Monkey business

 

It’s been a few days now, but something very strange was going on with the monkeys around here. For three days, there was increased screeching, growling and snarling. Screaming, actually. I always hear them when I’m sitting in my study, working on my blog; I usually just ignore them. But during those three days, the screeching would last so long that I had to get up and see what was going on. Outside the window, on the rooftops across the alley, I’d see tons of spectators, various sizes and shades of brown, some with red butts shining, all looking in the same direction, watching. Always from a distance. Usually there were three to four large males right in the center of things, and depending on the timing of my view, I might see someone scampering away. Had this one been chased off? Was he just a scardy cat? Afraid of all that noise? It was hard to know.

Their routine seemed altered as I passed them on the ground, on the way out to buy groceries or grab a meal. More were hanging in the garage, in the yard at times when they weren’t usually around.

And there was that one night, where I heard such awful sounds that I awoke from my sleep. At first I thought it was a human in trouble, in the corridor just outside our door. Going into the kitchen, looking out the window, whoa!!!!! There on the ledge a few feet away were six of them. What looked like two were huddled together; they appeared to be sleeping. I later learned there was a baby tucked in between. The others, one baby and three adults, all looking to the left down the corridor. I then saw a brown blob on the inside ledge, four or five huddled together. A quick look through the peephole in the door: more monkeys. Back in the kitchen there was the loudest of screeching and four monkeys shot into my view; scurrying up the pipes, an obvious attempt to get away from something. Fast. They held on to the pipes and looked down below. I heard sounds I’d never heard before; I wish I could describe them better than to just say they were pitiful.

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The screeching would come and go. It went on for a couple of hours; I finally went back to bed.

I’ve been awake in the middle of the night more often than not and have never seen monkeys outside the kitchen window, on the corridor ledges, sleeping in the building. On the fourth day, it all stopped. They still screech and fight but not almost continuously and with such vigor. I never learned what was up. Was a rabid one in the group? A new boy in town? A changing of who’s in charge? I searched online and did read that males move from troop to troop so perhaps it was about a new boy in town. I also read the rhesus is the most aggressive of all the primates. That’s really great to know. I’m just glad it’s done. At least for now. I did have the blessing of one observation, learned something new from that. Two adults would put a baby between them, then cuddle together, holding on to each other, chest to chest. Very sweet, indeed.

 

A Godsend, a swing, macaca mulatta with a prize

 

Today I feel like I’ve been given an injection of the best medication in the world. A shot in the hip, that’s often where they give you the very powerful ones. Well, I’d take a shot in the butt every day to feel like I felt this morning when I opened up my email. I really appreciate the emails from the women who correspond with me, but today, well, hers was like ten billion cherries on top of the cake. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You know who you are. I’ll be posting those 5 new outfits as they come along.

I didn’t have my camera with me last night when I observed the monkey with the prize, so today I ventured out to photograph the location of my story, find some red faces (or asses) to share. While out, I almost bumped into a trio of monkeys on a ledge; I hadn’t looked up, had no idea they were there. A couple of others allowed me good shots, I want to post those as well.

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Monday

I went outside by myself late this afternoon, not sure if my trip would be cut short. It was getting to be about that time, when the monkeys come out in droves around the big yard at our complex. My plan, to swing. The weather, nice. I just checked it now that I’m back. It’s 75 degrees Fahrenheit, that’s 24 degrees Celsius. Nice! As a group of boys played soccer, then cricket, I spent half an hour gliding to and fro on one of the two wooden swings in the yard. Pumping my legs, it was pretty exhilarating. That’s a feeling I’ve owned a nice number of times today. Well, three. The cabbage, Chicago, the swing.

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After a while, I got off the swing, decided to practice having guts and walked over toward the back wall where some of my furry buddies were hanging around. And then I saw an amazing thing. A female came running, bounding along the wall’s ledge, something in her right hand. A clear plastic bag with something printed in orange. It looked to me like one of those sacks that carrots (not the small ones) come in; I was too far away to be sure. Three other monkeys followed, in hot pursuit. Running. Chasing. She came down the wall to the ground. There’s a large, wide tree at one of the corners; she jumped onto it and with her prize in one hand, used the other and her feet to scramble up. Others joined her. And as they did, she went higher, higher in an attempt to protect her prize. Even the younger ones approached on the limbs as she continued to move up and others continued to join in, jumping to the tree from the ground. I counted twelve but there could have been more in that tree. There were even a few on the tin-roofed building where the tree’s limbs spread over and across like a scraggly green and brown canopy.

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I felt sorry for this gal, she’d scored some food, it was hers. But they all wanted it as well, they were going for what looked attractive, attempting to meet their own desires. A couple more monkeys arrived on the tin roof, looking up at the one with the prize. A large male, his bright red face and ass inched closer and closer. As she climbed even higher with just one of her hands, the bag tipped, the contents spilling onto the tin roof below. Bam! Boom! Bam! Boom! Those in the trees dropped like bombs in an air raid, their bodies hitting the tin, as they grabbed at the bits and pieces of the contents of the bag. She took her bag, scaled another part of the tree. As she began to try to eat what was left, a young monkey approached, his arm reaching for the bag. She took her free hand and pushed his face, shoving him backward on the limb. She exited the tree, tried to hide in a crevice in a brick building adjacent to the wall. She got no relief, they kept coming, coming, coming at her. The monkey went back to the tree, climbing up, high. For a few moments, she began to eat from the bag. I turned my head to see if any monkeys were behind me, when I turned back around, the bag was on the ground, in the hands of another. Had she finished and tossed it? Accidentally dropped it? I’ll never know.

Another pasta dinner tonight. This time bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, parsley and little bits of mozzarella cheese. It was another nice diversion from the usual fare. Tomorrow: pinto beans!!!

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