EAST AND WEST By HONEST JIM

Dawn broke in the east of the city and the animals in the zoo awoke to beautiful sunshine. The various creatures in their cages and compounds stretched themselves and looked forward to their breakfasts. It had been a long time since they’d last been fed the previous day and they were hungry. In due course the zookeepers turned up and the animals were fed as they were every morning.
In the west of the city the inmates in the local prison climbed out of their beds to see bright sunshine sprayed around the walls of their cells. After the doors were unlocked the convicts quickly used the toilets, sluices and showers. Then they got some breakfast and returned to their cells. Badly needing some exercise they paced up and down their cells anticipating an opportunity to go to the exercise yard so that they could properly stretch their legs.
In the east the animals also needed exercise after they had eaten their fill but they could only walk forward and back in their cages and it soon became boring just pacing to and fro. So they gave up and lay down on their beds of straw. In due course their handlers came by and checked that they were all fine and any animal that appeared under the weather was seen by a vet.
In the west too any prisoners feeling unwell were told to put in an application to see a doctor. They were then given an appointment to see the resident general practitioner in a couple of weeks, if they were still alive by then. The gates were then opened to the public and many visitors came to the prison to check that the inmates were in good state and happy enough. After all the visitors had left the prisoners were fed again and then locked up in their cages for the night.
At the zoo too there were numerous visitors. Families and hordes of children laughed and pointed at the animals who were so bored pacing up and down their cages year after year that they were starting to go insane. Then, when the visitors had left, the poor animals were fed again and the zoo was shut for the day. After dark you could hear the crazed creatures roaring and howling at each other for company, shrieking and screaming long into the night.
While across the city to the west the prison inmates, tired with marching to and fro in their tiny little cells, shouted and yelled at each other through the cell windows just to try and alleviate the brain-numbing boredom which was slowly driving them crazy. Some of the other inmates wished fervently that the shouting would stop so that they could get some sleep. A prison is supposed to be a civilized institute of learning and correction. But it was a jungle out there.