*** Chapter 4 Part 5
15 hot and angry minutes later, Dell had hung up the phone and was on her way to the zoo in spite of Panda’s intense warnings about setting free large predators into the world. The security and safety and chance of survival for them just plummeted exponentially by the introduction of a jaguar, an entire pride of lions, a pair of snow leopards and a 250 lb. tiger into the city streets.
“You can’t just open the cage of that Sumatran tiger and say ‘here, Kitty-Kitty!’ He will be hungry and he will EAT YOU!”
“OMFG, Panda, I’m not that stupid!” came the hot retort, “I will feed them all first. I am sure the zoo has giant meat lockers full of haunch o’ venison or something to feed the big cats.”
“You can’t turn them loose, Dell, it’s incredibly dangerous! We won’t be able to walk around unarmed and blissfully ignorant anymore! Don’t you get it? WE are their prey. They are predators and WE are their prey!”
The conversation escalated with more back and forth until it ended abruptly when Dell yelled pettishly, “You can’t tell me what to do! You are not the boss of me!” just like when they were 5 years old.
Panda, pissed as hell and almost more afraid than she had been when this whole apocalypse thing started, took one last look around at the well-fed tiny cats, propped the front door open and left. She needed to get to the gun store quickly. She did not even begin to have the kind of serious firepower she would need to take down a charging adult male lion weighing in over 400 lbs. An adult male jaguar could weigh anywhere from 250-350 lbs and they are masters at sneaking up on their prey, low-slinking and deadly quiet. Panda had a wry moment of being grateful there weren’t any cheetahs in the zoo, who are day hunters and can clock speeds up to 70mph. Dell was a lost goner if Panda didn’t save her.
In a survival situation it was important to survive; DUH! Why didn’t Dell get that? You could not just set those large predators free and expect them to be grateful and vow never to hunt humans however hungry and however slow, stupid and unprotected those humans may be. Panda didn’t even know if Dell would have enough common sense to open up the cages of all the ungulates and primates first to give them a fighting chance to meander out of the general vicinity. It would be just like Dell to open the cat cages first, turn her back and blithely amble over to pet the giraffe.
Her Glock was ready and loaded as always but with a capacity of only 13 rounds she didn’t think it would do the trick. Her Mossburg double barrel shotgun held goose shot and THAT wouldn’t stop a charging chicken. Well, it would stop a chicken but never mind. She was too upset to be technical at the moment. The question was should she just drive straight to the zoo or did she have time to raid a gun store for better artillery?
She decided to head for the zoo because there simply wasn’t time. If Dell did what she said she would, she would feed the big cats first and that would give Panda time to get there and try to talk Dell out of letting those cats loose on the world.
She was just rounding the bend on Land Park Drive when Dell called.
“Panda can you come to the zoo right away? You need to see this!”
“What’s going on? Tell me!” said Panda.
“It’s the zoo! It’s totally empty.”