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"Ahhhh." Rick swooned into the hot tub behind their Vancouver home. "I needed this."

"Hmmm," Quinn agreed, from the far corner without opening her eyes. She was sunk into the water up to her face, her hair splayed out all around her like a lion's mane, as befitted her August birthday. It was her nature to turn inward in the hot tub, eyes closed, marveling at the way the day's stresses could just stream away. Like yoga, but without the effort.

So Rick had to entertain himself. He lay back and stared upward into the receding branches of a 120-foot Doug fir towering over them, which lifted him into the blackness of space. There was always some tune running in his head. This time, it was a Pink Floyd song:

 “Threatened by shadows at night… Shine on, you crazy … crazy diamond.”

Then something moved, so he looked back at the house. Through wispy steam, he saw a dark shape moving through the back room. "Shit! A burglar!" he said, poking Quinn urgently. She raised her head and shook it of droplets, then followed his pointing finger, squinting. "Shit!" she said, "a burglar?"

"Did you leave the back door unlocked?" she asked Rick.

"Of course. I always do when we're in the hot tub."

"Dammit! That's how he got in. Do you have your phone with you?"

"Course not. Do you?"

"Nope. Aren't we a bunch of frickin' idiots? Now what do we do?"

Rick shrugged his shoulders. "I could go in there and yell, and hope he runs away?"

"Not a good idea," said Quinn. "He might be armed. Why don't you go to the neighbors and get them to call the police. I don't see him in the back room anymore--do you?"


"OK. I'll look in some of the windows to see what he's doing. It's pretty dark out here, so he shouldn't see me."

"All right, but be careful! Don't engage him," said Rick, already getting out of the water and reaching for his robe, and then his water sandals. Quinn did the same, as he said, "See ya soon," and clomped off towards the gate into the Andersons' back yard.


Quinn checked out three of the windows but their blinds were down. 

She moved to the bedroom window, whose blind was up about one inch at the bottom. She bent down to look in, and almost screamed. Two monkeys were screwing on her bed. Speechless, she watched, unable to process. 

Rick rejoined her and she jumped. "Look! Just get down and look!" she whispered urgently.

He grunted to get low, and twisted to look in.

"Holy crap!” he hissed. “How did monkeys get in our bedroom?"

"You know how. You left the door unlocked."

Rick looked up at her, not believing. "But I mean, why monkeys? What the hell, Quinn?"

He stooped over again and watched, then added, "This is incredible. I mean, what are the odds? I wish I had a camera."

Quinn shoved him. "Look, Rick, we've got to do something! I don't want monkeys fucking on my bed!"

He kept staring at the action. "Look, hon! They're doing it doggie style! This is pretty freaking cool!"

Quinn punched him in the shoulder, harder than the earlier shove. He stifled a yelp and stood up.  "What the fuck, Quinn?"

"Focus, Rick,” she hissed. “Focus! Are the cops coming?"

"Not yet. There was no answer at the Andersons, or at the Lampreys, either. I thought I should come check on you, make sure you're OK. And frankly, I'm glad I didn't miss seeing this." As he said the last sentence, he stepped back from Quinn, in case she was inclined to punch him again.

"Fuck!" Quinn rolled her eyes. "OK, here's what you do. Go out in the street and flag down the first car you see. Beg them to use their cell phone to call 911. Tell them we have an active intruder situation in our house."

"OK," he said, as he clopped around towards the street. Quinn moved to check other rooms.



The other rooms were quiet, thank goodness. All the other doors were all locked, except the French doors in back. Quinn waited for Rick, in the shadows of a euonymus shrub, watching the living room. She couldn't bring herself to go back to the bedroom window.

Rick came crunching through the dead needles and little branches that littered their grass-free yard, under towering evergreens. He stopped by her and bent over, panting.

"So," she whispered. "What's up, Boy Scout? The monkeys could hear you coming from a mile away. Please try to be a little more stealthy, OK?"

"OK," he whispered back. "Hey, I can't get anybody to stop, on the street."

"Why the hell not?" 

"Well, I'm an older guy in a bathrobe, Quinn. Jesus, would you stop at night for me? Either everybody's really busy, or they're scared of me"

"Fair point. Looks like I'll have to go do it. You stay here and keep watch."

"What can you do, to make a car stop, that I can't do?" he asked.

