I wrote this in 1996. I had trouble coming up with an ending. I don't remember whether I came up with one or not. This story works best if you have two people read it aloud to you in the proper voices. And you gotta have the music too. And be on drugs.
This is the city. Seven million people live here. They own nine million cars, ten million television sets (eight million of which are in color), five million cats, and six million dogs. The dogs have twelve million fleas. Most of the time the dogs in this city behave. When they don't I go to work. I carry a newspaper.
bum ba bum bum
James "Kibo" Parry
The story you are about to read is true. The names have been changed to annoy the reader.
My name's Friday. It was Wednesday, August 29. The weather was warm and clear, as it often is in Los Angeles. My partner, Bill Gannon, was facing an ethical dilemma.
"Joe, you know it's not right. How they changed it."
"Is that so?"
"I mean, the title was in English."
"'Bananas in Pyjamas'."
"Is that some new show?"
"Not a new show, Joe, you been living under a rock? The network imported it from Australia, and they changed the title. I've a mind to write them a letter."
"So you're saying they ruined this fine title?"
"Uh-huh. They changed it to 'Bananas in Pajamas'."
"So they made a 'y' an 'a'. In accordance with standard American English, which hopefully some day our government will see fit to make the official language of this great nation of ours. Progress is underway for a Constitutional amendment. 'Til then, people have a right to spell it however they want."
"But it's not fair to them, Joe."
"The kids, Joe! What'll they think?"
Gannon shook his head in disgust. I shook my head in disgust. I felt like coffee.
"Bill, I'm going for coffee. You want any?"
"Oh, you know, the usual."
"Well, let's see, yesterday you took cream but no sugar. The day before you took two sugars but no cream."
"Heart condition, Joe. Doctor said so."
"But how's a man supposed to know what your 'usual' is if you aren't a so-called 'usual' kind of person?"
"Joe, we've been partners how long?"
"Right, Joe, and have you ever known me to drink my coffee with Dr. Pepper stirred in?"
"Can't say as I have."
"Then, see, that's it! Just get me something other than that."
I shook my head in disgust. The captain dropped a folder on the desk Bill and I shared. The folder was manila and did not appear to be empty.
"What's that, Joe?"
"Looks like a folder. You're sharp as me, Bill, what's it look like to you?"
"I know it's a folder, Joe. What's it a folder of?"
"Anything, as long as it's not another folder full of photos of kids, nineteen, eighteen, seventeen, younger, who ripped their own faces off while under the influence of 'reefer'. Makes me sick to my stomach every time we spend several hours looking at the tragic results of a single puff of what the kids on the street call a 'joint'."
"Darn straight. Well, let's get it over with, I'll open it if you won't."
"Did I say I won't?"
"Didn't say you did."
"Okay, we'll open it together."
"Not so fast, Joe. A man's got to trust his partner. Like it says in Leviticus. Chapter twelve verse thirty-nine says you'll do it."
I opened the folder and shook my head in disgust. In the slim manila envelope was the result of a coroner's inquest into yesterday's homicide. The victim was a white and brown male puppy, age two, named Spot. He had been crushed. His body was stapled to the coroner's report.
"Joe, is that a puppy?"
"Couldn't be a cat. Observe where I'm pointing with this pencil. Notice the rounded ears and stubby tail. See how the lower mandible is designed for slobbering, not for meowing."
"When did you become a zoologist?"
"I didn't. I was reading from the report."
"Seems a shame for a puppy to end up like that."
"No, Joe, stapled. They should have used a paper clip."
"More metal in a paper clip. The taxpayers pay our salary. We can't afford to waste it on a paper clip if a staple will suffice."
"But why'd they fold him?"
"Standard procedure in cases like these. All small animal corpses with a thickness of less than point oh eight inches are to be carefully folded to fit in a standard business size envelope so they can be mailed to FBI headquarters for their files."
"I knew somebody could put cases like this to good use."
"But still it seems like this puppy deserves a better fate."
"Somebody killed him."
I shook my head in disgust. Bill did too. Then we tore Spot into little bits, took off all our clothes, painted fluorescent hippie designs all over our bodies, released everyone from Death Row, and ran through the streets of Los Angeles singing the theme to "Baywatch".
An attempt at writing an ending for this story was made on September 11. In a moment, the results of that attempt.
"Bill, we may have brought Spot back to life with your beatnik pagan rite, but is a 'rite' 'right'? What I mean is, isn't there a higher law than ours? One which says we shouldn't tamper with the forces of nature?"
"Seems like someone did just that when they killed a puppy."
"Two wrongs seldom make a right in my book. Besides, who are we to judge what is right and what is wrong? Suppose that puppy grows up to be Adolf Hitler. Are we responsible for starting World War II?"
"But, Joe, we know we didn't start World War II. T. J. Hooker confessed. Right down the hall, interrogation room twelve. Polygraph verified."
"Look at it this way. Suppose every time this puppy dies, some well-intentioned public servant revives him. And suppose just maybe this diminishes the value of his life. Doesn't that diminish us all?"
"Maybe Spot's more valuable to us because we can kill him. It's in the Constitution. Article ninety-seven: 'Kill Spot any time.'"
"Article four hundred and three: 'Disregard previous articles.'"
Gannon looked at me. I shook my head in disgust. He shook his head in disgust.
SPOT WAS LATER CONVICTED OF STARTING WORLD WAR II AND IS NOW SERVING A TEN THOUSAND YEAR SENTENCE IN SAN QUENTIN. GANNON DID NOT FINISH HIS COFFEE. DAVID HASSELHOFF'S HIGH SCHOOL NICKNAME WAS "DORF".
Copyright © 1992 James "Kibo" Parry
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