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April 13, 2006

Once upon a time...

...there were three marmosets residing in the Philadelphia Zoo who decided they wanted to live in luxury for the rest of their lives.

They just didn’t know how they were going to do it.

So, they all sat down at the conference table at the top of the big fiberglass tree and brainstormed the problem.

After three hours of rejecting every idea they put out for discussion, the littlest marmoset said, “Y’know, the oceans are ruled by the heirs of Neptune -- the Four Eternal Porpoises. But their immortality depends on them dining once every fifty years on a meal of roast seagull.”

“Yeah, and…?” asked the biggest marmoset.

The littlest marmoset replied, “This is the year. They have to eat roast seagull this year or they’ll resume aging. They’re the rulers of the sea, knowing all its secrets and the location of all its treasures, so I’ll bet they’d be grateful enough to pay a fortune to anyone who could deliver a bunch of seagulls to their underwater grotto in the Florida Keys.”

“Dummy!” shouted the middle-sized marmoset. “The Keys are lousy with seagulls -- the porpoises can get ‘em any time they want to lift a flipper!”

The littlest marmoset grinned. “Not so!” he said, “Since seagulls are a protected species, the Feds placed a geas on the porpoises forty-nine years ago -- they can’t approach the surface whenever seagulls are present. And to keep entrepreneurs like us from delivering roast seagull to the porpoises, they chained a pair of fierce lions just inside the entrance to the grotto. All we’ve gotta do is grab some seagulls, toss the lions a couple of dozen burgers laced with tranquilizers and we’re set for life.”

The other two marmosets agreed it was a splendid idea. They hopped the zoo fence at closing time, scampered down to Penn's Landing, nabbed four seagulls in a trap baited with week-old squid and set out for the Florida Keys.

At the Last Burger Joint Before the Grotto, the three marmosets ordered fifty burgers to go -- extra ketchup, hold the onions -- and set out for the grotto of the Four Eternal Porpoises.

The lions roared a warning as the three marmosets approached with trepidation (and seagulls and burgers), but after scenting the flame-broiled goodies, the lions quieted. The marmosets unwrapped the burgers (extra ketchup, hold the onions), added a hefty dose of a leading brand name mood-equalizing chemical compound to each, and proceeded to toss them to the lions.

Between the tryptophan and the tranquilizers, the lions were soon prone, relaxed and, ummmmm, sedate.

The three marmosets lifted the cage containing the trapped seagulls, entered the grotto, hopped gingerly over the semi-comatose lions and proceeded down into the depths.

Where they were promptly arrested by Federal agents.

Because, as everybody knows --

*ohhhh, this is gonna leave a bruise…*

it’s illegal to transport gulls across staid lions for immortal porpoises.