The Monkey's Uncle
I knocked on Stretch’s front door and waited. He didn’t answer.
“Stretch!” I howled. “Let me in this instant!”
He still didn’t respond.
“You said to be here at four p.m. Well, it’s four-fifteen and I’m here! And it’s literally hell out here!”
“Is that you, Matt?” Stretch’s voice was distant and vague, as usual.
“Of course it’s me, you ape. Now let me in before I die of heatstroke!”
The door lock clicked and Stretch peered out. I barreled through and slammed him into the wall.
“What’s the big hurry?” Stretch asked, peeling himself off the wall and closing the door.
I grabbed a mop to soak up the sweat from my forehead and arms. “It’s got to be at least two thousand degrees out there,” I snapped. “And I was standing there for fifteen minutes waiting for you to let me in. Why was your door even locked?”
“Oh, that. The ‘surprise’ kept opening the door and going outside. I didn’t want it running away.”
I sat down and closed my eyes, trying to keep from passing out. “What sort of surprise is this?”
“You’ll see.” He whistled. “George! Come to Uncle Stretch!”
My eyes popped open. “You have a nephew? I thought all your brothers died of that hereditary mental disorder.”
Stretch rolled his eyes. “I never had any brothers. And George is not really my nephew—”
He broke off as a small brown thing scampered into the room. It took one look at me and broke into helpless laughter.
“George!” Stretch scolded. “That’s no way to greet my best friend.”
The brown thing stopped laughing and jumped up on the armrest of my chair, peering at me with tiny, raisin-like eyes.
I brushed it onto the floor and stood up. “Wow, Stretch, I can definitely see the family resemblance.”
“Ha. You’re just jealous that I have a monkey. Here George! Mount!”
The little monkey leapt clear off the floor and climbed up Stretch’s arm to his shoulder.
“Mount?” I asked, trying to hold back laughter.
“Well, it was the best word I could think of when I started training him. Don’t you dare laugh or I’ll have him attack you!”
Stretch gave the monkey a walnut. The creature looked at it, cocked its head to the side, and then shoved the whole thing into Stretch’s ear canal.
“Aaaugh!” Stretch wailed, grabbing at the monkey. It screeched and entangled its spindly arms and legs in Stretch’s unkempt hair, clamping its teeth onto his ear.
Stretch emitted some explosive profanities. It was so bad I was afraid the soap would spontaneously fly into his mouth, but then I remembered Stretch didn’t own soap. Lucky for him.
I just stood back and watched with a slight grin as Stretch extracted the monkey from his hair and the walnut from his bleeding ear. He set the monkey on the table and scowled at it.
“He’s never done that before,” Stretch muttered.
I sniggered. “Of course not, this is the first audience he’s had. He wanted to make an impression on me.”
Stretch fingered his ear. “The only impression this little fiend made is in my ear. George, you’re a bad monkey!”
George laughed, snatched the bloody walnut from Stretch’s trembling fingers, and shoved it up his uncle’s nose.
“You should have named him Diablo,” I said with a grin.
Stretch blew and blew into a tissue. The walnut came out with a resounding pop, leaving his nostril stretched out of shape.
“I don’t understand it,” Stretch growled. “The salesman midget said George was well behaved.”
“Was being the key word there, I think.” I frowned. “Wait, you said a salesman midget?”
Stretch nodded. “This guy about four feet tall came to my door yesterday selling exotic animals. That’s where I bought George.”
I glanced at the monkey. It sat happily in a bowl of salsa, munching away at a corn chip.
“This midget,” I said, “did he have orange hair, a slight limp in his left leg, and short-term memory loss?”
“How would I know?” Stretch muttered. “He wore a hat, rode a bicycle, and didn’t say much.”
“The reason I ask is because Sheriff Tory showed me a wanted poster of a midget who’s going around peddling stolen zoo animals.”
Stretch’s eyes nearly popped out of his head. “You mean George is stolen property?”
“It certainly looks like it. You’d better call Tory and tell him about this.”
Stretch picked up the phone, his eyes wide with shock. “Well…I’ll be a monkey’s uncle,” he murmured.
