Day 278: The Trial of Fluffy

The Trial of Fluffy
Matt Zurbo

(I know this story will upset some, it is not a typical kids book, and I am very sorry in advance. The Cielo page is a celebration! But having worked in the bush and on the edges of the suburbs for most of my life, I see the damage done every day, and see these beautiful creatures, both feral and domestic, hunting most nights. It breaks my heart.)

(Owl walking into frame.)

(Owl donning judge’s cloak and wig and gavel – judge’s hammer.)

(Cat being led into court full of wildlife on one side, and old ladies and kids on the other.)

“Hoot! Hoot! We are here today for the trial of….” Judge Hoot said. “Can you please state your name…”
“Meow… Prrr.”
“Fluffy,” said Lawyer Fox.

(Content faces of humans.)
(Horrified faces of animals and insects.)

“I will be representing Fluffy,” said Lawyer Fox.
“And I will represent the prosecution,” said the Bilby Spots.
(Fox, dressed as lawyer, holding finger up. Bilby, dressed as lawyer, looking small beside fox.)

(Fox and cat hunched towards bilby, drooling.)

“…along with my partner at Marsupials Legal, the Distinguished Wombat.”
(Very big wombat is small suit, leaning between bilby and fox and cat, who are backing right off.)

“Hoot, hoot! The charges are that Fluffy is causing the death and extinction of many native animals,” barked Judge Hoot.
“Your honour, if I may…” started Lawyer Fox. “My client’s ancestry stems from Ancient Egypt, where cats were worshiped… as gods!”

“Exactly!” shouted baby goanna from the crowd. “We have no evolutionary defence against cats!!”
“I don’t even know what that means,” yawned Lawyer Fox.
“Hoot! Hoot! Order, order!”
(Goanna standing in crowd, baby goanna on its shoulder, Judge banging gavel.)

“Hoot! Defence, please…” hooted Judge Hoot.
“We call Missy Jones,” said Lawyer Fox.
(Very cute little girl in witness stand.)

“Fluffy is my friend! Fluffy cuddles me and purrs,” smiled Missy. Fluffy wouldn’t hurt anyone. I love Fluffy.”
“Your Honour…” said Lawyer Fox.

“Our first witness is Australia’s native animals…” announced the Distinguished Wombat.
“Sir! They can’t all-!” protested Lawyer Fox.
“Why not!? They-“ interrupted Billy Spots.
“HOOT! HOOT!” Judge Hoot banged his gavel. “I will allow it.”
(Both teams arguing, Owl banging gavel, shouting. Cat licking itself.)

“It was a half moon night…” said the baby plover.
(All the animals surrounding the little bird watching it speak.)

“Fluffy had already been fed by Missy. It had no reason to kill.”
(Cat crouched, prowling through moonlight.)

“Yet it took my brothers and sister first!”
(Leaping onto nest.)

“And dozens of frogs!”
(Frogs leaping away as cat lands on and traps two frogs.)

“And sleepy lizards, and cockies.”
(Cocky in cat’s mouth.)

“It only ate a bit of some, and left them to rot, then killed more.”
(Quall lying dead on ground as cat in background, hunts baby koala.)

“And more!”
(Cat reaching for bogan moth.)

“And more!”
(Plover, hiding behind branch, watching if fright.)

“Just in one night!”
(Cat cleaning itself.)

(Cat curling up on Missy’s bed, purring.)

“The horror! The horror!”
(Look of fear and horror on animal’s faces, as they reel, claws and wings to mouths.)

“It killed us during the day!
(Butterfly with bandages everywhere, wearing a black veil, carrying photos of other, colourful butterflies.)

“Us too!”
(Grieving rosellas.)

“It broke my legs and played with me for sport!”
(Mouse on crutches, pointing angrily.)

(Fox, head down, pacing the court. Everybody watching it.)

“That could have been any cat! Not! Our! Dear! Fluffy!”
(Fox waving open hand towards cat playing with scrunched up piece of paper.)

“We call on Mr Scientist Type…” announced Bilby Spots.

“Hmm. Yes. Everybody says that – It’s not our cat,” Mr Scientist Type said.
(Scientist geek in witness stand. Fluffy rubbing against scientist as he is pointing to a chart, that everybody is reading.)

“But there are between 9 and 28 million cats in Australia. And, together, they kill on average 4 to 30 animals a day… EACH! A DAY! PHEW-EE! 100 million innocent lives, per day!!! BRR! WOW!”
(Scientist crazy with horror/having a breakdown.)

(Everybody watching scientist, head in bin, throwing up.)

“The cats that are pets don’t kill as many,” Mr Scientist Type added, “but they still kill plenty millions! Then, you know, clean up before going home.”
(Scientist licking his own arm, acting like a cat.)

“Ahem. You’re Honour, if I may? “My next witness is Auntie Doter.”
(Fox pointing to loveable old grandmother in witness stand.)

“My Fluffy keeps me company, I’d be lost without Fluffy. She’s all I have.”
(Auntie Doter tears rimming, nervous smile. Fox leaning on her, tilting head in exaggerated sympathy.)

Judge Hoot ruffled his feathers.
“Hoot, hoot! All sit! My ruling is… Fluffy is to be de-sexed, and only be allowed indoors.”
(Owl at top of pyramid of book’s characters, laying gavel down.)

“WE OBJECT!” shouted Bilby Spots and Distinguished Wombat. “Those rules are already there. Everybody ignores them!”
“It’s not MY cat!”
“But they’re so cute…”
“Meanwhile, we become extinct!”
(Cat playing with it’s tale While Wombat strikes dramatic post, shouting, pointing in air. Fox standing on his shoulders, doing the same, but facing the other way. Bilby standing on Fox’s shoulders doing the same, facing the other way again.)

“Psst. Hoot. But what about poor Auntie Doter…?”
(Owl leaning into a whisper, covered by wing. All three lawyers leaning forward towards owl. Crowd leaning forward towards them, only cat uninterested.)

“Auntie Doter, do you love birds?” asked Wombat.
“Oh, oh yes,” said Auntie Doter.
“Well, I’m sorry, but you just can’t love birds AND cats,” said Bilby Spots.
(Auntie surrounded by many flying beautiful birds. Cat is leaping, killing one of them.)

“If you had no cat, so many birds around your place would come back,” said Wombat.
“And you could have native fish in a pond,” said Bilby Spots.
“Pet lizards!”
“And even frogs.”
“Or a cute puppy.”
(Wombat and Bilby in middle of frame, surrounded by birdseed trays, birds everywhere, a fishbowl, and a pond, with frogs and fish and lizards. Auntie between them, looking at bit overwhelmed. Cat in background, walking off with the bird it caught in its mouth.)

“Well, I think…”
“Now wait a minute…”
“I said…”
(Voices diminishing as cat walks, no background, with dead bird.)

(Cat puts dead bird down.)

(Cat’s bottom in view as it strolls through cat flap in door.)


The End.


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