1. Mongooses continue to demand that all negotiations take place in a cool, shaded crevice or underground burrow; this is necessary, they say, to prevent any overheating and excessive panting. The cobra delegation, however, citing their cold-bloodedness, flatly refuses to consider such cooler venues, arguing that temperatures below 65 degrees will make them lethargic, fuzzyheaded, and, “if past is prelude, a buffet froid.”
2. Cobras claim that, through no fault of their own, they are at an evolutionary disadvantage, a disadvantage they trace to the Oligocene epoch (38-23 million years ago). To restore a more historic primordial balance to cobra/mongoose relations, the reptiles suggest rolling back evolutionary mutations and adaptations on both sides to pre-Oligocene levels, in fact to the Cretaceous period (166-65 million years ago). Mongooses are quick to point out that in the Cretaceous period, mongooses did not exist.
3. Mongooses are pressuring cobras to provide them with low- or no-interest loans until they are able to develop sufficient alternative sources of food. Without such loans, mongooses say, they will have little choice but to return to the diet they’ve flourished/relied on in the preceding eons. Cobras, citing their own loss of habitat and consequent recessionary economy, are appealing to leaders of several thriving local and worldwide orders and suborders for assistance, but, given the commonly held perception that snakes are highly slithery and untrustworthy, prospects for attracting potential lenders are generally seen as poor.
4. Cobras insist that mongooses aid in the recovery and return of all remains of reptilian combatants killed in action over the course of hostilities. In response, mongooses have agreed to cooperate, but only in the recovery of discarded remains, not, as stipulated by the cobras, digested remains.
5. Under pressure from an increasingly nervous population, mongooses are calling for the closure and dismantling of all training camps involved with instructing young cobras on how to become spitting cobras. Spitting cobras, with their ability to spray a lethal dose of venom into the eyes of a mongoose instead of using the traditional method of ineffectually biting the mammal’s thick coat, pose a growing threat to mongooses and have been denounced as “radical venomists” by many predator-rights organizations. For their part, “biting cobras” officially condemn the use of venom delivered by expectoration and deny the existence of any such training camps, though they also concede they occupy a far-ranging habitat that is difficult to fully surveil.
6. The parties are at an impasse on the establishment of a so-called depredatorized zone (DPZ), that is, a neutral strip of land on the mongoose/cobra frontier where all aggressive behaviors, postures, and scents are strictly forbidden. Cobras, while favoring the zone in principle, claim their aggression is instinctive, not voluntary, and should be exempted; mongooses make an identical assertion but add that they made it first, and therefore they should be exempted. The reptiles categorically deny the mammal’s primacy claim, and separate negotiations to determine “ownership” (but not viability) of the proposed exemption are currently under discussion.
7. Mongooses are stipulating that all classified cobra neurotoxin formulae be turned over to mongoose scientists so that antidotes may be synthesized. Cobras contend that sharing such information would leave them without a realistic deterrent. Neither side acknowledges the utter preposterousness of mongoose scientists.