“You already are,” I sniggered.
He glared at me and dialed the sheriff’s office. As he did so, the monkey launched itself across the room, leaving a trail of salsa splatters, and landed on the phone. It bit the cord in half, dropped to the floor, and strutted away chuckling.
Stretch slammed the receiver down with an angry huff. “That thing is a—”
“Diablo,” I said with a grin. “Come on, I’ll drive you and the little devil to the sheriff’s office.”
Stretch forced a smile and whistled. “Here George! Mou…moun…no, heel!”
The monkey dashed across the room and scaled Stretch, perching on his head. It held up a small pair of scissors and cackled.
“Watch out!” I shouted. I lunged for the monkey, but I was too late. With a smirk it snipped a big patch of Stretch’s hair down to the skin. I slammed into Stretch, knocking him to the floor. The monkey leapt clear and hung from the chandelier, giggling.
I pushed myself to my feet and grabbed for the creature, but it was too fast. It landed on Stretch’s head again as he got up and snipped off some more hair.
“Stop the monkey!” Stretch screamed.
I tackled Stretch’s head, only to have the monkey jump up on my own head and hack away at my hair. I swiped at it with my hand but it darted across the room and grabbed a handheld mirror.
I staggered to my feet and glared down at the miniscule infidel. It grinned and held up the mirror so I could see my new hairdo. I almost cried! I would have to give myself a crew cut to hide the damage!
“You are approaching the edge,” I snarled. “Nobody cuts my hair short and gets away with it!”
I pounced on the monkey, but it jumped out of the way and whacked me on the head with the mirror. I got up in time to see it disappear into the kitchen.
“I’ll get him!” Stretch announced in a heroic sort of voice. He charged around the corner.
There was a splat and an indignant shout from Stretch. Monkeyish laughter echoed through the house.
I entered the kitchen to find Stretch with a raw egg smashed into his right eye. The monkey sat in the open fridge. Seeing my opportunity, I slammed the door shut and leaned against it. I’m sure I heard some swear words from that monkey during its ensuing tirade.
“Thank you,” Stretch sighed, wiping his face off with a towel. “Now we need to get him to Tory.”
“Easy,” I said. I unplugged the fridge, carried it out of the house, and loaded it into the back of my truck. I was glad Stretch lived alone and had a tiny fridge.
We drove into town and hauled the fridge into the sheriff’s office. Tory looked up from his desk.
“Hi guys,” he said. “Did you catch that fridge doing something illegal?”
“No, the criminal is inside it,” I said.
Tory stood up. “Did you get that midget?”
I shook my head. “No, just one of his accomplices. Stretch, on my mark, open the fridge real quick.”
Stretch did so, and I grabbed the monkey before it could react. I held the delinquent primate out to Tory.
“Aw,” the sheriff said, scratching the monkey’s head. “He’s so cute!”
“Look at my hair!” Stretch roared. “And my ear! This is just a sample of the horrors that beast is capable of!”
Tory took a pair of tiny handcuffs out of his desk and locked the monkey’s paws behind its back. “Come along, little beast,” he said.
“Where’d you get those tiny handcuffs?” I asked.
Tory grinned. “I special ordered them for the midget.”
The sheriff kept the monkey locked up until the zoo officials came and took the furry thing away, two terrifying (for Tory) days later. I say terrifying because the little Diablo was a master of escape and kept picking locks all over the place. If there had been any desperate criminals in jail at the time, things might have turned bad.
Tory did catch the midget. He was nabbed while selling an elephant to one of my neighbors. I’m just glad the elephant didn’t stay long. In the short time it was there it managed to flatten a few shrubs, a flower garden, three mailboxes, a couple trees, and the mailman. And that was before it barged through the neighbor’s house and knocked over the mountain in their backyard.
Stretch, although he retained some animosity toward small primates, did eventually recover his sanity and moved home from the mental hospital a few weeks after the whole ordeal. Even so, if you creep into his bedroom at night, and listen closely between his snores, you can hear him mutter, “I’ll never be a monkey’s uncle again…never…”