Chapter 40: Where the Head Meets the Tail

The next day, Skipper was warmly accepted. As planned, they had a massive celebration. Eventually, the entire zoo turned up. From the smallest insect to the largest mammal, all celebrated the new unity. They were back together again, and for once, there was a new hope for change.

And change came. Through the many meetings, running twice a week, change swept over the Central Park Zoo and the entire world. The idea that animals were as intelligent as human beings swept across the globe. And within the zoo, things were beginning to shape up.

Through the meetings established a connection between the animals and the zoo. And then the zoo with the city. The city with the state. And the state to congress, and thereby the country. The country to the U.N. And the United Nations to the world.

Months went by, and new things appeared: In every enclosure now rested a paper form for each animal. They simply had to mark it with there paw, claw, hand, or wing and present it to the zoo keeper. This paper allowed any animal that did not want to rest in captivity to be safely transported to the wild. No breakouts necessary. Once in the wild, the animal is fitted with a collar with a red button. If ever they wished to return, the would simply press this button alerting nearby authorities of the animals location. They would be transported safely back to their original zoo.

Also, Alex found that the impediment that brought him and his friends the most trouble was a lack of knowledge. They stumbled about, naive and helpless. To cease this, a new law was formed to place a television set in every enclosure in every zoo so animals could educate themselves, and keep an eye on the world. The plan worked handsomely.

In addition to these changes, and improvements, the name "Scraggles" was appropriately changed to "Ex-King Julien XIII, prince of the Central Park Zoo". Needless to say, Julien was quite pleased with this.

More and more time passed, and animal rights was now a hot topic that was being constantly improved. More and more change came.

One day, Marty awoke peacefully in his enclosure. Opening his eyes, he placed himself upright and took a look around. His eyes stopped on the large mural across from him. He smiled at it's beauty. It no longer bothered him. In fact, it now brought the comfort it once did before. Everything was fine. Everything was better.

He felt around to find his remote. Pressing the large green button at the top, the television set turned on. It was a decent television with a nineteen inch screen, and full color. It was a news show.

A bold announcer stated, "This is the Morning News with Mark Maverick!"

"Alright. Welcome to the Morning News, I'm Mark Maverick," a strong jawed man presented himself. He wore a brown suit with a bright blue tie. His hair was perfectly combed in an almost obsessive way. Marty imagined him spending hours in front of a mirror, simply combing his hair. Silently, he laughed. The anchorman continued, "We have a great show for you today, New York. The sewage block in the Bronx was successfully cleared. The miracle pill that does it all. And the secret to losing weight-"

Holding up the remote, Marty was about to switch it. Today's news didn't seem to be all that interesting.

"But first," the man added, "The biggest development in animal rights." A picture with a paw print saying 'Animal Rights' in yellow text appeared in the upper right corner of the screen.

Marty lowered the remote.

Mark Maverick continued, "Yesterday, Congress asked President Bush to make an official statement on the animal rights issue. He had this to say."

The television now showed an image of President Bush in front of a blue curtain. Behind him was a gold seal, and in front of him was a podium with several microphones.

"Most animals are know a lot more than we think," he said, "They have feelings. They make plans. And sometimes, they want more out of life."

An roar of applause, and flashes from cameras exploded from the crowd.

It now went back to Mark Maverick, "And now. Can eating make you fat?"

Marty rolled his eyes and changed the channel. With this new channel came a startling site. Marty's eyes widened. Quickly, he dashed to the border of his enclosure. He leaned over the black iron fence, "Hey Alex! Wake up, come her. You gotta see this!"

Alex yawned, waking from his slumber. He gazed up, "Morning to you to, Marty. What is it?"

"C'mon. Get up here!" Marty pointed to the ground he was standing on.

Alex nodded, and stood up. There wasn't a single bandage on his body. Completely healed, he had no trouble climbing up to see Marty. "What is it, Marty?"

The zebra pointed at the television screen.

Alex held his paw to his mouth, "Oh my god..."

On the television, was a picture of a gorgeous valley, covered in lush green grass. Around the edges was a border of grey rocks and brown thorns, with bright green leaves. In the middle, was a blue creek. And by the creek was a large tree, with spreading branches. Underneath the tree sheltered by the cool shade, was a lion. A large, majestic white lion. King Pala.

A man with a safari hat drifted into frame. He spoke with a heavy Australian accent, "And here we see the first white lion seen out of captivity. Not only is this the only wild white lion, but also has one of the largest prides in Africa. Let's take a look, shall we?"

The shot changed to a group of lionesses around a pair of hot springs. There were four. Two, Alex couldn't recognize, but the two in the front were most definitely Kindra and Tana. The safari man continued speaking, "Only rarely, is a lion seen in water. This seems to be a pride of special magnificence."

The camera changed once again. Underneath the beautiful acacia tree stood Elsa and Tenji. Elsa was as beautiful as ever. Her blue eyes sparkled more brightly than the creek. Tenji looked older and more mature. He had a broader chest and a look of wisdom, though the brown bangs on the front of his mane still hung down over his eyes. But then, something stirred between their feet. A small lion cub emerged from between the two of them. He had beautiful blue eyes, and a light tan fur. Tenji looked down at the cub and smiled. His green eyes were filled with care, "C'mon Alex. Say hello to the person."

"Can I really?" the cub named Alex asked.

Tenji smiled, "Go ahead, son"

Elsa sighed happily, "He's already 3 season's old. If only King Alex could see him."

Alex smiled happily at the television screen and whispered, "I can see him."

Marty over at his best friend. He had a serene expression. Marty couldn't help but feel the profound joy he felt.

