Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Curse of the Dead Monkey
A little background. I'm one of those people who moved to Florida and memorized the only important part of the rhyme that can save your life: Red on yellow, deadly fellow. Coral snakes, people. Uber-poisonous and not at all sporting seeing how they don't rattle or otherwise announce their presence. And yes, you nay-sayers, I have seen TWO out in the not-so-wild. And what does that have to do with monkeys? I'll tell you. Today, I screwed up my courage and took a nature hike, all by myself, in a nature park in Pinellas County. I put on my hiking shorts, brought some water and a bird identification book, and slung some binoculars around my neck. Then, I ventured onto a path that was not one of those safe raised wooden boardwalk things. It was a real path. Through woods. I've lived in Florida long enough not to jump at the sound of lizards scurrying through the brush. I can also readily distinguish the scrape of palm fronds on other trees. But I'm ever vigilant about snakes. I don't like 'em. (Which is probably why Girlie LOVES them, but that's a story for another day.) So, I'm creeping around this path when I hear a loud brushy sound. Yikes! Oh, it's only a senior citizen about forty years older than me looking for a different path out of the park. She's wearing a twin-set (I'm not kidding you) and nice slacks and telling me that the last time she was in the park, she'd climbed somebody's fence looking for a different exit. Ignoring the obvious questions about exits and such, I asked her about snakes. She said, "Oh, I never give that a thought." Hmmph. She took off in a different direction, on her way to the White Rabbit's tea party I guess. I round the bend in the path and see up ahead that there is something dead in the path. Brown, furry, monkey-like and dead. Never mind that monkeys are not indigenous to Florida. In my mind it was obvious -- somebody's poor pet monkey had escaped to the woods and been killed by a Coral snake that was probably still lurking around somewhere. I was frozen. Crikey! WWCHD (What Would Crocodile Hunter Do?). Never mind - he likes snakes too. I wish I had a video of my approach to that poor dead monkey. One step forward, pause, look around for snakes, repeat. Finally, I saw that I was right about one thing. It was a monkey. Hah. A stuffed monkey. Dead (well, abandoned) right there in the path. I claim the out-of-context defense for not recognizing its stuffedness as quickly as I recognized its monkeyness. And I guess the title of this post really should be I Cursed That Dead Monkey. But it did teach me one thing: Coral snakes will attack stuffed animals as readily as live ones. Poor little monkey.