by Max Barry

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Region: the South Pacific

Puddles the puppy


*snuffles sadly, slowly limping to the microphone as journalists shout out questions and camera bulbs flash*

"Puddles, Puddles, what do you have to say about recent allegations that Local Council candidate Melicorium?"

"Puddles, can you tell us what you know about this scourge?"

"Who are you wearing tonight?"

"Have you heard reports that Melicorium also set up a legal defence fund for fellow puppy kickers? Do you have any comments?"

Puddles' lawyer gestures with her hands for the reporters to stop and the room slowly calms. All eyes are on the lone, sad puppy at the stage, a bandage around his side.

*snuffles sadly, telling a story of woe and anguish, of terrible, unexpected violence and unanswered prayers*

Puddles stops for a moment, struggling to hold back hot tears from flowing and looking away briefly as more cameras flash, catching every quiver of his cute lil' face. The room is silent except for the frenzied scribbling of journalists as they record every word.

*snuffles again, going on about the continued abuse, days turning to weeks, weeks to months, and finally years of sustained violence against Puddles and other puppy friends*

Puddles stops again and puts his paws over his nose, unable to go on. His big puppy eyes turn to his lawyer, who thanks everyone for their time.

Cameras flash back to life and reporters leap up, desperate to hear more. The lawyer pets Puddles' head and says he will take a few questions from the audience.