As she slipped away, tightening her robe, she ignored him and intoned, "Stupid question.”


Quinn came back and found Rick squatting with his back against the bathroom wall.

"See anything?" she asked him.

"Not a thing. And the bedroom's empty now."

"What? Empty?"

"Yeah. But I think I hear the bathtub running. Can you imagine that?"

“Bullshit. You’re imagining.” 

“Oh, am I? Just lean in here, and listen!”

So she did, and let out a little cry. "The nerve of those monkeys! Really!"

Rick just smiled and said, "Actually, this is kinda cool. I can't wait to tell people."

Quinn scowled. "Rick, you really need to be more serious about this." 

He tried to look more serious, and said, "I am. I just can't do anything about this. Are the cops coming?"

"Yes, thank God."

"How did you get a car to stop?" 

"I waved one down and it stopped. Like you should've done."

"But why did one stop for you?"

"Well, I waved like it was important, and stuck one leg out more from this robe, and that’s all it took. But I would have taken the whole fucking robe off, if necessary."

Rick felt ashamed for his own failure, and said, "Well. Good job."

The bathroom window was small and high and fluted glass. No way to see in. But they both crouched under it and definitely heard water running. 

"I sure hope they're having a good time in there," Rick mused.

Quinn shook her head. "We don't have our phones, we don't have our car keys. Think, Quinn, think!"

The wait was maddening.

They were still squatting, still a little wet and a lot cold, clad only in robes and water sandals.

Quinn said, "You know, if they're in the bathtub, we can go into the house."

Rick snorted and said, "And what? Attack them with a kitchen knife? We don't have a gun. Huh--this might be the first time I wished I was a Republican. "

Quinn shook her head. "I was thinking of getting the softball bat."

Rick looked at her. "Quinn, we're not going up against a monkey with just a softball bat. Haven't you watched the nature shows? Those monkeys are strong! We'd need a gun. Really."

Quinn just pursed her lips and looked disapprovingly at him. He felt helpless.  They noticed the bathtub wasn't running anymore.

"Let's go check some more windows," she said. "The cops are coming."

When they got to the French patio doors at the back of the house, they saw the bigger monkey, wrapped in a towel, sitting at Rick's computer. He was hunched forward, working hard, typing clunkily. They saw him open the Bank of America login page, then he started looking through the stack of papers to the right of the laptop.

"Oh, shit," said Rick. "Is he looking for my passwords cheatsheet?"

"Holy fuck," whispered Quinn. "Why do you keep your passwords written down? What if he finds it?"

"Shit, I can't remember them all," Rick said. "How do you remember all your passwords?"

"I just do. I wish you did."

Prisoners outside their own house, they watched as the big monkey found the cheat sheet and scanned it slowly, mouthing words to itself. Then he found what he wanted and typed it in. The screen showed the login accepted, then it showed the accounts page, then it showed money being transferred - monkey money! Then it showed the confirmation page, then the monkey carefully logged off. He then sat back, rubbed his big hands together in satisfaction, then clasped them behind his head. 

Quinn turned to her husband and jammed her index finger into his chest. "Goddammit Rick! How much money did that fucker just take from us?"

"Shit, Quinn, how do I know? You're the one who's far-sighted. I can't read the screen from here."

"Well, don't be a wuss, Rick—This has gone far enough. I need you to get in there and chase that fucking monkey out!"

Rick squirmed but tried to look resolute. "OK, I'll try. I admit this is getting out of hand. But let me find something to defend myself with."

He walked off, then came back with a 2' long skinny piece of stout maple branch. He softly turned down the handle on the French door, which clicked a bit too loudly. At the instant he started to open the door, the monkey turned around, stood up, facing him, and shook his head and finger 'no, no, no,' then squatted a bit, reached behind him, and produced a turd, flinging it at the door with surprising velocity. It struck the glass hard, causing both Rick and Quinn to jump back. They watched in horror as it stayed on the inside glass, then slowly slid down and fell away, leaving a brown streak. 

"Ewww," said Quinn. "That'll take a long time to clean properly."

Rick nodded, and added a bit thankfully, "I don't think he wants us to go inside, Quinn."  

The monkey made a big full-tooth grimace at them, then sat back down and opened up a pay porn site. He had Rick's Mastercard in his left hand. 

