“I’m writing my will,” I announced.
“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 nurse,” Alison fired back. “You scared me just then.”
“You’re right, I’m sorry. No, I’ve decided I want to leave money to a good cause.”
“Do you consider anyone present a good cause?” Dave ventured, 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 gonna score an iPad.”
“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’s taken me all morning to think of a good cause.”
“Why rhinos?” Dave was curious.
“I did a project on them in school and got an A+ on it, so I guess I’m saying 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?”
“It says here there’s a great, one-horned rhino,” Alison was scrolling through her phone.
I smelled an ambush.
“The white rhino. I’m saving white ones.”
“What do you have against the black ones?”
“According to the statistics, there are a lot more white rhinos. Maybe you should help the black ones,” Alison scrolled 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 joined in. “And are they even white or is that just from rolling around in the dust because they actually look sorta grey.”
“There are thousands of white rhinos and less than one-hundred of the Javan and Sumatran ones,” Laverne was also on 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.”
“Maybe they no longer think of themselves as rhinos. Maybe they identify 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 they’d be disadvantaged compared to the ones with horns.”
“The other rhinos would probably attack them,” Laverne turned to me. “Is that what you want? Rhino gang wars?”
“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 correctly.
“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 suggested, tentatively. “They’ll breed them with the other whites.”
“Why not the black ones?” came the riposte. “They’re the ones being shot left, right and centre. It’s not the white ones being killed, is it?”
“And what if the females don’t want to breed? Don’t they have a say in it? Why is it up to the males?” Alison queried.
Update: I’ll be leaving everything to the goldfish.