10

Halber Home for Traumatized Turkeys – Part 2

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Where we are: Three pigs have come to Halber Home looking for refuge from being made into hams. Mrs. Thomas, the administrator, has called a meeting with several other turkeys to see what they think. You can access part 1 from the Recent Posts at the right.

Mrs. Thomas asked Suzy and Larry, counselors at the home. She also invited two of the long-term residents, Charlie and Howard.

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Mrs. Thomas: Thank you all for coming. We have a situation I need your help with. A little while ago, three pigs showed up who need sanctuary. They are in danger from their human.

Howard: Why can’t they stay with their own kind? We don’t have any pigs here.

Mrs. Thomas: There aren’t any pig facilities around here.

Suzy: How long would they be here? This isn’t a permanent arrangement, is it?

Mrs. Thomas: Oh, no. They will be moving south in less than a week.

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Howard: Why can’t they stay where they were? No one eats fresh pig on Thanksgiving.

Mrs. Thomas: They’re going to be turned into hams for Easter.

Suzy: That’s awful. We should find some way to help them.

Larry: We definitely can’t just send them back out on the road.

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Charlie: I’d feel like I killed them myself.

Howard starts to get agitated. He knows that they should help the pigs, but he’s terrified of strangers.

Howard: That’s ridiculous. We all found our way here.

Mrs. Thomas: That’s my point. They found their way here too.

Larry: And our sign does say that everyone is welcome.

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Howard: It’s written in Turkey. That should tell them who’s welcome here.

Larry: Howard, please calm down. You know we want to keep everyone safe and comfortable. That’s why we’re meeting. Mrs. Thomas wants your input.

Charlie: Please don’t be mean, Howard. We all needed help when we got here.

Howard: But we’re all turkeys!

Suzy: Howard, are you afraid of the pigs?

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Howard: They might eat me.

Mrs. Thomas: We won’t let them eat you.

Howard: What if they chase me down? They eat anything.

Larry (trying not to laugh): Do you know what pigs look like? They’d never catch you .

Howard: Are you sure?

Larry: Trust me.

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Howard: What if they come after me while I’m sleeping?

The others realized that Howard was not going to feel safe with the pigs around. Everyone was quiet for a few minutes.

Charlie: I’ve got an idea. Do you remember that big yard we had for turkeys who were too traumatized to be with the general public when they first got here?

Mrs. Thomas: You mean the one we put up before we had counselors on-site?

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Charlie: Yes. Is it still there? Could we use it?

Howard: I’m not going to be locked away because of some stupid pigs.

Charlie: Not for us. For them. Then we wouldn’t have to worry about them roaming around at night with hatchets.

Suzy: That’s a great idea! What do you think, Mrs. Thomas?

Mrs. Thomas: Yes. I think that would work. We don’t use it for anything else. What do you think, Howard?

Howard: I guess that would be OK. They’re only staying a few days, right?

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Mrs. Thomas: Yes. They are just waiting to hear from the woman’s family.

Howard: OK. They can stay if they don’t leave the pen until they’re ready to go.

The rest of the turkeys were relieved. They did not want to put the pigs in danger.

Mrs. Thomas went to the pigs and explained what had happened. They were thrilled with the outcome. They were used to being fenced in, and they would be safe.

Junior: That’s wonderful! Please thank the other turkeys for us.

Penny: Yes. We don’t know what we would have done without all of you.

The pigs stayed for four days before they got the directions South. When they arrived, they sent a letter telling the turkeys that they were safe and thanked them one more time.

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All pictures courtesy of Google Images

12

Halber Home for Traumatized Turkeys

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It’s the busiest time of the year at the Halber Home for Traumatized Turkeys. Not only did severe anxiety and panic attacks frequently occur around Thanksgiving, but the population always increased substantially. Most of the residents only stayed a short time, until they were reunited with family, but others had no other place to go.

The home itself was actually acres and acres of woods where the turkeys could roam peacefully and forget about friends and relatives who gave their lives in the name of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for the humans. Some had barely escaped the same fate, while others only knew that they had lost loved ones at this time of the year.

