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by Pixie H
© 2006 Knowledge Adventure, Inc. All rights reserved. http://www.kabooksbyyou.com
This book is dedicated to my Mum for buying me my first monkey. If it had not escaped I wouldn't have had a story to write.
Chapter 1: Party at the Grand Pavilion
There are not many people in the world who have seen purple and pink-speckled monkeys. They are impossibly rare. And because the purple and pink-speckled monkey is one of the smartest animals on earth, it is extremely good at hiding. In fact, most of the monkeys that have been caught have quickly escaped. So you can imagine the enormous excitement at Monkey Zoo early
one spring. They had one purple and pink -speckled monkey placed in their care. Among the most excited people at the zoo was a short and skinny, black-haired girl named Ro Hanif. Her mother was a zookeeper in charge of the monkeys. After school on Fridays and all day on Saturdays, Ro helped at the monkey house, or the "Monkey Palace," as it was more properly called. Her mother said she could help look after the new purple and pink-speckled monkey as soon as it arrived. Now, while everyone loves zoos, it's also true that capturing wild animals and locking them up isn't exactly a nice thing to do. Located in Te Aroha, in the city of Hamauck, Monkey Zoo was one of the nicest zoos in the world. The animals lived in such blinding splendor that, in the 10 years since the zoo's founding, none of them ever tried to escape. More important, however, Monkey Zoo
specialized in taking care of sick and orphaned animals. This is important to this particular story because, sadly, the purple and pink -speckled monkey was himself an orphan, having lost both his parents to hunters in the jungles of Canada. Part of the excitement caused by the new monkey came from the fact that there was going to be a big afternoon party in the zoo's Grand Pavilion. The monkey was going to be presented in a small but very comfortable cage hidden behind an enormous silk curtain. While all the most important people of Hamauck watched, the monkey was going to be unveiled. "Oh, Bluebell, it's going to be the most thrilling event of the year!" Ro's mother said
after telling Ro about the party. "And we're definitely invited?" Ro asked. "We're definitely invited." "Awesome!" exclaimed Ro. It did, in fact, turn out to be a very exciting event. By all accounts, this was absolutely true. But it was not exciting for any of the reasons people had expected. That is, it was not exactly exciting in a good way. On the day of the party, the zoo was something close to complete chaos. The party was scheduled to start at two o'clock that afternoon, but by nine that morning people were running around like maniacs. Even the Zoots and Boots were surprised to see how strangely people were behaving, and it's common knowledge that Zoots and Boots are the strangest animals on earth. Ro too was running around like a maniac. The monkey arrived early that morning in a large traveling cage. Ro's job was to look after
the monkey, so she opened the cage to play with it. A little-known fact is that purple and pink-speckled monkeys are fairly mischievous. They don't exactly do what they're supposed to, and they absolutely love playing tricks on people. So, just as Ro opened the cage and said "Cute," the monkey poked her in the nose and charged out of the cage, across the room, out the door, and right into the Elephant House. Now, if you've ever chased a monkey through an Elephant House, you know how difficult this is. Ro dodged swinging elephant trunks and swishing elephant tails and stumbled past water buckets. Worse, it's well known that elephants are terrified of monkeys, and as the purple
and pink-speckled monkey ran between the rows and rows of elephant legs, the elephants all trumpeted in a deafening and blood-curdling manner. But Ro didn't give up. She couldn't. She was in charge of the monkey. She just kept chasing it, the whole time yelling, "Get back here!" which wasn't very useful, seeing that purple and pink -speckled monkeys don't speak English - or any human language, for that matter. As the monkey approached the zoo's Boot and Zoot pit, Ro, who was right behind him, screamed, "Eeek!" Her scream surprised the little creature and made it possible for Ro to finally catch up with him. She employed a little trick her mother had taught her. Although purple
and pink-speckled monkeys are wild and rambunctious animals (not unlike human children), if you start to scratch his tummy, the monkey immediately calms down and becomes so cuddly that he will grab hold of you and won't let go. So, when Ro finally cornered the purple and pink-speckled monkey, instead of grabbing him, she started to scratch his tummy. The monkey sighed, rolled into Ro's arms, and hugged her right around the neck. This made Ro pretty happy. Who doesn't like to be hugged by purple and pink-speckled monkeys? Ro whispered back, "If you had gone into the Boot and Zoot pit, I never would have caught you, you silly monkey." Ro had an absolute phobia of Boot and Zoots and the zoo's Boot and Zoot pit which is worth remembering, because it will come up again later on. At any rate, the zoo was busy. Ro spent the
whole rest of the morning and early afternoon carefully watching the monkey. She gave it a bath. She brought it lots of fresh water. She even fed it, although the purple and pink-speckled monkey is a very picky eater. The purple and pink-speckled monkey ate one apple after another. Everybody else kept busy as well. People ran to and fro taking care of small tasks around the Grand Pavilion. They dusted off the piano. They swept out the coat room. They washed the windows. And they made the dessert, which was an enormous apple cake in honor of the monkey. Finally, after all that running around, the clock struck two and the guests started to arrive. "I don't think I've ever seen the Grand
