The Crumbling Wall
The horses were working hard as usual, but on this day - this historic day - they were up earlier than usual and working even harder than usual. Before the sun even broke over the dawn, they were pulling pieces of plywood from the walls of the old dilapidated barn and prying planks of wood from the lumber pile out back. They were stacking them on saw horses carefully to create a stage for the upcoming elections, where each candidate would give a speech on what he was going to bring to Animal Farm. They had to build a ramp on the back part. Bernard was wiry enough to hop right up on to the planks without any help, the horses guessed, but the pigs would need a ramp.
"Make it nice and strong for Old George," one horse said to another. "You know how fat he's gotten.
Hummingbirds draped pieces of yarn and string they found in the yard of Old Man Kennedy's home over the dilapidated signs behind the stage that read:
WeLcome oNe WeLCome All!
Welcome to thE veRy first eVer
AnIMal FarM Democratic Election
FeaturING Old GeoRge,
YoUNg GeoRge AND BeRnard the Dog
The Wise Old Owl was keeping an eye on the farm, as usual, when he noticed Old George out by the gate greeting a gang of scraggly looking boars, all of them covered in dried mud and filth from the pits they called home. Bits of dried blood stained their long, razor-like tusks. Clouds of mites and fleas swirled around them as they waddled side to side, grunting and groaning as their hooves hit the hard, dusty ground.
Murdoch and Old George led the way. Somehow, Old George found Old Man Kennedy's monocle and top-hat. Murdoch insisted that the old pig wear a sash made from one of the curtains in Old Man Kennedy's home. His advisor, Murdoch himself, had insisted on the outfit since he saw the picture of an important looking man on a cardboard box that had a human word Monopoly on it. Murdoch figured the guy on the box was rich because there were pictures of money and cars that humans drive when they have a lot of money. Plus, he wanted Old George to look as human as possible - nothing would irk old Bernard more than the old man looking all too human.
And it worked. The Wise Old Owl screamed down from branch to Bernard: "Look out there, by the gate, Bernard. Hurry come look."
"Scylla, Chardibis," Bernard yelled, "come quickly."
The two slobbering German Shepherds began their war-groan and puffed their thick, muscular chests out, defending Bernard's flanks as they approached the invading troupe of boars from who-knows-where. Bernard saw Old George dressed like the human on the box with the word Monopoly on it, and was incensed: "What is that filthy pig doing?"
"He's dressed like a human, Bernard," said Scylla.
"Yes, that's what it looks like," Chardibis agreed.
"I know," Bernard said with his eyes locked on his rival and the stinking cohorts surrounding him. "But why? And who are those thugs with him?"
The dogs greeted the boars - and one pig - at the front gate. "What's the meaning of this, George?"
"Out of the way, Bernard," Old George said sternly, "this is a free farm. You're threatening my rights."
"Who are these animals?" Scylla asked. "They smell."
"New citizens," Murdoch interrupted. "It's a free and open society and they need our protection."
"From what?" Chardibis stated.
"The slaughterhouse on Icicle Farms," Murdoch said. "It's horrible. Our cousins here, these boars, are in dire peril. To turn them away would mean their certain arrest, imprisonment and murder in the most horrible of ways. Have you ever seen a slaughterhouse? Rows of gutted pigs and bores, dead, hanging from their trotters with guts and blood staining the concrete floors - the killing floors is what they call them."
Scylla and Chardibis looked stunned. Their chests collapsed and they turned to Bernard. "Is it true, Bernard?" They asked in unison. "Is it?"
"Don't listen to their nonsense. It's called Propaganda," Bernie snapped.
"What's that?" Scylla asked.
"It's a lie people spread to make you believe something else," Bernard went on. "And they're not cousins with these beasts. Pigs are pigs and boars are boars. They're just trying to ruin the vote."
Other animals were ambling up toward the gate that had the old broken down wall that Old Man Kennedy built with his own two hands so many years ago because, as he quoted some old poet he liked to read, "Good fences make good neighbors." Some believed Old Man Kennedy actually believed that little saying, but others say he was just trying to keep animals out; especially those animals to the south that he said came and took up too much space on his farm. He claimed that the animals from the south would reproduce, steal all the food because they refuse to work and they would never leave once they were here. He didn't really mind the animals from the north for some reason, probably because they never really snuck onto the farm, and if they did, they stayed a bit and then went home. The farm had a pond on the east side and a wide river on the west side, so he built walls on the north and the south. But now the wall was crumbling and it was becoming a problem because any animal worth his salt could find a spot in the wall where it could jump over, crawl under, squeeze through or just knock over enough of the stones to wander on to Animal Farm. Then, the food would start to disappear, the space in the barn would diminish and the hens would lose their eggs and the horses would lose their daily hay.
