Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Simian Visitor

Saturday, I was still recovering from a light cold and severe migraine that had troubled me on Friday. I woke up at 8 and started working on my computer—it will be a miracle if my task here is complete before I leave—and took a break at noon to go for a run. Exhausted, I returned to my house, showered, and took a nap on the couch in the screen room. The cat at the house I am housesitting joined me, lazily outstretching herself and clawing at the cushions.

Something caught her attention, and I worried that she had seen the baby gecko that I had spotted the day before. She tends to massacre geckos, and I tend to protect them, since anything that eats mosquitoes is a friend of mine. She remained perked, jerking her head every now and then, but I couldn’t figure out what she was looking at.

I stretched and roused myself from my nap, and through the screen saw a lone monkey sitting on a branch of a tree in the garden, eating something orange. I looked at it for a while, puzzled that it was alone—monkeys travel in packs here—and when my curiosity was satisfied, I walked into the house.

The cat followed, but then froze. Standing in my dining room was a two-and-a-half foot tall monkey. He looked around, obviously confused, and then walked toward the cat, whose back was fully arched, and who immediately dashed out of sight, sliding on the floor as she went. On all fours, the brown monkey slowly meandered to the door through which I had come, looked around, and then turned around and walked back through the living room and into the dining room. He saw me, but seemed not to mind that I was there. It was more like a tacit acknowledgment.

As interesting—and humanlike—as this animal was, I was no fool. I wasn’t about to try to touch it, lest I catch Ebola or, God forbid, it attacks out of self-defense. Instead, I looked around my dining room to see what shiny objects it might take. My camera, my cell phone, and my laptop were all in plain sight. I moved slowly toward them, and the monkey turned and made its way into the kitchen. The kitchen door had been ajar, so this must have been how he had come in. He stood up on his hind legs and surveyed the scene, displaying how tall he was. Then he squeezed himself back through the door and rejoined his group, which by this point was jumping on the roof, pulling mangoes off the adjacent trees, and generally making a racket.

The guard was standing in the yard. “Did you see the monkey?” I asked. “He was in the house.”

He nodded, flabbergasted. “Ah, these monkeys, they just cause trouble!” the guard mustered. After I returned to the kitchen, he stood, staring openmouthed, at the roof.

Now, I have to go find that cat. The unexpected visit certainly redefines the idea of a house pest…or perhaps that of a house guest?


Anonymous Alex said...

Well Bujumbura certainly isn't dull. I wonder why I have never seen monkeys in Kigali although if there were any no doubt the authorities would make them register and wear a fluorescent bib.

8/17/2009 6:35 AM  
Blogger Morgan C. said...

I just fell out of my chair laughing.

8/18/2009 8:38 AM  
Blogger Flounder said...

I love this blog!
I miss Africa ...

8/20/2009 3:02 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home