Pavilion look so beautiful," Ro's mother said to her. Ro was still sore from chasing the monkey through the Elephant House, but she was dazzled by the decorations as well. "It really is cool," Ro agreed. But Ro and her mother didn't have too much time to talk. Soon the guests were coming up to congratulate them on their new monkey. Among the more important guests that Ro greeted, there was the mayor, Really Strong, a skinny, loud, dark-haired woman, who always seemed to be laughing at one thing or another. She was best known for disco dancing in the '70s, which everyone agreed was one of the
most amazing things ever to happen in Hamauck. She was also good friends with Ro's mother. They had gone to high school together and had both been trombonists in the marching band. Ro liked the mayor a great deal, and Mayor Strong felt the same. Also in attendance were Tom and Ted Trap, world-famous hunters who owned their own private island where they kept rare animals for their hunting pleasure. People paid them top dollar to hunt there as well. The Trap brothers were also twins, which was confusing to everyone because they looked nothing alike. Tom was tall and unnaturally skinny. Ted was short and plump. Both, however, were entirely bald, and they always wore the exact same
outfits - camoflage clothes. Madame Rosey was there, too. She ran a bustling fortune-telling business from her small house in Hamauck. She had a huge garden where she grew all sorts of strange plants she used in potions that helped her predict the future. Ro didn't believe in fortune telling, but if anyone could tell the future, it was Madame Rosey. She had a strange, distant gaze, long bony fingers, and wild, jet-black hair that looked like black snakes. In addition, she was often at the zoo looking for the hair of rare animals to use in her various fortune-telling concoctions. A world-famous scientist and certainly the brightest man in Hamauck, Professor Big
Banana, also came to see the new monkey. He had made great breakthroughs in matters of animal behavior and first made a name for himself by teaching parrots how to play Fruit Loops. He was particularly interested in the purple and pink-speckled monkey for his latest experiment. Because the purple and pink-speckled monkey was so smart, he believed he could teach it to play Checkers, a very difficult game for animals. The zoo, however, had refused to let Professor Banana experiment with the monkey. After all, rare monkeys have far better things to do with their time than play board games. Ro actually knew quite a few of the guests and was fairly exhausted once all the
introductions and hellos were over. She really did like Mayor Really Strong, however, and they were even seated next to each other for the grand unveiling of the monkey. "You've done an excellent job with all this, Ro," the mayor said as they took their seats. "I'll bet you and the monkey are already friends." "The monkey is completely crazy!" Ro replied. "I spent the whole day chasing him through the Elephant House. But I already love him." About the time that Ro and the mayor were talking, Ro's mother stepped up to a microphone that stood at the front of the Grand Pavilion. She was distinguished looking at the age of 36, very kind, and, like Ro, was short and skinny and had black hair. Ro felt very proud as her loving mother began her speech. "I'd like to welcome you all here," she said after taking a deep breath.
"I'm so happy you've come. And I know what you're all waiting for, so I won't delay another second. Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to introduce you to our very special guest." As Ro's mother said this, several people wheeled in the monkey pen, which was covered by a large black curtain. This would be the first sighting of the purple and pink -speckled monkey for most people in the room. Everyone was very excited. "Monkey Zoo will be the only place in the country where you can see a monkey like this," Ro's mother continued. "I won't make you all wait a second longer. Friends, I introduce you to our brand-new purple and pink -speckled monkey!" Ro's mother reached
behind her and pulled on a golden rope that was attached to the curtain. The curtain came flying off, and the crowd instantly gasped. But the gasp quickly turned into silence and then to quiet muttering. The crowd had expected to see the miraculous new purple and pink -speckled monkey. The only problem was that the cage was empty. There was no monkey. The monkey was gone. Ro's mother quickly said, "Don't worry, folks. I'm sure he's here somewhere." But the quiet muttering continued as Ro's mother and all the other zoo workers started looking for the monkey. The search ended quickly. Ro's mother checked the cage again and noticed that the lock had been cut clean through. "The monkey hasn't escaped!" she suddenly yelled. "Someone has stolen it!" "Wow!" cried Ro with surprise and anxiety.
"Help! Help!!" some people started yelling, and the chant "The monkey's been stolen!" began circulating throughout the Grand Pavilion. A few guests fainted. People were quite upset. The person who looked most upset, however, was Ro's mother, because now everyone seemed to be mad at her. "Where is the monkey?" people were demanding. Ro and the mayor ran up to Ro's mother to lend her a hand. "Don't worry," the mayor said. "We'll find out who took it." Even though the mayor was standing right beside her, Ro's mother didn't feel any better. In fact, after looking around the room and seeing all those angry faces, she
suddenly started to cry. Now Ro also felt terrible. As anyone knows, seeing your mother upset is one of the worst things in the world. It was certainly one of the worst things that Ro had ever seen. After another minute, the mayor suggested that she and Ro's mother go somewhere to talk about what might have happened. "May we leave you on your own for a bit?" Mayor Strong asked Ro. "No problem," Ro said, although she wasn't crazy about leaving her mother. But they had to find the monkey. Maybe it was best if her mother and the mayor got right to work. Why did they need her around? The mayor quickly got on her cell phone and called the police. She escorted Ro's mother out of the Grand Pavilion, leaving Ro alone in the now confused mob of partygoers. Ro felt so helpless and worried about her mother. Then something strange happened.
