My mother wanted Finches. My father and I poured the slab in the corner of the back yard. It was four feet by eight feet. We built a cage on the slab with two by fours and chicken wire.
We went to get the Finches but came back with a monkey instead. I’m not sure how that happened, but my mother wasn’t very happy.
We named him Monk. It wasn’t very clever or original I suppose. I was in the ninth grade at this time. So every morning before leaving for school, I had to feed my new friend. Monkeys get up very early, did you know that. VERY early, like around five a.m.
I had to trudge out to his cage and give him a nice assortment of fruits. I kept up this routine for several months and we became quite close.
I would keep him on a long chain when he was out of the cage and we would groom each other and visit. He would watch the sky for birds as we chatted. He hated birds and would scream and pant at them as they passed overhead. He was my monkey brother.
When I was at school he would miss me and break out of his cage and run amok in the neighborhood. No man or beast was safe from him. When I returned home and he was out of his cage, the neighborhood looked the the village from the Frakenstein movies. All the kids had sticks and brooms for protection from him.
I would just bring out our lawn chair and he would come running to have me groom him as soon as he spied me. There was no way of capturing him any other way.
He would lie in wait in his cage and grab the fur of our dog if she came too close. I suppose it was great sport for him.
Once I had to go into his cage to untangle him from his chain. My mother locked me in and went back into the house. I released him from his chain and tried to untangle it as he bathed in his large bucket and drip dried on my shoulder. We both smelled the same after that interlude. He was a charming fellow. Eventually I got my mother’s attention and she came and let me out of the cage.
One day he got loose and my mother decided to let him into the house instead of having him run through the neighborhood and attaching all of the dogs. That was a mistake to put it mildly.
He sauntered in with canned dog food in booth hands and proceeded to clime the drapes and urinate in all of the window sills. Monkeys like to mark their territory, I suppose.
She eventually got him into a coat closet with the help of a broom and a vast amount of determination. Monkeys are clever fellows, you know. I was not popular with my mother around the house for sometime.
Monk was soon repatriated to his old friends and the pet store. I’m sure he was glad to be back with all his chums. I’m sure eventually he was sent back to wherever he came from, first class. He was a demanding fellow and wouldn’t settle for less, I’m sure of that.
He is fifty-three now and living the good life out in South America somewhere. I’m sure of that.