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10. A PART OF THE STORY
“Africa?” Mary stared in shock at the lady. “My pet monkey, whom I rescued outside my house years ago in a hurricane, was your pet in Africa?” The zookeeper nodded.
“It was a long time ago,” she said. “I was only a girl, only seven years old, when I lost him.” Mary gaped.
“How did you find each other again? What happened?” she blurted. She had been wondering about this very thing for years, what the history of her pet monkey, Mikey, was. At last she heard it in full.
The zookeeper began, “I grew up in a more remote part of Africa, where my parents were missionaries. When I was about five, I was playing outside, when I saw a tiny creature lying next to the house. I took it inside, and my family and I took care of him. We think the mother abandoned him, or had an accident.
“Well, for two years we took care of him, and he was my best friend at the time. We played a lot together. But he was very naughty, and would steal food from time to time, or break things. Well one day a circus came to the town twenty miles away from us, and we went to go see it. Mikey came with us, and he was so unruly that he left us and got lost in the crowd. We saw him in the circus, up on the tightrope following the other monkeys—and he fell off and into the net below! We tried to get in touch with the circus people to get him back, but Mikey had given the crowed such a laugh that the circus people refused to talk to us and technically stole him from us. I eventually moved here to come to college, and now I am a zookeeper here. And here, I found Mikey had somehow ended up here also! What are the odds?”
“So you have no idea how he got here?” Mary questioned.
“No,” the lady replied. “The circus might have come to this country and he escaped. I doubt we’ll ever fully know.”
“And when you came here, did he remember you?”
The lady nodded. “The moment I stepped in here he flung himself at me in excitement.”
Mary looked at the monkey sitting on the ground, looking around disinterestedly. “He doesn’t seem to remember me. I guess he thought I was you.”
“Yes, that could be the case,” the lady mused. Mary sighed, and then told the zookeeper all about how she had, for a very short time, become best friends with the monkey, how he had given her monkeypox which she had nearly died from, and how she and her father soon gave her away to the zoo.
“It was good of you to do that,” the lady said earnestly. “He has a good home here.”
“Well, it was my dad’s decision, not mine, really,” Mary shrugged. “I’m glad we could have played a part in reuniting you two together again, anyhow. If it were up to me, I would never have let Mikey go and might have died of monkeypox in the process, but now I’ve come today to see his long-lost owner and him together again.”
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