She was standing near an exit when she noticed that the Trap brothers looked just a little too happy. Tom, the tall one, had just gotten off his cell phone and was saying, "This is wonderful! Our men have done a wonderful job. We've been trying to get one for so long. And now we have it!" Ted just nodded and said, "Cool." Ro was shocked. Maybe they took the monkey. She thought she should go tell the mayor, but in the next second the brothers were walking quickly toward the exit. There was no time to find Mayor Strong. She had to follow the Trap brothers herself. Maybe she could get to the bottom of this on her own.
Chapter 2: Solving the Case
To be perfectly frank, Ro was an absolutely magnificent candidate to solve a crime. In fact, if you filled a room with 99 people and had to choose one person to save you from certain disaster, Ro would probably be your first or second choice. To begin with, Ro had dazzling athletic abilities. She was the city-wide wrestling champion, a highly accomplished
speed-skater, and an astounding clarinetist, a thing that demands a great deal of athleticism. Ro was also a shrewd judge of character, which meant that she knew what kind of person she was dealing with in the blink of an eye. This is important because criminals tend to lie quite a bit, especially if you're trying to send them to jail. Additionally, Ro was a very creative thinker. This didn't always get her high marks from teachers. In fact, it sometimes meant that Ro did exactly the opposite of what she was told to do. But a person needs to be a free-thinker if she wants to get to the bottom of the matter. (Of course, a person should also listen to her teachers, as Ro well knew!) At any rate, Ro followed Tom and Ted Trap out of the Grand Pavilion and into the bright afternoon sunlight. She wasn't sure where they were headed, but soon she realized they were walking to their enormous car,
which was an SUV with the words "Trap Brothers Huntmobile" written on it. Ro had to follow them, but all she had was her bright purple with gold sparkles bike. She'd never be able to keep up. If only she could figure out where they were going... Suddenly, a strange bird call sounded from the zoo. The taller of the twins, Tom, came to an abrupt halt and said, "Did you hear that? That was a Purple Flying Kiwi!" The call sounded again. Ted paused, listened and said, "I'm afraid you don't have that quite right, old boy. That was the call of a Gold Peacock." "You're out of your mind," Tom replied.
"That was a Purple Flying Kiwi." "No," Ted said. "It was a Gold Peacock." "A Purple Flying Kiwi!" "A Gold Peacock!" "A Purple Flying Kiwi!" "A Gold Peacock!" This argument carried on for some time. Eventually, Tom suggested that they had both bird calls on tape at home. "We'll go home immediately and listen to both," he said. "Then you'll realize your mistake." So they were headed home. Ro knew where they lived - everyone knew where the palatial Trap mansion was - and soon Ro was running back to the zoo. She had to get her bike. She'd ride to their house and meet up with them there. By the way, and in the interest of truth, the call was from neither a Purple Flying Kiwi nor a Gold Peacock. It was the call of the
purple flamingo, an entirely different bird. The trip across town took about twenty minutes by bike. And when Ro arrived at their house, she saw the Trap brothers' car was already parked in the driveway. The Trap house was absolutely enormous and almost entirely dark. It looked like a hunting lodge you might find in some far-off country filled with lots of dangerous animals. Ro wasn't sure what she should do at this point. Part of her wanted to sneak in and start looking for the monkey, but Ro had always believed that sneaking into other people's houses was not a very nice thing to do. She decided that she'd just ring the bell and when the brothers answered, she'd start asking questions. She thought she'd know
if they were lying to her. But this plan did not, in fact, work out. As she walked up to the house, a gigantic guard dog suddenly appeared behind her and started barking wildly. Ro thought for an instant that she might be able to calm it down and even become friends with it. She did work with animals, after all. But when she caught sight of the dog's terribly huge teeth, she decided that what she really ought to do was run for her life. There was a small set of stairs leading down to a door to the basement. This was closer than the front door. And since the dog was now getting very close, she decided the basement door was her only escape. She flew down the stairs, pushed open the door, and in
the next instant she was safe from the crazed dog. Strangely, though, Ro didn't feel much safer in the Trap's basement. Only a small reading lamp was on, so Ro had a hard time seeing at first. She kept imagining the scariest noises, like the sounds of a ghost, someone breathing, or a book slamming open and shut. When her eyes became adjusted to the dark, though, she almost wished there was no light at all. She was surrounded by animals that had been hunted and stuffed. There were stuffed purple gorillas, squeaking dogs, several dinosaurs, and even a moose head. Worse, there were jars and jars of fake eyeballs - the kind you'd use when making dolls or stuffed animals.
