Spider Monkey in Holmby Park
The motorcycle slowly wound its way around the curved streets of the Bel Air-Beverly Hills region of Los Angeles. Brian was on a lazy, lets-see-how-the-other-half-lives expedition into the exclusive enclave of the rich and famous.
He turned right off Comstock Avenue onto the main entrance to Holmby Park, a green oasis in the middle of Beverly Hills. Approaching a small gathering at the access to the park, he was surprised to see the people were crowded around a medium-sized, sable-colored monkey. Brian stopped and dismounted, pushing his kickstand down.
Grabbing a water bottle, he headed to the furry attraction. The female monkey sat comfortably on its haunches and Brian could see her silvery white underbelly. Her long legs bent at the knees were as tall as her shoulders.
The monkey appeared at ease and looked like a homeless beggar waiting for handouts, an unusual occurrence in this upscale neighborhood. Empty orange peels were strewn about from previous tribute. Now she was looking for more tasty treasures, nodding and chattering continually, soliciting her next scrumptious treat. A woman in the small crowd offered her a chocolate covered donut. The monkey shot her long arm out, grabbed it, and wolfed it down in three bites.
Holding the water bottle, Brian worked himself inside the circle, unscrewed the top and offered the plastic container to the monkey. The animal grabbed it, took three swallows, then threw it on the ground, shaking her head “no.” Brian took his backpack off, zipped it open, and offered the monkey a banana. The furry creature snatched it from him as soon as she saw it, peeling the outer rind away with a practiced hand.
“This is the third time this week I have seen this monkey here,” a woman said.
“Who does she belong to?” Brian asked.
“She’s from the Playboy Mansion, a mile up the road. Look, they’ve put a pink collar on her. Let’s see what it says.” The woman bent down to read the letters on the pink collar. “The monkey’s name is Chiquita, and there’s a number to call.”
Brian handed Chiquita a second banana, but she reached out and latched onto Brian’s wrist instead. Then she grabbed Brian’s other arm and jumped onto him enveloping him in a bear hug.
“I think she’s ready to go back,” the woman chuckled.
“I don’t know what to do,” Brian replied, disconcerted and puzzled about why this creature chose him.
“I’ll call the number on the collar,” the helpful woman replied as she pulled her cell phone out of her pocket. “Or, you can drive her back to the mansion. It’s only a mile up that road, she explained, pointing behind her.
Brian smiled, warming to the idea. “Do you think she’ll ride on my bike?” He wondered aloud.
“Sure, you can try that. I’ll call ahead and tell them you’re bringing her home,” she said, smiling.
“Where’s the mansion?” Brian asked.
“Follow this walkway across the park. It leads to South Mapleton. Take Mapleton to Charing Crossroad. It goes straight about a half mile and then makes a sharp left. You’ll see the mansion on the right. Look for the big rock boulder near the turnoff. I’ll call the number to tell them you’re coming.”
Brian nodded and carefully set Chiquita on the back of his seat. Her long arms snaked around him as he started the bike and drove slowly through Holmby Park on the asphalt walkway. Once on the other side, he crossed Club View Drive to South Mapleton.
Chiquita seemed fine as she held onto Brian’s jacket with a tight grip. However, as Brian turned up South Mapleton and increased his speed, Chiquita had second thoughts about the ride. She became frightened as Brian revved the engine, chattering loudly and fidgeting nervously as she held onto him. Nodding, he slowed to five miles per hour and made his way up Mapleton. After turning onto Charing, he came upon the Playboy Mansion gate just as it was opening for a red Corvette convertible with the top down. A beautiful blonde woman sat in the driver’s seat.
Chiquita immediately jumped off Brian’s bike and into the Corvette.
“Hi, I’m Crystal,” the lovely blonde told Brian. “Thanks for bringing Chiquita home.”
“No problem,” Brian replied, hoping an invitation inside the grounds would come shortly.
It didn’t. Crystal just smiled and drove quickly inside before the gate closed