting cats?

Mortimer: No, I’m staying with my sister. She lives with cats.

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President: Why is your sister living with cats?

Mortimer: I have no idea. They’re horrible creatures with no sense of humor. I tried to take a piece of kibble from one of the kids, and it tried to eat me. As far as I’m concerned, she should have bought her own house.

The room starts to respond angrily, but Mortimer doesn’t notice.

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Mortimer: It’s probably her stupid husband’s idea. He’s one of those ‘live and let live’ types. I think they should be in an all-mouse place.

President: Your sister and her family are staying with a family of cats?

Mortimer: That’s right. So, will you fix the problem?

President: We’ll definitely look into it.

Matt Manx quickly left the room and went home.

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Sandy: Matt, you’re home early from the meeting. How’d it go?

Matt: Some obnoxious mouse got up and started bad-mouthing cats. Then he said that he was visiting his sister who was living with cats. How many cats do you know who have mouse boarders?

Sandy: But our mice are so sweet!

Matt: I know, but you know the rules. We’re not allowed to have boarders, and they’re obviously not relatives.

Sandy: You mean they have to leave? I’m sure they don’t have anywhere to go.

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Matt: I’m afraid so. This mouse really got folks riled up.

Matt went downstairs to talk to John and Josie Mouse. He explained what had happened at the meeting and told them that they would have to leave.

Matt: I’m really sorry this happened. If that mouse hadn’t made such a fuss, no one would have known. But we’ll get kicked out if they verify that we have boarders.

John: I understand. It’s not your fault. You’ve been more than kind. We’ll get our things together and go.

Matt: Do you know where you’ll go?

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John: Not really. Probably into the fields for a bit so we can think it through.

They shook paws and Matt left.

John: I told you not to let that moron stay here. Look at what he’s done! We don’t have a home and Matt and Sandy are in trouble.

Josie: I’m sure Mortimer didn’t cause trouble intentionally.

Mortimer comes in.

Mortimer: I can’t believe you live in this neighborhood. They didn’t care that cats come around at all hours disturbing us.

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John: Of course there are cats around, you idiot. We live with cats! Or rather we did, until you moved in. Now we’re homeless.

Mortimer: What do you mean, homeless?

Josie: Matt and Sandy Manx let us live here as a favor. They aren’t supposed to have non-family members stay for more than a few days.

Mortimer: Well, you’re better off without them. These animals are rude and thoughtless.

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John: You didn’t have any right to go to that meeting. We’re going to have to live outside. Are you happy that your sister will be living a field because of you?

Josie starts to cry. She had always been a house mouse and now she was going to have to live in a field.

Mortimer: I’m sorry, Josie. I guess I didn’t think it through very well. I haven’t been getting much sleep lately.

John: A lot of good that does her. We’d better pack.

Mortimer: I’ll fix it. Just give me a little time.

Next week: find out what Mortimer has in mind.

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Pictures courtesy of Google Images

21

Homeowners’ Association Monthly Meeting

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Forest Glenn is an upper middle class subdivision with a diverse multi-species population. Before moving in, residents must sign a contract agreeing to be governed by the decisions of the Homeowners’ Association.

Please find below the minutes from the August 1, Forest Glenn Homeowners’ Association Monthly Meeting.

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 pm. Approximately 30 homes were represented at the meeting.

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Horace Hogg, president of the Association, reminded everyone that the pool would be closed for the season following the annual Labor Day party. He wants everyone to be courteous in the dish they bring to the event. We do not want a repeat of last year when one of the guests saw a relative being eaten by other guests.

Halloween is coming. A reminder to residents: no decorations are allowed that flash, light up, or are offensive to other residents. Therefore, witches and pumpkins are acceptable, but no negative portrayals of cats or bats.

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Decorations are limited to the porch and front of the house. Real blood is prohibited due to health concerns.

There have been violations of several Association policies during the past month. If residents have not corrected the problem by the end of August, fees will be assessed.

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Grass must be no higher than 1 inch – Beau Bison, Shelley Sheep. Lack of appetite is not an acceptable reason for non-compliance.

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No lawn ornaments – Dolly Deer, Joe Jaguar, Bob Beaver. Lawn ornaments include (but are not limited to) gnomes, flamingos, and wooden “Welcome” signs.

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No buildings except a house and garage – Alan Aardvark. Buildings include sheds, tree houses and permanent play houses for your children.

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One flag may be displayed per house and no flags larger than 2 feet by 3 feet displayed from the front of the house – Edgar Eagle, Larry Lion. Flags include national flags, state flags, school flags, college flags, and club membership flags. Homemade flags are discouraged. Flagpoles are prohibited.

