I peeked up out of one eye to see her exaggerated gesture. She had a smile of complete apology on her face, and I gave her a quick nod and held up one finger politely before bowing my head to finish the prayer.
We held our packed lunches on our laps as we prayed, thanking God for a blessed week and seeking travelling mercies as we prepared to head back home. We finished the prayer and I opened the top of my lunch.
“Excuse me?” she said again and the entire group looked her way. This time her gestures were a little more wild and…insistent. She really wanted our attention.
“You should watch out for…monkeys.”
She pointed and we all turned and that’s when I saw him swinging toward us in the tree. Shaun sat on the end, next to the tree, Keely next to him and I was next to her. My first thought as he swung near was, “Oh how fun. A monkey. Yay!”
Then he screeched BONZAAAAAIIIIIII (a Tanzanian monkey issuing a Japanese battle cry? It could totally happen…) and leapt from the tree, landing on the ledge just next to Shaun and my second thought was, “OMG – HE’S GOING TO EAT MY FACE OFF! RUN!”
In my imagination, he looked just like this as he came swinging toward our table:
And yeah…our monkey had his cronies in the background, too…
I’m not entirely sure how I made it out of that covered pavilion so fast. It’s all kind of a blur. There’s a chance I may have pushed someone out of my way as I fled. I also made sure I left my wide open lunch box behind for the attackers. It was my method of self-preservation.
So it was that in less time than it takes to say “Woman loses face in rare Blue Monkey attack” I was outside, jumping and shaking and laughing that trembly, “Haha, wasn’t that funny how we almost died” sort of laugh that you do when you’re trying to act cool, but you know you really look like an idiot.
Then everyone wanted to know how I got away so quick. The answer?
I flew, people. I sprouted wings and flew.
In the end, the monkeys made off with quite a spread. Banana chips, apples, chicken legs and some bread. In fact, they actually took several things directly out of people’s hands. They were brazen, these monkeys. Brazen.
There are a couple of lessons we can all learn from the Great Monkey Caper of 2012 and those lessons are as follows:
– First, when someone is desperately trying to get your attention, it may be to your benefit to stop praying and listen. Especially when you are in the middle of Africa with a wide open lunch box. You’d think that would be common sense, but…well, it’s not. Learn from us.
– Second, if you’re sitting next to me during a monkey attack, know that my first reaction is clearly Flight, NOT Fight, because while I would LIKE to be able to say “I got your back” if ever we’re under monkey attack, the truth is if Blue Monkeys are swinging our way shouting Japanese warrior cries I know with certainty that all I need to do is run faster than you.
And we all say…Amen.