Viewer Discretion Advised.

Don’t let anyone try to tell you how things went down at the Zoologica U. hostage fiasco. I know. I was there.

What do you mean it’s just wind?

Some activists–don’t know what they thought they wanted, don’t care either–had been holed up in a wing of one of the dorms for three days. They had ten students trapped in there with them, and enough hand-held artillery to start world war three at the OK corral.

Nobody had made much progress. There’d been negotiation, at least from the outside, but part of the problem was that these nutjobs only spoke in quotes from the book of revelation if it was translated into underground conspiracy code by a stoned hippie. It’s hard to talk someone down when you don’t know if ‘The great bear will arise from the seas and feast on the flowers of the dead hunter’ means ‘We’re about to kill everyone’ or ‘You win, you’re right, we’re all coming down,’ or ‘I’ve really gotta use the bathroom. Hold that thought.’ Though I guess the first is most likely.

They tried all sorts of stuff. They tried guaranteeing everyone clemency if they let the hostages go. They tried shutting off the water and heat. They tried tunneling under and sneaking the kids out from underground. Nothing did any good. I know, cause I was in the back, watching.

Then they brought in the mother of one of the students. She was something else, I gotta say. Long neck, white feathers, completely unshakable. Watching her walk out there, you wouldn’t have known she wasn’t just going down to the corner store. She didn’t say anything to the activists, just called for her daughter and waited. Took a while, but they got tired of yelling at her and let the girl come out. She put her head out a window–looked like death warmed over, but she said they were all alive and everything. They just talked. Mighta been a phone call on saturday afternoon, just to say hello.

Next thing you know, there’s arguing inside, and one of the guys with a gun yells out that they’re letting the hostages go. There’s some background snarling about ‘Magog and the white avenger from the dark stars,’ but nobody else looked worried about that.

So out come the students, looking catatonic. They’d been beaten, I could tell, and most of them didn’t have anything on. And behind them comes a rabbit in camos with his hands up. I think I can put together what was going on, looking back. He’d been a student, lonely maybe, got in with the death-cult cause it made him feel important. He was the one who let them into the dorm. And when he saw the one girl talking to her mother, he freaked and wanted to take it all back. That’s my theory, anyway. We’ll never know for sure, now.

Because as they’re crossing the yard, I look up, and I see the gun barrels coming out from the windows.

There’s just time to start running before the firing starts. Then you can’t run anymore. Then the air turns to molasses, and everything is moving slow enough that you can watch the puffs of dust where the bullets hit like fireworks, and you can’t move faster than a snail, so you’ve only got time to do one thing.

I tackled the duck and her mom, and rolled to one side. They hit me twice, but I just got bruises under the kevlar. Knocked my hat off, though.

After that, there’s nothing to do but watch. Seemed like hours. Saw the wombat fall sideways with a look like he’s trying to bite his tongue off. Saw the frog collapse backward with his tongue hanging out. Saw the beaver lying slumped against a wall just looking puzzled. Saw Max and the rest of the squad ducking for cover. Saw the rabbit just staring up at the windows looking hurt while they punched him full of more holes than a cheese grater. Saw the landscaping get shredded like confetti.

That’s about all I remember.

So don’t let anyone say that it was a terrorist strike, or a government cover-up, or any bullshit like that. It was just another damn, senseless, meaningless shame, where I do what I can to stop it and that isn’t enough. Moral of the story is that one guy can’t do nothing against a whole load of guns, no matter how smart you are.

Story of my life.

The Final Word.


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