Originally written August 2011.
Many years into the future, long after humans have died out because the world’s population grew so fast that 98% of them starved to death and then the remaining 2% (56 billion people) caught a deadly disease off the rotting corpses (by the way, I’ve just realised I’ve combined future and past tense to describe a future event, but it seemed like the best way to do it because I was talking about another time period which was the past in comparison to the future time period long after it which I am about to discuss and within which the story takes place), Planet Earth was full of animals who, finding themselves on a planet surrounded by human inventions, but without any humans, started to find ways to make use of all the human inventions still lying around.
(I should win an award for the longest sentence ever written)
Sheep were the first to gain new skills, learning how to hang-glide. They were closely followed by the cows who learned how to walk on stilts. I know what you’re thinking. How could these animals without any fingers or thumbs manage to tie stilts to their legs? Well, they were helped by the very helpful chimpanzees, which, having now populated the globe at an alarming rate, were making themselves useful by helping the other animals in exchange for bananas.
It was of course the giraffes who had the upper hand in this situation, being the ones who were able to steal the vast majority of the bananas from the trees, ensuring that they easily had enough banana currency to pay the chimps to sort them out with Rollerblades. However, sometimes they would be thwarted by the sheep who would hang-glide from tree to tree and steal them first. The sheep in turn could also be thwarted by the horses, who had by then mastered both shotguns and cars, and who would come out in gangs and shoot many sheep down out of the sky and bundle all the bananas into the cars and then drive off.
So as you can see, things were never straightforward. Bananas were a highly sought-after currency, because the chimps helped everyone. Sometimes a chimp would be lucky enough to get an extremely well-paid job, such as building a new barn for the cows to shelter from bad weather, or using the wool from the dead sheep shot down from the sky to make coats for any old sheep who had gone bald. This would earn the chimp enough bananas for him to eat for a good number of days, and he could then take the rest of the week off. Of course, thefts often occurred from other chimps, naughty ones who weren’t brought up properly, whose parents were probably prostitutes and/or heroin addicts.
Free were the animals who didn’t need help from the chimps, such as the skateboarding weasels (who had enough dexterity in their little claws to be able to maintain their skateboards themselves). The most free of all were the buddhist badgers, who weren’t interested in “all that modern materialistic rubbish” and were content just to stay in their burrows and “listen to the sound of the sky smiling”.
Head of the Buddhist badgers was Mike the Badger, or to give him his full name, Michael the Badger. Or to give him his very full official title, “Oh Wonderful Michael, the Big Buddhist of Badgerland”. Some people referred to him as King Michael, but this is incorrect, as the last King of Badgerland was King Simon, whose death (by infected trousers) coincided with the abolishment of the Badger Monarchy.
And they all lived happily ever after.