Not so long ago. I walked into my kitchen and looked out the picture windows and saw monkey climbing a tree in my backyard. I originally approached the windows checking my herbs to see if they needed water. Just for the record none of those herbs were mind altering, just cilantro, Thai basil, and dill.
The monkey was a yellowish brown and was hugging the tree about 15 feet up from the ground. It was a palm tree and was very much the same color as that tree. Before I could grab a camera jumped into the vast woods behind my house and literally just disappeared.
I grabbed my phone and left a message for my wife. The text read, “I swear to God I just saw monkey in our backyard.” I then opened Facebook and copied and pasted that text as my status. I got a bunch of responses referring to the movie Outbreak and asking me if I had fallen off the wagon. A few minutes later I heard a helicopter circling my house, my neighborhood, and hovering above the woods which make up a preserve adjacent to my backyard.
I had envisioned myself grabbing two big branches, wrapping them in oil soaked cloth and flagging down the helicopter and letting them know that I had the piece of information for which it was looking. A few minutes later I got dressed, left the house and right around the corner was a news van. A man was knocking on my neighbors’ doors. I decided that I should give him the information that I had. I rolled down my window and yelled to the man, “Hey, are you looking for a monkey?” The news man began to pant. He asked me if I wanted to be interviewed. I said, “Sure, I have a few minutes.” I got out of my car and stood on the front lawn of one of my neighbors.
The plan was simple I was to pretend like this was my house so that the man and the van and the camera jockey didn’t have to go much farther down the road.
We had the interview. I talked about the monkey I saw, pointed to a tree in somebody else’s backyard, and explained how it all went down-pretending that it was my backyard. He kept on prodding me, asked me to comment on my fears about disease and attack, and I said no. I decided that if there were a monkey living in my woods behind my house that that’s where it should stay and I wouldn’t try to hurt it or chase it or capture it.
The interview was fun, but I couldn’t help looking at the correspondent and thinking that he was in drag. Clearly he had on a lot of makeup. However, he had 5 o’clock shadow underneath the makeup. Something about it was just creepy. What news channel was I going to be on?
My wife found the previous monkey story on the Internet and it sent me the link. I, in turn posted that link on Facebook for my detractors to swallow. this’ll show you, I don’t make up stories about monkeys. furthermore the news man told me that the footage they just taped will be broadcast at about 5 o’clock 6 o’clock and 11 o’clock because it was too close to noon for them to make that feed. They asked me if I were going to be home that afternoon, because they would like to take some footage of my backyard where the incident had taken place. I told them I was leaving and wouldn’t be back for a while but that they were welcome to go back there and tape whatever they’d like.
I left, with a small sense of adventure. I found out later that day that there is apparently a whole tribe, or herd, or colony of monkeys not too far away from where I live in Winter Springs, Florida. The urban legend, perhaps it’s completely true, is a jungle movie had been filmed in old Florida and some monkeys were needed to make that movie. Not all the monkeys were collected. This lone monkey may have been a renegade from that tribe.
Later that night as my wife and I lie in bed we decide to look up the news channel’s website and see if the story had been broadcast. We found the story and put a link to the video feed on Facebook for everyone to see. It was about a five second cut of me talking and pointing at somebody else’s house, and a long sweeping cut of my backyard, the scene of the visitation. What I liked best about it, was that my son’s giant trampoline and my wife’s compost tumbler were both in the shot. Hilarity ensued.
The very next day as I was cleaning out my garage’s the Rocky Horror news anchor pulled up – oddly enough – in his own car and got out eating an apple. The news van parked on the other side of the cul-de-sac in which I live. He approached me in my driveway and said, “We’re back, another day. ”
I asked if he needed to shoot more footage of my backyard, and if he would like to do the time warp again, he said no to both. He then told me that one of my neighbors ratted out another one of my neighbors for putting bananas out on his fence to attract the monkey.
There was a small sense of elation as I figure that my neighbors were now trying to be like me. But they couldn’t. They could try to attract the attention. The attention had chosen my backyard not theirs. Then I realized how childish I was And continued to clean out my garage. Not before I took a picture of the news van in front of my neighbors house and posted on Facebook with a slightly disparaging caption. Something about a Jabroni.
Conservative Hippyism teaches that something wild like a monkey,should not be that big of a news item in this world. I guess I should be grateful that there is no crazy things happening in my neighborhood, no neighborhood watchmen killed anybody or anything. Although I did consider starting a movement and making everyone in my neighborhood, surrounding neighborhoods, the greater Orlando area, all of the Southeast, and as much of America as I could get in touch with, start wearing monkey suits and demand that the small rhesus monkey be left alone and not persecuted for trying to be an original. Possibly we could start a fund for it. When the fund ran out of money we could create a viral YouTube video, “Monkey 2012. ” and even though that monkey is gone with the wind, never to be found, and the issue is long over with, we’ll see how much money we can raise all in the name of awareness and justice for fugitives.