Please Help Support CTTA By Checking Out Our Sponsers Products

PETA is really going to like this one!!!!!


The Language of Life


Jeff Poole


When animals began speaking it sounded the death knell for the meat industry. Well not entirely. The things that fly or cluck didn’t seem to change, only the critters that walked on land and had no wings. Unless you included dolphins, and whales but they didn’t really count because people had always suspected they were just pulling our leg.


Of course talking animals had an unsettling effect on people. The first few months of cognizant critters was probably as devastating to the human psyche as when humankind became aware of the inevitability of death. My own first “speaking contact” as I refer to it now, was when my dog told me he wanted a new name.


Before that I’d mistakenly believed I was one of the few sane people left in America or at least in the small city I lived in. People everywhere had been talking with wide eyed disbelief about Billy Spencer’s pig asking for more food or Jenny Grables’ cat calling her boyfriend an asshole. I hadn’t heard anything unusual so I just thought everyone was going crazy.


 Since most folks seemed to have gone off the deep end, I spent most of my time trying to find a way to get out of town. I figured a new job someplace where everyone wasn’t taking LSD might be a good move. Then my Blue Heeler started yapping at me about his moniker.


It had begun innocuously enough. I was carrying my trash out to the curb when I heard a voice behind me say, “Hold on Jim, we need to talk.”


I turned to around but all I could see was my dog, Ludicrous. He was sitting by my front door, his tail wagging with a big smile on his face. Which was weird because Ludicrous never smiled; he just sort of pulled his lips up off his teeth for a dog grin. I put the trash down and walked back over to him as he stepped off the porch. I sat down on my haunches and began to stroke his ears.


“Hey boy?” I said while I looked around for the person who’d called my name.


“He’s right here sparky,” Ludicrous said.


I guess it was a good thing I’d already been so close to the ground. I didn’t pass out completely, but I went down like a two dollar hooker. I could still see Ludicrous through a semi conscious haze. He had lost his grin and looked very concerned.


“Sorry about that Jim,” Ludicrous said, “It’s always weird the first time, but you get used to it.”


            I was lying there looking up at my dog, my mind whirl-pooling and a horrible feeling in my stomach. I knew I must have eaten something really bad to be imagining this. Then I heard another voice that I recognized as my neighbor Sam Reynolds.


            “Freakin’ weird isn’t it?”


            I turned my head to look at him. He was standing on the sidewalk in front of my house holding a bottle of something in his left hand and a gun in his right. He was leaning a bit to the side with the bottle and was unsteady on his feet. I said the first words that came into my mind.


            “Don’t shoot my dog Sam.”


            Then I reluctantly looked back towards Ludicrous wondering what he’d turn into now, but he was still a dog and he looked relieved. For me or because I’d told Sam not to shoot him I hadn’t been sure.


            “Yeah, don’t shoot me Sam.” LudicrousHe said with a smile.


            “Shut the fuck up!” Sam yelped and pointed his gun while taking a swig off the bottle.


            “Take it easy dude, it’s just my dog.” I croaked.


            “Tell him to shut up!”


            Ludicrous didn’t say anything more. He sat down and put his head on my stomach, while wagging his tail. This seemed to pacify Sam.


            “Well alright then.” HeHe took another swig off his bottle.


“I’m going to go home and finish this scotch, then I’m going to go buy some more. Bye Jim.”


            He turned away and walked down the sidewalk towards his house. He was exercising more control over his legs than I would have expected. Ludicrous and I watched him until he reached his front porch. He turned back and I waved from where I was still lying on the ground. Ludicrous just wagged his tail a little harder.


            After Jim went inside his house I sat up and asked my dog, “What the hell is going on?”


            “Hey, this is as weird for me as it is for you.”


            “No, it isn’t.”

            “A week or so ago all I cared about was dog food and that poodle down the street. Now I wake up thinking about existence, my future and my short life span. Trust me, it’s weird.”


