The Room is crowded when Bruce and Jack arrive, which is very, very strange. It appears to be some sort of a meeting! Or rather, it looks like it was supposed to be a meeting. Instead, the various animals that make up the Presidential Pets, from the eagle to the rabbits, from the cats to the dogs, appear to be fighting with each other.
“Oh,” says Jack. “I think we’ve missed something very important.”
“I do too,” says Bruce. “…but we can find out what’s going on…together?”
“Together,” agrees Jack. And the strange pair vanishes into the bickering crowd to find out what’s going on.
Josiah the badger is from the year 1901, and lives in the White House with President Theodore Roosevelt. And it’s grand! Largely, he’s allowed to do whatever he wants, including nipping at the heels and ankles of various people within the White House halls.
But something is changing in the White House, and Josiah doesn’t like it. People are acting differently. They’re talking in hushed whispers, and one of them even dared to boot Josiah away when he tried to nip at them!
It was strange and unpleasant!
Josiah didn’t approve of it!
Before Josiah could figure out what was happening, he was pulled into this mess of a meeting in The Room, with nearly fifty other animals! Everyone is talking over each other, braying and snorting and growling and yowling! It’s a cacophony of sounds, and Josiah doesn’t want to deal with any of this.
He complains, “I wish someone would just tell me what was going on!”
“You and me both,” says a little green garter snake, he recognizes as Emily Spinach.
Snipe, a parrot owned by George Washington’s wife, Martha, says, “I’m going to find out.”
The parrot screeches, loudly. A chorus of other bird song starts up, and beating wings, and champing, clattering their beaks together.
Finally, slowly, the other animals start to quiet down.
Snipe demands, “alright, you flea ridden clods! Let’s actually get some answers! Why are we here?”
Josiah blinks. “Alright,” he says. “That one. I like that one.”
Snipe looks at him with a single golden eye. “Good. That means you might be one of the smart ones. Funny. Don’t see too many dogs that are smart.”
“I’m not a dog,” says Josiah, utterly offended by the implication. “I’m a badger.”
“Oh,” says the parrot. “I suppose that’s why you’re smart, then.”
From somewhere in the middle of the group of gathered pets, a distinctly bird-like voice says, “it’s about time I got a chance to speak. I was starting to think this was going to go nowhere.”
“It’s going somewhere,” says Snipe. “And we all want to hear where it’s going!”
Katelynn E Koontz – Author