Porky lay on a large sofa in his office in Casino Byzantium. He was studying a bank of eight CCTV screens on the opposite wall. He was in a thoughtful mood.
Some X-Pets had it easy. Humans were pre-disposed to think well of them. The owl: a symbol of wisdom and of Europe’s greatest civilisation. The dog: man’s best friend. Brave as a lion. Cunning as a fox. But the pig was thought of in almost exclusively negative terms. Dirty pig. Filthy pig. Eating like a pig. Often not even worth killing and eating. This was all a testimony to man’s irrational attitude to the animal kingdom. As brave as a lion? Let a human come across a tusker in his prime and we’d soon see who was as brave as a lion.
Given the levels of peccarism in society it had been hard for Porky to rise to the top. There had been few, if any, good role models. Even pigs in fiction were never depicted in a good light. The greedy and cunning pigs in Orwell’s Animal Farm. Capitalist pigs. Yet when humans wanted an animal donor for their most revered organ, the heart, who did they turn to? The pig. The heart: ancient seat of the thoughts and emotions. Porky liked to say that he had a big heart. A human heart. And it was that big heart that had helped to get him to where he was today.
Porky had, he believed, achieved a hard won position of respect. He owned one of London’s largest casinos and some smaller ones up north, bringing a touch of sophistication to the provinces. If not himself a celebrity he was the personal friend of celebrities, even some A list ones.
Porky took respect seriously. He usually gave it and received it back. He had no reason to think that that position would ever radically change. Then one night about two months ago the X-Pet cat Cheese, the irritating “celebrity” hamster Harry and several of their cronies popped in to say hello on their way to Club Magik. And that night was one Porky would never forget.
Porky was now watching the CCTV tapes of that evening for the umpteenth time.