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Mrs. Thomas, who ran the home, welcomed each resident as they arrived, telling them the rules of the house:

  1. Everyone is welcome.
  2. You can stay as long as you’d like.
  3. No relating horror stories, except with trained staff.
  4. No talking about other residents behind their backs.

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Mrs. Thomas was standing at the entryway when three pigs approached her.

Pig: Hello. My name is Herman. This is Penny and Junior. We’re hoping you can help us.

Mrs. Thomas: Well, I’ll certainly try. What’s the problem?

Herman: We thought we were living with a very kind man. He let us stay in a nice barn and fed us well.

Junior broke in.

Junior: But he was just fattening us up. He’s going to send us out to be smoked as hams for next Easter.

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Mrs. Thomas: My goodness! Are you sure?

Penny: Absolutely. I heard him on the phone. He thinks we’re just dumb animals who don’t understand anything. But he’s wrong.

Mrs. Thomas: That’s terrible. How can I help? I don’t know any pig sanctuaries.

Junior (hesitantly): We thought that maybe we could stay here for a while. Penny has some relatives down South, but it will take a while to make arrangements. And we don’t have any time. We’ve heard that everyone is welcome. We were hoping that includes pigs.

Penny: Yes, please?

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Mrs. Thomas: Hmm. This is rather unusual. We’ve never had anyone but turkeys here before. I’m not sure how the residents would feel about that.

Penny: But we don’t have anyplace else to go. He’s going to find us if we keep walking.

Mrs. Thomas thought for a few minutes. The pigs were getting more nervous. Every time they heard a noise on the road they jumped. They didn’t know what they would do if Mrs. Thomas turned them down.

Mrs. Thomas: As I said, I’m not really sure whether you’d be welcome here. I need to talk with some of the staff.

Herman: How long will that take? We need to keep running if we can’t stay here.

Mrs. Thomas: It shouldn’t take long. Come in and hide in those woods while we decide.

She pointed to a dense group of trees not far from the road. The pigs sighed with relief. At least they were safe for a while. Everyone probably knew they were gone by now.

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Penny: Thank you so much, Mrs. Thomas.

Junior: We’re extremely grateful, even if the rest of it doesn’t work out.

They heard trucks on the road and scattered, the pigs to one side and Mrs. Thomas to the other. Watching the truck move slowly along the road looking at each side, the pigs realized the humans were looking for them.

Human 1: Maybe we should get out and look in the woods.

Human 2: Why bother? Those pigs aren’t smart enough to hide. They couldn’t have gone far. It’s not like they can run with the amount of food they’ve been eating. We’ll spot them soon.

Human 1: We have to. Mr. Jeager said we’d have to pay for them if we can’t find them. I can’t believe they got that gate open. We weren’t gone that long.

Human 2: Just keep looking.

The pigs looked at each other in terror.

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Herman: You were right, Penny. We’re lucky they think we’re so dumb. It wasn’t any trouble at all to get that latch open.

Junior: We better hope Mrs. Thomas will let us stay. It looks like those guys will be looking-

for a while.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Thomas was meeting with the staff and a few of the long-term residents.

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Next week: Will the turkeys lets the pigs stay or are they too traumatized to be around anything other than more turkeys?

Photos courtesy of Google Images

 

7

The Animal Rights Coalition – Part 4

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Where we are: The Animal Rights Coalition (ARC) has been working to stop humans from using their names as insults. They have had no luck with submitting a petition or trying to meet with the members of the Human Council. Gregg Bear and Ivan Tiger decide that it is time to consult with a lawyer. (Links to the previous sections are found at the right)

Gregg and Ivan are waiting in the offices of Sharkfin and Sharkfin to meet with the attorney. A well-groomed Siamese cat approached them.

Siamese: Hello, I’m Greta. I’ve been assigned your case.

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Gregg and Ivan looked at each other. Was this some kind of joke? This cat was not going to intimidate a bunch of humans. What was she going to do? Purr loud?

Ivan: Meaning no disrespect….

Greta: You want to know why I’m not a shark, right?

Gregg: Actually, yes. We’ve been trying to get a bunch of humans to listen to us and we wanted someone to get their attention.

Greta: Actually, that’s why they sent me. If you two aren’t going to intimidate them, we certainly won’t.

