Epilogue (also Novel's Epilogue)
It was cold in the zoo this late February day. Brian pulled up his coat collar against the wind as he walked toward the African Plains. The zoo looked different to him now; and not merely because of the stark, leafless trees and the scarcity of visitors. He had made his peace with the once hated Bronx Zoological Park, and now, after all that had happened, felt a sense of ownership for the place. The zoo was a wonderful constant in his changing life.
Things had most certainly changed. Jack was in jail, but had given exculpatory testimony that had gotten the rest of them off without prison time. Brian was very grateful as he didnt think hed be able to stand incarceration. Joshua's diary also did much to place the blame where it truly belonged.
Brian and most of the CALF membership made a point of visiting Jack on a weekly basis. Jack, now in forced exile from NYU, finally realized that he wanted to be in college. He referred to prison as his monastery and his prison cell as his cell. He was taking university correspondence courses and expected to be released on parole in time to attend NYUs summer session. Jacks prison sentence was extremely mild considering that two people were murdered. It turned out though, that not only had Andrew Steiner barely weeks to live but Reggie Foreman was a less than sterling citizen with a considerable police record. Those facts should not have been taken into consideration by the court to mitigate the severity of Jacks offenses, but juries can do pretty much as they want and judges have a great deal of latitude in sentencing.
Brian passed the polar bear den without stopping. The zoo administration had initially said the bears would be destroyed, but an animal advocacy group had rallied support for the ursine man killers. The administration relented, having decided the animals had acted with bear-appropriate behavior. The bears, unchastised in their den, had achieved celebrity status and had become a popular zoo attraction.
Brian leaned against the low wood railing of the African Plains and waited for his lion to come along. Still a committed animal activist, he no longer belonged to CALF. Even if CALF had not disbanded, Brian would have quit. Brians activism was now more in the nature of advocacy and he had transferred his allegiance to a less militant animal rights group. Many of the other former Calfers had also joined the new group which had monthly meetings in the Bronx Zoo Education Building.
Out of penance more than anything, Brian had taken out one of the more expensive memberships in the Zoo. Roger and the Columbia University contingent had taken out more expensive memberships still. Brian supposed that being rich Ivy Leaguers, they could afford to. Brian smiled. His friendship with Roger had been restored, based probably on the fact that they were both closet bunny-huggers.
Brians lion came as close to the railing as the hidden moat allowed and struck a photogenic pose. Brian looked into the large, beautiful, brown feline eyes and felt a slight twinge that he didnt have his video camera with him.
"God, I love this place."