            “What happened?”


“I don’t know!”


“Someone must know. There has to be a cause for this.”

            “Well know one seems to know what it is. I’ve asked every other animal I know, and it’s always the same thing, we just woke up one day with awareness and a vocabulary.”


“Any theories?”


 “Jim, we’re animals who just started talking, we haven’t started theorizing yet. I can tell you this, we all agree on two things; know one knows how we got like this, and self awareness is overrated.”


“I can definitely sympathize.”


“You people need to remember, no matter how freaked you are, we’re freaked even worse. And we’ve got a lot less history to refer to about this sort of thing. Hell, we have no fuckin’ history with this sort of thing!”


            “Where’d you learn to cuss so much?”

            “That’s how you talk.”


            “So I had an effect on your speech.”


            “We’re guessing that any speech or awareness we have is in direct correlation to our own abilities, whatever they are, and the human noises we were or have been exposed to.”


            “Hey! You’re theorizing.”


            “I’m grasping at straws.”


            “I guess it’s a good thing for you I’m a college grad.”

            “Right now I’m just grateful you didn’t let Sam Reynolds shoot me. Oh yeah, and stop calling me Ludicrous. I didn’t used to care, but that’s a stupid name. Start calling me Amos.”


            “And Amos is not.”


“No, it’s got a nice ring to it.”


“Amos what?”


            “What do you mean ‘Amos what?’”


            “You have to have a last name, if you’re gonna be taken seriously you gotta have a last name.”


            “I’ll use yours”


            “Ok, Amos Wilson, I’m Jim, nice to meet you.”


That was the start of my friendship with my dog. It was also the start of the “weird years,” as the 2010’s were called.


After animals started speaking it became obvious they’d attained some sort of sentience beyond what they’d had before. That’s when the moral dilemmas began. It was difficult for most people to eat something that queried you as to why you were killing it. Instead of PETA or militant vegetarians protesting or picketing food stores, animals began congregating outside eating establishments and asking folks how they’d feel if their little one was considered extra tasty.


Humans who continued eating cattle and pigs did so in secret because it was considered grotesque but more importantly, because it was against the law. This lead to a rash of pignappings and cattle rustling, which in turn caused the formation of the Non-Homosapien Violent Crimes Division, or the NHVCD, jokingly referred to as “Scotland Barnyard.”


Chicken farmers still made a killing, and seafood floated off the shelves, as they were the only game in town. The bean and corn market rocked, whole proteins and all that.


Amos tried not to think about those things, he just wanted to forget about his new found abilities and eat and sleep. Unfortunately he couldn’t. He’d also acquired those two most wondrous of human traits; curiosity and anxiety.


Another change Amos and the other animals had to confront was their own carnivorous appetites, confounded by a new sense of guilt. It had always been sad to watch a cat play around with a mouse before killing it. Now there was the additional horror of hearing the mouse plea for its life while it was being batted about in the air. Cats found that with their new found abilities, it was horrific to them as well. After awhile the animals who could speak stopped taking each other’s life, which was nice, because the sounds emanating from the woods at night had become increasingly hard to bear.


This added to the burden for humans, animals had to get their food from somewhere, and everyone was getting tired of eating chicken. People needed to grow more food, both for themselves and the animals. More had to come from the oceans and be transported overland. The drain on Earth’s transport systems, seas and plant life was immense at first. Better methods of growing things, an increase in fish farms, and taking better care of the Earth’s large bodies of water helped to alleviate that problem.


Whales and dolphins were helpful in with the oceanic endeavors. Not because they wanted to. They tried to have as little with land creatures as they could. They helped us because otherwise we’d screw it up so badly they’d have to grow legs.


 Humankind had to make a lot of adjustments to the new world order. Their treatment of animals and attitude towards eating meat was only the first big change. Now people had to support the new class of ‘welfare beasts’. There was a great hue and cry about the “Damn pigs on the dole,” and “Those lazy ass cattle that just sat around and farted all day!”


