He came out into the sunshine, blinking after the dark of the reptile house. He felt very discouraged. Two such promising animals; two such unexpected answers. Slowly, he made his way to a picnic area, and climbed up on a bench to have a rest. He carefully put the pen and notepad, now bearing another cross, into his bag, and began to contemplate the visitors to the park and plan his next move. Gradually his attention became drawn to the conversation of two women sitting on the bench next to him.
“What shall we do now?” said one, an anxious-looking creature, with round glasses and hair cut in a brown bob.
“I don’t know,” said her friend, who had large brown boots and short cropped blonde hair.
“Well, there’s no need to decide yet,” said the first woman.
“Mustn’t hurry,” said the second, nodding sagely.
Tim nearly fell off his chair with excitement. After all his efforts, his patient rambles round the park, his note-taking and reading of signs, he had found not one, but two animals who like to do things slowly!
He leaned over to the woman with the short blonde hair and accosted her:
“Excuse me, madam, but I took the liberty of listening to your conversation. May I ask whether you like to do things slowly?”
The two women gave each other a conspiratorial glance, and laughed.
Tim got out his notebook. Slowly.
“And what kind of animal are you?” he asked. “I can’t see a label.”
“Oh, we’re human beings,” said the brown-haired woman.
Tim was puzzled.
“A kind of ape or monkey,” added the blonde woman, helpfully.
“Really?” said Tim, aghast. “A kind of monkey? Are you sure? There’s a monkey in the cage next to mine and he doesn’t look anything like you.”
“Shall we go and see?” said the brown-haired woman. “We could take you back if you like.”
“Would you really?” said Tim, “That would be splendid!”
So the little procession crossed the park to Tim’s enclosure. As they approached, the monkey called from the cage, “Hey Tim! Back already, dullard!”
“Hey monkey!” said Tim, “There are other animals who like to do things slowly,” adding, with some satisfaction, “Here they are.”
The blonde-haired woman regarded the monkey with badly-concealed distaste while her friend grinned wickedly at Tim.
“And,” added Tim, almost bursting with marsupial superiority, “they’re apes like you.”