The Food Chain

by Adam Fishman Harris
The Food Chain Adam Harris is a rising eighth grader and lives in Washington D.C. Along with writing, Adam also enjoys playing the clarinet and wrestling in his spare time. Adam’s favorite subject in school is history. Adam also enjoys playing sports with his friends. His favorite food is white pizza from Pines of Rome. Adam’s favorite genre to write is fiction.

“As I stepped out of my house that day, I saw my neighbor George putting a leash on his pet human. They did this every day, walking down to Little Piggy’s human-burger shop to grab a bite to eat, which disgusted me. It is horrible how animals treat humans like nothing and are treated as lower than low to the rest of society.”

    

 

As I stepped out of my house that day, I saw my neighbor George putting a leash on his pet human. They did this every day, walking down to Little Piggy’s human-burger shop to grab a bite to eat, which disgusted me. It is horrible how animals treat humans like nothing and are treated as lower than low to the rest of society. I wish I could do something to stop this madness.

But who am I to say anything? I am a lonely sheep, too low on the government-enforced food chain to make an impact. What am I saying? You can’t understand me anyway.

“Well, Sparky,” I said to my own pet human. “I have to go out. I will not be long.”

I walked down the street past Little Piggy’s shop, past Jim Jam’s gas station and took a left, toward the city. I was about to walk into my office building until I heard a scream coming from a nearby alleyway.

I rushed towards it and saw two boars kicking around a human who had a couple of bruises and a cut above his shoulder.

I yelled at the attackers, “Stop! Don’t hurt him!”

The first boar turned and spat, “What are you gonna do about it? You’re lower than us on the food chain.”

The second one punched the human once more and turned, saying, “Why don’t you go back home, human lover?”

I pleaded with them, “Stop, you’re hurting him. Please, stop!”

The boars kept on kicking the human.

I ran at one, knocking him to the ground and bruising my shoulder in the process. The second one grunted and grabbed me, lifting me off the ground and shouting, “You fucking farm animal! I will gut you like a baby human!”

Then, the first one pulled out a switchblade and flipped the shiny piece of metal out, pointing it at me. By now, my shoulder was already swollen, and I began to pray for some sort of protection.

As if on cue, there was a sound of a K9 police siren coming our way, getting louder and louder. The two boars dropped me and ran out of the alley. The two dogs slammed the brakes on their car, getting out and racing after them, leaving me alone, which I thought was typical.
I grabbed my shoulder in relief and stood up, walking over to the human.

“Hi, my name is Leonard. What’s yours?” I said in a soft voice.

The human shook his head. Could… could he understand me?

“You know what I’m saying?”

The human nodded.

“Do you have a home?”

The human shook his head. I made the best decision I could.

“Okay well, I guess you can come live with me. I have another human at home. His name is Sparky. I could name you Spot. That’s where I found you.”

The human shook his head violently.

“What about Spot?”

The human nodded and jumped about.

After a few hours at the vet, Spot was vaccinated, and we walked home. As soon as I opened the door, Spot ran in and jumped on Sparky. At first, Sparky was shy and afraid, but after three weeks or so, they started to form an inseparable friendship. Wherever Sparky went, Spot followed, and wherever Spot went, so did Sparky.

One night I had to go out because it was my mother’s birthday, so I asked George if he would look after them. I figured nothing could go wrong. Little did I know, that was the night that everything would change.

George sat down on the couch with an apple and turned on the TV to watch The Bachelorette, where one Foxy Fox would be able to choose from ten other foxes who would get to take her hand in marriage. He was watching so intently that he forgot to feed Sparky and Spot and was neglecting them. My humans tried to get George’s attention by squealing and jumping on him. George started to get mad and backhanded Sparky in the face. Sparky got mad and started making hand motions to Spot. Spot made hand motions back in response.

George was shocked and said, “Wait, what are you doing? What are you saying to each other?”

Just then, the humans jumped on him, knocking George to the ground. Spot ran and grabbed sheets in his mouth while Sparky kept jumping on George. When they came back together, they tied George up.

