Darrell stood completely still and stared at his mother. He had his brown eyeballs wide and bulging forward, his checks puffed out with air and his lips puckered. His face was slightly flushed from the strain of one of his best monkey faces. To top it off his hands pulled tightly down on his earlobes.
“Darrell,” his mother snapped at him. Darrell didn’t flinch, but held his pose. “Darrell Edgar Browning, we have been over this before and you know you can’t have a monkey for your 11th birthday. They are wild animals that can become aggressive, and they can carry deadly diseases!”
“Actually mom primates are highly intelligent and therefore it would be a great companion for me. Anyway it is okay I don’t actually want my own money yet because it is not the right time for me to train a monkey,” Darrell advised his mother as the colour slowly started returning to his face.
“Hmm, what would you like then?”
“Primates on parade!” Darrell yelled as he grabbed his copy of The Five Ancestors Book 2: Monkey and headed for the tree fort in the backyard.
* * *
Three days later Darrell found himself at the local zoo for his surprise party. Five of his best friends leaned unceremoniously against the fence looking bored. Darrell felt mortified that not only had his mother brought him to the zoo but she had called his best friends too! Without a word his mother walked toward a strange man dressed in blue jeans and a red and white striped shirt. The man had dark puffy hair and a full beard that encompassed his face making him look monkeyish.
The man smiled as he stretched his arm up awkwardly to scratch his armpit while waving his other hand at the group. His mother followed the man so the group followed her. “Strange,” Darrell mumbled to his friends as they walked through the park without stopping at any of the exhibits. The strange man led them straight to the monkey house.
The afternoon was a hit and certainly not as mortifying as Darrell first expected. The best part was a tiny monkey that ran over and gave Darrell a small hand carved monkey at the end of the monkey show. Then the tiny monkey disappeared into a side door with the other monkeys. Darrell lingered a moment after everyone else left and looked at the glass where the monkeys were now entering into their enclosure from an unseen door.
They came in in a single line and it looked as if they were marching. The first six monkeys had their tails curled and the monkey behind was holding onto the loop. The next ten monkeys has kazoos and pompoms. It was a horrible racket made pretty by the coloured pompoms they waved around. This group was followed by a group doing summersaults, another group cartwheeling, and another group that was playing leapfrog to move forward. Another set of kazoos followed, and finally a group throwing monkey treats and waving.
Darrell stood transfixed rubbing his eyes. His mom was calling him from outside the building. He smiled and left to a chorus of monkey calls.
By Shari Marshall – 2017
Also by Shari A Parade of Monkeys for Darrell