***for my daughter, on her birthday, Love you- Daddy.
Deep in the forests of Greater Africa, a jeep hums along, hitting the bumpy mud trail hard and fast, splashing into puddles left behind by the rain and through shrubbery overcrowding the road. It stops once it reaches a clearing, and in the clearing 2 jeeps already parked. The jeep door opens and out steps a slender leg in hiking boots. They walk up to the semi-circle the jeeps form and stops and crunches down. These legs and boots belong to Dr. Savannah Robertson, creature expert extraordinaire. She’s also wearing khaki green shorts, a button up khaki shirt tied at the bottom and an undershirt, sunglasses and a safari hat. 2 of her collegues stand in front of her; at their feet, a tired looking young lion cub.
Savannah checks the lion’s paws, then it’s eyes, then her tongue.
“Poor baby lion. She looks dehydrated. Why isn’t she drinking?” she asked, now standing up and facing the other two; one, Dr. Adler, a veteran of these forests, who works at the local preserve, and the other, Dr. Bruce, works at the preserve as well, but the aquatic section. Neither knew exactly what to tell her.
“Well, we know she’s not been drinking from the well at the preserve and we fill it every day; it’s been a few days. We had a water expert test the pH levels and he says they are getting dangerously high” says Dr. Adler.
“Okay, we need to clean out the water supply, get them to put in some additives, as well,” Savannah said.
“I’m sorry,” Dr. Bruce chimed in, “but this will take some time. We’ll have to drain some of the tanks, displace the creatures, it’s all a huge bother.”
Savannah’s mouth went to one side, and retorted “It has to be done. This little creature depends on us and we’ll do whatever it takes to keep him healthy.”
Savannah got back into her jeep and took off and headed toward the preserve. She had a few things to attend to before going home for a nice, long rest. She was staying in a hotel back in the city and she couldn’t wait to get to her comfortable bed. She was only in Africa for a few weeks to help get things right at the preserve.
“Dr. Robertson…” her jeep walkie-talkie buzzed.
“Yes, Buddy,” Buddy was the caretaker at the preserve and a long-time friend.
“You should get back over here, we’ve got an issue.”
“I’m on my way,” she said, as a long-tailed lemur swung past the trees in front of her, she could have swore it actually spoke, but that would be ridiculous.
When she arrived, Buddy was waiting for her with a clipboard and a nice cold cup of lemonade. He was such a good friend.
“Thanks Buddy,” she said as she kissed him on the cheek. “What’s going on? It’s not that darn cheetah going wild again is it?”
“No, she’s fine. It’s Twigs. Her fence is coming down again and she seems anxious to make a run for it.” Twigs was their baby giraffe they found in the brush one day. Her mother was nowhere to be found.
“Did you call maintenance? Make sure they get here in the next hour so we can make sure this gets fixed correctly. I’ll head over there now.”
On her way, Savannah stopped by the chimpanzee pen and grabbed two bananas, and threw one into George, her favorite monkey here, as she peeled hers and started eating it. The giraffe section was pretty large and has a lot of big trees for them to eat off of. When she got there, she saw someone was already checking on Twigs.
“Julie! Hey, I’m so glad you’re here. Is the fence bad?” Savannah called out. Julie was in full safari gear, from boots to hat and she was always ready for some action.
“Yeah, if Twigs gets antsy enough, she could make a run for it. I’m trying to distract her.”
“Hey Savannah, the water guys are here again but we have a problem; Dr. Bruce is making it hard for them to get in; he’s blocking the entrance with his jeep.”
“Oh fu. Julie, can you come help me talk some sense into Dr. Bruce?”
She strode over and they walked over to the entrance and saw Dr. Bruce with his jeep parked sideways.
“What are you doing, Dr. Bruce?”
“I told you , I can’t have our creatures taken from their homes, even at the cost of the water supply being a bit dingy.”
“You’re out of control, Dr. Bruce. We have…” Julie screamed. Savannah looked over in that direction and saw Twigs making a run for it.
Savannah took off and tried to catch up to her, Julie slightly behind her. Giraffes can be quick, and this one was most definitely looking for something particular. Luckily, no matter how far away Twigs got, they could still see her long neck poking up. They ran for a bit and finally started gaining ground when they saw her reason for leaving: a mother giraffe was standing on the edge of the field clearing; when it saw Twigs, she lowered her neck and nuzzled her baby.
“Awww” the two girls both said. They started heading back and heard a deep rumbling noise. A pond near them was moving and a huge shape was coming out of it. Savannah knew that that meant.
“We’re in Hippo territory! Run!” Julie and her started running again and were so tired , but they kept pressing on in case a hippo charge was right behind them. Finally, they got back to the preserve. Savannah met the fence repairers and had them get to work, so no other creatures could escape. She worked something out with Dr. Bruce to have him agree to the idea to get the water levels safe again, for all the creatures at the preserve.
After a nice dinner at a local restaurant with Julie, Savannah went back to her hotel and hopped in her warm comfortable bed. She read some of a book before shutting out her lights. Then, she remembered;
“Oh, no my parents called earlier! I’ve got to call them back because they’re the best parents in the whole world, especially my super funny Dad!”