They resembled marbles although they didn't seem quite as fun. "I've got to get out of here," Ro finally said to herself. "Oh dear me!." There were more rooms in the basement, but Ro thought she heard talking upstairs. Ro spotted a staircase that led upstairs. She quickly walked to it and climbed up to the next floor. Still, it was very dark. Ro didn't know where to go next, when she suddenly heard a strange howling sound. Ro nearly jumped out of her skin it was such a frightening noise. For a moment, Ro thought she recognized the sound. It was almost certainly from the purple and pink-speckled monkey. As Ro listened more carefully, she realized it was coming from the next floor up. She quickly found another staircase and headed to the second floor. Unfortunately, when Ro reached the top of the stairs, the howling stopped. She thought it
had come from her right, though, and quickly headed down a long hallway. A single light glowed at the end of the hall, and Ro could make out doors on both the left and right. The walls were heavily decorated with guns, swords, and more animal heads. "Oh dear me!," Ro said again. But she thought about her mother and decided to keep going. She'd find the monkey and then call the police to arrest the Trap brothers. Still, where should she look? Which door should she open? All at once, Ro heard scuffling and bumping noises that a trapped animal might make. It came from a room at the end of the hall. Ro ran directly there. She opened the
door. The room resembled a library. Bookcases covered every wall, with more guns and animal heads hung as decoration. Before her was a huge animal crate with air holes drilled into it. Ro ran to the crate and began to unlatch the metal fasteners that held its top on. She was almost done. She'd have the monkey in a second. Suddenly, a hand clamped down on her shoulder. Ro was so scared she actually screamed, "Eeek!" She turned around and saw the two hunters behind her. And they looked pretty angry. "What are you doing here?" Tom, the tall one, bellowed. Ro didn't know how to answer. "Nothing," she said, although this didn't make much sense. "Nothing, eh?" Tom said. "It looked like you were opening this crate." Ro again didn't know what to say. But
finally, her courage returned, and she said, "I'm here for the purple and pink -speckled monkey. I know you took it." And with that, Ro turned and opened up the crate. "Explain this," she yelled. But the fact was that there wasn't much to explain. There was no monkey in the crate. Instead it was a very large Zoota. "I'm not sure what you want us to explain," Ted said. "That's a very, very rare howling Zoota. Our men just captured it." At that moment the Zoota started howling which, by the way, is an extremely unusual thing for a Zoota to do. Ro wasn't quite sure it sounded the same as the earlier howling, but it was definitely howling. Ro hardly knew what
to say. She turned bright red from embarrassment. Finally, she just said, "I'm very, very sorry for making a mistake." "You'd better be," Tom snapped. "Now I think it's time for you to leave." Ro quickly agreed and, to tell the truth, was now fairly thankful she was getting out of there. All the guns, the strange animals, and the jars of fake eyeballs were just too much. Tom and Ted showed Ro the door while she continued to apologize profusely. As she was stepping through the front doorway and wondering what she would do next, Ted said something interesting. "If you're looking for the monkey thief," he said, "I'd check with Madame Rosey - the
fortune-teller. She once told us that if we ever captured any purple and pink-speckled monkeys, she wanted to buy some fur. She seems to think the fur has special magical powers." Ro just nodded and said she was sorry again. She was quite upset, but she had not entirely lost hope. As the door shut behind her, she decided she could pay a visit to the fortune-teller. And if she hurried, she could still make it home before nightfall. It wasn't such a long bike ride to the fortune-teller, and after about 15 minutes of moderately fast pedaling, Ro arrived at her destination. The fortune-teller lived in a strange little house near Lots of Trees, the big wooded area
at the edge of Hamauck. Ro had noticed the house before, because it had a large sign out front that read, "You ask, I know." She had even wanted to visit one day, although she was pretty sure people couldn't really tell fortunes. Ro wasn't exactly sure what to do after she arrived. But she'd always believed that a person should be very honest and forthright no matter what the circumstances. So she decided to simply walk to the front door, ring the doorbell, and ask Madame Rosey directly about the missing monkey. And this is exactly what she did. But again, things didn't go quite as planned. Madame Rosey answered the door when Ro rang, but the madame quickly said, "Hello, darling. I'm with a customer right now. Make yourself comfortable in my waiting room. I'll be with you shortly." Madame Rosey pointed to a small room. "But I really need to speak to you right
now," Ro said. "Everyone needs to speak to Madame Rosey," she replied. "But you must wait your turn." Ro was about to speak again, but Madame Rosey said, "Please, my dear. In due time." Then she turned and disappeared behind a curtain. Ro didn't particularly feel like waiting. But what could she do? She walked into the waiting room, sat down, and said to herself, "I'll give her five minutes." Then, as Ro looked to her right, she saw something very, very startling. It was a pair of hair clippers next to a little pile of brownish-purple and pink hair that looked just like monkey fur. And just as she saw the fur, she glanced down another hallway that led away from the
waiting room and saw a flash of brownishpurple and pink fur run from one room to the next. "So this is where they have been hiding you!" Ro said, jumping up. Ro quickly darted down the hallway to where she saw the flash of brown fur, but she didn't see the monkey anywhere. The hallway walls were covered with loose red velvet curtains and several paintings hung on either side. All of the paintings were portraits of very old people who looked just a little like vampires. It was very spooky. Ro was looking at a picture titled "Cousin Trotter" when she began to hear muffled talking. Ro made out the words, "Thank you, Madame Rosey. Thank you."
