Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Yesterday afternoon as I was coming outside into the garden, over the top of the firewood stack I saw a monkey leap from the ground to the big oak by the garden. He had apparently been casing the onionfest when he heard me come out, but hadn't seen me. At the moment he just clung to the side of the oak right where he'd landed, seemed in no hurry at all. This was not your usual monkey. Normally, a solo thieving monkey that suddenly spots me will take off like a simian out of hell, but this monkey just hung there on the side of the tree until I made myself fully visible, when he slowly climbed to the first branch and just sat there.
I was surprised by his awkwardness in getting up the tree - an odd thing to say about a monkey - he had none of the motive grace of the typical thieving monkey, who flows up any tree like water flows down a mountain; this beast, in contrast, waddled inexpertly upward like he was a bit overweight, then sat there watching me like I was on tv. Was this the world's first simian couch potato?
He just sat there quietly, in no hurry, pushing some leaves aside the better to enjoy this interesting program, making no other move even when I bent to pick up a rock. Even when I hefted the rock. Even when I reared back to throw the rock (by this time a normal monkey would be well on the move, if not already beyond range) . Even when I threw the rock, he just watched. This must be 3D! When the rock struck the bark near him, though: that's when he'd take off. The rock struck the bark near him, he waddled off to a branch on the other side of the tree and continued watching through the leaves this fascinating natural adventure program in 3D. I half expected him to whip out a bag of potato chips.
So I got another egg-sized rock. Normally I make my antimonkey throws somewhat gingerly, because of a game shoulder from back in my pitching days, but all these past months of heavy labor have gotten me into better shape than I realized; I reared back and whanged a rockety fastball at that monkey: it went right down the old pipe, and out from among the leaves came what I felt was a simian "Ooof!", though I'd never heard a simian "Ooof!" before. I must have hit him in the belly. Anyway we were both surprised. He swung unhurriedly to the roof of a neighboring building - this program was not going as expected - then dropped down into the bamboo and blundered off, probably wondering why everything happened to him.
As I stood there I realized that the protothieve's fur had been longer and darker than that of the usual beady-eyed brigand, and he'd moved slower, like a chubby monkey. But there aren't any chubby monkeys. Also, the way he'd climbed that tree, and just sat there and watched... Plus I didn't recall seeing a typical thieving red face or a typical thieving red ass. Had this been a different species of monkey? No, there's only one species in Japan. Was this a zoo escapee? Had I maybe just dinged a child of Bigfoot?
In any case I hadn't meant to hit whatever it was with the rock, I'd never hit anything before, other than superior batters, and I felt bad as Littlefoot plunged away-- so I shouted after him "Sorry, dude-- didn't mean to hit you with that rock, I just meant to scare you away from my garden-- nothing personal, you understand."
Which is true as far as it goes, but also it might be good to stay on the better side of Bigfoot.