It helped that the population of farm animals began to decline. There was no need for so many. The phrase, “Animal Contraception” made its way into the dictionary, and strangely enough, the church never had a problem with it. Sheep were still populous because, whether they could talk or not, wool was needed. The “genus Ovis” received some nice amenities for their wool, and a lot of the other animals were envious. Except for dogs, but they’d always had it made anyway. They only had to learn not to chase cats, which was easy enough because dogs are naturally lazy.


As Amos liked to say, “Hell, it’s just one more thing that we don’t have to do!”


I had to start behaving myself around Amos. I had asked him once whether he remembered much about his two non-talking years. Had it been weird being my dog? He’d been quiet for a moment, gave me a sheepish look, and then told me he didn’t like to think about it.


People in general had to take more care in their actions. Now there were more beings to be aware of and accountable to. People stopped doing a lot of things around animals. They stopped having sex in front of their ex-pets and in front of their felines in particular. Cats always whispered while they watched people making love.


Humans gradually came to accept critters in all the social aspects of our lives. Some were smart, some weren’t. Some were great “party animals,” to use a phrase groaned at across the planet. Some weren’t any fun at all, especially after a few drinks. Oddly enough, Apes and Chimpanzees were the dullest of animals. They could talk but everyone had a hard time understanding them. It became a common practice to hire Apes and Chimps as Barkers and Security personnel.


Circus owners had to start paying their animals. Surprisingly there were still a lot of creatures who wanted to work in the entertainment industry. Non-human entertainment became a huge part of Hollywood, and one couldn’t forget the new and immensely popular animal porn industry.


Catering to animals became a huge industry. It was profitable because of our guilt at having eaten or enslaved their ancestors. Government subsidies made taking care of non-human needs a big money business. Fake mouse meat ranked as high in consumption as veggie burgers. Then there were the newly defined products. Joey’s Cow Patties and Greta’s Sheep Dip became recognized brand names.


Animal chefs had their own shows. This created a market for the ‘assistant host.’ The non-human main host would chat, talk gossip, and recite the recipe while the man or woman assistant with opposable thumbs would mix everything up.


Soon all animals were demanding the government make it possible for them to whip up a home made Cud Soufflé or Whipped Grass Tart. This led to the creation of the Bureau of Kitchen Assistance for the Manually Challenged. Publishing houses were founded based entirely on cookbooks full of new recipes for animals. New delicacies such as oat cakes, the chef’s slop of the day, and salt lick soup replaced pork chops, steak and veal on menus across the planet. Restaurant chains with names like The Food Trough, Sally’s Flop and Slop, and O’Grady’s Grain Bag became as ubiquitous as hamburger joints used to be.


The consumption of alcoholic beverages rose to an all time high amongst humans.


 There were problems of course not because of any friction between the species, humans and animals got along very well. Amos and I were great friends. We did everything together. Hell, we’d been doing that anyway. As for everyone else in general, our four legged friends were eager to learn as much as they could from us. They were new to this talking and thinking long term thing and people liked animals for the most part.


Most of the real issues were between the animals themselves.


In time the natures new sentient citizens started breaking into groups, but not the way people expected. Animals didn’t section themselves off according to whether they were mammalian rodents, or reptiles. Probably because the world’s critters felt a draw to the simplicity of their pre-sentient existence they chose the two tier system: carnivores and herbivores.


Soon the two groups were at odds. The predators or ex-predators felt that regardless of their new way of life, they were still entitled to some deference. The herbivores begged to differ and all manner of problems ensued. The reality was animals simply had too much time on their hands. In short, they needed jobs. Apes, Chimpanzees and some circus animals already had gainful employment, but what about the rest of nature’s citizens?