That was when it got way, way worse.

Spot and Sparky peed on George, covering him completely. When I got back home, George was screaming slurs and insults, tied up in bedsheets, and soaked in yellow liquid.

“What happened here?” I asked, not believing my eyes.

“Just help me, Leonard!” George screamed.

I untied the tangle of knots and tried to calm George down.

“Okay George, I want you to take a deep breath and explain to me this. Why are pawprints across Sparky’s face?”

“It was those fucking humans! They communicated with each other!”

I tried to stay calm, thinking about my two humans possibly talking with each other. What would they have said? Did they… plan this?

“George, that’s crazy. I think you need to go home and get some rest.”

He growled in response. “I know what I saw.”

“Just go home, George. You did this to yourself.”

He picked himself up and left in a huff.

As soon as the door shut behind him, I made hand motions towards Spot and Sparky and started to shout at them, forgetting that I didn’t need to use my voice when using the sign language we had developed.

“What the hell were you guys thinking? I’ve told you no communicating around other animals!”

Sparky and Spot bowed their heads. Spot motioned that he was sorry and that he didn’t know why they had gotten so mad.

The next couple of days were normal, until I caught George trying to peer through my window with binoculars. He even set up a couple of cameras outside his house.

One night, I came home from work tired and had forgotten all about the cameras George had set up. At that point, I had been with Sparky and Spot long enough that signing with them had become somewhat of a routine.

Suddenly, I heard sirens, loud and painful. Two cop cars pulled into my driveway, and a dog and three coyotes, all in body armor, came bursting into my home.

The lead coyote shouted, “You are under arrest for teaching and communicating with humans! Anything you say or do is and will be held against you in a court of law!”

Then, the three coyotes grabbed the three of us and shoved us in to the driveway. The last thing I saw was George’s smug face staring through his front window as we pulled out of the driveway and went down the road.

I knew I could not go to jail and survive. I was prey. The other guys would kick the crap out of me, and I’d be ripped to pieces. But what about poor Sparky and Spot? What would happen to them? The shiny, black rubber wheels stopped in front of a rectangle-shaped building that read police station, and the cops led us out of the car.

I asked one of them what they were going to do to Spot and Sparky.

The cop said, “Don’t worry about them. There’s a special place for them.”

As they split us up and took me to my cell, I could not help but shed a tear.

The next morning, I woke up to a loud buzz as the cell door opened. There was a platypus standing in the doorway.

“Your name Leonard?”

“Yes.”

“My name is Mr. Richer. I am going to be your defense attorney against the prosecution led by Mr. George, who has accused you of disturbing the peace by teaching and communicating with two humans.”

Richer led me into a van, and we drove. As we were driving, I couldn’t imagine how Sparky and Spot were feeling.

Before long, we stopped at a big building that read COURT of LAW and JUSTICE.

Mr. Richer turned to me from the passenger seat. “We’re here. Are you ready for this?”

I replied, “I’ve got nothing to lose except what I’ve already lost.”

Richer looked at me for a long time before saying, “Well then, let’s get to it.”

As we walked inside you could smell the sweat and stress from previous cases. It was as if I had turned into a magnet for the eyes in the room. Everyone stared at me.

One person yelled, “Animal lover!”

Another yelled, “Farm animal!”

I heard a loud bang of a gavel, and everyone went silent. I looked up to see an old elephant sitting behind the podium. She said her name was Mrs. Tuskworth and that she would be the judge in my case. I glanced to my left and saw George sitting with a kangaroo that was dressed in a suit and tie.

I sat down, and the judge began to speak.

She asked, “Both of you know why you are here, am I right?”

“Yes.”

“Yes.”

Judge Tuskworth cleared her throat. “Alright, what happened? I want both of your sides of the story. George, you go first.”

