It was not easy being the only rabbit cop on the force. The chief undermined her talent while her fellow officers saw her as a joke. Her assignment all day was parking duty - much to her parents' happiness - when she first came to Zootopia, and on her first day, she was assigned as a meter maid. But that didn't let her stop believing that things could get better and that her boss would finally give her a chance to prove herself.
"Still wearing that meter maid uniform, Judy?"
Judy was having lunch with the assistant mayor of Zootopia, who she met at her graduation ceremony at the police academy in her office.
She sighed, "Yes…"
Dawn Bellwether gave an understanding look, saying sweetly, "It's not so bad. It could be worse. They might have assigned you to… Oh, wait… Parking duty is the worst you can do… Oh, Judy, I'm so sorry, but do not despair. I'm sure once I have a few words with Mayor Lionheart and remind him of the Mammal Inclusion Initiative…"
"No, Dawn, please. I want to prove to the chief on my own that I can be a real cop."
"I know what you mean… They say you're a police officer when you're really a meter maid… Just like I'm supposed to be the assistant mayor when really, I'm a glorified secretary."
"But you do so much for the city!"
"Which Lionheart takes all the credit for… Let's face it, Judy. Little guys like us are always getting pushed around by the big mammals."
"Well, I aim to change that. Thanks for lunch, Dawn, but I have to get back on duty."
"Giving out tickets?"
Judy sighed again, "Pretty much, but it's still my job and I need to see it through."
"I understand, just let me know if you change your mind. You know I'm always happy to help you in any way I can!"
"I'll remember that. Thanks!" she dashed out of there.
Dawn shook her head and sadly sighed, "That sweet naïve girl… I was like her once, planning on making it big… But she has yet to see that others would rather crush dreams than to make dreams come true…" She turned back to her desk and saw the number she had for Doug on her office phone and started dialing. It picked up. "Is it ready yet?"
There was mumbling on the other end.
"Still growing? No matter. I can wait as long as I have to. In the meantime, I may have a new ally for us. With Judy as the first rabbit officer, she's bound to run into oppression more than once. Already, they have her as a meter maid." There was a pause as she listened to what her mysterious associate was saying.
"Yes, that does sound a lot like I had to go through… That's why I liked her since she told me she was dreamt of being a cop ever since she was a kid. With her help, we'd just be able to fool the ZPD from figuring out what is to come…" Another pause. "Don't you worry. I'm sure with the right timing, I should be able to persuade her to join our cause. Chief Bogo is doing a good job already keeping her hopes down. Once she feels so hopeless about her dream coming true, she'll have no choice but to accept my offer…" she smirked evilly.
Judy did her best to ignore the comments that she was given once she had to hand the tickets over the expired meter.
"I was thirty seconds over!"
"You're a real hero, lady!"
"My mommy says she wishes you were dead."
"Un-cool rabbit, my tax dollars pay your salary!"
She groaned as she headed back to the car she was given. A small safety cart. She putted it all the way back to the ZPD. Once she parked it, she went inside to the front desk where the receptionist, Benjamin Clawhauser, was eating doughnuts while typing at his computer. He saw Judy and smiled.
She gave a tiny smile back. Ben was the only officer she could really talk to without getting a strange look like the rest of their coworkers.
"Busy day, Ben?"
"When isn't it?" he shrugged, "You? Were you busy today?"
"Handed out another 262 tickets." She looked around and noticed the department was nearly empty. "Hey, where is everyone? It's not quitting time yet."
"Oh, they're preparing for the stakeout over at Canary Hall tonight."
"Stakeout?!" her eyes gleamed at the thought until she realized, "Oh… but I wasn't asked to be part of it."
"Yeah. I always miss out on the action."
Her eyes widened in thought and smiled, "Ben… how would you like it if we had our own stakeout…?"
The cheetah gulped, knowing this would be a bad idea.
The large police chief and half the squad was outside the Canary Hall, watching posh mammals going inside from a distance. Judy and Clawhauser, on the other hand, were watching them from the trees while wearing black suits.
"Oh, this is a bad idea… Really bad idea… What if the Chief catches us?"
The rabbit smirked, "He won't. We're just watching them catch the bad guy…"
"I don't know it's a good idea for me to be up here… I can feel this tree branch breaking from my weight…"
"Oh, Clawhauser, you're fine and you are not overweight. Don't think that for one second."
"Gosh, Judy, you really are nicer than the rest of the guys at the station…"
"Well, we should treat everyone with respect, even if someone is being mean to you…"
"Like the chief is to you?"
"Well, he's our boss. We have to respect him."
As the night wore on, they started getting bored and Clawhauser had fallen asleep until static came on their walkie-talkies and made them alert. Officer McHorn's voice came on.
"Suspect is leaving during the concert, is heading your way…"
"Copy that, McHorn, good work." Chief Bogo voice replied back.
