Porky liked his office in Casino Byzantium. It was certainly a big advance on his first office, a cramped little room that had nevertheless been the launchpad for piggypoker.com. Happy days. But still, being in your office was still to be on public view, so Porky had built on a more peccary-friendly retirement suite adjacent to the office. This was a room with straw on the floor and no mod cons except for a few CCTV screens attached to the wall. Porky liked to go in there to get away from it all, to relax, to think. And now Porky was lying on some nice straw, away from prying eyes, and was thinking about the events of last night.
Early in the day Porky had got a phone call from Cheese the cat. They had discussed some matters of mutual concern, chiefly the upcoming GMA Act, which would have very serious implications for the X-Pets. X-Pets would be more or less stripped of their rights by the GMA Act. For example, they would not be able to own property or be company directors. This was not of concern to many, perhaps most, X-Pets but it had very serious implications for Porky. Porky had built up his business over several years, and in the process created a complex structure of holding companies, debentures, international bank accounts, tax evasion schemes, etc. The GMA Act was going to be a legal nightmare. But Porky had seen the storm coming and had some of the finest accounting and legal minds in the country working on solutions. Porky was on top of things. But not all of the X-Pets understood the implications of the GMA Act, but the cat Cheese was one who did. Porky and Cheese had had a frank discussion of the issues and a robust exchange of views. Cheese had ended the conversation by inviting Porky to a general meeting of X-Pets at Club Magik, something that Porky had, somewhat reluctantly, agreed to attend. Club Magik wasn’t really Porky’s kind of place, a bit down market he thought, and Porky was sceptical if a general meeting of X-Pets would do any good.
The meeting had been even worse than Porky expected. On arriving at Club Magik Porky had been shown into a conference room. Big Cheese had already arrived accompanied by his clique: the corgi brothers, Will the Pit, “Bloodbath” Henry and that perennial irritant, Harry the “celebrity” hamster. Other X-Pets were arriving. Porky had noticed Freddy the Frog puffing away on a Gauloise outside the front door. Not something that Porky would allow outside Casino Byzantium. The whole thing was like something out of Animal Farm. In Porky’s opinion the disparate elements on display at Club Magik could never be formed into a coherent action group. Cheese seemed to think differently. The meeting began. Who was the first to speak? Mouse Martin took the floor, backed up by a large cohort of his fellow mice.
“It is great to see so many X-pets gathered here today. We are here because we have a crisis to deal with. Soon, very soon, the GMA Act will be law. When that happens it will be a very bad day for all X-Pets. All the gains we have made over the last few years will be swept away. X-Pets will no longer be regarded as citizens. A bleak future may well await us, but there is one positive to come from all this. The crisis has brought X-pets together as never before. Look around and you see cats and mice together in the same room. A few years ago who would have thought this possible? Never before have we attempted to act together. Let us deal with this crisis in a way that is unified and strong. Let us act for the good of all X-pet species!”
Mouse Martin sat down and all the X-Pets applauded, or most of them did. Porky glanced over at Harry, who was looking at his mobile phone. Bloodbath Henry looked like he was struggling to hold it together. His eyes were slowly opening and closing and little drops of saliva were oozing from the sides of his mouth. His paws were slowly clenching an unclenching. Big Cheese got up to speak.
“Mouse Martin has spoken very well. The recent rapprochement between cats and mice is an example of just what can be achieved given good will on all sides. I commend Mouse Martin for the courageous way in which he has put aside past differences. If cats and mice can work together we can all work together.”
And there was more in the same vein. Porky had the opportunity to speak but he didn’t. He had seen enough of this beggar’s army and at the first opportunity made his excuses and left. Porky wasn’t opposed to being associated with other X-Pets and to the idea of unified action. It’s just that Porky was a pragmatist and he didn’t think it would work. When the crisis came, as it surely would, Porky would be going it alone.