"It's been a pleasure," she replied. Then there was the sound of the front door opening and shutting. Next, and much to Ro's horror, there was the sound of footsteps coming back toward the hall where she was. More important, Ro heard Madame Rosey calling out to something. "Here, sweetie," she said. "Hop over here." Ro heard the pattering of paws. The same sound the purple and pink -speckled monkey made when he ran. Now Ro just had to figure out a way to get the monkey to safety. Unfortunately, Ro was paying so much attention to what she heard, that she forgot where she was. She leaned up against one of the curtains that covered the walls, and suddenly it came tumbling down, pulling down all of the paintings with it. Ro found herself flat on the ground, covered in a pile of red velvet and paintings, including the picture
of "Cousin Trotter." Ro wondered if Madame Rosey would notice her. Maybe she'd just blend in with the pile of velvet. But in the next instant, the curtain was being pulled off her. "What are you doing back here?" Madame Rosey shouted as soon as their eyes met. "Why aren't you in the waiting room?" Ro was scared at first. But her courage quickly returned. "I'm here for the monkey," she said. "The game is up. Hand him over." Madame Rosey looked very surprised to hear this. At that moment the scuffling of paws sounded again, and into the hall burst a small dog with brownish-purple and pink fur. "I'm afraid I don't have the monkey,"
Madame Rosey said. "And I'm afraid you are in a great deal of trouble." Ro didn't believe her. Not yet, at any rate, until she looked down at the dog and saw several shaved patches - obviously from the electric clippers Ro had seen in the waiting room. Was Madame Rosey telling the truth? "Can I take a look around?" Ro said. "To make sure?" "Be my guest," Madame Rosey replied. "I have nothing to hide." Ro checked every single room, only to find out Madame Rosey was apparently telling the truth. Ro still wasn't sure if she could trust Madame Rosey. She wasn't sure if she could trust the Trap brothers either. But what could she do? Then Madame Rosey said something interesting. "You know, everyone seems to want that monkey. Professor Big Banana was here just last month to have his fortune told.
His main question was whether or not he'd get the monkey for his laboratory. He wanted to teach it how to play Checkers." "Interesting," Ro said. "I think I'll put him next on my list." "Good," Madame Rosey said. "Now please leave me alone. I assume you now know that I'm entirely innocent." Ro wasn't sure if she did know this, but there wasn't much more she could do there. She'd have to look into the connection with Professor Banana and his laboratory before she went any further. In the end, all she could do was apologize to Madame Rosey for disturbing her. "I'm very, very, very sorry," she said. "I forgive you," Madame Rosey said. "But only because I see great danger in your future." "Great," Ro thought. But as she walked back down the front path outside the house,
her mind quickly drifted away from Madame Rosey. It was starting to get dark, and Ro had to go home to check in with her mother. She'd go to see Professor Banana tomorrow. The fact was that all this detective work was exhausting. Ro was ready to put her feet up and finally get some rest. After taking a few deep breaths, Ro hopped on her little purple with gold sparkles bike and started the journey home.
Chapter 3: A Shocking Discovery
That night, Ro stayed up as late as she could. She wanted to see her mother. But by 9 PM, she was too tired to keep her eyes open anymore. Her mother called to say she'd be late and that it would take just a little more time for her to return home. "I'm so sorry," she told Ro. "It's just that we've got so much to do to find this monkey."
"That's okay," Ro said. Then she started to tell her mother what she had learned that day, but her mother quickly cut her off. "I'm sorry, Ro, but I really have to go. The mayor needs to talk to me. After this is all over we can talk all we want. Don't wait up. Get some sleep. I'm going to be very late." Ro wanted to wait up anyway. But she just wasn't able to keep her eyes open. Soon, she was fast asleep. Before long it was morning and light out again, and Ro was awaking to the smell of waffles and golden syrup. It was a welcome smell. Ro leapt out of bed and ran straight to the kitchen. Instead of finding her mother there making waffles and golden syrup, however, all she found was a note. It said, My dear Bluebell, You'll find your waffles and golden syrup on the kitchen counter. I wanted to eat with you but had to get going, and I didn't want to
wake you up. I have to find that monkey. But don't worry, the mayor and I are hard at work. I promise this will be over soon. Love, Mom Reading the note made Ro quite sad. There were few things she liked better than eating waffles and golden syrup with her mother. But the note also made her more determined. She had to keep looking for the monkey herself. She might not find it in the end, but she had to try. So, after breakfast, Ro ran out the door and once again headed across town. Time to pay a visit to Professor Banana. Professor Banana ran a large laboratory in the heart of downtown Hamauck. It took Ro about 10 minutes to get there. The laboratory was a huge building made of glass and steel, and there were always very important people going in and out. This posed a special problem for Ro, because she did not feel she looked very important. Still, she had to press on. If
the professor had the purple and pink -speckled monkey, she had to rescue it. Looking very unimportant turned out to have its advantages. Being a young girl meant that no one really noticed her. And while all the people in business suits were stopped by the security guards, Ro walked right into the lab without any problems. Actually, one guard did stop her and ask, "Are you here to do the school report?" Ro had always refused to lie, even under the worst circumstances. But it was true that she was putting together a kind of report, and she might very well use it for school one day. So even though the guard was clearly speaking about some other young person, Ro
