If the Central Park Zoo can guarantee me satisfaction in several important respects, I will float a loan and purchase that there lion Akhbar they’ve just put on the auction block.
The Central Park authorities must guarantee, first of all, that Akhbar is sound of limb, wind and molars. He must be able to roar at least as loudly as Sir Oswald Mosley, General Goering, Julius Streicher, Professor Cuza, Congressman McFadden, Bill Pelley and A. J. B. of the Day Book staff. And I don’t mean as loudly as each one of these individually. I mean as loudly as the whole ka-boodle of them would roar if tossed into one telephone booth.
Abhkar must be sound of limb, because I shall take him for long walks in Yorkville and other Nazi strongholds throughout the city.
The Central Park Leo must have excellent molarsâ€”and Abhkar will have to submit to a full series of X-rays in my brother’s dental office before I accept himâ€”because every now and then, on these Yorkville walks, he may suddenly become hungry. If I don’t happen to have a ten-pound steak concealed on my person, Akhbar will just have to take pot luck on the nearest Friend of New Germany or member of DAWA.
Which brings me to another all-important requirement that any lion that is to become a pet of mine must fulfill.
Akhbar must be able to detect a Nazi at 100 paces. I intend to try him out first on the local variety. I’ll ask the Friends of New Germany to lend me their Fritz Gissibl. Fritz looks like a sure-enough, typical Nazi. I’ll ask Mr. Gissibl to be so kind as to cooperate in this experiment by strolling down East Eighty-sixth street in Yorkville some bright, starlit night when the street is deserted. I’ll be leading Akhbar demurely along on the opposite side of the street. If, when Fritz ambles into sight, Akhbar should decide he’s hungry and leap for him, I’ll be at least partially convinced that I’m going to get my money’s worth out of Akhbar.
Incidentally, I promise to treat Fritz royally if he cooperates in this noble experiment. If Akhbar destroys him, I will undertake to provide a fine funeral. If, however, Akhbar only musses him up a bit, then right in front of Mr. Gissibl I shall show my contempt for the lion and sneeringly refer to him as a mouldy, moth-eaten old has-been.
But even if Akhbar passes this exam with flying colors, I shall not be so easily led into pushing my borrowed coin over the counter for him. That test will merely be a warm-up for the real one.
Before I cough up even borrowed dough for Akhbar, I insist on taking him on a visit to the House of Representatives. I want to see for myself just how he will react to one of Congressman Mc-Fadden’s anti-Semitic speeches.
If when Louis gets up to address the House Akhbar purrs contentedly, I’ll be tempted to turn him into a rug and present him to the Congressman. If, however, my pet should snarl, bare his fangs and break into a hearty roar when the Congressman from Pennsylvania asks for the floor, then I’ll probably be tempted to turn Mc-Fadden into a rug and present it to Akhbar for his siestas. And if my tawny darling looses a roar that will drown out very word of the Congressman’s from the moment he starts talking until the moment when he decides he’s had enough and quits, then in my delight. I might even be tempted to turn myself into a rug for Akhbar’s siestas. But, on second and more sober thought, I think Akhbar would be better satisfied if I made A. J. B. into a rug for his siestas.
Having passed all those exhausting tests, I would be strongly inclined to invest those borrowed dollars in some akhbar stock.
But even then I would hesitate. It has just occurred to me that almost any lion I could pick up would have sense enough to claw up a few Nazis. The lion I buy, however must be just a trifle more intelligent than that.
What I want to know about Akh is, can he sit down at a typewriter in a pinch and knock out a Day Book.
If he can, the Central Park Zoo has found a buyer for Akhbar the Lion.