Campaign 2016: Jousting in the Jungle by Marjorie Arons-Barron

The entry below is being cross-posted from Marjorie Arons-Barron’s own blog.


African savannaStorm clouds gathered over Serengeti, New York. The weaver birds and bee-eaters stopped their day’s work and gathered nervously in the limbs of the acacia trees.  Even the flamingos out on Lake Nakuru stopped their soaring flight and gathered in the shallows, intensifying the pink of the mudflats and the lagoons. All around, the grebes and herons chirped nervously.

Something big was happening among the largest animals in the jungle. The fighting among them had become more vicious, and the rest of the animal kingdom was frightened.

Above the din, the huge bull elephant trumpeted to announce his greatness. Even the matriarch gathered her older daughters and little calves, cowering before his size and aggression. “Not to fear,” he boomed.  “I love my women.  And they love me.”

“I’ll keep out the free loaders and rapists though,” he said, tearing a small tree out by its roots. “I’ll build a wall.  A very big wall.  A huge wall.”  The dik-diks, wildebeests and baboons jumped up and down with excitement.

A large puff adder slithered over to confront the bull elephant. He scoffed at the elephant, narrowing his eyes, behind which his deadly toxin was stored. “You’re not fit to rule the jungle,” he hissed. “We don’t like Green Eggs and Ham. We don’t like Obamacare, and we’ll end it when I rule our nation. We’ll keep Islamists out of our herd and send the terrorists to meet their virgins. Everyone will be Christian or I will shut the government down.”

An impala loped over, a smile on his bland face. “Now, now,” he intoned.  “The fact is that these tactics won’t work.  We’re all in this jungle together.  We need to coexist. I know how to make it happen. I did it in my own oasis.” He continued, “We need to respect everybody, give everyone a chance. Growth is the key to everything.”

But the denizens the jungle weren’t listening to him. All they heard were the snorts and the hisses from the bull elephant and the snake.

Things were also getting tense on the other side of Serengeti. The chimpanzee hopped up and down, lowering his head, raising his hairy arms and jabbing his gnarly hands in the air. “The whole system is corrupt,” he shouted. “Enough is enough. We need a revolution.” The animals around him were getting excited, dreaming of free food and free care, a return to the Garden of Eden.

The large chimp jumped up again. “My opponent can’t get you there.  She is the past. She has the support of the same corporate interests that the elephant does.  She’s too quick to go to war. You have to question her qualifications to lead the jungle.”

At that moment, the old lioness strode out of the high grasses, flexing her injured muscles and looking around uncertainly. A pack of hyenas gathered nearby, hoping for something to eat. A pair of vultures circled overhead, awaiting their opportunity.

Sensing danger to the lioness, her consort, the serial cheetah sprang into action, diverting those who wanted to feed off the remains of whichever animal weakened first.

The cacophony across Serengeti grew louder and more abusive. The impalas and giraffes leaped away from the chaos, heading for the protection of patches of trees in the savanna. Due to climate change, however, there were fewer places to hide. All they could do was huddle together, hoping a water buffalo or rhino would emerge to save them from the clear and present danger. But alas, there was none.

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