By 2027, China had become a world powerhouse, with a nation of skilled workers. They dominated every field. You name it, they did it. From shipbuilding to ipads, from baby carriages to super jets. They undercut prices on all goods worldwide. Retailers and governments snapped them up.
The Chinese were successful, but not happy. They didn’t get the respect they were after. ‘Face’ was very important. They couldn’t get ‘Face.’ Their goods were top quality. You couldn’t deny it. But people still looked at them with a combination of admiration and distain. They were after all, Chinese.
Beijing called a major conference. How to raise the status of China in the world’s eyes? The most common suggestion was intermarriage. This had worked for thousands of years. Conquer a enemy then intermarry, soon they all looked Chinese. They sent out a million beautiful Chinese girls. They had the population to do it. There is nothing more beautiful then a young Chinese girl. Especially when they were hand picked for the job.
They were snapped up. But a strange thing happened. These minions of Beijing, these Guardians of the Great Wall changed. Once they got a taste of other cultures, they traded Their olive drab uniforms for frilly dresses. Combat boots for designer shoes. Dull blouse tops for uplift bras. For them, there was no going back to Beijing. They became loving, industrious wives to the men who liberated them.
A six year effort down the drain, Beijing called another conference. The head of the ‘Ministry of Panda Culture’ suggested Pandas. “Everybody loves pandas. Pandas are Chinese. If everybody had a panda, they would love China.”
Beijing said; What the hell. If beautiful girls didn’t work, maybe cute Pandas would.
The geneticists set about it right away. All dogs were descended from ancient wolves, Canis Lupus. It took thousands of years of selective breeding to come up with everything, from Great Danes to the ‘Teacup Chihuahuas’ that Paris Hilton could carry in her purse. The geneticists, didn’t have thousands of years. They had a five year deadline. They modified and checked. Modified and checked. Then modified and checked again. They were after a household-sized panda that could be sold for an outrageous price.
They succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. They came up with:
Panda 3. (24“ long, 50 pounds). $ 200,000.
Panda 2. (18” long, 35 pounds). $ 150,000.
Panda 1. ( 13” long, 15 pounds). $ 100,000.
Panda 1/2. A ’teacup’ Panda, 8” long, 3 pounds. $ 125,000.
Take THAT, Paris Hilton! And she did. Small pandas became a world-wide phenomena. All the uber wealthy wanted one. So did the not-so-uber. Then the man on the street, his wife and kids. If you had a trophy wife or girlfriend, and money, you could get them one. They were all over Dubai, Paris, London, Zurich, New York, and Hollywood.
They were cute, cuddly, furry and funny. Everybody loved them. Even other pets; Dogs would play with them. Roll around on the floor. Snuggle up and snooze. Cats would climb up on these furry balls and go to sleep. Their thick fur kept them warm in the Arctic and protected them from the scorching sun. Pandas were a world-wide hit.
The Chinese got some respect. But only grudgingly because of the high prices. The Chinese had a trick up their sleeve. The commercial pandas couldn’t reproduce. The geneticists had put a lock on that door. If you wanted a panda, you came to China. Chinese ‘Panda Tourism’, brought billions of additional dollars into the economy. Instead of being in the Far East, they were on top of the world.
The rest of the world didn’t like that position and decided to do something about it. Democracy had geneticists too. What the Chinese could do, we could undo.
Genetics had come a long way from the days when sequencing the genome of a Fruit Fly was considered hot stuff. Now if you want to have a tall, handsome, blue eyed boy, you could order it up. A young Marilyn Monroe? No problem, if you had the money. The average person didn’t. That’s why you still had average looking people. If the Chinese could knock out their sex drive, Americans could kick it back in. We shot them full of rabbit genes.This made them able to eat anything green, and they screwed like bunnies. And they did, and did, and did.
There were adult and baby pandas everywhere. They had been designed to mature in six months. The world was filled with cute, cuddly pandas.
Panda Food became a hot market. Ground up bamboo came in 50 pound bags. Bamboo groves replaced orange groves. Brands fought for shelf space. Dr. Wang’s‘Chew-em-up’ Bamboo (all natural, all organic). China Doll Bamboo (fortified with vitamins and minerals). None of these brands were owned by Chinese. Some pandas escaped captivity and spread everywhere. They became a pandemic. If you thought that overgrazing of sheep and cattle were bad, wait till a herd of pandas’ got through with a field. There was a bounty on them. Panda fur was soft and warm. It was made into coats, pants, hats and boots. PETA screamed their heads off and were told to shove it.
China thought it was going to gain ‘Face’. Instead it lost every bit it ever had. They were despised for unleashing a scourge on the face of the earth. Even though only wild pandas were a problem, The ‘Minister of Panda Culture shot himself. But that didn’t matter. What mattered was that families and children, around the world, had their own cute cuddly Panda to snuggle up to (or three, or four).