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Political signs are not allowed on lawns – Delilah Donkey, Edgar Elephant. These signs are considered lawn ornaments, and particularly tacky ones. No one cares who you are voting for.

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Only shrub fences – Tommy Tortoise. Any other material would ruin the natural beauty of the subdivision. If residents were allowed to use materials of their choosing, we would be faced with the possibility of something cheap and tacky. You know we can’t trust everyone’s taste.

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Quiet time between midnight and 6 am – Billy Bat, Harold Hyena. Nocturnal animals are welcome in the neighborhood, but must abide by association rules. Additionally, parties which last past midnight must be moved into the home. Vehicles with loud engines may not be used during the quiet period.

Some reminders for fall:

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Do not burn your leaves. They may be used for mulch or saved in the backyard for burrowing relatives to use during the winter. The Association will collect unwanted leaves for the less fortunate.

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All plants must be trimmed back to no more than a foot tall before the snow falls. You are welcome to eat them yourselves or share with a friend. We will provide names of plant trimmers upon request. You may add small branches to your mulch or leaf pile if you wish.

If you are expecting relatives for the winter, fees are due to be paid no later than October 15. As usual, group rates are available.

The meeting adjourned at 9 pm. The next meeting will be September 5.

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8

Treat Them Like Animals – Part 2

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Previously – Animals Protecting Animals (APA) has caught a group of poachers in South Africa. They have been taken to APA’s holding facility in the middle of the Sahara Desert to await sentencing by a panel of lions. You can read the rest of the background here.

The following morning, three lionesses arrive. After a brief conversation with Carl, they ask that the defendants be brought to the interrogation room. Carl joins the lionesses to take notes.

The defendants are brought in by Vince and Albert. The camels stay as guards. When the men see that they are going to be tried by lions, they become nervous. They have heard about the poachers in South Africa being eaten by lions.

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Head Judge: Give us your name, age and home country.

Number 98: Mandla, 23, South Africa

Number 99: Adamu, 30, Kenya

Number 100: Narong, 32, Thailand

Number 101: Lamon, 35, Thailand

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The judges confer among themselves.

Head Judge: We would like to know your role in the crime.

Mandla: My family is starving and they told me that they would pay me to show them the way to the park. I left when we got there. They told me they would kill me if I told anyone. I’m sorry I ever took the money.

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Adamu: I was a guard. My job was to kill anyone who tried to stop us.

Narong: I was also a guard. Additionally, I shot some of the animals.

Lamon: I was responsible for removing the trophies from the dead animals.

Head Judge: What happened to the “trophies” after you removed them?

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Lamon: Narong and I smuggled them out of the country and sold them on the black market in Asia.

Head Judge: What did you do with the money?

Lamon: We needed the money to pay for personal expenses.

Head Judge: Did you send any of the money back to Adamu or Mandla?

Lamon: No. We paid them before we left. We consider them a cost of doing business in Africa.

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Head Judge: Adamu, did you need to shoot any humans?

Adamu: No. We didn’t run into any humans.

Head Judge: Did you kill any animals?

Adamu: No. My job was to stand guard.

Head Judge: Take them back to their cage.

Vince and Albert return the poachers to the tent. The judges talk over what they have heard. They reach a decision on each of the defendants and Carl writes down what they decide. He brings the defendants back to the interrogation room.

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Head Judge: We have come to a decision on each of you. Please step forward when I call your name. Mandla, you’re first.

We have taken your circumstances into account and given you a lenient sentence. You will spend 30 days in our facility in South Africa with leopard guards. Then you will become a paid apprentice at the animal reserve. You are not allowed to carry a gun for two years. If you successfully complete your probation, you will become a full officer with all privileges.

Mandla: Thank you for the opportunity.

Head Judge: Use it well. You won’t get a second chance.

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Adamu, please step forward.

We were not as lenient with you. All that kept you from killing was circumstance. You were lucky that no one came near your group. Regardless, you were a lesser player in the crime.

Therefore, you are sentenced to 15 years in our central Kenya facility with lions as your guards. You will be near your family. Use your time to find another profession.

Adamu: Thank you Judge.

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Head Judge: Narong and Lamon, please step forward.

Honestly, we could not find anything redeeming in any of your actions. You are sentenced to life in our Siberian facility. The tigers only get our worst cases, so you will be with good company.

Narong: Don’t Siberian tigers eat people?

