Then the first tiger started walking upright and nothing was ever the same.
People pointed and bustled each other and The Owner of the Zoo looked to his patrons for help.
‘What’s going on here?’ he asked them. And the parents and children threw up their hands and turned to each other and shrugged and took photographs. The Upright Tiger yawned, scratched its neck, and licked its nose. It stumbled, occasionally, but otherwise it seemed perfectly comfortable moving about on its hind legs. It “promenaded”, as news reporters were later to say, around its enclosure and then, after an hour or so, it did some stretching exercises and, most amazingly of all, push-ups. More photographs were taken.
Soon, other tigers began hoisting themselves onto their hind legs and following The Upright Tiger as he jogged laps around the enclosure.
The parents and children gasped, and took photographs, and bought overpriced sandwiches.
Soon, more visitors arrived at the zoo. They crowded around the enclosure and, before long, many of them were demanding a reduction in entrance rates as their views were obscured by the sandwiches and stuff.
And quite soon The Upright Tigers were not the phenomenon that they once were. People started shouting ‘Do some tricks!’ and ‘Can’t you guys fight or something?’
This led to rules being enforced. Great wooden signs were erected and, in terrifying red paint, the words DO NOT ANTAGONISE THE TIGERS were printed on them for all to see.
The parents and children did not approve and fighting broke out. Many cameras were smashed. Not many sandwiches were purchased.
The bars of the enclosure rattled as bodies bounced this way and that. Babies cried. The Owner of the Zoo shook his finger and breathed deeply through his nose and jotted things in his waterproof notepad.
Then the first tiger started to talk and nothing was ever the same.
The Upright Tiger bellowed so loud as to force the parents and children to their knees in terror and admiration. As The Upright Tiger cleared its throat, the very earth seemed to buckle and warp.
The Upright Tiger, drawing a deep, theatrical breath into his imposing, hirsute carriage, announced for all to hear: ‘We are tired of walking on our hind legs. Our paws are terribly blistered and are nails catch on the undergrowth. Our knees ache at night and, worst of all, our droppings sometimes stick to our legs and then the brave amongst us must endeavour to remove them. We have had enough. Leave us alone. We shall never walk upright again.’
More sandwiches were consumed, more photographs were taken, but The Upright Tiger was true to his promise. He, and his kind, never walked upright again.
Then the first tiger sprouted wings and nothing was ever the same.