The HHIDAPZ
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Every now and then life seems to surprise me. Not often, I admit, but sometimes it does. You see, I was the curator for the HHIDAPZ, which was more formally know as the Huge, Hungry, and Incredibly Dangerous Animal Petting Zoo. Business had been somewhat slow, so we had invited a local kindergarten class to come down and pet some of the animals. Interest had been minimal and concerns had been many, so to spice things up we decided we would also offer free spaghetti. After all, how many kids are there that donít love huge, dangerous animals and spaghetti? None that I know of, that's for sure.

We like to keep the animals hungry because we read somewhere that hungry animals live longer. Oh, sure, some parents express concerns that large, carnivorous animals shouldn't be set loose among children when they're hungry, but the welfare of the animals is our top concern and not those silly children. After all, there are plenty of children in this world and not nearly enough free-roaming, children-meat-eating beasts.

  
 
I went to go check on the chefs, who were cooking up those big vats of spaghetti for the children. Our plan was to fatten up the children with the spaghetti, which would make them nice, slow targets for the animals. If, for whatever reason, the animals didn't immediately give chase after mealtime, our usual course of action was to then prod the children with, "They like it when you flick their nose" and sit back, heartily enjoying the festivities. I was savoring the images of this in my mind when I walked into the kitchen area and was met with a scene most horrendous. The HHID animals had gotten into the kitchen! To be frank, the lion sitting in the cooking vat was vexing me terribly! "There's a cat in this spaghetti!!" I exclaimed with horror.

This simply wouldn't do, the children were supposed to show up any minute, and the animals were feeding! I cast an imperious glance at the offending lion most near, and he was quite standoffish. He had that traditional "I just murdered my wife," look, except in this case it was spaghetti and not a wife, nor even a child. I was very disappointed. As he rustled around in the spaghetti vat, he knocked a jar of tomato sauce off the counter. I heard the sound of breaking glass and shattered dreams, and I knew -- no children would mysteriously go missing today.

So, of course the children showed up, and even with the nose flicking and impromptu tug-of-war contests with the animals' tails, no melee ensued. The animals just sat around, releasing tomato flavored gases and smiling contentedly.

I was quite chagrined, but the children and teachers seemed to be enjoying themselves, and they promised to come back, perhaps to even bring another class with them. I suppose next time we'll make sure to put the spaghetti in a safer place, and it will be business as usual I'm sure.

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