“I need to write a will,” I announced to the room.
[the New Year’s resolution didn’t pan out the way I’d hoped]
“Oh my god,” Alison covered her mouth. “Are you dying? Can I get you something? A glass of water?”
“No, I’m not dying, but if I were I hope to God there’d be more on offer than tap water.”
“Save it for your Marie Curie nurse,” she fired back. “You scared me just then.”
“Ally, I’m sorry. I want to leave money to a good cause so I thought it would be an ideal time to write my will.”
“Do you consider anyone present ‘a good cause’?” ventured Dave, taking a quick inventory of my lounge.
“Don’t worry, you’re all getting something but I want to leave a legacy, something worthwhile.”
“Oh great,” Laverne looked at the others. “I’m getting his Margaret Atwood Anthology while a bunch of rotten schoolkids are getting iPads.”
“No, I’ve been looking into it and I think I’d like to help save the rhino.”
“Since about three o’clock because it took me all morning to think of a good cause.”
“And why rhinos?” Dave was curious.
“Did a project on them in school and got an A+ on it. Thought I’d say ‘thanks’ in my own little way.”
“And which rhinos are we talking about in particular?” Laverne cast her line.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean which rhinos? Javan, Sumatran, black, white… and I think there’s a fifth. You guys?”
“There’s a great one-horned rhino,” Alison quickly googled.
It was an ambush.
“The white rhino. I’m saving white ones.”
“What do you have against black ones?”
“According to the stats, there are a lot more white rhinos. Maybe you should help the black ones,” Alison googled further. “Oh, wait… the black ones have been making a comeback. That’s good.”
“Actually, it’s the black rhinos you hear about in the news all the time. You don’t really hear much about the white rhino anymore,” Dave pondered aloud. “And are they even white or is that just from rolling around in the dust? Because they look grey.”
“There are thousands of white rhinos and less than one-hundred of the Javan and Sumatran ones,” Laverne scrolled down her phone. “Actually, those last two don’t even have horns, just bumps. And they’re a lot smaller than the African ones. Are they still rhinos if they no longer look like rhinos?”
“Maybe they’re hybrids. Fifty percent rhino, fifty percent… I dunno… hippo. Someone will have DNA-tested their lineage.”
“So maybe they no longer think of themselves as rhinos. Maybe they think of themselves as something completely different.”
I could feel it all slipping away from me.
“Maybe they were shipped to Asia,” Alison suggested, “although why would you transport rhinos anywhere? Saying that, if they were relocated back to Africa now they’d be disadvantaged compared to the ones with horns.”
“The other rhinos would probably reject, or even attack, them,” Laverne turned to me. “Is that what you want?”
“I’m not following your logic,” I replied, “but do go on.”
“You want to donate money to the white rhino who outnumber all the others combined-“
“-yeah, but hold on… proportionally, all the others are doing better than the white ones now,” Alison interrupted her. “And did you know that the northern white rhino is down to its last two?”
“In the whole world?” Dave checked he’d heard right.
“Yep, there are only two females left. “
“Then it’s the females we ought to be helping; they’re the ones producing the next generation,” Laverne decided. “We don’t even need the males, just a cup of their you-know-what. What are you doing to help these two females?”
“They’ll be in captive breeding programs,” I replied, tentatively. “They’ll breed them with the other whites.”
“Why not the black ones?” came the inevitable riposte. “They’re the ones being shot left, right and centre. It’s not the white ones being killed, is it?”
I’ve decided to leave it all to the unicorns.