Once upon a time, a fully grown short giraffe called Hammill wandered quietly out of the zoo and into the high street. There, unexpectedly, a large dachshund called Vander noticed that the giraffe was lost and approached her and asked her if she needed anything. Hammill didn’t speak dachshund but could tell by Vander’s sympathetic eyes that he was trying to help. Hammill looked up at Vander and in a Giraffen dialect only spoken in the zoo zone said something beautiful, so soft and serene that Vander immediately began to weep even though he didn’t understand the words at all. Vander knew the feeling of goodness because he once saved a cat from being eaten by a bird.
It was a Saturday, it was always Saturday here because the animals didn’t follow the extinct humans’ patterns, even though they lived on their streets, in their houses and like Hammill in one of the old zoos that had been turned into a fancy living space with a heightened ceiling for any animals with long necks. Hammill didn’t need the extra height but was assigned the space anyway because all giraffes were assigned a space with a heightened roof…obviously.
It was the days in evolution when animals didn’t hunt each other anymore. It didn’t mean that they always got along, the camels were always aloof, the squirrels never listened, and the frogs were always jumping through the wrong window but since the humans had wiped themselves out, the animals had got together and decided that they weren’t going to do the same. A dachshund helping a giraffe was not unusual and as thousands of years had passed since humans walked the Earth, giraffes hadn’t needed to be so tall and the dachshunds had finally bred themselves longer legs.
On this particular Saturday, the cheetahs had been slower than normal and the sloths had sped up to the town square with some news from up south. A human had been spotted crawling out of a swamp. Nobody could believe it was true, did it mean they were back? After thousands of years of peace, one of the Earth’s most dangerous animals had returned.
Giraffe and Vander sat down under one of the talking trees and pondered the news that was spreading across the planet. The talking trees spoke all the animals’ languages and translated for the pair. Hammill was worried as she’d read that human hunters had hunted her kind down in the past and Vander was worried too as he’d read about the short legs, collars and leads and chasing after balls.
One of Vander’s friends, Graaf, the land shark, was crawling through the park on the way to a cactus and desert dance. He stopped to say hello (which the talking tree translated) and to let Hammill and Vander listen to the latest news bulletin on his transistor radio. There was a newsflash and all three of them huddled together around the talking tree so they could hear the latest about the human. All the transistor radios were on and the generator across the park that powered the rechargeable battery centre was the only sound as everyone listened intently.
The voice began in the solemn deep tone of the mouse presenter: “The sighting of the human crawling out of a swamp reported today has been confirmed by the alligators (there was a long silence and every animal on the Earth held their breath) as a hoax perpetrated by the self-doubting giant flies in protest that the wingless had been regularly overlooked by the tiny rude Osibisan flying elephants and in drawing attention to how hurt they were had told the hot-blooded reptiles that the least they could do is wave to each other. It was only polite.”
Music today has been from 1970.