The People’s Zoo

Baxter glared through the window at Dr. Cox.  He punched the window as hard as he possibly could.  Dr. Cox laughed and pressed the button for the intercom.

“My good friend, I never wanted it to end like this.  I am more than willing to reintegrate you into the facility if you are willing to work with me, believe me, I never planned for things to go, quite, in this direction.  We’ll talk after dinner.”

Baxter knuckle walked back to his bed.

10 Years Earlier:

Baxter was a biologist who had an affinity for animals.  Unfortunately, many of the places he had applied were not looking for biologists, but rather, certified veterinarians.  Ever since his wife had disappeared, he took whatever jobs he could find.  He was ecstatic when an old friend, Dr. Cox, had invited him to work at his new facility, “The People Zoo – By the people, for the people.”

“We really run a unique area here.  We treat the animals as we treat humans, and we promote wellness and growth,” Dr. Cox explained as he guided Baxter through the facility.

Baxter watched as he noticed various animals doing extraordinary things.  He could have sworn that the tigers were talking, the kangaroos were having an organized fighting match, and it almost seemed as though the Monkeys were betting on the winner.  Dr. Cox led Baxter into an enclosed area marked (No Entry).

“We promote wellness and growth, but enhancing intelligence also leaves, much room for error.”

Dr. Cox pointed at a gazelle who was attacking the glass.  The thing that struck Baxter as odd was that it was not using its horns, but rather standing on its hind legs and seemingly punching the glass with its front hooves.  

As Baxter was led into the other room, a brightly colored cougar seemed to approach the window.  It stood on its hind legs, placed a paw on the window, and mouth something.   Something like, ‘leave, while you still can.’

Baxter almost fainted as he noticed, what looked like a horse, standing on its hind legs, wearing a lab coat.

“If we could have you set down on the table, this is a standard part of integration into the zoo.”  The creature seemed to say to him.

He reluctantly lied down on the table as a hyena placed a gas mask over his face.

Baxter awoke several hours later.  Dr. Cox was standing at the foot of his bed.

“I am so sorry my dear boy, but the transformation may be a little difficult.  What we are presenting here is a true act of biological evolution.  I have efficiently managed to integrate human consciousness with animal ability.  We allow guests to come marvel at our truly intelligent animals, and we interact in a very civilized way.”

“What about the ones who do not cooperate?”  Baxter asked with a surprisingly low growl.  

Well, unfortunately, we cannot reintegrate them into the wild.  As you saw, we deal with them accordingly.  If we do not see cooperation, well, you know how it works in the wild.  We have a magnificent food chain here”.

“I don’t know if I want to be a part of this.”

“My dear boy, it is not as if you have a choice.”  Dr. Cox said as he lowered a mirror to his face.

Baxter looked in amazement as he no longer recognized his face, but rather, saw a dark gorilla staring back at him.

“I realize this is a lot to take in.  But with the disappearance, of your wife, it is not like you have much to lose, right?  We truly need your remarkable mind.  I trust you will truly be happy here.

How the hell does he know anything about my wife?

That night, Baxter snuck out of his sleeping quarters.  He absolutely had to see what the deal was with the cougar.  

He quietly entered the facility, opened the door, and the cougar slowly approached him.

“Baby, I never thought that you would come back for me, look what they have done to you,” the cougar said in a high pitched growl…

To Be Continued —

Author: Nicholas Thomas

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