Head Judge: I haven’t heard of it happening at our facility, but I suppose it’s possible. I would be on my best behavior, just in case.

The judges leave the room. The prisoners are led back to the tent to await transportation to the various facilities.Image result for siberian tiger

10

Treat Them Like Animals – Part 1

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At a remote location somewhere in the Sahara Desert.

Carl Camel (speaking into the phone): That’s great news! We’ve been trying to get them for months. When will they get here?

Listens and writes down the information.

Carl: Excellent! Thank you and your group for all your hard work.

Hangs up the phone and turns to his coworkers. They work at the holding area for Animals Protecting Animals (APA), a group dedicated to finding and punishing poachers. The location was chosen for its inaccessibility.

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Carl: The Southern Africa group has a huge catch. They got the group that killed Ricky Rhino and others. They should be here by the end of the week.

Vince: Let’s tie them up and cut off their noses.

Sandra: We could tie them up and leave them out for the birds.

Albert: How about fire ants?

Carl: I know Ricky was one of us, but we have to follow the rules. Otherwise, we’re as bad as the humans.

Sandra: We know. Just letting off steam.

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BREAKING NEWS

Everyone looks at the radio

A PRIDE OF LIONS HAS JUST KILLED A GROUP OF POACHERS IN SOUTH AFRICA (Fox News 7/5/18)

Carl: That’s fantastic news. We don’t have any lions in South Africa, but we can use all the help we can get.

Sandra (grinning): Even if they killed them?

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Carl: It’s not the APA way, but we don’t know what the circumstances were. Poachers are killers after all.

A few days later, the poachers Carl is expecting arrive by camel caravan. The four men are dirty and tired.

Carl: Welcome to Club Camel, gentlemen. Your first stop on your guided tour of Animals Protecting Animals.

The men swear and try to get down from their camels. The camels nip at them and force them back into their seats.

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Carl: It’s OK ladies, we’ve got them. Go over to the oasis and have a rest. Good job.

Poacher 1: Four camels, four men. We shouldn’t have any trouble getting out of here.

Carl: I suppose that might happen. But even if you try, you’ll die of thirst within a short time. Besides, you haven’t met our guards yet.

A group of Desert Horned Vipers slithers in. The men shrink back.

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Carl: Don’t worry. They have excellent manners unless you misbehave. Their bite may not kill you, but you won’t get very far.

Vince: So, this is them, eh? Trip didn’t do anything for their looks.

Albert: Or their smell.

Carl: Well, let’s get started. Sandra, did you assign them numbers?

Sandra: Yes, I did. Congratulations, gentlemen. One of you is lucky number 100 in our capture list. Not bad for a group of dumb animals, eh?

Going down the line, she counts off: 98, 99, 100, 101. The men are looking less sure of themselves.

Carl: Excellent. Vince, please take the gentlemen to their temporary home. Albert, get them something to eat and drink.

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Home is a large three-sided tent with a cage inside.

Vince: Here you go. Nothing fancy, but it will shelter you from the sun and keep the sand out.

Albert: And here’s dinner. Of course, it’s vegetarian. But the water and figs are fresh. Enjoy!

They slide the bolt, and the snakes take their places.

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Carl: The judges will be down in the morning to listen to what they have to say and determine a punishment.

Sandra: Good. The less time we have to look at them, the better. Do you know which judges will be coming?

Carl: The lions are coming. The hyenas have a separate case and the desert monitors are under investigation. Apparently, they tried to eat a defendant. Some sort of rodent.

Sandra: Good. The lions seem to intimidate the humans.

The camels settle down for the night.

To be continued.

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All pictures courtesy of Google Images

18

At the Watering Hole

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Mid-morning at a watering hole somewhere on the African savannah.

Zebra 1: Beautiful morning isn’t it?

Zebra 2: Did you hear that Ryan finally got up the nerve to ask Tammy to mate?

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Zebra 1: No! They’re so cute together. I bet they have beautiful colts.

Zebra 3: Hmmmph! She is such a flirt! She led my Tony on that she would mate with him.

The first two zebras look at each other.

Zebra 2: Well, I’m sure Tony will find a nice girl too.

Zebra 3: You bet he will. Then she’ll be sorry.

Further along.

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Warthog 1: This is a nice place. How did you find it?

Warthog 2: I was talking to a guy who told me how to get here. Said there was a lot of good water and a fairly low predator to prey ratio.

Warthog 1: You should have brought him along.

Warthog 2: Unfortunately, he got eaten not too long after we met.

