One summer evening, Dad and my uncle were having a few beers, and perusing the newspaper. Daddy noticed that a pet shop advertised a sale on squirrel monkeys. This seemed amusing to them, and after a few more beers, it became hysterically funny. They decided to visit the pet shop the next morning, and see what these monkeys looked like. They simply couldn’t imagine what kind of fool would buy one. It so happened that two crazy fools bought monkeys; my dad and my uncle.
Daddy and Uncle carried in a large crate, from which came sounds of screeching and chattering, and placed it on the kitchen floor. The flimsy crate immediately began to rock this way and that, the screeching getting louder. Sounds of furious scratching and thumping were heard. Those monkeys wanted out. My mother, looking horrified, was speechless. I then heard her furiously whisper to Dad: “Irvin…what did you do?!” She grabbed my little brother to her side, while my older brother and I were frozen in fascinated curiosity. With uneasy grins on their faces, Dad and Uncle decided that the monkeys needed to get out of the hot box.
When they opened the crate, the monkeys scampered out, and began a mad dash around the kitchen. They pounced on the table, sending cups, glasses, and bowls crashing to the floor. They leaped to the window curtains, swung back and forth, chattering and screeching. They grabbed the sugar bowl, and scattered it like snow. They pelted each other with forks and spoons. Mom gathered her children, and we ran to the living room for safety.
We could hear the crashing of kitchen furniture being knocked over, as Daddy and Uncle frantically attempted to capture their new little pets. The entire time, they laughed. Mom looked like a pressure cooker about to explode. My two brothers and I burst out in nervous giggles.
The monkeys were finally captured, Uncle took his home in a smaller box, and Dad put his back in the crate. He named it “Tina”, and he fed her ice-cream. Early the next day, he began constructing a sturdy cage in the hall, which connected the living room to the kitchen. It soon became apparent that monkey odor near your eating area wasn’t pleasant.
We kids didn’t like Tina, and she didn’t like us. When we walked by her cage, she’d lunge at us, cling to the wire, scream, and bare her little teeth. She’d fling her “droppings” at us. If we offered her a treat, she’d grab it and fling it back. She stank. Mom didn’t like Tina or the smelly cage. I don’t think Mom even liked Daddy much at that point. Whenever he took Tina out for exercise, Mom had to clean the cage.
Tina hated her leash, and she hated Daddy for keeping her on it. She would get stubborn, refuse to move, and pee on the furniture. Once she even managed to pee on a wall. The only time Tina liked Dad was when he fed her ice-cream.
We returned home from school one day to an empty hall; no cage and no Tina. The area smelled strongly of pine cleaner. Mom looked peaceful, sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee. We asked what had happened to the monkey, and Mom smiled, then replied. “Gone.” My brothers and I suspected she committed monkey-cide. We soon found out that a friend of Daddy’s expressed a desire to have a pet monkey, and Dad immediately offered him Tina, cage included.
Two months later, Dad visited the pet shop again. This time he ran on black coffee, and returned with an anniversary gift for Mom; the sweet, little, Pekinese puppy she had always wanted.