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Ivan: What do we do?

Greta: First, you have to know what is going to get their attention. What can you do that they can’t ignore? When do you interact with the humans?

Ivan: We see them at the stores and at work. But that’s just the regular humans.

Greta: OK. But they’re all just regular humans.

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Ivan: Some of them are more important. They own things and tell other people what to do.

Gregg: We want to get their attention.

Greta: Then you need to make them understand that their insults are having an impact on their business. You need to tell people to stop using their products until the humans stop insulting you.

Gregg and Ivan left, confused. They had wanted to hire someone to sue the humans. This cat wanted them to educate the humans. They called another ARC meeting.

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Gregg: We met with a lawyer. She said that we need to get the humans to see that we’re important to their business before they’ll listen to us.

Cecile Ferret: I guess that makes sense. They’ve thought they’re better and smarter than us forever.

Joe Iguana: They take us for granted.

Ivan: That’s what the lawyer said.

Ralph: OK. What do we do?

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The animals talked about which businesses they might be able to influence. They decided that they would only do one at first to see if anything happened. The first business they targeted was Adderson’s Shoe Supplies. They posted this message outside shoe stores:

“Please buy a brand other than Adderson’s. Their advertising calls tired, stinky feet “dogs”. We want them to find a different way to sell their product. Thank you. ARC

The signs didn’t work. People still bought the shoes.

Gregg: I don’t think this is a very good idea.

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Joe: I don’t know why we chose shoes. We don’t wear shoes. We should have done food. Food is always good.

Cecile: Did you hear? We made the news!

“Tonight’s local take is the boycott ARC is trying to start against Adderson’s Shoes for slander. It seems the animals are finally tired of being insulted. Good luck!”

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Ivan: Great. We’ll need it.

Cecile: It gets better. Look at this:

Animal call for end to insults spreads. Several areas have picked up on the ARC animals’ quest to end animal name insults. Protest is gaining momentum.

Three months later: Due to grass-roots pressure from their customers, humans included, the Human Council began the process to identify and eliminate institutional animal insults.

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Pictures courtesy of Google Images.

 

17

The Animal Rights Coalition – Part 3

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Where we are: The Animal Rights Coalition (ARC) tried to take a petition to a human council meeting, but were barred from entering. ARC wanted the humans to stop using animal names as insults. A guard took the petition and said that he would give it to council.

Two weeks went by before the animals received a letter from W. Charles Smith, President of the Council on Human/Animal Relations:

Dear Animals

We have received your petition listing your concerns about us using your names as insults. We appreciate your bringing this matter to our attention. I have assigned a committee to look into the matter.

Sincerely

W.C. Smith

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Julie Giraffe: Those rotten rutabagas! They’re just trying to get rid of us.

Roni Baboon: You’re right, Julie. They’re not going to do anything.

Chester Rabbit: I’m afraid you’re right. We’ll have to try something else.

Ralph Badger: Let’s dig under their building and let it collapse.

Benny Buffalo: No, let’s stampede them.

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Simon Skunk: No, we should sabotage their air filtration.

Chester: Calm down, everyone. That’s not going to make anyone happy. We need to work together.

Chrissy Calico: I don’t know what we can do. They don’t respect us at all. Remember what he called us? “Cute.” Humans don’t pay attention to “cute”.

Gregg Bear: OK, let me talk to them. They won’t think I’m cute and cuddly. I’m over 500 pounds of muscle and fur.

Ivan Tiger: I’ll go too. I can growl loud enough to scare any human.

Ralph: I guess that will work. But be polite. Otherwise, they’ll call you animals.

Chrissy: They are animals.

Ralph: I know. But humans use it as an insult.

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Gregg and Ivan walked over to the Council Hall and went in the front door. The receptionist looked up and asked if she could help them.

Ivan: Yes, thank you. We would like to see Mr. Smith, please.

Receptionist: Do you have an appointment?

Ivan: No, we don’t. Please tell him we’re from ARC.

Receptionist (knowing there would be trouble if she let a bear and a tiger into the building): Mr. Smith doesn’t see anyone without an appointment.

Ivan: Please tell him that we won’t take up much of his time.