Silence.Image result for gazelle

Gazelle 1: Did you hear the hyenas last night?

Gazelle 2: It sounded like there were a lot of them.

Gazelle 1: I know. It was very strange. The last time I saw the pack there were only 3 or 4 of them.

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Gazelle 3: I heard a rumor that they have some kind of machine that can make it sound like there are lots of them even when there aren’t. I think it’s called a fone or something like that.

Gazelle 1: Should have known. Those guys are always trying to figure out some kind of scam.

The watering hole goes silent as the group of lionesses approach. Slowly the animals start to back away.

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Lioness 1: Take your time. We’re here to relax, not hunt.

The other animals quickly move away.

Lioness 2: They never trust us.

Lioness 3: Well, we do eat them.

Lioness 2: That’s no excuse for bad manners.

Lioness 1: Did you hear what Leonidis said just before we left?

Lioness 3: I wasn’t listening.Image result for ostrich

Lioness 1: He’s bored with eating zebras and gazelles. He wants something exotic for dinner.

Lioness 2: Did he mention what this exotic dinner was supposed to be?

Lioness 1: He wants an ostrich.

Lioness 3: There aren’t any ostriches around here.

Lioness 1: The new girl told him she had eaten a couple and they’re delicious.

Lioness 2: Then let the new girl get one for him.

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Lioness 1: He wants her to teach the new cubs how to pounce.

Lioness 2 (sarcastically): Well, isn’t she special.

Lioness 3: I wish Leonidis hadn’t heard that human refer to him as “King of the Jungle”.

Lioness 2: I know. It went straight to his head.

Lioness 1: Humans are so much trouble. We don’t even live in a jungle.

They hear a roar in the distance.

Lioness 1: Time to get to work.

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all pictures courtesy of Google Images

20

Why There is No Animal World Cup

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We have noticed a lot of human interest around something called the World Cup. It is supposed to be the most watched sporting event in the world. We were a little confused at first. We call it soccer over here, but everyone else calls it football. Which kind of makes sense. A bunch of sweaty men play it with their feet.

After watching for a while, we noticed something interesting. The players use their feet and heads to move the ball. The only one who can use his hands is someone called a goal tender.

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This was the perfect game for animals! We have paws or hooves, not hands. So why wasn’t there an Animal World Cup?

We went to the source of all information, Google, and typed in “Animal World Cup.” The only thing there was a bunch of sweaty men playing soccer/football.

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We tried “Animal Soccer/Football” and got local youth leagues. “Professional Animal Soccer” got no results. How very strange.

We sent our reporter Freddie Ferret out to find out what was going on. Here’s what he uncovered:

Animals have always played a game similar to soccer. It was most popular in places with large fruit or vegetables that could be used as a ball. Players were ejected for eating the ball.

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The main rules were that players could only use their head and paws to move the ball. The “goalie” was allowed to use his entire body to stop the ball. The games would start at mid-afternoon and end at dusk.

For years, the animals played soccer uneventfully. However, one day the gorilla coach had an idea. His players had only been using their hind legs to play. Why not try using the front ones?

The idea was brilliant. The gorillas were unbeatable. The other animals sued to keep the gorillas from using their front paws.

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“That’s not fair! You’re using your opposable thumbs. You can hold onto the ball.”

“The rules say we can use paws. These are paws.”

The judges weren’t sure what to do. Technically, the gorillas were right; they were using their paws. Realistically, the other animals were right; opposable thumbs made the paws closer to hands.

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The judges went with the rules. The gorillas’ paws were allowed. However, they reminded the other animals that there was no rule about only having one species on a team.

Every team tried to get at least one gorilla to join them. Of course, there were not enough gorillas for all of the teams. So the teams tried to lure them with bananas, ants and other treats.

Chimpanzees and other animals with opposable thumbs were also in high demand.  Teams had to hide their prized players or another team would bribe them away.

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Soccer wasn’t fun anymore. All the focus was on the star players. Soon the other animals wanted to ban any player with opposable thumbs or force them to play in their own league.

Simians, pandas, koalas, and possums were outraged. They claimed species-ism. They all went back to court. This time the judges determined that there was no fair way to answer the question and banned all competitive soccer between adult animals.

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For a while, the animals grumbled and blamed each other. As time passed, they decided that the judges were right. They shouldn’t fight each other over a game.

It passed down from generation to generation that animals only played soccer for fun. Before long, it wasn’t questioned. It just was.

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All pictures courtesy of Google Images

(For the record, the trophy for the winner of the World Cup looks nothing like a Cup.)