What Judy would give for the chief to compliment her on a job well done…
Another voice, Officer Fangmeyer came on the dispatch, "We see him going out, a platypus."
Judy looked up and saw in the distance of a finely dressed platypus. This is it, the part where they arrest the crook! Any time now. But she saw the Chief hadn't given the order to move in on him. Okay… I know it's not my place to do your job, sir, but I'm pretty sure you need to arrest the guy right now, before he gets away…
She turned to Clawhauser, "Why haven't they arrested him yet?"
"I'm sure the Chief has his reasons."
Judy was feeling antsy and started tapping her foot on the branch they were on.
Ben could feel it wiggling, "Uh, Judy, I don't think that's a… goooood ideaaaa!" The branch broke with a loud snap and landed on the squad including the Chief.
The noise alerted the platypus and he started making a run for it.
Bogo saw the rabbit and cheetah were on top of him, "Clawhauser! Hopps! What is the meaning of this?!"
Officer Fangmeyer yelled out, "Sir! The suspect is getting away!"
"I'll get him!" Judy started running after the platypus.
Bogo shouted after her, "Hopps! You get back here! HOPPS!"
But Judy was too busy chasing after the platypus, who was surprisingly quick on his feet, especially for a creature who resided near the water. He did not once look back as she managed to chase him down a wharf where an ocean liner was waiting. He got on the boat just as it was setting off, causing Judy to stop where she was at on the dock.
"No! Almost had him!" she grunted, stomping her foot. Her dispatch came on and she answered it hearing Bogo's loud voice.
"GET BACK AT THE STATION, RIGHT NOW!"
"…Insubordination, reckless endangerment to your fellow officers, making another officer go along with your stupid stunt, not to mention you let the suspect get away…"
"Sir, I thought you were going to arrest him. You had the perfect moment, but you didn't take it."
"We were not going to arrest him! We were going to let him lead us to a smuggling operation we've been tracking down for months! Months of work that went down the drain in one night because one rabbit couldn't keep her nose out of it! Now thanks to you, the smuggling ring knows we're on to them and will make it harder for us to catch them in the act!"
"Sir, I'm so sorry… I had no idea…"
"No. No, you didn't." he stated, "This was extremely careless. I have every right to fire you right now, were not for the mayor's Mammal Inclusion Initiative reminding me we need to keep you around for voter support. As of this moment, you are suspended from duty."
"What?! For how long?"
"A month. But keep complaining, I'll make it longer."
Judy kept quiet.
"Now get out of my sight."
She got out of the large chair and moved to the door. He closed it behind her with a slam.
When she got to the front desk, she told Clawhauser what happened.
"Ooh… a month's suspension… At least he didn't fire you."
"No, but he wanted to…"
"So what are you going to do if you're suspended?"
"Oh, no! That's right. I won't get my paycheck since I'm suspended! There's only one thing I can do, Ben. I have to catch that smuggling ring!"
"But, Judy, you can't! You won't be able to access the system and what if the chief finds out you're doing this behind his back? Then he would fire you!"
"I'm willing to risk it, Clawhauser. I'm tired of being a token bunny. Maybe… this will finally give me the chance to prove to him I can be the cop I was meant to be…"
"I still don't know, Judy…"
"Please, Ben… Don't tell him or anyone else about this…"
Ben gave an unsure look, but sighed, "Alright, but you know I can't help you, right? Chief Bogo was willing to overlook my going along with you during the stakeout and just gave me extra paperwork to do. If I help you on this and he finds out, it'll mean both of our jobs…"
"I know… I never wanted you to get in trouble, Ben. You're the only friend I have in this whole department."
"I'm sure you'll make some new friends soon…"
"Maybe, but in order to do that, I have to earn everyone's respect first. Starting with the Chief's."
"SUSPENDED?!" her parents' shouted through the video phone.
"Hallelujah!" Stu Hopps cheered.
"Stu!" Bonnie nudged him.
"Whoops… I mean, so sorry, Jude…"
"Way to cover up, Dad…" she gave an exasperated sigh.
"Your father didn't mean to sound so cheerful, honey, but we never had to deal with a daughter who's so far from home and is in a risky profession."
"Next thing she'll be telling us is that she's fallen in love with a predator!"
"Oh, Daddy, like that'll ever happen… However, since I'm suspended, I won't be receiving a paycheck until I'm back on duty, but since that's a month away…"
"Oh! Do you need to come home?" It was Bonnie's turn to get excited.
"And work on the farm?" Stu asked.
"Only if I have to. For now, I'm planning on getting a part-time job somewhere around here, but if there isn't one available, then I will come back to the farm to work."
She could see her parents were giving unsure looks, but they agreed with her plan.
When she hung up and got ready for bed, she could hear the voices of her neighbors from the thin wall.
"Hey, Pronk! Guess what? The meter maid got suspended!"
Judy groaned and held the pillow over her head. It was going to be a very long month…