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Receptionist (beginning to get nervous): I’m sorry, but you’ll have to make an appointment.

Ivan: Please just ask.

Receptionist: All right. Let me check.

She called someone and said that there was a bear and a tiger to see Charles. No, they weren’t threatening. They were very polite. She listened, then hung up the phone.

Receptionist: Someone will be out shortly.

Ivan: Thank you.

Ivan and Gregg moved to the side of the lobby and waited. Before long, two security guards arrived.

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Security Guard: What seems to be the problem?

Ivan: There isn’t a problem. We just want to see Mr. Smith.

Security Guard: Didn’t the lady tell you you’d need an appointment?

Ivan: Yes, she did. We just need a minute of his time.

Guard: He won’t see you. You need to leave.

Ivan: Why won’t he see us?

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The guard didn’t want to tell them that Mr. Smith was afraid of large animals.

Guard: He can see whoever he wants.

Gregg: That’s ridiculous. Just let us past. We’ll find him ourselves.

Guard (nervously): You need to go now.

Ivan was getting irritated. He let out a low growl. Gregg took a step toward the guard.

Gregg: Now see here…

Guard: Leave this minute or I’ll call the police.

Gregg: Let us past you.

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The guard picked up the phone.

Guard: Yes, we need you at the Council Hall. There’s a bear and a tiger here. We need you to get them out of here. They’re meaner than grizzlies.

Gregg: I AM a grizzly.

Guard: I mean they’re madder than wet hens.

Gregg and Ivan looked at each other in disgust and stalked out the door.

Ivan: I guess we’ll have to get a lawyer.

He took out his phone and entered the number.

Voice: Sharkfin and Sharkfin, Attorneys-at-Law. How may I help you?

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12

The Animal Rights Coalition – Part 2

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Where we are: The Animal Rights Coalition (ARC) has decided that they need to send a petition to the humans telling them how offensive they found the use of animals in a lot of the human insults.

Douglas Gorilla was ready to read the petition that his group had put together to the rest of the members.

Douglas: We spent quite a lot of time putting this together and would like the input of everyone else to make it as good as possible.

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Dear Humans

We would like you to reconsider your usage of animal names in your insults. For example, “hairy as an ape,” is not considered an insult in our world. We would appreciate you not using it in such a manner either. There are many other examples of problem phrases.

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We feel that such insults stereotype us, generally in a negative way. You use “snake in the grass” to define someone who looks harmless, but can’t be trusted. Snakes live in the grass because that’s a logical place for someone to be who doesn’t have feet or legs. They only feel threatened if someone comes near. Humans with big feet and boots are especially scary to snakes.

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We would be happy to work with you to create a list of more appropriate insults at whatever time and place is convenient for you. We will provide a translator, if you like.

You may respond to carabbit@arcanimals.org, We look forward to hearing from you.

 Sincerely,

Animal Rights Coalition

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Douglas: We thought that everyone could sign so they know it’s a group effort.

Ida Hyena: I think it’s great. If I hear one more “laughing like a hyena joke,” I might have to bare my teeth in public.

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Jeni Dodo: I agree. We could suggest that they could just use “dumb as a rock,” rather than “dodo”, it would be great.

Chester: All in favor of sending the petition?

The result was unanimous. They decided that they would deliver the petition by hand/paw. Chester and Chrissy Calico were chosen so the humans wouldn’t feel intimidated.

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A few days later, Chester and Chrissy went to a human council meeting. They were stopped at the door.

Guard: This is a human meeting. No animals.

Chester: We just want to deliver a petition to your council.

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Guard: Let me check.

He called someone on his phone. Chester and Chrissy waited patiently. The guard explained the situation. They heard him say, “Actually, they’re pretty cute. Nothing dangerous at all.”

Guard: He said that you can’t go in, but I can take your petition and they will look at it after the meeting and get back with you.

Chester and Chrissy looked at each other. It seemed like there was no other option. They gave the petition to the guard.Image result for rabbit and cat

Next week: What will the humans do with the petition? Will they even look at it?

 

All pictures courtesy of Google Images.

 

 

 

 

8

The Animal Rights Coalition

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Chester Rabbit called the quarterly meeting of the Animal Rights Coalition (ARC) to order.

