6

Piranhas are Not Good Neighbors – Part 2

To find the first part of the story, look here.

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Dave and Christine took their daughter Sara to the Emergency Room to make sure there were no serious injuries. Once they cleaned up her fur, there wasn’t too much damage. One cut that needed a couple of stitches was about it.

Once they were home and Sara was in bed, Dave and Christine started talking about Buzz.

Dave: The man is a nightmare. The piranhas are bad enough. But he’s helping the humans destroy capybara land. He’s an embarrassment to our species. I’m going to talk to the lawyers tomorrow to see what we can do.

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Christine: All those poor capybaras. I wonder what’s happening to them.

Dave (sarcastically): Don’t ask Buzz. He’s probably selling them to tourists as pets.

Christine: Don’t even joke about that.

The next morning, Christine and her friends got together to talk and watch their children play. Of course, the main topic was Buzz.

Priscilla: How is Sara? She looked pretty scared last night.

Christine: She’s fine. Of course, she’s not happy that they had to shave her fur to put in the stitches. I told her it would grow back, but I don’t think she believes me.

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Sue (giggling): Did you smell him yesterday? I couldn’t imagine what he had gotten into his fur. I took him aside and told him that he might want to wash it off. I was trying to be discreet. Do you know what he said?

(They shook their heads.)

Sue: He said it was called cologne. He got it from a human. Then he asked me if I had noticed that his fur was extra shiny. He said there was something called gel in it. I think he wants to be human.

(They all laughed. Then they heard a soft voice behind them.)

Babette: Excuse me.

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Christine (embarrassed): Babette! How nice of you to stop by.

Babette: Please call me Julie. I hate that name. Anyway, I wanted to see how Sara was doing. I brought her a ball. I feel terrible about what happened last night. I told Frank those fish were an awful idea.

(Christine took the ball and smiled at Julie.)

Christine: It’s OK. Men get strange ideas sometimes.

Julie: Well, I hope his humans enjoy the fish stew I sent over. Those piranhas won’t be bothering anyone else.

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(The women laughed.)

Darlene: Isn’t Buzz going to be angry?

Julie: I don’t care anymore. I don’t even recognize the capybara I fell in love with. He was so sweet and loving. He wouldn’t hurt a flea.

Christine: So what happened?

Julie: He went to one of those seminars that teach you how to make millions as a salesman. He decided that was what he was meant to do. Unfortunately it was run by a logging company. He fell in with a bad bunch of humans, and that was it.

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Priscilla: I’m so sorry.

Julie: That’s OK. I just wish he’d never started all this. I can’t make him see that the money isn’t that important.

Priscilla: Doesn’t it bother him that he’s hurting his own kind?

Julie: He was really torn up about it at the beginning. But now he spends so much time with the humans that he doesn’t even think about it. I wish I could destroy that company and move back near my friends in Coconut Shores.

(She starts to cry. Sue tries to comfort her.)

Sue: Hmmm. I was an accountant before I had Charlie. I wonder what would happen if Buzzco had its books audited. Who’s in charge of his recordkeeping?

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Julie: I used to do it, but since he started making so much money he won’t let anyone else touch the accounts.

Sue: I thought that might be the case. Let me talk to some friends.

(Later that night, Christine and Dave were talking.)

Christine: Did you talk to the lawyer?

Dave: Yeah. There’s not really anything we can do. Apparently everything Buzzco does is legal, if unethical. And it’s not illegal to be a slimeball.

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Christine: I think Sue has an idea. She’s going to try to get his financial records audited. Julie says he won’t let anyone else look at them.

Dave: Julie? You mean Babette?

Christine: She wants to be Julie and move back home. She’s very sweet and totally fed up with Buzz. She wants Frank back.

Dave: Is she sure she wants him?

Christine: Apparently he was a nice guy before he got rich. I almost forgot – she turned his piranhas into stew and sent it to his human friends.

Dave (laughing): I guess she is all right. We can wait to see if Sue’s right.

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One day, Dave saw Buzz down by the water.

Dave: So Buzz, how’s life in the fast lane?

Buzz: Not so good.

Dave: What’s wrong?

Buzz: I’m losing my company. Buzzco’s history.

Dave (trying to hide his excitement): What happened?

Buzz: Turns out it wasn’t such a good idea to do my own accounting.  Apparently capybaras aren’t allowed to keep their money in human banks. Some stupid tax rule. The taxes I owe to the humans wiped out the company. Julie was right – I never should have trusted them.

