Try as we might, we cannot save these animals. You see, if platypi are mother nature's joke, giant pandas are her middle child. What we have here is an evolutionarily disadvantaged species.

The creatures were simply doomed to extinction to begin with. Large and unwieldy, they are easily spotted by stronger predators and unsavory humans.

Worse still, these creatures insist on eating a crop that is not particularly widespread which only further diminishes their chances for survival.

And finally, to add insult to injury, these creatures are not particularly fond of procreation. They lack the mighty rabbit's evolutionary advantage of simply, well, having babies like rabbits.

It is quite clear that the Great Panda, while interesting and beautiful, has reached a stage of technological obsolescence.

The alarm rings. He swats it.

Ten minutes pass. The alarm rings again. It's a robust little machine. *Swat*.

He's been wide awake for half an hour anyway. He shakes his head and rubs his eyes with great, soft paws. May as well get up. But it's not so easy to get up any more, is it?

It doesn't matter if he sleeps on his back or on his side, or face-down: He's got a dull knot in his neck and his back feels like his kidneys have been trying to kick their way out all night. He's got a headache, too. What does it mean when you wake up with a headache in the morning?

It means you're getting old.

He rolls out of bed. That's the easiest way, when his back is like this, but he lands so hard. He winces as he puts weight on his left hind knee. The room's a mess. The bedding hasn't been changed in... too long, and it smells. He stumbles over piles of books, drifts of shed fur, old bamboo leftovers from midnight snacks when he couldn't sleep, unpaid bills, teacups, bottles...

He eases himself down the stairs to the kitchen, one step at a time. In the kitchen he feels better than in the bedroom. It's lighter in here, and there's air. The cat's out on the porch keeping an eye on the birds: Been up for hours, the little rat-bastard. Calm as can be.

He digs out the filters and nuzzles open the 'fridge. Guess what? There's no coffee left.

He sits down hard on the kitchen floor and closes his eyes.

He just wanted some coffee.

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