The crocodile stood, looking smug and fearful at the same time. “It was a peaceful evening when I saw the disturbing connection between human and animal. It was clear that an unspoken bond had been formed between that sheep and his pets. To my knowledge, it looked like they were planning to overthrow the government and destroy the world with their human army! They will enslave us all again, I tell you! It’s happening!”

The judge looked at George in concern. “Thank you George, that’s enough for now. Leonard, it’s your turn. What happened?”

I stood up, looking at the wise face of the judge. I took a deep breath and began to speak.

“First of all… so… I came home late from work and asked Sparky and Spot if they were hungry, that’s all. Second, why is communicating with them such a bad thing? I am bridging a gap between our two worlds. Who knows? Maybe they know things that we don’t, and if I can teach it to all animals and humans, it could seriously be of use! Animals could communicate with us. Like what if a human sees something suspicious like a robbery and can’t tell anyone? What if there was a gas leak, and the human can’t tell the animal to get out of the house?”

The judge raised her hoof to stop me speaking. “Okay, Leonard you have made your point. But may I ask both of you: how would you execute your beliefs or ideas? George, you first.”

George stood. “Well first, I would start by chopping off all humans’ fingers, and just in case, we would have to cut off their tongues.”

Tuskworth thought hard and said, “Okay, George, point taken. Leonard?”

I stood, angry at George’s words. “I would set up a business with my own funding and hold classes where I could teach humans and animals the language. I would have Sparky and Spot teach the humans while I teach the animals, and then we would bridge a gap in our society. I am sorry, judge, but what George is saying is immoral and crazy.”

Tuskworth stood and spoke one last time, “That’s it for today, I think. I will discuss with the government council. We will continue our session next week when I will decide who is right. Court will be adjourned until then.”

She banged her gavel.

When I was outside of the building, I called an Uber to drive me home. When I got home and opened the door, everything was a mess. The sofa was thrashed to pieces, and the coffee table was turned on its side. All the doors were pulled out, all my cabinets were open. It was like someone was looking for something.

Was I robbed? Did… did George do this?

I started to fix and clean everything and look for what they would’ve taken. Someone must have done this just to mess with me.

The next few days were mellow. It was not the same at home anymore without Sparky and Spot.

Finally, after one of the longest weeks of my life, it was time. The next day was the last hearing at the court. It was the final decision. We sat down, and the judge started to say, “Leonard, we will not provide funding, but we think you can, and will, bridge the gap in our society. You may have your humans back.”

I jumped up in joy. I’d done it! I’d won! I couldn’t believe I won!

Suddenly out of nowhere, George jumped on me, knocking me to the ground, thrashing me with his sharp claws and tearing my suit to pieces. I felt a piercing in my skin as blood started to run down my chest. Luckily, there were two security guards on standby who tackled George to the ground, knocking him unconscious.

My surroundings started to darken as my eyes started to close. When I woke up, I had a sharp pain in my chest. There was a monkey in the room, dressed up in a lab coat.

The large chimpanzee spoke in a calm, soothing voice.

“Take it easy, Leonard. You have nothing to be afraid of. I’m gonna take care of you. You’re gonna be just fine.”

Just then, Mr. Richer walked in with Sparky and Spot.

I asked, “What happened?”

“Everything’s taken care of, Leonard. George has been sentenced and is going to jail for a while.”

“That’s a relief.” I laughed as Sparky and Spot jumped on me. “I’m so happy to see you guys! The doctor said that he thinks I should get some rest now, okay?”

I shut my eyes and pictured my communication business and where I would build it as I fell into a deeper sleep.

The next week, after all my injuries were healed, I had my brand new staff break ground, and since then, it’s been three years. My business has been doing great. We are working hard to finally bridge the gap between animal and human.

I decided to finally start a family, and in the year after the incident, I married a lovely sheep named Clara. Two years later, we had three kids, two boys and one girl. Sparky and Spot grew and eventually, they told me that they wanted to be let go into the wild. That was a hard day.

Now, I sit here, writing this story. Even if I am a sheep, now I feel like a lion.

 

 

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