In the middle of the afternoon, Tim’s keeper arrived to clean his cage and check that he was all right.
The keeper greeted Tim in his customary cheerful fashion.
“Well, little fellow, how are we today?”
Tim liked the keeper, but he found his manner a trifle patronizing. But he did not let this distract him from his arguments, which had been carefully considered.
“Mr Keeper,” he began, in a tone of great politeness.
“Yes, Tim,” replied the keeper.
“You would like me to be happy, wouldn’t you?”
“Yes, of course!” replied the keeper, surprised by this unexpected question.
“My welfare is your most important concern, isn’t it?”
“Yes, little fellow, of course it is.”
“And if I have a request, a reasonable request, you will do your best to answer it?”
“Indeed, little fellow.”
“I would like permission to leave my enclosure for an afternoon. Let me assure you that I have no intention of escaping. I find my enclosure very pleasant. I would like to survey the other animals in the park on a personal matter. I hope you will assist me.”
The keeper’s surprise grew.
“I would like you to provide me with a pen, a spiral-bound notebook, a rucksack, and a mobile phone. If I encounter any difficulties, I will take the liberty of asking for your assistance in helping me back home.”
The keeper looked even more surprised.
“Well, if that’s really what you want, I suppose it would be all right. Shall we say tomorrow?”
Tomorrow dawned, and the keeper arrived bright and early with the items that Tim had requested. The monkeys watched with interest as Tim slowly and deliberately packed some eucalyptus leaves, the pen and paper, and the mobile phone into the bag. After he had finished his packing, he stopped and had a little rest. Then he chewed on some leaves for a while, staring contentedly into the distance.
“Oi Tim!” yelled the monkey. “What’s the bag for?”
“You’ll see,” said Tim.
“Oi Tim! How about a change of diet? Have a banana! Eh! Eh!”
Tim ignored him.
The keeper returned, opened the cage, and let Tim out into the wide open space of the park.
“See you later, little fellow,” he said, “Ring me up if you need any help.”