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Don’t Feed The Animals - a short story by A.B.King

   Once upon a time in a lovely little town there lived a wonderful kind hearted Christian little boy named Shaggy.
   Everybody loved Shaggy, maybe it was because Shaggy loved everybody.  He couldn’t turn a blind eye to anyone in need. In fact, Shaggy once starved for a whole week in school because he was always giving his lunch money to the beggar who sat by the road on the way to the school he attended.This went on until Shaggy’s parents found out what he was doing.
   Yelp! Shaggy had a heart of gold.
   Anyway, today was a very special day, the holidays were in and school was out. Shaggy’s parents were going to take him to the zoo. Shaggy was going to see all those wonderful animals he had read about in the picture books his Mum bought him.
   Shaggy could barely contain his joy, his face radiated more than ever. He skipped into the zoo with his Mum on his left holding his left hand and his Dad on his right holding his right hand.
   Shaggy had a lot of fun at the zoo. He enjoyed watching the hyenas, the ostriches, the lions and the giraffes to name a few; but the animal that held his fascination the most was Big ‘Ol Stacy.
   Big ‘Ol Stacy was the name the folks at the zoo gave a very large female gorilla. The Gorilla was so large that she was becoming a bit famous for it. She wasn’t fierce looking as one would expectbut on the contrary she was always quiet and reserved. She just sat down and never moved much.
      Shaggy had tried to feed Big ‘Ol Stacy but his Mum stopped him. She pointed at two sign postsin front of Big ‘Ol Stacy’s cage. One read: “BIG ‘OL STACY.” The other read: “PLEASE DO NOT FEED.”
   Shaggy was like, but the animal looks so hungry and weak. Shaggy looked into the dull eyes of Big ‘Ol Stacy and felt a great pity for her. He tried to convince his Mum that they should feed the animal, that the zoo keepers are neglecting feeding Big ‘Ol Stacy. She looked like she hadn’t eaten for weeks. But no matter what Shaggy said his Mum wouldn’t agree that they should feed Big ‘Ol Stacy. They were not to disobey the instruction on the sign.
   Shaggy felt a special connection with Big ‘Ol Stacy and even after leaving her, as he walked through various sections of zoo with his parents gazing at other animals he couldn’t stop thinking about Big ‘Ol Stacy. He couldn’t forget the look in her eyes. She must be going through hell Shaggy thought.
   Why, if he had his way he would rip open her cage and set her free.
   Shaggy and his parents later stopped by a small restaurant inside the zoo because they all really needed a re-fill.
   After eating a while, Shaggy excused himself to use the bathroom.
   A few minutes later he still wasn’t yet back. That was when his Dad noticed that the carefully wrapped cake that was desert was missing. His son must have taken it – To the toilet? No way.
   Uh-Oh!, that was when it dawned on him. His son had taken it to the only place he would want to take food - to Big ‘ Ol Stacy.
   The heart of Shaggy’s Dad practically paused for a bit. Then he quickly explained to his wife, and they ran out together, heading for Big ‘Ol Stacy’s cage.
   Meanwhile, Shaggy stood in front of Big ‘Ol Stacy’s cage. He carefully made sure nobody was watching. He took out the neatly wrapped cake from his pocket and unwrapped it. He stretched his hand into the cage to give it to Big ‘ Ol Stacy. Big ‘Ol Stacy just looked at him from the corner of her eye. She didn’t move.
   Shaggy waved his hand inside the cage, “Here! Boy; I mean girl, come take it … FOOD!”
   Big ‘Ol Stacy still looked too weak and tired, she only fidgeted a little.
   Shaggy kept calling to her in a low voice, careful not to attract any attention.
Big ‘Ol Stacy finally stood up. She walked slowly and unsteadily towards Shaggy. Her steps were as one weighed down by the influence of days of hunger.
   Shaggy felt so sorry for Big ‘Ol Stacy, she must be very hungry. He felt even more pity for her.
Big ‘Ol Stacy finally reached Shaggy. She stood there silently. They looked into each others eyes. It was like they understood each other - They shared something.
Big ‘Ol Stacy slowly stretched out her arm to take the cake from Shaggy’s out stretched arm. Then all of a sudden she grabbed Shaggy’s entire arm instead. Her warm, dull eyes turned into angry, red hot burning eyes.
   She then started trying to pull Shaggy through the bars of her cage. She wanted to pull him into the cage.
   Shaggy started screaming for help. Some zoo keepers saw what was happening and ran to Shaggy’s aid.
   It was at that moment that Shaggy’s parents showed up. They joined in the epic struggle. After a rather long and dangerous game of Tug-Of_War, Big ‘Ol Stacy let go of Shaggy.
   Shaggy walked away with a broken arm and a few lessons learnt. The next time Shaggy sees a sign placed there by the proper authorities he would do well to obey it.


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