"Well, what are you going to do, Bernard?" asked Chardibis. "You can't just let them go into the slaughterhouse, can you?" The rest of the animals that had gathered behind the dogs chortled out, randomly yelling out "what are you going to do?" "You can't let them die." "Oh the horror!"
Bernard turned around and reassured the crowd: "Animals, animals, you can't believe the hype on this one. Trust me. These aren't domestic animals. These are wild animals. They don't know what it is to live in a civilized place like a farm. If you let them in, you're asking for nothing short of the destruction of the dream - the dream of Old Man Kennedy. Civilized animals living in peace without greed, laziness and definitely not these wild animals."
"They're not wild," Murdoch said calmly. "They share the same genes we do - cousins, virtually brothers, in fact. And we refuse to let these refugees be slaughtered. It's Science, anyway, you could look it up."
Bernard turned back around and was furious: "It's not science. What do you know about science?"
"Sus scrofa," Murdoch said with an air of arrogance.
"That's all the science you need. We are from the same stock."
"It's Science," one of the horses yelled from the back of the crowd. Then that same horse turned to the nearest cow and asked, "What is science?" And, although no one knew what science, exactly was, where it came from or who exactly knew what it was, the hens shouted out that the boars should be let in. The cows added that they had a right since they were in danger. The horses agreed. Soon, the entire herd behind Bernard was erupting with pleas to let the poor group of endangered boars through the gate to the warm safety of Animal Farm. Bernard tried to calm them. He wanted to tell them how this was a bad idea, but no one would listen, so he finally shouted, "Okay, they can come in, but under two conditions."
"What's that?" Murdoch retorted.
"They live with you in the pen and you figure out how to feed them," he began.
"That's ridiculous," Old George butted in, "how are we supposed to survive on those measly rations."
Bernard, however, did not listen and simply continued with is conditions: "And they don't vote in the election."
"That's an outrage!" Murdoch proclaimed.
"Injustice!" Old George threw in.
"Tyranny!" Donald and Dick shouted from behind the pack of boars.
"Why's that?" Bernard retorted.
"In a free, democratic society, every animal gets a vote," Murdoch answered back. "One animal, one vote. The democratic voice shall be heard. It's history, Bernard. You can look it up."
The crowd behind Bernard began to boil over with righteous indignation once again. They cackling, clambering and cooing, insisting that the boars - even if they were outsiders - be allowed to vote. "It's History," yelled a horse, and then, of course, he asked, "What's history anyway?" "I don't know," his horse-friend murmured in his ear, "but it means that something is right." Let them vote! was the general cry from the crowd.
Bernard, in a rare moment of weakness, was fairly flustered standing there between the animals from the farm and Old George and his entourage. His eyes darted left and right. His tail wagged furiously with nervous tension. Finally, he burst out, "Okay, they vote! But if they vote, they have to con tribute their fair share. There will be no wallowing around in the mud with those pigs."
"No need to get personal Old George," said feigning insult. "Of course they'll work. Never known a pig to shirk a day of work, and boars are our cousins. Any cousin of mine will do his fair share of work." Then, Old George held up his dirty hoof and swore: "Pig's honor."
"Pig's honor," Bernard scoffed, and then conceded, "Okay, come on in."
Bernard was brushed aside as the barrage of boars and cavalcade of pigs bullied their ways through the gate that held apart the old, broken wall. "Excuse us," Murdoch said as he pushed by the dogs, "pigs coming through. Watch out now."
It was a triumph and even Bernard knew it was. He could only stand beneath the arch of the empty gate as the hens flapped in mid-air in excitement, the cows stomped the ground until it seemed to shake and mooed in gay relief and the horses, suddenly the genius of the crowd, were yelling slogans like "Here's to science!" or "It's history. You can look it up!" The birds fluttered above the raucous crew that was marching into the center of Animal Farm, dropping rose petal and whole dandelions over them.
As the noise of the victorious crowd disappeared into the distance, Bernard tramped on over to the porch of Old Man Kennedy's house and wondered how it had happened? How did he get outsmarted by a few pigs and a bunch of wild boars?
What would happen to Goldyn Farm? He looked at the doorway of Old Man Kennedy's house. It was locked. He thought about Camelot farm and what it could have been - if only the old man hadn't been killed. And killed he was, thought Bernard, who then simply laid his head down on the worn wood of the creaking porch and he could barely hear his own whimpering over the din of the party the pigs and the boars had begun in their pen.