Chapter 6 - Monkey House,
At a convenient place Lilly slipped from under the pram and out of sight to find the hole the monkeys use to escape from their enclosure. It wasn’t long before she came across a tunnel in the bushes that lead to the loose area of netting the monkeys use to aid in their creeping out of their home when nobody was looking. Lilly lifted it and crawled under it and quietly made her way to the huts at the back of the large tree filled cage. Unknown to Lilly a pair of eyes watched her from a heavily leafed tree just outside of the monkey’s cage. A pair of eyes that didn’t like what Lilly was trying to do. Eyes that had seen her arrive and talk to Roderick. Eyes that were plotting to do her harm!
There was no wonder that Lilly was not aware of her watcher, the monkeys were making such a commotion, swinging and leaping, chattering and laughing, teasing, pranking, joking and giggling…Roderick was right: Man, did those monkeys giggle incessantly! Lilly clambered through the doorway of the largest hut that the monkeys used for sleeping in or shelter when the weather was unkind. Inside it was no quieter. A group of monkeys sat preening each other, telling jokes and falling about whooping at the punch lines. Lilly tried to but in butt in, “Excuse me, might I have a word or two?” To which one of them replied, “Sure, try this. Go away!” The rest to fall about laughing and began telling teddy bear jokes: “Did you hear about the teddy bear who though she was a goat?” “No. How long has she thought that? “Since she was a kid!”….. “How do you confuse a teddy bear?” “I don’t know. How do you confuse a teddy bear?” “Give her four spades and tell her to take her pick!” As the noise of raucous laughter increased more of the monkeys came inside to join in with the hilarity. Lilly was getting nowhere and the hut was becoming packed with monkeys. Monkeys pushing and shoving trying to get ‘their’ joke in and laughing noisily when, because of the crush one of them would be propelled back out of the door or fall off his perch after a well-aimed slap on the back. Every monkey but one was in the hut, and it was bedlam! Lilly was trying her mightiest to be heard but it was hopeless. It was clear that she needed a different tack. She needed someone who knew exactly how to make others listen; to be quiet; to behave! Miss Sharp immediately sprang into Lilly’s mind. And at this time of day she knew exactly where Miss Sharp would be. She would be where everyone was: at the pool watching the Sea Lion’s show. Lilly was going to have to leave and fetch Old Sharky before she could get anywhere with the monkeys. Though leaving wasn’t going to be that simple. Not now the monkeys had decided that playing catch with Lilly was a very funny way to decide who would tell the next joke!
Meanwhile outside, the one monkey who hadn’t joined in with the others was talking to someone in the shadows on the other side of the fence: Someone who had peanuts as payment for his services. The monkey had slipped out under the netting and was taking instructions from a hard faced raccoon, before scurrying away to carry out the instructions with a promise of more peanuts on his return. A racoon that was hell bent on creating havoc with his dastardly plan to put the children in danger so as to lure Lilly into a deadly trap!
It must have been about the tenth time that Lilly had flown through the air only land in the arms of another monkey, to listen to another teddy bear joke that she realized just how to get out of her ‘hilarious’ predicament. It was during this acrobatic flight, just before landing next to a small monkey near to the door, she yelled, “I know one!” How could the monkeys refuse to let her talk? “Two monkeys and a bath of hot water, one climbs in and says oo oo ha ha oo oo! The other replies put some cold water in then you idiot!” If there is one thing that gets a monkey’s sides splitting with laughter it is a monkey joke. And with the joke told, the hut fell about laughing just long enough for Lilly to toss the giggling little monkey into the air to be caught and a round of monkey jokes to begin again while Lilly jumped out of the door, under the netting and towards the pool where all the humans had gathered for the show.
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