Quinn was horrified. "Well, can't you do something?"

Rick raised his eyebrows at his spouse. "Haven't you heard how strong those things are?" Do you really think I can beat it away with this fucking stick?"

Quinn looked away. She was thinking, "A real man could," but didn't say it.

He was about to add something, but they both saw flashing lights reflected off the driveway, and heard a car stop. Cops! They were saved!



Both of them ran as fast as water sandals allowed, and were happy to see a police officer approaching them. He put his flashlight on them and said, in a big reassuring voice, Hello! I'm Officer Goodall. Are you the homeowners here?"

They nodded 'yes," and he shut off the light, approached them, and said, "So fill me in. What's going on?" The streetlight glinted off his shiny badge. In the dim light he looked like a police god. Big and chiseled. Confidence.

Quinn stepped forward. "Officer, we were in the hot tub and saw an intruder walking around inside the house. We tried the neighbors, in order to call the police, but they're all out. So I flagged down a car and a driver used her cell phone to call the police. THANK YOU for coming!"

Rick said simply, "Hon, you didn't fully answer his question. Officer, we have monkeys in the house! Can you help us?"

The officer laughed and said, "How many monkeys do you have?" 

Rick said, "Two. At least, two that we know of."

Officer Goodall said, "Don't you know how many monkeys you have? Or maybe they’re inviting friends over and you just can’t keep track?" He laughed at his joke.

"You don't know how right you are," said Quinn.

"No, no, Officer," said Rick, seeing the confusion. "They're not our monkeys."

"So whose monkeys are they?"

"We don't know."

"Look," said Quinn. "We were in the hot tub. We saw someone walking in the house. We checked the windows, and saw two monkeys on our bed!"

Officer Goodall raised his eyebrows. "You did? Were they sleeping?"

"No," she answered. "They were fucking."

Officer Goodall made a little 'o' with his lips at that, as his eyebrows shot up.

"And then they took a bath, and then one of them transferred money out of our bank account, and now he's using our credit card to watch porn online. We really need your help. PLEASE!"

Officer Goodall just looked at her. He said, "Unit 282, 10-23" into his shoulder mike, then said, "Show me, please, Ma'am." 

So they took him back to the patio. The monkey was still at the computer. Rick pointed to the streak on the door and said, "Monkey poop." Then he pointed at the monkey.

Officer Goodall cupped his eye and peered through the French door.

"Well, I'll be darned!" he said excitedly. "There's a chimp on your computer!"

He watched a while longer, whispering, "Hello, Africa!" and then keyed his mike and said, "282. 10-42; send backup," and then turn to them.

"That looks like a trained Chimp--we should call the animal labs, to check for an escape. And the zoo. Pardon me for a moment." And he spoke into the mike, asking his dispatcher to contact the zoo and then animal labs, to see if there'd been a Chimp escape. And to check the animal register, in case someone had lost their pet Chimp.

He then straightened up and just looked at Rick and Quinn. 

"See? We told you!" said Quinn. 

He nodded. "Yes, you did. I admit I'm surprised to see that Chimp in there. Never seen that before. A deer got trapped inside a house over on Grant once, but I’ve never seen anything like this."

"So what can you do about that fucking monkey?" she demanded.

Officer Goodall raised a finger. "Language, please. And first, it's not a monkey."

"What?" asked Rick. "Of course it's a monkey."

"Chimps are apes, Sir, not monkeys. Different family entirely. Apes are much more like us humans than monkeys are."

"Well, I can't disagree with you there," said Rick, "They're enough like us that they know how to screw on our bed, and take a bath in our tub, and steal our money using our computer. Do you think we can get our money back?"

"I have no idea," said Officer Goodall, who was starting to check the equipment attached to his big waist belt.  "You'll need to check with your bank on that."

"We are going to need to get those porn charges reversed, too," added Quinn.

"That's for later, Ma'am. Right now, I can only help you with the removal of the ape. We have other people who can help you file a fraud report."

"OK. How do you know all this about monkeys?" asked Quinn.

"Apes. My grandmother worked for a Baptist mission in Tanzania, near the Mahale Mountains. I saw lots of apes and monkeys when I visited her. She knew a lot about them." 

"So," Quin began, "can you help us?"

"Of course," said Officer Goodall. "But I'm tempted to wait until backup arrives."

