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Advertise on the Tentacle

July 25, 2012

No! Iím havenít lost my mind!!!

Tom McLaughlin

Bako National Park, Malaysian Borneo – My daughters had only six days here. Six days! Actually, they had 10 days, but four of those were spent traveling back and forth to visit us in Borneo.


Usually they have much longer; but jobs, school and life intervened. I had decided we would visit locally because travel to more exotic places would eat up another two days in airports.


I wanted them to visit the endangered Proboscis monkeys, so named after their long noses. In the Malay language they are called Dutch Monkeys because the locals thought they looked like the Hollanders who colonized much of the region. (Google the monkeys, not the Dutchmen, and see what you think.)


I sent my daughters, Chris and Mary, and wife Suriani on a six hour jungle hike to try to spot them. Dzul and I stayed behind as it was an uphill climb most of the way. Besides, Dzul and I needed our naps.


After we awoke, we walked out onto the porch of our cabin. We watched the comings and goings of other travelers, a line of ants marching two-by-two in formation, and the wild boars rooting the black soil.


Our entertainment was further enlivened by the smoky gray Long Tail Macaques. They scampered on the zinc roof, ran along the railings and bounded across the porch floor. None came close enough for an encounter, although Dzul made efforts toddling quickly to try and catch one.


Blissfully enjoying nature and my son, one of the younger monkeys jumped on the railing from the roof with a condom wrapper. He expertly opened it and looked at the white contraceptive and dropped it next to me. Then he scampered off. I thought I was seeing things.


A few minutes later he came back with another one, sat on another location on the porch, and did the same thing. A hallucination from my hippie days, I thought.


Dzul and I watched the cleaning lady, with all her chemicals and rags piled in a wheelbarrow, walk down the boarded pathway as the monkey returned and performed the task for the third time. I looked closely this time and discovered it was the same brand I used before my vasectomy.


I got up and went into the cabin and found it had been torn apart. The monkeys had broken the screen and entered through the back window. Dzul’s clean diapers were strewn across the jungle. My prescription medicines were gone. Sore throat lozenges wrapped in paper had been expertly opened and consumed. The room was trashed.


I cleaned up as best I could with Dzul around, closed and locked the window and returned to the front porch staring out in a daze. My mind had gone from the absurd to the insane.


My daughters and wife walked onto the porch. There I was with open condoms, trash and Dzul.


“The monkeys did it,” I whispered. Of course, they had all scampered off and were nowhere to be seen.


There were silent eyes roving over the contraceptives, my dazed look glanced over to Dzul to see that he was alright. He giggled happily. I know they thought I had gone off the deep end.


“What monkeys, Dad,” Christine asked.


“A troop of monkeys came through and one of them opened these condoms right in front of me,” I replied.


“They also broke into the cabin and trashed my back pack,” I said to no none in particular.


They looked at each other worriedly and then back at me. Even I could not believe that story.


Finally, they opened the door and saw the ransacked room, the torn screen and the backpack in disarray. They looked at the diapers and clothes strewn around the forest. Then they looked at me in relief, glad to know that they would not have to commit their father to an insane asylum.


The condoms? They were in a small zippered pouch in the backpack. No wonder they looked familiar.


…Life is good. . . . .


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