The Old Hand :
George, a neighbor down the road, had himself a monkey. Or maybe it was the other way around. This monkey was just too mean and ornery to ever be called a pet. It tolerated George. It disliked all other creatures that walked on two legs. And it positively hated all four legged animals, especially dogs.
In nice weather, George would stake the monkey outside on a twenty foot chain. It wore out the grass in a circle around the stake; except not a twenty foot radius, only fifteen feet. That extra five feet of chain was the monkey’s gotcha for dogs.
A unsuspecting dog would come to just outside the worn grass and bark and tease the monkey, thinking it was safe, not realizing the chain was five feet longer than the monkey’s circle. The monkey would run at the dog, and much to the dog’s surprise, would not stop at the edge of the grass. Instead it used up the extra chain to leap on the dog’s back, bite, scratch, draw blood, until the poor dog could manage to escape the foul-smelling demon.
One Easter Sunday, George returned from Mass to the sight of the fire department wetting down the ashes of his trailer home and the monkey. He stood by his truck and lit a cigarette with a match. He had misplaced his Zippo lighter earlier in the day. One of the firemen said a Zippo was found by the monkey’s open-doored cage.
George bought himself a replacement Zippo, but never bothered to buy himself a replacement monkey.
Published St. Paul Pioneer Press, Bulletin Board 3/20/15