Essay Non-Fiction posted July 3, 2019


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Island Vacation

The Monkey Fear

by beencounter


A person rubbed lotion up my husband's legs in small circles. The direction those circles were moving had our undivided attention, ever closer to the bottom of his swim trunks. OK, the person also had a live monkey on their shoulder that wore tiny disposable diapers (like that was a relief).

"What are they doing?" I whispered through a clenched smile.
"I don't really know," my husband's smile was equally frozen. Our eyes were riveted. As lotion application reached past the point of Pete's comfort zone, he suddenly scooted back in his beach chair as far as he could go. The person gestured at Pete's back.

"No, no, no, "Pete waved his palm and hurriedly produced some money. The person/monkey combo moved down the beach and we both let out a deep breath. Tropical sun shone and waves lapped softly onto the beach. Palm trees rustled in the breeze. All was good.

It was our first trip to Timothy Beach Resort on the island of St. Kitts in the West Indies. Compared to the snowstorm raging in Denver, this was nearly heaven. The country of St. Kitts is technically two islands: St. Kitts and Nevis. St. Kitts island is narrow with one side facing the Caribbean Ocean and the other side facing the Atlantic, both separated by about half a mile of land. Our one-bedroom condo wasn't the Marriott (that's on the Atlantic side), but clean with a sparkling ocean view.

One might think there wouldn't be much to do on such an island, but then one would think wrong. We counted 12 restaurant/bar huts to our right. Our favorite was the one closest, the Shiggidy Shack. Every Thursday there was a bonfire on the beach and a dance performance. To the left of the beach was the resort's restaurant and the Sunset Caf�© a half-flight down some stairs, right over the water. Most evenings you'd find us there, watching pelicans swoop low and scoop fish. Admittedly, it also had a screaming good happy hour. Within walking distance was also a coffee shop and icy cold convenience store.

Through the week we visited a fort, took a jungle Jeep ride, and saw lava formations. Atop a cliff the Caribbean and Atlantic oceans met in a mash up of waves and white froth. We learned things generally ran on island time, plus/minus.

But now let's talk about the monkey fear. While doing research prior to our trip, I found that there are small green vervet monkeys living in the nearby jungle. They were known to come down out of the trees and steal tropical drinks when you weren't watching. Pictures of drunken monkeys passed out in chairs and sprawled on the ground were viewed online. Now, I am not one to be comfortable around any wild monkey, but a drunk wild monkey sounds like a recipe for disaster. I think it's their long, spindly fingers and my fear they'd get tangled up in my humidity hairdo. When I expressed the monkey fear to my family, they just laughed it off and thought I was nuts. And yes, they think that anyway, but they are my family.

So one morning as I was tugging on my swimsuit, Pete excitedly said, "Hey, come look, come look! I accidentally left the door open and one of the monkeys came into our condo!" Quickly, I slammed the bathroom door. No monkey with long skinny fingers was going to get anywhere near my head. But Pete was insistent and after all, he is an Irishman and stubborn. So eventually he coaxed me to open the bathroom door. I eased it open a crack, small enough that no monkey could get through. On top of the kitchen table was a small, stuffed monkey. Apparently the comedian thought it would be great fun to play a practical joke on me. He'd smuggled the stuffed thing in our suitcase. We named it 'Kitt'. We're clever that way.

After two visits, aside from the one in diapers I've only seen one wild monkey and it was far away. Up in a palm tree. It was difficult to tell whether or not he was drunk.


Tourist Site contest entry


To view pictures of the monkeys drinking, Google "Island of Drunk Monkeys"
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Artwork by Bruceiorio at FanArtReview.com

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