CORPORATE GUY: Look, it’s an old panda. A really old panda.
PANDA TENDER: Will you stop calling him “it”? He has a name. Hsing-Hsing. Oh, I know it’s all the same to you… Hsing-Hsing, Ring-Ding…
CG: The point is, that panda can no longer—
ZOOLOGIST: Can no longer what? Pack ’em in like he used to?
CG: No—stand up or digest solid food. I say we pull the plug and save—
PT: Save ourselves some bamboo? Is that what you’re driving at? If you’re trying to cut corners, bamboo’s a lot cheaper than that twelve-year-old Scotch you’re sucking down.
CG: I was going to say “save him from any further suffering,” but…
Z: Forget the bottom line for a minute and take a look at these calculations. Remove Hsing-Hsing from the equation and the entire Panda World ecosystem will collapse!
CG: Of course it will. There’s just the one panda.
Z: But that will only be the beginning of a chain reaction that could—
CG: Listen, Stephen Jay Nerd, save it for Scientific American. Jesus, every time we try to transplant a shrub around here you start in with the chaos theory.
PT: You heartless bastard. Look in there. Look at that little girl, playing with Hsing-Hsing. You think she sees “too old”? You think she sees “can’t earn his keep anymore”? Well, let me tell you, all she sees when she looks at that noble creature is a friend.
CG: That “little girl” is a veterinary nephrologist. And she’s not playing, she’s diagnosing acute renal failure.
Z: You want to play the big-doctor-words game, Mister? I can play too. Let’s make it double or nothing.
PT: You sign that death warrant, and we’ll have reporters from every paper in town swarming around here thicker than the flies.
CG: There are only that many flies because that poor animal has one paw in the grave, but—
PT: And what do you think those reporters are going to write? And what do you think Mommy and Daddy, who pay your salary, will do when Bobby and Susie come to them crying their little eyes out, saying “I just read that the man at the zoo is trying to kill Hsing-Hsing”?
CG: Actually, that might provide a good opening for the parents to explain to the children about the natural cycle of birth and death. By the way, my salary is drawn from the interest on an endowment that was invested into a variety of long-term bonds.
Z: Don’t try to smooth-talk us, Wall Street.
LITTLE GIRL: It’s very clear. There’s only one thing that can help Hsing-Hsing now.
PT: Hah! You hear that? He just needs love!
LG: It’s something he should have gotten quite some time ago.
Z: Exactly! He’s been denied the birthright of every living thing: Freedom! Set the panda free!
LG: Hsing-Hsing needs a shot.
PT: Right, a shot at the big time.
Z: One last shot at pulling off that elusive tricycle stunt…
LG: No, a shot containing a lethal dose of sedatives and potassium chloride.
CG: Thank you!
PT: Listen, Little Girl—
LG: The name is Dr. Viswanathan.
PT: If you want to euthanize that magnificent beast, you’ll have to euthanize me first.
DET. MIKE O’HALABRAN, NYPD (RET.): Stop, all of you! There’s more here at stake than your damn mercy killing. Your so-called Hsing-Hsing is part of a fiendish plot! He’s a double agent sent to gather nuclear secrets for the Red Chinese!
CG: How can a panda gather nuclear secrets?
LG: How many nuclear secrets could there possibly be in the Panda World exhibit?
DMO’H,N ( R ): I didn’t say it was a good plot, just fiendish.
Z: He’s on to us! Run for it!
PT: You’ll never take us alive, O’Halabran!
DMO’H,N ( R ): Then I’ll take you any way I can get you.
LG: That sounded oddly sexual.
CG: Well, there they go.
LG: I guess it’s time. Would you like me to do the honors?
CG: No, no. It’s my responsibility.
LG: You’re a courageous man.
CG: You know, I hate to lose any of them, but it really tears me up inside when the giant ones have to go. For God’s sake, Neera, doesn’t this job ever get any easier?
LG: No, John. But someone has to run the zoo.