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Interview With The Tiger 

Vegas attack explained

Hell yeah, I went for that son of a bitch's jugular, and it's about damn time, too. I've been wanting to do it ever since he pulled me from my mama's furry ninny and stuck a piece of hard plastic in my face, saying "Here iz your boht-boht, my beeg cat." How'd you like to go from snuggling up to heart-beating fuzziness with warm milk shooting out of it to having some guy push a cold, fake ninny in your mouth, like his skinny ass is your mama now?

I've been waiting to get Mr. Sequin-Suit by the throat from the time I was forced to join the hell pit they call the show. When I was still just a cub the big cats would warn us younger ones that once you got grown you had to go to a fake cavern thick with stinging smoke and a flash with blinding strobe lights -- I hate, hell, all tigers hate those -- they mess with our fantastic night vision. Worse than the smoke and lights, they said, was that you had to do stupid tricks for Massa like balance on disco balls in front of a bunch of unappetizing humans known as gamblers.

The big boys claimed these gambler-humans reeked from some poison called liquor they guzzled to make themselves more stupid than usual, and that they neighed and whinnied and slapped themselves like a bunch of barnyard animals gone ape, except our ape bros act better than that. A lot of them were fat, the guys said, but not yummy-fat, and the females wore bright paint with their fur stacked high up on their heads.

When I was two years old Massa took me from my mama for good and made me work that cavern; it stank of fake fog and booze sweated out of gamblers and entrapment's sour odor from all my brethren who'd been forced onstage before me, and I knew then that the grown cats hadn't been telling tall tales.

My very first night, when I had to scrunch down inside a stuffy box till Massa finally opened the lid, and then pop up out of an urn that had just been lit on fire, and then stand there while Mr. Shiny-Pants sat on me, and all for some chump treats, I said to the other tiger dudes on stage, "What is this shit?", and they answered, "We know, brother, we know, but he's the boss."

From that point on I began to dream of and wait for the moment when I could show everybody who's really the boss, because I still have my big fuzzy balls, thank you. It just wasn't right. We're built to zoom across the ground and bring down fleeing prey with our bare paws but here we were, made to mince along on a short leash behind this upright monkey in front of a bunch of other slobbering monkeys, no offense to monkeys.

We're built to eat a big meal of somebody's sorry ass and then lie around digesting it with our lady tiger friends but we're forced to work most weeknights. We're rare and beautiful; the humans are ugly and there's too many of them, far as I can see. We're powerful; they're weak. Our instincts are sharp and intact, but they seem to have lost theirs on the way to McDonald's. Why weren't they doing tricks for us?

When I sat there while Massa stuck that goddamned microphone in my mouth so I could "Say hi to the laties und chentlemen, ha ha ha," or while the prick straddled me as if I was his bitch, God forbid, or I lay on my mirrored platform with the other cats looking like the whores on display that we were, I'd think to myself, Just you wait, my friend, just you wait. You will slip up one day -- every prey does -- and when you do, I'll be ready.

At first, the night it finally happened was no different from all the others of the seven years I'd been working in the hell pit. Seven long years, yet Fancy-Pants, just like he had every show, claimed to the gathered gamblers that it was my very first night, like I was the virgin whore in Pretty Baby.

We'd done the box thing and the urn thing and Massa and I were standing there face to face when, son-of-a-bitch, if the bastard didn't slip. I saw the off-balance jerk, and baby, I was on him like white on rice. My Moment had come as my mouth finally closed again on a body part that had a heartbeat in it and filled with blood as warm as mama's milk, while my teeth got that popping feeling as I punctured living flesh.

Glitter-Britches was right -- it was my first night. My first night to show who was Master, of him and of that whole sorry nightmare of a place. As I dragged him off to finish up my business, I heard the other cats murmur, "Right on, brother, right on!"

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