Chester: Welcome everyone. We need to finish one item from our last meeting before we can move on to today’s agenda. We have to finish our discussion about how to address the human use of animal names as insults. The first thing we need to do is reopen the topic.

The animals started to talk among themselves. This item was very important to all of them and they were eager to get back to work.

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Buddy Squirrel: I move to reopen the topic.

Ralph Badger: I second the motion.

Chester: All right. How many in favor?

Paws and hands went up around the room.

Chester: How many opposed?

Dead silence.

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Chester: The motion passed. Ballou, please turn on the recorder.

Ballou Bear, whose mother was a huge movie fan, flipped the switch. It was so much easier to get started now that they could record rather than manually write down the notes. The simians had insisted on the purchase. They were tired of always being the ones to write.

Chester: The best way to start is to identify exactly what we mean by insults. Remember the rules: no talking over others, no arguing with someone’s ideas, and no intimidation. One idea per animal. If you choose to present multiple ideas, wait until after the others have had their turn.

The animals quickly lined up to speak:

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“catty/catfight” – Why is it that when two women say nasty things to each other it’s being catty? We’re not mean. But even worse, if they end up actually hitting each other, it’s a catfight? Everyone knows that most of us don’t fight, and if we do, it’s most likely the males.

“eat like a pig/act like a pig” – Where did we get the reputation that we’re sloppy and eat too much? We’re actually clean animals; we use the mud to cool off. And we don’t eat that much compared to what we weight. We’re this big because of the way we’re made, not because we eat too much.

“dog-faced/dog” – Why are we the standard for ugly? We’re just like every other species. Some of us are good looking, some not so much. But to classify all of us as ugly is just mean.

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“eat like a bird” – They say it like it’s some kind of eating disorder. We eat like we do because we have beaks. We can’t pick up a lot of food at one time. We eat all through the day; we need energy for flying.

“ugly duckling” – This insult is just rude. Why would you call someone’s child ugly? We know it’s because the baby swan didn’t look like the baby ducks, but that doesn’t mean it was really ugly.

“batty/bats in the belfry” – What makes us the standard for crazy? We fly at night, but so do owls, and they’re supposed to be wise. As far as hanging out in a belfry, it’s a good place to sleep. It’s high, it’s isolated, and the humans can’t get at us.

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“a leopard can’t change his spots” – Of course we can’t. That would be like asking them to change their skin. Why does that get connected to people who can’t change their bad habits? Our fur is not something that should be changed.

“big as a cow” – we agree with the pigs. Just because we’re made a certain way doesn’t entitle humans to use it to insult other humans. Maybe they should be more like us and just accept each other.

“badger someone” – We’re persistent and thorough. How did that get translated into a person who becomes offensive trying to make a point? It seems like they don’t even understand how any of us really are.

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The other animals all nodded in agreement.

Chester: I think that’s a good start. Now we need a few animals to draft our petition to the humans. Is anyone interested?

A bear, two gorillas, and a beaver all agreed to work on something.

Chester: Does anyone want to schedule an extra meeting for next month to decide what our next steps will be?

Douglas Gorilla: So moved.

Ballou: Second.

The motion passed.

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Next week: Do the animals think the petition is ready to go to the humans?

9

Medical School Blues – Part 3

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Where we are: Suzy Siamese claims that she heard Joey Boxer say that he had been tutoring his friend Socks with information he knew would be on the test. Facing expulsion from medical school, Joey is suing Suzy to prove that he never said it.

Suzy was nervous when she got to the hearing room. She had never been in court before and had no idea what was going to happen. With the judge’s permission, she had brought along a classmate, first-year student Vanessa Siberian-Huskey. The two girls arrived first and were seated on one side of a table.

When Joey arrived, he was seated on the other side of the table. He looked at Vanessa and was struck by how beautiful she was. But then he got nervous. Why did she look familiar? And why was she here?

The judge came in and looked through her paperwork. She looked at Joey.

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Judge: Mr. Boxer, you are accusing Ms. Siamese of telling lies about you in public that are causing you to potentially be expelled from medical school. Is that correct?

