When I first started the Institute for Contemporary Panda Satire, one of my friends said, pandas aren’t all warm and cuddly, you know. Here is a story about a panda who attacked a man who climbed his fence to hug him. So I did a cartoon about that, and recently I wrote this short story about the incident:
Man Hugs Panda
From a news headline in BBC Asia Pacific
The slam of the judge’s gavel rang like the sound of a cage door banging shut.
“Guilty as charged!” declared the judge.
But let me tell my story from the beginning, and then you can decide for yourself. Was I an innocent victim or a vicious criminal?
My name is Yang-Yang. I’m a panda and I live at the Qixing Park Zoo in China. We pandas have a huge weight on our shoulders, and it is this; we’re cute. We’re really, really cute. You might think that being cute is easy, but it’s no teddy bear’s picnic.
My days in the zoo are mostly the same, and this day seemed like any other. I got up and had some bamboo and prepared to meet my public. I was just starting to do my cuteness exercises when I spotted the first sign of trouble. On the other side of the fence that protects me from my fans, stood a visitor to the zoo. Lots of people come just to see the pandas, you know. But this man was giving me the look. Pandas see the look all the time. People get a misty-eyed, goofy look on their faces, and then I know trouble is coming my way.
This visitor climbed over the fence and ran towards me. He still had the look on his face, and his arms were stretched wide open.
And then he HUGGED ME!
I couldn’t believe it. Everyone knows that pandas are very shy.
Well, there really was only one thing I could do.
“I’m sorry sir,” I growled, “but I don’t think we’ve been properly introduced. Sir, excuse me… Could you please stop that?” But he just kept hugging me.
Pandas have an excellent sense of smell so it was impossible for me not to notice that he had some candy in his pocket.
Breakfast was hours ago.
Gee, since we’re such good friends now, I thought, I’m sure he won’t mind if I help myself. I must have miscalculated the candy’s location, because instead of getting the candy bar, I took a big bite out of his leg. There was quite a bit of yelling and screaming. The other visitors pulled the man back over the fence.
Someone called the police.
Nobody would have been the wiser, and they probably wouldn’t have made such a big deal about it, except for one little thing. People pulled out their cameras and cell phones and started taking pictures and sending them to all their friends. After that, it was hard to deny what happened.
It was a very popular video on Youtube.
I never got my lunch.
I thought that would be the end of it. But a few days later, I got a summons to appear in court. I was sure they would find me innocent. After all, he was trespassing in my territory. I thought being the zoo’s star attraction counted for something. I never knew pandas had no civil rights.
There were hours of interviews with my lawyers. There were hours of interviews with his lawyers. I thought about biting a lawyer or two, but I decided maybe I was in enough trouble already.
I missed several meals.
Finally the day for my court appearance arrived. TV news teams came from all over the world. This was the big story of the year, the trial of the century! After all, how many times does a panda stand accused of the crime of being cute?
The zoo visitor claimed he was the victim. Since pandas are so darn cute, he was unable to control his urge to hug me.
Is it my fault I’m so adorable?
Finally, I was called to the witness stand. Time to turn on the old panda charm, I thought. I rolled on my back, nibbled my paw, and wrinkled my nose.
The judge glared at me over the top of his glasses.
“The witness will SIT in the chair or face a contempt charge,” the judge said, as he pointed his gavel at me.
I sat up, and wiggled my ears. I took the oath to tell the truth, the whole truth and mostly nothing but the truth.
“What do you have to say in your defense?” the judge asked sternly.
“Just because I’m cute, it doesn’t mean I’m easy.” I replied.
The judge banged his gavel, hard, and I prepared, once again, for a life behind bars.
Be the Bear!
Bob T. Panda.