Planet of the Koalas
(Originally published 10/3/2014. I forget where. Some poor publication with shockingly low standards.)
You can’t say that science fiction writers didn’t try and warn us.
From space travel to submarines, sci-fi writers have been on point bringing us both the upside and downside of everything from technological advances to medical experimentation. In fact, of all the various topics that they have been rather down on, messing around with nature has always been high on their “No can do” list.
Am I the only one that was moved to tears by Jeff Goldblum’s “What you call discovery, I call the rape of the natural world” speech in Jurassic Park?
Which makes this story that much harder to relate because we all should have seen it coming. I mean to say, Jurassic Park did over $400 million at the box office. Throw in the other three sequels and the total had to be close to $420 million.
The irony being that if koalas had teeth like a T-Rex none of the trouble would likely have started in the first place.
But start it did, in the form of one Darryl Generico. A researcher at a prestigious Australian university. Which one I’d rather not say as it would require me to Google prestigious Australian universities and I’m afraid there might not be one so I’d rather just let that sleeping dog lie. Or is it lying dog sleep given that there might not be a prestigious university in Australia for all I know? All I really know about Australia is that it has a nice opera house and that if you get stung or bitten by any of the insects there you will probably die a painful death.
Whichever dog it might be, Darryl got it into his head that the koala was nature’s greatest underachiever. Sleeping between 18 and 22 hours a day, Darryl wondered what the koala was capable of if it just had a little more get up and go.
So he undertook an experiment, despite being an avid fan of science fiction, and switched the diet of a test group of koalas from eucalyptus to coca leaves. Soon after neither Darryl nor his furry band of Phascolarctos cinereus research participants got much sleep and, despite having one of the smallest brains of any mammal (the koalas, not Darryl), the koalas quickly made up for a lot of lost time. After only a few weeks of their new diet they managed to escape from the lab, learn how to ride horses and shoot guns on their journey to Victoria, and then began to systematically wage war on the dingo population living there.
The world watched in horror as the adorable creatures captured and slaughtered every dingo and dog in the entire state. If you’re thinking that Victoria is in fact a province of Australia and not a state let me point out that I thought the same thing. Turns out we’re both wrong. It’s a state … with a governor and everything. Although to be honest, their governor is appointed by Queen Elizabeth II so it’s not quite as governory as you’d think.
When the Australian authorities finally captured the koala leader, Mr. Tickles, he was just too damn cute to prosecute (what with the fluffy ears and black spoon-shaped nose and all). In fact, Mr. Tickles, looking especially cuddly, was able to convince the Australian Parliament to allow all koalas to eat coca leaves and soon the whole country was overrun by horse-riding, pistol-packing varmints.
When dragged in front of the United Nations General Assembly to account for his brethrens poor behavior Mr. Tickles just sat there all snuggly and lovable and got off with a sternly-worded warning. The problem with the aforementioned warning being that neither Mr. Tickles nor any other koala understood the English language. Or any human language. This communications barrier rearing its ugly head again soon after when the copy of George Orwell’s Animal Farm discreetly slipped to Mr. Tickles in the hopes of him taking a subtle hint after it was found out that koalas in Queensland had been up to their old tricks again, this time large pythons being on the receiving end of their brutality, had instead been torn up and used as bedding.
Eventually these new and improved koalas calmed down and found their way into almost every zoo in every country in the world. Doing tricks and endearing themselves to human everywhere. Which was their plan from the start.
(Cue foreboding music)
Acting all cute and counting the days until they could put Mr. Tickles terrible scheme into effect. At precisely the same time everywhere around the globe they launched into action and began their war on humanity … and were massacred in only a few hours. They were still koalas after all. Sure, a koala on horseback carrying a rifle is pretty scary if you’re a dingo but …
We have tanks and shit. Mr. Tickles totally overplayed his hand.
Present Day. A trendy Hollywood health club sauna. Jeff Goldblum, clad in only in a towel, wonders aloud “What if we gave a sloth a cappuccino?”