On the television, little Alex approached the safari man playfully. The man bent down and stroked the cub's spine. "See this," the man said, "This has to be the tamest cub I've ever met out of captivity. And now we go to break. After the commercials, we'll visit a group of wild lemurs that, oddly enough, seem to enjoy wild parties. Coming up next on Safari Watch!"

The screen faded and went to a burger commercial. Marty clicked off the T.V. Alex was still smiling. "Wow." he said, "I can't believe it. I'm like an uncle now."

Marty laughed, "Maybe sometime we should pay them a visit."

Alex raised an eyebrow while grinning, "Maybe."

"I'm glad to see they're ok," Marty reflected.

"Me too," Alex agreed. The two thought of the pride, until suddenly Alex's expression changed. "Hey Marty."

"What, Al?" Marty questioned.

"I guess this makes today even more special," he explained.

The zebra tilted his head, "Say what? What was special about it before?"

Alex held up a finger, "Hold on a sec." He jumped down into his own enclosure. Marty was about to follow him, but Alex was back up in Marty's pen again. He was holding a paw behind his back.

"What's that?" Marty inquired.

Alex bit his lip in excitement. Suddenly, he thrust the object forward. Marty looked down on it. It was a collection of plastic figurings. Alex, himself, Gloria, Marty, Melman, Julien, and the four penguins all on a platform of green grass waving. "Happy Birthday, Marty!"

Marty was shocked, "Thanks, man! Wow, I completely forgot." Marty took the present and examined it, "They got everything right. This is the best gift I've ever gotten."

Alex laughed at his reaction, "Well it's not everyday your best friend turns eleven!"

Marty shook his head, "I can't believe it's been a year since we went to Madagascar."

"Just do me a favor, Marty," Alex suggested.

"Sure, anything."

Alex finished, "Think about what your gonna wish for."

Marty chuckled, "I will."

"This year, let's get everyone that went to Madagascar with us to come to your party." Alex said.

"Yeah," Marty liked the idea, "We'll get balloons, and streamers, and party hats. It'll be a great time."

The two sighed, imagining the party coming a head.

Alex's whiskers perked up. A smug grin appeared on his face. He said coyly, "Marty...I'm thinking of a song."

Marty laughed.

"It's a wonderful song. I'm sure your familiar with it," the cat continued.

Marty started singing, "Start spreading the news."

Alex added, "I'm leaving today."

They sang together, "We are a great big part of it, New York, New York!

These vagabond shoes
Are longing to stray
And make a brand new start of it
New York, New York

I want to wake up in the city that never sleeps
To find I'm king of the hill, top of the heap

These little town blues
Are melting away
I'll make a brand new start of it
In old New York

If I can make it there
I'll make it anywhere
It's up to you, New York, New York!"


Author's note: And that was Madagascar: Running on Empty. Written by Alex Sandford. It's been four months, and it's all been worth it. Please submit one last review. First cover what you thought of this chapter, and then what you thought of the whole story. But first, I would like to take time to thank all my fans and reviewers.

First, I'd like to thank Starla Amorous for making the first review for the story.

Next, Soniagirl, who showed me that my writing can make an emotional impact.

Then, I'd like to say thanks to animelover for being one of my first repeating reviewers.

Next, I'd like to thank theweirdrocker for continuing to review for mine and other Madagascar fanfictions.

Thank you VitaminMan for defending my work.

Thank you BraveKagome, for reading my fiction while writing your own.

Thank you anime kisses, though I'm not sure you're someone different than animelover. Oh well.

Matt. Thank you, matt, for the hope that Dreamworks may look at this story.

Melman Girl. Oh Melman Girl, you've been a faithful reviewer for so long. Thank you so much for your constant support.

Thank you 3VAD127. An odd name, but a great heart. Thanks for reviewing, and I hope you finish your story.

Thank you rellycoolguy. Your reviews were uplifting.

Also thanks to kool kid, who urged me to continue my story.

IcyMoonshine. You were a wonderful reviewer. I'm glad you were a part of the process.

Athena the Pirate, thanks so much for helping me beat the browser.

Thank you, Tyrunner, for letting me know that new reviewers can come in a flash.

Fancypants66. Thank you for your honest, and short review.

PinkPrincess711. Thank you for telling me I had the potential to be published.

Madagascarfreak, thank you for your delightful critiques that helped me shape my story.

Thank you, Phillipine Dragon. Once again showing me that new readers can show up at any time.

Thank you Rain, for your faith in my writing.

Man of the Forest. It's been great with you. I hope we stay in touch. Definitely keep writing your Madagascar fanfiction, The Unlikely Killer. Your story's great, and I can't wait to see what's next!

Thank you very much, AmyAmidala. I adore your stories, and I hope you keep writing, I'll be sure to review. Thanks for reviewing.

Especially, thank you so so much bananasrokk. You have been my most excited fan since you began to review. You are a sharp reader, and caught many of the surprises I threw at you. Thank you so, so much for always being there to support my art.

And last, but certainly not least. MartyCessna. At first, your story came just after mine. I read it and thought it was charming. And you continued and finished it. I knew our meeting was something when your real name turned out to be Marty and mine Alex. What are the odds? Not only did we meet through Madagascar, but it has also brought us into a solid friendship. Your story was wonderful, and I suggest everyone read and review it. Madagascar 2: True Colors. I loved this story, it was written chronologically parallel to mine. Though, mine went on longer due to my slower updates. Lol. You are a great friend, and you have always been there to review my work. As Alex the Lion would say, "Thanks for not giving up on me, Marty."

Thank you all so much. You not only helped me to complete this story, but also giving me the confidence to start my career as a screenwriter early. Once again, I can't express how much your words have meant to me.

And remember, no matter how dark things seem, there is always hope. Always.