felt just fine saying, "Yes, I am. I'm here to see Dr. Banana." "All the way back," the guard said. "First elevator. Take it to the top floor." "Thank you very, very much," Ro said and then went on her way. Ro walked to the elevator, went to the top floor and soon found herself in the middle of a busy laboratory, which Ro thought smelled of Bananas and rotten meat. It was filled with scientists in white lab coats training animals of various kinds in games of Fruit Loops. Remember, Dr. Banana had become famous by teaching animals Fruit Loops. He had taught it to parrots, a talking zebra, a black with gold spots badger, and even to some very clever talking dogs. Still, Ro didn't see Dr. Banana or the monkey. She did, however, spot a small door at one end of the lab marked "Checkers." This was the game the professor wanted to teach the purple and pink-speckled
monkey. Quickly, Ro headed toward the room marked "Checkers." All throughout the lab, she could hear bubbling and hissing. As she walked through the lab, she passed a large glass window. There were curtains on the other side, but through a gap in the material, she saw something startling. It was the professor. Sitting across from him, over a game of Checkers, was the purple and pink -speckled monkey! Ro quickly found the door that led to the room. In the next second, she burst through it and said, "GOT YA!" The monkey had its back to Ro and didn't turn around when she gave her command.
There was something a little odd about it, but Ro's attention quickly turned back to the professor when he said, "Whatever do you mean, young lady?" "I'm here to take the monkey," Ro demanded. The professor instantly jumped up, reached across the table, and grabbed hold of the monkey. "You can't have it," he yelled. "It's mine." And with that, he ran to the far end of the room. But running didn't do much good. There was no other door than the one Ro came in, and she was blocking it. "The monkey belongs to the zoo," Ro said. "This monkey is most certainly mine," the professor said. He was definitely a little
angrier. "It belongs in the zoo. Did you really think you could kidnap it just to teach it to play Checkers?" At this point, the professor started to make a break for it. In fact, he ran directly at Ro, but just as it looked like he was going to leap right by her, he suddenly stopped. He looked at Ro and said, "Excuse me? What did you just say?" This was puzzling. But Ro repeated herself just as she was asked. "I said, 'The monkey belongs in the zoo. Did you think you could kidnap it just to teach it to play Checkers?'" The professor looked quizzically at Ro and said, "I think you're confused, young lady." "No, I think you're confused," Ro said. She was very pleased with how authoritative she sounded. But the professor didn't seem very
impressed. "This monkey really is mine," he said. Then he started fiddling around with a strange metal thing that stuck out of the monkey's arm. "What are you doing?" Ro demanded. But in the next second, she understood what was happening. The professor had flipped some kind of switch. The monkey now appeared to be asleep. Or, to be more precise, it looked turned off. "It's just a robot," the professor said. "I built it when the zoo said I couldn't teach the real monkey how to play Checkers. Sadly, this robot isn't very good. I can't even get it to play Fruit Loops." Ro wasn't sure what to say. But she felt
guilty. That was true. "I'm so sorry," she finally said. "I thought you were going to steal my work," Professor Banana said. "Everyone wants to steal from me, you know." Ro didn't quite know what to say, but the professor kept talking. "Look, I'm quite busy. If you'd like to try to play a board game with the robot, you can stay. Otherwise, I'd like you to leave." Ro smiled nervously. "I'm afraid I'm a bit too busy right now," she said. "But thank you anyway. And again, I'm very sorry." With that, she turned and headed back to the elevator. It was turning out to be yet another strange day. Fortune-tellers, professional hunters, robotic monkeys. Where would it all end? It did strike Ro, though, that maybe she'd like to visit this lab again. Maybe she would like to play Fruit Loops with
animals and robots. It all looked pretty fun. But just as she was picturing herself in her own white lab coat trying to teach animals to play games, reality set in. This was the third lead that had turned out to be wrong. What was next? As she rode down on the elevator, Ro thought about her mother crying the day before. Ro hardly knew what to do. She'd keep thinking. She wouldn't give up. But she was feeling pretty bad. "Oh my," she said to herself. Things weren't going as well as she had hoped. It was now noon. Ro decided to do what she always did when she had to come up with a plan. She headed to Mr Chilli's Restaurant downtown to eat chips and a hot dog, which is known around the world as one of the most powerful brain foods. After a 10-minute walk, Ro arrived at Mr Chilli's. She looked at the menu. Although she knew chilli was the most popular item, she
ordered chips and a hot dog, sat down to eat it and thought about what to do next. But she couldn't come up with anything. She had no leads, no ideas. She wondered if her mom and the mayor might have found something. That possibility depressed her further, because she realized she had not helped her mother at all. Just as she was feeling absolutely terrible, Mr Chilli, the owner of the restaurant, stopped at her table. Mr Chilli was a large man and always wore red and orange. He knew exactly what Ro was thinking, because all the newspapers that morning were talking about the stolen monkey. "Cheer up, Ro," Mr Chilli said. "Your mother's a pretty tough person. She'll
figure it all out." Ro knew this was true. All the same, she still felt very, very bad. After finishing her chips and a hot dog, Ro reluctantly started back home. She walked by the fancy beauty salon. She passed by the Lolly store. She walked by all the other stores that were on Main Street downtown. The longer she walked, the more confused she felt. It was not a very pleasant experience. At the very moment she decided she had never felt worse, something very unexpected happened. As Ro walked by the grocery store, she looked in the window and saw Tom Trap buying a cartload of apples. At first this didn't strike Ro as that weird. Tom was a strange guy. Maybe he just loved apples. But by the time she reached the end of the block, Ro realized what he was doing. The only food the purple and pink-speckled monkey liked to
eat was apples. That must be why Tom was buying so many. "I have an idea!" she thought to herself. In the next instant, she was running home to get her bike. She had to pay another visit to the Trap brothers. Now she was sure that they had the monkey.