The answer was prosthetics. With the right artificial limb, a buffalo or a rat could perform any task. The prosthetics industry became the largest industry in history. Some people and animals saw the writing on the wall, bought stock in the early days, and became richer than anyone could ever have imagined. The job market boomed and there was no such thing as unemployment. People and animals were hired as consultants for companies vying to be the next cutting edge ‘Paw Fitter,” as the common term for such occupations became.


Some of our furry friends didn’t jump on the band wagon. They tried to be as carefree as they could and “go back to the lap,” as the saying went. My buddy Amos was fitted with a small hand so he could use a pencil and a can opener but other than that he just didn’t care. All he wanted to do was chill and go to animal sporting events.


The prosthetics industry had created some filthy rich people and animals. Wealthy people did what they always did with money, good or bad. Rich animals begot the next hot craze: animal sports teams. At first they had names like ‘The Memphis Zebra’s” or “The Sahara Camels” but after awhile they started naming themselves after household appliances.  Human beings could never figure out why. It was an animal thing. Animal sports became as popular to watch as most homo-sapiens sports because they were a lot more physical.


In 2015, Amos brought me to watch the elephants of the Angolan Food Processors lose to the rhinoceros’s of the Rhodesian Clap-On-Clap-Offerino’s in the Ultra-Super-Extra-Special-Heavy-Weight class soccer Championships. That same year, the Memphis Microwaves, a team of angry Badgers, lost to the Sacramento Toasters, a bunch of pissed off Wolverines, in the first Entering another Animals Burrow World Series.


Animals began integrating into other realms of entertainment as well. My buddy Amos became a successful cartoonist. He’d started drawing caricatures of other animals shortly after being fitted with his first pen-paw. Everyone in the neighborhood asked for one, and then he started penciling drawings of political figures and adding commentary. The next thing I knew, instead of me taking care of him, he was taking care of me.


Then the first wave of animal novelists appeared on the scene. The first great animal author or crithor as they came to be called was a Bobcat from the southwestern United States. His real name was Brown Robert but his nom de plume was “Spot.” It was his gentle way of poking fun at human-kind’s unimaginative naming practices during pre-animal emancipation times. He wrote the now famous novel, “What the Hell?” It was a fictional, comedic look at what happens the first time a group of newly speaking animal’s experience mercury in retrograde. Soon non homo-sapiens were writing works in all genres, except Science Fiction. Sci-Fi remained a human specialty. People attributed this to the human need to escape the very weird by reading about the merely somewhat weird.


The Emmy’s, Oscars, and MTV took on a surreal appearance. The Music Awards had a Best Bleat category and Rex the Dingo Dog had a number one hit with “Barking at the Neighbor’s Cat,” a sad song about two star crossed lovers.


Another thing: Amos lived to be forty. For whatever reason the ability to talk added years to the lives of normally short lived creatures.


It was a wild and wonderful world, but despite the fact everyone was getting along, it was too strange for some people. There was a mass movement to colonize Mars and make it habitable. The space program got a lot of the money that was suddenly floating around. Twenty-five years after the first documented case of an animal speaking, the same year I retired, people were growing food on Mars.


Ironically, once humanity had learned to create an atmosphere, life on Mars was less odd than life on Earth. It was a clean, calm place filled only with people, dogs and a few cats because most of the other animals were reluctant to leave Earth. Except for vacationers from Earth, people and their ages old domestic friends had the place to themselves. Eventually the tourist trade between Earth and Mars rivaled even that of the exodus from New Jersey to Miami with the bonus of not including Jets fans.


When I got into my eighties, the same year the Mars Olympus Mons’ lost to the Yankees in the inaugural interplanetary World Series, Amos’s son Fido put me in a home. I remember making some comments about it being too bad I hadn’t had Amos neutered when I had the chance.


There was no more war or poverty and the solar system was full of possibilities. Earth and Mars were prospering and Terrankind was poised to advance further into space.


Until the Vegetable People of Antares arrived to free their brethren.


                                                The End