"But he's in our house! Stealing from us!" protested Quinn.

"Yes," Officer Goodall said, "So he is. Well, I guess I'll be OK. I have a nightstick, a Taser, some pepper spray, and if all else fails, I have Mr. Smith and Wesson here. And my backup should be here soon. I should be just fine. But let's wait just a minute more, to see if the backup arrives.”

He keyed his mike and said, “282. Request status of backup.”

His radio crackled and he bent his head sideways, listening to his earpiece.

"Uh-huh," he said, and listened some more.



And finally, "OK. 282 out."

"Huh," he said to them. 

"What?" asked Quinn and Rick, together. 

"Dispatch says my backup will be detained. She stopped a speeder and there was a woman in the back seat of the car giving birth. I mean, the baby was coming out. So backup's detained. I'm on my own here."

"But," said Rick, "Monkeys are pretty strong. Don't you need backup?"

Officer Goodall laughed and said, "Apes. Not monkeys. I used to have a partner in the car, for night patrol, but too many of you citizens voted 'no' on that last police funding measure. So I’m working alone now."

"Sorry," said Rick. Quinn poked him quietly, her signal for him to shut up.

"I'll be fine," Officer Goodall said. "I played right tackle for Washington State. I weigh 265. That Chimp is way less than half my weight.  My taser will handle this just fine. Don't worry, folks. But you both stay outside."

He added, as he touched the cuffs directly behind him on his belt, "My plan is to subdue this Chimp with the Taser, then cuff him to that table there until Animal Control arrives."

He checked his equipment again, and whispered a short summary of his mission into his radio. He took a Taser in his right hand and a nightstick in his left, and asked, "Is this door unlocked?"

"Yes," said Quinn, beside herself with excitement. "Go get that bastard, Officer!"

Officer Goodall squared his shoulders, then reached down and nodded at the door. Rick opened it, as quietly as he could, then stepped aside. Officer Goodall slipped inside, quietly for a man his size, and silently reclosed the door. The Chimp didn't look around this time; he was still watching a porno and the sound was loud. The back of the chair was vibrating.

"Ewww!" said Quinn to Rick. "Is he doing what I think he’s doing? In your Herman Miller chair?"

Rick said nothing, speechless for once.

Officer Goodall walked around the bistro table and faced the ape with his Taser drawn. Rick and Quinn heard him yell, "You there! Don't move!"

But the monkey moved. It whirled around in the office chair, stood up, and bared its teeth, chattering something in Chimpspeak.  Officer Goodall shot his Taser. Little darts and wires flew out and struck the Chimp in its chest.

"Hooray!" shouted Quinn. 

The Chimp screamed and fell, shuddering like it had a seizure, then grew still. 

"Yeah!" yelled Rick, with a fist pump.

Officer Goodall bent over, reaching for his handcuffs.

Suddenly, a dark blur came from the left and another Chimp knocked Officer Goodall down. Goodall was way bigger, but this Chimp was strong and the officer was surprised. Man and ape wrestled, all four of their hairy arms flying, and suddenly a shot rang out.

"Holy fuck!" yelled Rick.

They watched in horror as the second chimp stood up, aimed a second shot at Officer Goodall's head this time, and fired, then flung the gun aside. Officer Goodall lay very still, blood pouring from his body from his chest and his head, onto the gray luxury linoleum tiles. In two pools that slowly merged into a very large one.

"Oh, Gawd!" said Quinn. "Is he dead? Now what?"

The second Chimp grabbed one of the big, heavy wooden chairs around the bistro table, which were made from salvaged logs from some river in Indonesia, and started pounding Goodall's body with it. The chair eventually broke, and at that point she started punching the broken, jagged tropical hardwood pieces into the cop corpse. Then, the big male chimp began to regain consciousness, and its mate stopped and stood looking, perhaps confused that the male Chimp was alive. Then she ran over to it and crouched down to cradle his head in her arms.

"Uh, Quinnie?" began Rick.

"Yeah?" she muttered, still in shock.

"How about we just sort of run away now?"

"Good idea!" she whispered. So they held hands, and they backed away, and then they ran like hell. And they kept holding hands, tightly, as if that were very important.

The End


I'm a retired corporate attorney, a lifelong fiction short story writer, and have published two non-fiction books.


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