One fine day, two young girls walked down the street. One girl was named Jenny, and the name of her friend was Erin. Along the way, they happened to notice a sign above that said "Zoo". Underneath it was the path, which led straight down, littered with trash cans and picket fences.
"A zoo?" said Jenny. "I'm not sure if I've been to this place before."
"Me, too," said Erin. "But at least it wouldn't hurt to check it out."
They walked down the path, until they reached what looked to them like a toll booth...with Ranger John Smith in it. He said monotonously (and tiredly), "Welcome to the Zoo. $50 bucks to enter." Jenny and Erin reached into their pockets. Nothing. Jenny said, "Sorry, sir, but we're broke."
"Well, whatever you say," replied Ranger Smith, nonchalantly.
Erin noticed something familiar about him. She said, "Wait a minute...you're Ranger Smith, of Jellystone Park?"
"I was, once," said Ranger Smith. "But then, things changed. Now I sell tickets to this wretched hellhole known as 'the Zoo'."
"That's what we wanted to know. And where's Yogi and Boo-Boo? And Cindy?"
"Oh...they're in there. Sadly enough, Yogi hasn't been the same since he wasn't allowed to eat even a bite."
Suddenly, a voice from the intercom said, "Hellooooo? I don't hear any sweet sounds of TICKET-SELLING HERE!"
Startled out of his wits, Ranger Smith quickly replied, "Yes, sir! Getting to that, sir!" He got out two tickets, handed them out to the girls, and said with a nervous smile, "You have a good time!"
Erin and Jenny shrugged their shoulders and went on their way. They passed So-So, the little orange monkey whom they had recognized as Peter Potamus' sidekick. An old box...they couldn't guess what was in it. And signs that pointed in every direction, spelling out words and messages such as "Welcome to Hell" and "W.C.".
They entered the zoo and they looked around. In dirty cells, surrounded by nothing but old posters, cobwebs, and flea-infested rats, were the cartoon stars themselves. Yippie and Yahooey, minus Yappee--as evidenced in the skull with the familiar floppy black ears. Loopy De Loop, standing next to a cardboard sign that said "WE ARE NOT ANIMALS"." And Yogi Bear...and Snagglepuss...and Peter Potamus (so that's where he's been!). Having looked at all the cartoon stars locked up in the cells, the hearts of Erin and Jenny immediately began to break.
"Awful!" muttered Jenny, looking at what remained of Touche Turtle and Dum-Dum. "Just plain awful! Whoever came up with this contraption should be reported to the authorities. They'd shut this place down for good."
"I'm with you," replied Erin.
Just then, another person showed up. He had red skin, a pot belly, pointy devilish horns, and a tail (with an arrow-shaped tip) sticking out of his behind. And he was wearing a zookeeper's uniform. It was the Red Guy.
"Well, hello!" he said smugly, looking at the two girls. "Welcome to the Zoo, the HAPPIEST place on earth! It's me, Red, and I'm going to be your tour guide for the day!"
"That's fine enough," said Jenny. "But still, we've got one question to ask you."
"And what is it? Is it a question about the zoo itself? I'd be MORE than happy to answer!"
"Yes, it's a question about this zoo."
"And it is...?"
"Just why did you have all of those famous Hanna-Barbera stars locked up in those cells, just to be shown off to the public?"
The Red Guy looked around. Then he said, "Ooh, that's pretty simple. Those stars, those classy, good-looking, gorgeous young stars, are just the BY-PRODUCTS of ENTERTAINMENT! And that's why they are all here, waiting to tend to the whims of any tourist that comes their way--especially YOU!"
"True," said Erin. "We are tourists. But we're not the kind of tourists you'd know from your perspective. We are cartoon fans, the ones who care more about kindness to toons than cruelty to them. The cruelty that you've exposed the stars to is way too much to bear--that could be the reason why nobody, not even the children, comes to this place. Just what kind of guy are you to do such a thing?"
"What kind of guy am I? The ZOOKEEPER, of course!"
"No! We don't want to speak to you! We want to speak with whoever is in charge of this place!"
"Who's in charge? Well...I AM!"
With that, he grabbed the two girls by the collars of their shirts. Erin and Jenny screamed. The Red Guy continued, "Here's another reason why I wanted to ESTABLISH this zoo. First of all, the new cartoon stars of the network HIRED me to get rid of the old cartoon stars of yesteryear. And secondly, it was ALL FOR THE MONEY! AND POWER!"
"I knew we should've never bought those tickets in the first place!" Jenny said to Erin.
The Red Guy gave the girls a menancing smile. He said, "And now, since you are the only two people who dared to DESPISE the way I run this place, you are declared to be my two NEW exhibits of the zoo! How would you like to be behind the bars, entertaining dozens of happy little children who visit this PRECIOUS LITTLE ZOO?"
"You wouldn't dare!"
"So, do you agree or NOT?"
"We'd rather be dead than become the laughingstock of the entire community!"
"Well, if it is your decision..."
He got out two new zookeeper uniforms and shoved them onto the girls. He continued, "Then you'll be forced to WORK FOR ME!"
Erin and Jenny looked at their new clothes in dismay. "At least, we're not thrown into any one of those nasty cells," Erin thought.
"Your new job," the Red Guy said. "Involves the care of all of these exhibits. So, let me carefully state three important rules to get you started. Rule #1: NO FEEDING! Food makes the exhibits more likely to get SO fat, that they'll be the death of my money-making industry. And DON'T give them any water, either. Rule#2: NO TALKING! If you as much as utter one single word to the cartoon animals, it will make them want to REBEL against me and leave my poor little zoo. Silence is golden, you know. And finally, Rule#3: Whatever you do, DON'T EVER LET THEM ESCAPE! Just keep an active eye on all of the exhibits, and put a stop to WHATEVER suspicious breakout-related activities they might be plotting. GOT IT?"
"Yes, sir," Erin and Jenny sighed.
"Good! I shall expect brilliant results by tomorrow. So...GET TO WORK!"
The girls quickly grabbed two brooms and started sweeping the place. Satisfied, the Red Guy smiled and walked away. But there was one thing about the girls that he had overlooked-it was the girls' heartwarming spirit and cheerful personality that would very soon set the cartoon stars free and inspire them to turn against him.