Stefolous went through the numbers with Bob again, and this time they compared the account books to the sales report by Owl.
Account Books in '000
|Profit before Tax||10,000||10,000||10,000||10,000||10,000||10,000|
|5% Income Tax||500||500||500||500||500||500|
Year End Public Enterprise Income Report in '000
|Bamboo Flower Sales||755,000|
|Total Sum of Fees Paid||604,000|
|Profit after Fees||151,000|
|% of Profit to Sales||20%|
There was no mistaking it. 80% of the value of the bamboo flowers had been stripped away by fees before the final sales. It was no wonder that Owl claimed that the government could pay the Hillside Goats 700 million a year if they send the bamboo flowers to them directly. In fact 700 million was a very conservative assessment because the government was getting revenue from other taxes too. Then again, the jungle does need money to sustain growth and development. With the help of three dung beetles, he prepared the next issue of The Tortoise Express.
When the news came out a week later, the jungle was shocked. Even Featherline Digest, which had always admired Fox’s strawberry red fur, began to accuse him of using vegetable dye to brighten his mousy brown coat. The frogs made a racket every night about it, which was quite a serious matter for they were of a kind that only made a racket for rain. Worse of all the members of the Investigation Committee were condemned for Owl’s death. That was when Wolf stepped in and conducted interviews where he assured the public that the committee members were all as much in the dark as the rest of the jungle.
Fox went berserk. He ordered for Rat to come to his den, and when the other arrived, he snarled at him, “How could this have happened? What went wrong?”
“It is an accumulation of bad luck, Mr. President. There is no one single thing to blame.”
“The tortoise should have been killed.”
“I disagree, sir. His death would have worsened public opinion.”
“I don’t care! Find him! Destroy him!”
“That is not possible now, Mr. President. He is under Wolf’s protection.”
“How is it that Wolf found him first before you did?”
“Stefolous was hiding from us, and actively seeking Wolf at the same time. He is a very sly fellow.”
Fox sat on his haunches and began to whine, “What will happen to me now?”
“Well nothing can happen to you. As long as you remain President, the law cannot touch you.”
Fox visibly relaxed and his mood improved. He even managed a smile as he asked Rat to leave him alone because he wanted to nap.
Rat trotted out of his den and wound his way between roots and fallen branches to the clearing where the Investigation Committee had gathered.
Vixen eyed his approach with contempt. “What did the President say?”
“He wishes to nap and does not want to be disturbed.”
Macaque screeched and raised his eyebrows. “Does he not realize the seriousness of the situation?”
“He does not care,” Rat said, his voice shaking with controlled rage. “He does not care because he says he is the President, and as long as he is President nobody can touch him.”
Macaque turned to Tortoise. “What shall we do?”
“Fox is right. We cannot touch him while he is president. The only option we have now is to impeach him.” Tortoise looked at Rat. “Mr. Vice President, you will have to call a cabinet meeting to pass the motion.”
Rat sighed heavily, “Very well,” and walked away with ears down and tail dragging behind him.
Two days later, Fox lost his presidency and soon after he was tried for treason, fraud and abuse of power and sentenced to a lifetime of hard labor.
After the trial, Rat called for a by-election and campaigned for Wolf. It was a landslide victory for their party because the jungle knew them as the ones who exposed Fox.
Vixen followed the progress of the by-election, and one day during dinner with Tortoise she said, “Nothing has changed, my friend.”
“That is not true, Vixen. Something has changed. Our experience with Fox has made the cabinet more active in pushing for new legislation to limit the power of the President. We now have police to watch over police and ethics department to watch over the President and the Cabinet Ministers. Fraud will still happen, because it is the nature of fraudsters to go where they can commit fraud, but with the new regulations in place, the number of fraud will be less and in smaller quantities.”
“But what if the next cabinet changes the regulations we had just put up?”
“Then the likes of Stefolous, Pilfry, Hector and Brucket will have to remind the animals about Fox, and urge them to vote for representatives who have their best interest at heart.”
“I hear there is a new journalist over at the valley, who writes extremely interesting articles on politics, mostly relating to Fox and Wolf’s feud”
Tortoise said, “The journalist is not new. He is an old acquaintance writing under a new name.” A thoughtful pause between munches. “Fox has met his end, but our journey with Wolf has just begun.” And with that thought churning through his mind, he returned to his meal of over-ripe bananas.
Back to List THE END