Saturday, June 26, 2004


After a morning hour spent among the greenbeans, and after I'd spotted reddening plums in the plum tree and harvested the ripe ones, I'd had lunch and was napping upstairs in a sweet purple plum reverie when I heard what was clearly a monkey argument in the garden, sounded like it was over plums.

Then I heard Echo join in, running out on the deck and shouting "Get out of here, get away from those plums," and I was up out of purple dreams like a shot, down and into my boots and thence to my handy supply of AMBMs (Anti-Monkey Ballistic Missiles), a bunch of rocks carefully selected for their ballistic properties, lined up on the deck railing ready for monkey battle.

The teenage monkeys (who had given the game away by arguing over the plums (I can see the monkey-adult note to self: DO NOT bring teenagers on plum jobs), already strolling in typically adolescent insouciance toward the pergola and out of the garden, carefully balancing their armfuls of plums, stopped once they got beyond the pergola, that point being (as they saw it) legally "out of the garden." The large rocks that sped toward them cast immediate and concrete doubt upon this interpretation of garden law. They then took off for real, shedding armfuls of bitten plums.

Missiles still at the ready I turned to assess the plum tree and was amazed to find there, seated right in the main crotch, the big fat leader of the tribe, who smugly thought he was hidden because he could not see me for the leaves, and possibly for the visions of ripening plums dancing before his very eyes. He was leaned back comfortably as in an armchair a bit too small for his corpulence, nibbling at his leisure on one of my delicacies. Awakened to reality by an AMBM (I once was blind, but now I see), he shed the plum and shot instantly out of the tree about ten meters in the direction opposite the missile source, landing all scrambled up smack in the middle of the thick bamboo, with more missiles following his rackety bamboozled progress away.

Fortunately I had picked the ripe plums on my earlier check, so our quick response had limited the loss to only a dozen or so ripening plums. Now I'll take all that are even slightly ripe, as soon as I finish my nap.

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