The monkey wore a dapper hat. It was kind you might see an old-timey bellboy wear in New York City. Seated on the top of a wind up music box he listened to the conversation of the businessmen who sat inside the glass of the restaurant while his blind master begged for change. The monkey was trained and well behaved. Sitting patiently until the moment arrived when a passerby stopped to toss a few coins at the blind man’s feet, who would crank the box to play the tune for the monkey to dance his jig to. The box knew one tune and the monkey knew one jig, and most days neither got much opportunity to do the one thing they were destined to do.
The businessmen were talking about stocks and bonds, most notably something called YRU, how it was going to lose big, just as ICYU spiked up past TNT, which would remain stable. The monkey didn’t, at first, make much sense of this, yet as he saw how the businessmen were all very excited about it the monkey agreed there must be more to it so he listened intently and pondered their words until he finally understood. Yes, the monkey agreed YRU would drop, ICYU would up and TNT would stay. And what was more, though the businessmen seemed unawares, was that QRTP was also likely to plummet along with CCNT while UUPU would skyrocket in just six weeks. It was obvious to the monkey that there was a lot of money to be made here if one had the proper information. Sadly, thought the little monkey, there was nothing he could do about it. He was not a businessman; he had no briefcase, blue coat, or even pants. There was certainly no way these businessmen would allow the little monkey to join their team without the proper attire, they would have no hope of being taken seriously. And if there was one thing about business, it was that it was a serious thing.
The monkey, when he wasn’t at work, liked to watch movies. He would watch them with his master, who always let the monkey pick the movie, and never complained about watching nothing but completely monkey movies all the time, they had lots of interesting sounds and were easy to visualize, although occasionally, like when the monkey insisted on watching “Ed”, the one with Joey from “Friends”, and the chimp who could really pitch, twelve times back to back on a rainy Sunday, he wished he hadn’t made this arrangement.
It was from these monkey movie marathons that our simian hero learned his greatest lesson. If a monkey is to rise-up out of the rainforest of his heretofore flea eating, shit tossing, banana popping lifestyle, and achieve success beyond the humble dreams of his, “Ooo-Ooo, Eee-Eee” ancestors, it is not enough to be in possession of a great talent, he must also be discovered demonstrating his unique skill by a human being of similar talent and desire. Perhaps most importantly, he must be discovered while wearing the appropriate costume.
The monkey pinned his hopes on the three men in the restaurant. By now they had finished their meal and were onto arguing about which of them would pay the bill. Being young and successful each of them desired to treat the others and were all fully prepared to argue their position well into the afternoon. The monkey could not conceive of any plan wherein he might come into possession of a matching suit jacket, with a collared shirt and tie, before the battle of the bill was decided. It seemed his only chance lie in somehow demonstrating to the three men his business model. Maybe if he had access to a laptop with Power Point software, and a projection screen, he could show them flow charts and pie graphs, the cost-benefit analysis alone would be sure to impress them. If only he had it easy like Ed and merely had to find a ball to pitch at 100 mph, he would have been famous six lifetimes ago.
The businessmen were getting up from their seats. In a few moments they would pass by the spot where the monkey stood chained to his music box beside his blind master. He would not be discovered as the next great business protégé, he had no suit, no pie charts, and no wall street journal to distinguish him as such. He held his monkey head in shame and held out his hat for change.
“Aw, isn’t that cute, hey check it out fellas.”
“So how does this work here, do you just play for change?”
“That’s right”, said the old blind master.
“Let’s have a go then.” as he tossed a five into the monkey’s outstretched hat.
The monkey looked up as the bill floated into the crown of his hat. It was the three businessmen from the restaurant! They had stopped to see him. Here was his chance. He looked around for a pencil or piece of paper, something he could offer up as business card. The old blind master turned the crank on the music box. The sound of the music box was popping and tinny, it played an ancient tune that we all know in our hearts but could never name. The monkey knew it was the time for his dance. His jig. But he did not want to dance for these men, it felt very foolish, these were his peers, they should be his partners, he wanted to negotiate mergers and acquisitions with these men, he did not want to dance his silly jig.
“What’s the matter with him” said one of the businessmen.
“He’s not usually so stubborn, c’mon dance for the good men, they’ve paid you money.” The old blind master prodded the monkey with his cane, “show them what you can do.”
The monkey hopped back and forth from one foot to the other and wiggled his arms. It was his most uninspired performance to date.
“Well that’s crap.”
“He’s usually very good. I don’t know what’s wrong with him.”
The businessmen walked away and the old blind master stopped the crank.
“Why did you embarrass me like that? We are trying to run a business here, or have you forgotten?”
Business, the monkey thought; don’t talk to me about business.
Mr. Schofield is a very tall man, husband, dog owner, and playwright. You can read more of his work at the beautiful project For Every Year.