Dave: So what are you going to do?

Buzz: We’re going back to Coconut Cove. My brother has a construction company. Guess I’m back to being Frank.

Dave: How’s Julie with all this?

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Frank: She’s thrilled. She’s been missing her old friends. She even told me what happened to the piranhas. I never really believed that someone took them because they were jealous.

The capybaras threw a wonderful going-away party. They all promised to keep in touch. And they laugh when they hear a bee buzzing.

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7

Piranhas Are Not Good Neighbors

 

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Copa Cove is an exclusive capybara community, complete with a gate and 24-hour security. Most of the residents are executives at one of the eco-tourism companies or the tourism bureau. It was incredible how many humans come in just to see the capybaras. You’d think they had never seen a very large rodent in a tie before.

One spring morning, a new family moved in. There were two adults and two children. As the neighbors looked on in horror, the newcomers unpacked a raft and beach toys. And they were plastic!

The neighborhood planned a party to welcome the new residents. Everyone gathered by the water munching on crispy greens when they arrived. The male introduced himself as Frank.

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Frank: Hello, neighbors! Name’s Frank, but you can call me Buzz.  Like in Buzzco. That’s my company. I’ll get to it in a minute. This here’s my wife. Her name’s Julie, but you can call her Babette. Get it? Buzz and Babette. Sounds good together, doesn’t it?

(His children were standing by looking mortified. The neighbors were trying not to.)

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Buzz: These are my children, Ben and Betty. Hoping to get them into the family business. No luck so far, but they’re young. Now let me tell you about Buzzco. It’s my company and my pride and joy. Has anyone heard of it?

(Blank stares)

Buzz: That’s OK. We’re small, but we’re growing every day. That’s how we can afford to live like. Remember the name: Buzzco.

Priscilla (when Buzz finally took a breath): That sounds very, uh, nice. What exactly do you do at Buzzco?

Buzz: I’m glad you asked. We’re a marketing company that specializes in land development companies. Get it? Buzzco? Like when a tree comes down?

(The group looks horrified.)

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Carl: You do understand that you’re taking land from capybaras, don’t you?

Buzz: Don’t worry, there’s plenty of land left.

Carl: But they have to leave their homes.

Buzz: We’re a hardy species.

Carl: I wouldn’t want to move because someone destroyed my home.

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Buzz: Don’t worry. Won’t happen. You don’t think I’d move somewhere they’re about to level, do you?

(Dead silence)

Darlene (trying to sound normal): Well, we should probably get to eating before the grasses wilt.

(Relieved, everyone moved to the water. The talk turned to the weather, children, and other general topics. The party soon broke up. There was work in the morning. Before they left, Buzz had one final thing to say.)

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Buzz: You were so nice to us tonight, I’d like to invite you over on Saturday for brunch. That work for everybody?

Pete (with some hesitation): Hmm. That would be fine. We’ll see you then.

(No one knew what to expect when they got to Buzz’s. They were pleasantly surprised. The home was tastefully decorated and looked completely organized. Obviously, Babette ran the house. Buzz came from the backyard.)

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Buzz: C’mon everyone. I have something to show you.

(They followed him back. He pointed to a large hole filled with water. His neighbors looked at him, puzzled.)

Buzz: It’s called a pool. I got the idea from the humans. They swim in them. I figured I’d try it.

(While he was extolling the virtues of having a pool, the children were running around. Suddenly the adults heard a splash and screaming. A small capybara had fallen into the pool. Her father Dave rushed over and pulled her out. She was bleeding in several places.)

Dave (puzzled): How did you get cut falling in the water, honey?

Daughter: There are a lot of sharp things in there.

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(Dave looked at Buzz.)

Buzz: Sorry. Haven’t had time to put up a fence yet. Didn’t think about someone falling in.

Dave: What’s in the pool?

Buzz: Piranhas. Love the little guys. They have that killer instinct. Would make good businessmen.

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Dave: You have piranhas in a pool that anyone could fall into?

Buzz: Actually, I’m surprised there was a problem. I’ve never been bitten. Of course, a child is a lot smaller. She probably frightened them. I should look into it.

Dave (between clenched teeth): And we need to look into getting rid of you.

(Buzz was too wrapped up in his fish to hear.)

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To be continued…