Chapter 4: Revenge of the Monkey
The bike ride was quick. Ro traveled at top speeds, and before long she was once again outside the Trap house. This time, however, she was sure she was on the right track. Ro walked straight up to the front door. It was time to ask the Trap brothers what they were doing with all those apples. She was about to ring the bell when she suddenly heard barking. It was that dog again! No time to ring. Ro
quickly pushed the door. It swung open, and in the next second she was inside. Ro decided to call out to Tom and Ted. There was no point in being too polite, given that they were probably monkey thieves. The basement door flew open. Ro was about to say something, but she saw that it was Tom carrying a huge box overflowing with apples. They were piled so high that Tom couldn't see in front of him, and he certainly couldn't see Ro. All Ro could see was a pair of bony knees and a pile of apples. "That purple and pink-speckled monkey can sure eat apples," Tom suddenly muttered to himself. "So, it was the Trap brothers," Ro thought. Ro again was about to say something, but she decided maybe she should keep quiet.
She could go to the basement and get the monkey herself. After Tom took a few steps and turned toward the kitchen, Ro crept to the basement door and headed down. She was dreading this because she didn't want to see all the stuffed animals and jars of fake eyeballs again, but she had to carry on. She had to get the monkey. The basement was a maze of boxes marked with strange phrases like "fox claws" and "purple fur" and "monkey hair." Ro had no idea how she was going to find the monkey, until she heard a slurping noise. It sounded like this: "Mmmmmmmm." Ro had heard that noise before. It was definitely the sound of the
monkey eating apples. She quickly ran toward the noise, which was coming from behind a door marked "Get Out of Town or Else." She turned the doorknob. Before her was the purple and pink-speckled monkey sitting in a cage, happily eating a apple. Ro quickly ran to the cage and opened it. "So this is where you are," she said. "Mission accomplished." In fact, however, the mission was only almost accomplished. There was just one problem. The purple and pink-speckled monkey didn't really understand the trouble he was in. He was a monkey, after all. So rather than leaping into Ro's arms as she had expected, the monkey dropped the apple, jumped right past her, and ran out of the room. "Come here," Ro pleaded in a desperate whisper. "Get back here! Come here." The monkey wasn't interested in
cooperating with Ro. He jumped up on the boxes piled on the workbenches. He even stood on top of a stuffed moose head that hung from the wall. Worse, just after Ro said "Get back here!" for the twentieth time, he kicked over the box of monkey fur, which made a terrible noise when it fell. Ro was positive Tom and Ted had heard it. Ro wasn't sure what to do next. She had to get him out of there and back to the zoo. This was no easy task if he didn't calm down a little bit. Then Ro remembered the first thing she learned about the monkey. She raced over to a trampoline, where the monkey was happily doing somersaults, and got just close enough to scratch his tummy. Like magic, the monkey
sighed and leaned forward into Ro. The monkey grabbed hold of her neck, sighed again and snuggled up even tighter. The monkey wasn't going anywhere now. Again, there's nothing the purple and pink-speckled monkey likes more than for someone to scratch his tummy. So that was settled. But just as Ro turned toward the door, she heard, "Put that monkey down, young lady." She looked to her left, and there were Ted and Tom. They looked very unhappy. "Thought you could get your monkey back, eh?" Tom yelled. "This monkey belongs in the zoo," Ro replied, slowly walking backward. "The monkey belongs on our private island," Ted said. Ro wanted to say something clever. Instead she came up with another plan: she started running. Unfortunately, there weren't too
many places to go. Sadly, in fact, she was cornered. The brothers split up to catch her from different directions. There was no exit behind her, but she had an idea. She waited until the brothers were about ten feet away. Then, she picked up a broom and swung it around, knocking the jars of fake eyeballs onto the floor. The crashing noise shocked Tom, and he quickly said, "Get her!" Both brothers darted at Ro, only to start slipping on the round eyeballs. In fact, they did more than slip. They both fell flat on their faces. Ro didn't lose a second. She jumped first onto the back of Tom - the tall one - and next onto the basement stairs, avoiding stepping on the eyeballs herself. She zoomed upstairs, through the front hall, and
out the door. In the next second, she was on her purple with gold sparkles bike tearing back to the zoo with the monkey continuing to hug her neck. She had escaped. Or so she thought. In fact, the Trap brothers had figured that Ro was headed for the zoo. After slipping and stumbling on the eyeballs for a few more minutes, they gathered themselves together and jumped in their car. By the time Ro was approaching the zoo on her bike, they were close at her heels. Ro was almost there, though. She could see the zoo. If she could just make it a little further, she'd be safe. Sadly, this was not to be. Just as Ro arrived at the zoo's entrance, Tom and Ted pulled in front of her and
