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Tennis and Lemurs
by Eric Suhem

“Isn’t she wonderful!” says Emma’s mother to a friend, over drinks on the patio at the tennis club. On the tennis court, under her mother’s watchful eye from the patio above, Emma runs back and forth, returning tennis balls hit at her by a ball machine.

“Get to the ball quicker! Anticipate!” barks her tennis coach, Ivan Snaff, as Emma lobs a shot across the net. Emma is showing great promise, and has already won a number of junior tennis tournaments. “Just stop thinking, and do what I tell you!” bellows Ivan Snaff, as Emma completes the practice session, hitting more forehands and backhands.

“Emma, come here, I’ve planned out your life for the next 8 months,” calls her mother, amidst charts and graphs on the patio table, as Emma picks up a tennis ball and returns it to the ball machine. Her mother then turns and scowls at the approaching picket signs and angry voices. “Oh God, here they are again,” she sighs. Recently, it had been discovered that the tennis club sits on the grounds occupied by the endangered spotted green lemur. Occasionally a spotted green lemur would cross a court during a match, evading the path of a speeding tennis ball hit by a bewildered player. Animal rights activists had soon learned of the situation and were out in force, protesting at the tennis club.

After the practice, Ivan Snaff descends the steps to his subterranean office, and is seething as he views the activists on a surveillance camera. His office actually resembles a bunker, as his childhood enthusiasms had been tennis and Hitler, and indeed he has pictures of Der Fuehrer scotch-taped on the bunker’s walls. He emerges from the bunker onto the tennis court, shouting threateningly at the protesters. He is joined on the tennis court by Emma’s mother, who, after a few gin-and-tonics on the patio, is yelling toward the activists, “You’re not going to derail my daughter’s tennis career over a lemur!”  A few angry tennis club employees want to physically confront the activists. That sounds good to Ivan Snaff and Emma’s mother. “Get over here Emma, it’s time to hit some overhead smashes!” orders Snaff.

Emma, who loves animals and actually wants to become a veterinarian, not a professional tennis player, looks on sympathetically at the animal rights activists, who are holding up signs depicting spotted green lemurs at play. She continues putting tennis balls into the ball machine.

“Do as we say, Emma, get over here!” Emma turns on the ball machine, slowly aiming it at her mother and Ivan Snaff. She then fires, repeatedly pelting them with tennis balls, a real smile finally appearing on her face.