Joey: Yes, ma’am. She told people that I had cheated when I was tutoring my friend Socks for the microbiology exam. I never cheated, and I want my good name cleared.

Judge: Ms. Siamese, is that true? Did you accuse Mr. Boxer of cheating?

Suzy: Not exactly.

Judge: Well exactly what did you accuse him of?

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Suzy: I didn’t really accuse him of anything. I said that I heard him say that he knew Socks was going to do well because he knew what the questions were going to be and he gave Socks the answers.

Judge: Mr. Boxer, do you agree that is what Ms. Siamese actually said?

Joey: That’s it. Or at least pretty close to it. She didn’t use the word cheat, but that’s what she meant.

Judge: Mr. Boxer, we can’t convict Ms. Siamese on what her words may or may not have meant. However, I do understand how that could be the conclusion the hearer would arrive at.

Ms. Siamese, you understand that the only true defense against this type of slander charge is to prove that the animal who is accusing you actually said what you are claiming, correct?

Suzy: Yes, ma’am.

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Judge: Mr. Boxer, are you certain that you never said those words or anything similar, that Ms. Siamese might have overheard?

Joey: Never, your Honor. I would never cheat, for Socks or anyone else.

Judge: Ms. Siamese, would you please tell me where you heard Mr. Boxer make his alleged claim.

Suzy: Yes, ma’am. After big tests, a lot of the students go to The Watering Hole to relax. They have snacks and all types of things to drink. Mr. Boxer and I were both there after the test.

Joey had a sinking feeling. He had forgotten about going to The Watering Hole.

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Suzy: I have been mentoring Vanessa (nods to her), so when I saw her, I went over to say hello.

Judge: Is that true, Ms. Husky?

Vanessa: Yes, it is.

Suzy: We were talking when Joey came up and offered Vanessa some fruit. She sniffed it and told him no thanks.

Vanessa: It was fermented. I could smell it on Mr. Boxer’s breath.

Joey panicked. Now he remembered Vanessa. He saw her there and wanted to meet her. But she was so beautiful that he was too scared to talk to her. He had stood in a corner eating fruit until he got up the nerve. That fruit was fermented? He hadn’t noticed. How did she know?

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Suzy: Joey took back the fruit, and started to talk to Vanessa.

Vanessa: Yes, he must have nervous. He started talking about how he was at the top of his class and was sure that he would be getting a good internship. I think he wanted to impress me with how intelligent he is.

Joey knew what was coming next. He didn’t remember saying any of this, but he knew what was going to follow.

Vanessa: He told me that he was so good in school that he even had time to tutor his best friend, Socks. I told him that was very impressive. He said it wasn’t too bad because he knew what was going to be on the test, so he only had to teach Socks those things.

Judge: Mr. Boxer, is that true? Did you say that?

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Joey: Your honor, I don’t really remember.

Judge: What do you mean?

Joey: I think the fermented fruit must have made me drunk. I don’t remember any of this conversation.

Judge: Ms. Siamese, do you agree with Ms. Husky’s description?

Suzy: Yes, ma’am.

Judge: Ladies, do you think that Mr. Boxer was drunk?

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Suzy: That would explain why he wouldn’t stop talking about himself. He’s not usually like that.

Vanessa: I think you’re absolutely right, Judge. His breath was terrible.

Judge: What did you say to Mr. Boxer?

Vanessa: I told him that I didn’t associate with cheaters and growled. I think he left after that.

Judge: Ms. Siamese, do you agree with Ms. Husky’s description of what happened?

Suzy: Yes ma’am.

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The judge looked at Joey.

Judge: Mr. Boxer, I don’t think you have much of a case for slander. Apparently, you did say what you are accused of saying.

Joey: Yes, ma’am, I guess I did. But I honestly don’t remember saying it. I must have been bragging to impress Vanessa. I was pretty sure I knew what was going to be on the test because I knew what the professor had been emphasizing. I don’t even know how to steal a test.

Judge: OK. Ms. Siamese and Ms. Husky, you are free to go. Thank you for coming in. Mr. Boxer, I am going to recommend that the medical school allow you to graduate. You don’t seem to be guilty of anything other than talking too much.

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