screeched to a halt. In the next instant, they were out of their car and coming right at her. "You little rascal," Tom yelled. Ro looked beyond Tom. In the distance, she spotted her mother and Mayor Really Strong. They were standing outside the Grand Pavilion talking. Ro quickly called out for help, but they didn't hear her. She had to get closer. The problem was that the only route to her mother and the mayor was right through a huge display called "The Boot and Zoot Pit," which lay between the parking lot and the zoo. As we've discussed, Ro hated the Boot and Zoot pit more than anything in the world. She couldn't imagine anything more frightening. But as Tom and Ted rushed toward her, she realized she didn't have a choice. With the purple and pink-speckled monkey still clinging to her neck, she jumped off the bike. She leapt over the Boot and Zoot pit fence and dashed right
into the middle of the Boot and Zoot pit, taking a direct path toward her mother and the mayor. In another minute she was close enough to call to them. Needless to say, when Mayor Strong and Ro's mother heard Ro screaming, they immediately sprung into action even though they didn't quite know what was going on at first. But Ro's mother recognized the monkey. "You've got the monkey!" she yelled. She was so happy, she didn't see that Ro was being chased. But the mayor did. While Ro's mother ran to Ro, the mayor got on her cell phone and called in help. "How did you get the monkey?" Ro's mother yelled as she got closer to Ro. At that
precise moment, Tom and Ted approached from behind Ro. "Never mind how she got it," Ted yelled, grabbing hold of Ro. "The monkey is coming with us. And so are you." Ro's mother looked completely confused. Ro just looked panicked. Not only were the Trap brothers about to kidnap them, but much, much worse, she was surrounded by Boot and Zoots! A very loud pop. Someone had turned on a loudspeaker. Suddenly, Mayor Strong's voice could be heard: "Tom and Ted Trap, Your time being criminals is done. Give up and you won't get hurt." Ro quickly looked around and saw police
officers converging on the huge Boot and Zoot pit. Tom and Ted still looked determined to get the monkey, but after glancing around the Boot and Zoot pit, they started looking very, very worried. Suddenly, and very unexpectedly, they both burst into wild tears. It was quite a sight. But Ro didn't have time to stand around watching the Trap brothers cry. There were Boot and Zoots at her ankles. She quickly started running again and was soon out of the Boot and Zoot pit with the monkey still safely around her neck. When she reached the mayor with her mother close behind, all Ro could do was lie on the ground and sigh. She was exhausted. It had been a crazy couple of days. But now she was safe. Needless to say, Ro was something of a hero that day. Her mother told her that she shouldn't have done all the things she did on
her own. "Next time you come right to me," she said, even though she was obviously very happy with how things turned out. After all, Ro had rescued the very rare purple and pink -speckled monkey. Everyone at the zoo felt the same way. In fact, as a special honor to Ro the zoo let her name all of the new monkeys, and to reward the monkey, the zoo got it some more friends. They also decided to throw another party in the Grand Pavilion to properly introduce the monkey with Ro as the guest of honor. Ro was even on television the next day - the local news anchor announced, "The top story today: A girl called Ro saves the day and the purple speckled monkey!" That was quite a thrill,
but it still wasn't as much fun as playing with the monkey, which Ro decided to do as much as she possibly could. The monkey was crazy there was no doubt about that - but he was extremely cute, and he seemed to love his new caretaker. There are not many things better in this world than the affections of a cute monkey. That's a fact. One other interesting thing happened. Naturally, Tom and Ted Trap were sent to prison for a long time, because it's a very serious crime to steal monkeys. In fact, they were sent to jail for 20 years. But Ro wasn't really worried about them. They deserved exactly what they got. She did worry about the howling Zoota. After all, they could hardly leave the Zoota locked up in a crate until the Trap brothers were released. The Zoota was brought to Monkey Zoo where Ro could take care of it. She didn't like it quite as much as the monkey. Its howling could get quite
exasperating after a while. But Ro learned to ignore the noise while she took very good care of the Zoota - when she wasn't playing with her beloved, and now quite safe, purple and pink-speckled monkey, that is.
Pixie H is a reader and writer who lives in Te Aroha in New Zealand. She loves to write books for the book stores. Her favourite animals are mice and puppies.Her next book might be about a missing dog...
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