Cambrian Delights

By Robert Lynch

“Welcome on board.” The Head Zookeeper said. “We are really glad that you decided to accept the position.”

 

“The opportunity to work with extinct species was simply too good to pass up,” Monica replied.

 

“Well, we know that you are overqualified for the role and you could have accepted a much better deal elsewhere.” The Zookeeper said.

 

“There is more to life than a paycheck and amenities,” Monica said.

 

“Yes, some of us get to look after the resurrected species from long ago.” The Zookeeper said. “Here we are, the Cambrian enclosure.”

 

The walkway looked down of a series of aquariums. The hermetically sealed airlocks into each enclosure a significant departure from a standard aquarium enclosure. From underneath, the tunnel through which the public could look up and see the sea monsters of long ago, none of the over structure could be seen. The work of the zookeepers kept out of sight like the Wizard of Oz behind his curtain.

“This will be your domain.” The Zookeeper said. “Substantially there’s little difference to aquarium work that you have done before, except that the creatures have difficulty feeding on substitute foods. Pellets and even modern meat and plants aren’t as digestible to their primitive digestive systems. We have to grow and harvest all the species in the food chain to create a life cycle which winds throughout the enclosure. Excess plants and animals are grown and culled expressly for the purpose of food.”

 

“That can’t be cheap, to have such excesses,” Monica said.

 

“No, but the cost doesn’t matter, “The Zookeeper said, “This enclosure brings in nearly 60% of the Zoo’s income.”

 

“How do you work that out?” Monica asked, “Customers pay an admission fee at the entrance, not for each enclosure.”

 

“You mean the tourists?” The Zookeeper said. “Heavens, no. We sell the meat produced by the enclosure to the finest restaurants. There are wealthy idiots out there that pay top dollar to say they’ve eaten Anomalocaris or Cambroraster meat.”

 

“You can’t be serious,” Monica said.

 

“Apparently, it tastes quite a bit better than sabre tooth tiger or diprotodon.”

END

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