Exclusive interviews with representatives of the biological kingdom Animalia
The animals have been up in arms and fins, ever since the orange-tinted mammal in the White House started talking trash about immigrants: “You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t PEOPLE. These are ANIMALS,” he bellowed earlier this year. The latest belch: something about Middle Easterners mingling with a caravan in Guatemala. Just in time for the midterms!
The winged vertebrates recognize a big swing of the hairy canary when they see it, and they can spot a ravenous base of H. sapiens from a mile away. Bevies of swans, quivers of cobras, and prickles of porcupines have been convening in what’s left of their habitats. The species are pissed – especially non-hominoid simians. Gorillas and chimps are simply embarrassed to be associated with the same Hominidae “family” as humans. Their message to Homo sapiens: “Knock it off.”
- CHIMPANZEE (Bobo)
MH: Hope I didn’t catch you at a bad time, Bobo.
Bobo: Just tidying up the canopy.
MH: I understand many in the Kingdom are upset that our dominant male has referred to some of our own kind as “animals,” implying that animals are murderous and dirty.
Bobo: Dirty? Our nests have fewer fecal microbes than the average human bed. I mean, you have the same bacteria on your pillows cases that you have on your toilet seats. How do you live like that?
MH: I don’t know. People are gross.
Bobo: Tell me about it. (pauses to dig grub out of log)
MH: You seem frustrated…
Bobo: I am. We had a good thing going, but you guys destroy everything. You mow down our rainforests. Lock us in labs and smear L’Oreal on our faces. We’re not guinea pigs (no offense to the Caviidae folk). You don’t treat us good. Hell, I had a great-uncle who got his skull cracked open so some motherfucker could eat his brains.
MH: Oh God, that’s horrible. How can humans make amends?
Bobo: Stop calling humans “animals.” Technically you are, but the rest of us don’t want to be associated with youse. We don’t like how you say “animals” to degrade each other. It’s divisive.
MH: Understood. Anything else we should know?
Bobo: We’re intelligent. We have tails. And we can hurl our poop with more precision than a steel-tip barrel dart when we have to.
- Llamas (Sebastián, Zoe, Juan Pablo, María Fernanda)
Juan Pablo: You do realize that we’re from South America?
Zoe: And we don’t have papers.
MH: I won’t call ICE.
Sebastián: Seriously, we’d love to be deported. We miss our life in the Andes. Call that fake baboon and tell him you spotted a caravan of Spanish “animals” escaping through a fence by the Pennsylvania border.
María Fernanda: Oh, Sebastián, you’re the funniest…don’t make me groan-hum, I’ll choke on my farm hay…and you know I need my fiber.
MH: (clears throat). Um…I appreciate you taking time to share your thoughts with humans…shall we get to work—
Juan Pablo: Work?? What do we look like, pack animals? We just came for the welfare!
Sebastián: Tell your leader that I can spit 20 feet and knock him down a rung on the social ladder. Your fellow humans need to take a stand too. Remember, the Tortuga only makes progress when he sticks his neck out.
- TURTLE (“The Senator”)
Senator: “Excuse me while I pull one of your plastic straws out of my nose so I can breathe.”
MH: Sorry ‘bout that.
Senator: You need to do something about these garbage plumes. Ever try to eat caviar with a side of tampon?
MH: I know, ocean’s a mess.
Senator: Talk about setting boundaries. And you’re worried about borders? What’s next, tiling the Oval Office with our shells? Wait! Don’t give the bastard any ideas. That was off the record.
MH: Of course!
Senator: Look, out here in the sea, we’re chill. Might gobble up the next guy down the food chain but we do it with respect. That Alpha treats you like you’re phytoplankton, and you take it. If someone called me a “human” I’d snap his head off—
MH: Sir, I know you have eggs to fertilize, any parting advice for humans?
Senator: Stay calm. Talk to animals that interact with your kind on a daily basis. See what a domestic cat has to say.