The ferret tutted as she counted the night’s takings.
“If business keeps going at this rate, Noah will have himself a bunch of hippogriffs and ophiotaurusses by the time we reach land,” she said.
“I think you mean ophiotaurii,” the flamingo yawned. “Anyway, you have to admit this place is a much better option than murder-suicide.”
She was referring to the nasty incident on Day 2 of the Flood where the female unicorn had speared her partner and then turned her horn on herself. Noah had been quick to set up ‘The Ark Angels Brothel’ after that, hoping to ease the tensions between the pairs of animals.
The ferret shrugged. “How was your shift?”
“More of the same,” the flamingo replied, shifting her weight to her other leg. “That rattlesnake was in again, moaning that his wife never listens to him. I pointed out that it’s because rattlesnakes are deaf but I don’t think he heard me.
“And then a praying mantis came in and just cried for an hour because his wife keeps seasoning his head while he’s sleeping.
“And after that, a horse came wanting to saddle and whip me… “
The flamingo’s story was interrupted by two swans tumbling through the door in a flurry of feathers and angry words.
“I thought we were supposed to mate for life!” Mr Swan was honking.
“That was before you took me on the worst cruise ever. You said there would be games! And a smorgasbord!” Mrs Swan was honking back.
“But think of the alternative! All that rain! All those rising waters!”
“We’re swans! We float!” Mrs Swan barked, before turning to the flamingo with a smile. “Oh goody. You’re still here.”
The flamingo tried not to groan. The last time Mrs Swan had come in, she’d just wanted to hiss and grunt for the whole session. It had been extremely wearing on the flamingo’s delicate vocal chords.
“We’re closed,” she said. “I’ve got fifty bucks that says you’re open,“ Mrs Swan said, lifting her wing to reveal the crisp fifty dollar note tucked underneath.
“Okay,” the flamingo sighed.
“Can I at least watch?” Mr Swan whimpered.
“No!” the flamingo and Mrs Swan snapped in unison.
As she lead Mrs Swan through to the back room, the flamingo thought of the jar full of cash she and her husband had saved for the new life ahead. And then she thought of her poor husband working a double-shift in the animal restrooms, shovelling faeces with his beak.
This could be worse, she decided. She cleared her throat, ready to start hissing and grunting. But Mrs Swan had other ideas.
“Would you mind burying your head in that bucket of sand?” she asked coyly. “I’ve always had a thing for ostriches…”
The flamingo closed her eyes as she pressed her head into the cold sand.
Yes, this could be worse, she thought again. But it could also be a whole lot better.