Fable by John
The Paradise Beyond Vaudeville
The general consensus among the creatures of the Detroit Vaudeville Group of 1910 was an unwavering disillusion with the evil yet frighteningly eccentric show runner of the group, Mr. House. Poor Old Blue, a practically ancient bloodhound spending his last days in his cage, did not live out the rest of his life in peace. Rather, the rest of his days were spent being tormented by that scoundrel Mr. House, dangling pieces of fried steak above his cage, pushing Old Blue’s frail old body to its boundaries and beyond. Always were the creatures whipped for refusing to push their bodies to the extreme, while in the room in the corner of the Vaudeville warehouse Mr. House and his fellow goons happily ate wonderful meals and drank rich wine. Nothing but old slop was fed to the creatures – formulaic and tasteless schlock.
Even so, hope remained with the creatures. Hope of some sort of animal paradise, where the monkeys would have bananas, the elephants would have peanuts, and the birds could have as many worms has their stomachs would allow. A place beyond this prison – a free world for roaming, eating, and being happy.
Sick and tired of hoping and not doing anything to reach that hope’s goals, Otis the Lemur climbed up the rails of his cage and shouted to get the attention of his fellow creatures once all of the humans were out of the room.
“Creatures!” He yelled, over and over again, struggling to be audible through the ear-splitting tumult of elephant groans and hog squeals. Finally, the ruckus died down, and Otis began his speech.
“For far too long, we have dreamed of a paradise for us non-humans – a place where we can be free, where we can eat what we want, where we will not be beaten,” he shouted gloriously, perhaps a little too overzealous in his desire to sound epic. “Well I am sick of talking about it! Tonight, I shall escape from this filthy place where we spend our lives in pain, and I shall seek out a refuge for all of us!”
Cheers erupted from all of the animals – all except for Gloria, the hog next to Otis’s cage. As soon as the cheers died down, Gloria put her two cents in.
“Otis, I have seen what is out there! There is no free place for us! It is all just concrete and dirt! A world managed by humans! We are not from here, and because of that, we can only be free in our own environment! You will only put yourselves in a bigger prison!”
But Otis did not listen. Off he went. Many moons passed before his return with his claim of a paradise just for animals. Leading all but a skeptical Gloria, they entered the paradise at midnight.
If only the animals could understand writing, they could see the glittering “Detroit Zoo” sign towering above them as they entered.