The Banana Derby
Not so long ago, I went to a fair because I wanted to see the banana derby. A banana derby is when monkeys riding dogs race around a track. I'd never seen a banana derby before. The monkeys and dogs appeared to be owned by a man and a wife who operated the banana derby out of an RV. There was also a little girl who I assumed was their daughter, and another woman who was maybe the wife's sister. It was like a traveling circus, but this circus only had monkeys and dogs. Eventually, the music started to play, and the man got on the mic. To much fanfare, the monkeys appeared and mounted their dog steeds. Then they were racing around the track. One of the monkeys gawked at us as he rode, making faces at the crowd that appeared to excite him. The other monkey acted like he just wanted to get the whole thing over with so he could get more bananas. I believe the monkey that made the faces was the winner. It was clear this race had been run before, many times, in all likelihood. It was a well choreographed routine. Afterwards, the crowd dispersed, and for not a large sum, you could have your photo taken with the monkey. I waffled, but eventually I went in the tent. The man told me to hand the money to the monkey, so I did. The monkey snatched the money, and then it stuck it in a box. The monkey came back with a picture of himself for me, but it was dropped during the hand off. Then the man told the monkey to sit on my lap for the photo. I thought maybe having a monkey sitting on your lap would be like having a cat sitting on your lap: warm, and alive, and comforting. Instead, the monkey was heavy, and tightly muscular, and reeked of urine that had maybe soaked the diaper that it was possibly wearing under its clothes. In the photo, we look happy: I'm smiling at the camera, and the monkey, who has his hand wrapped around the strap of my handbag, is staring at the camera. He has on a pink shirt like a clown would wear and bright blue pants. One of his feet is clutching at my hand. The leash trails off out of frame. In the background, there's a representation of a verdant jungle, the place where we aren't sitting.