Mark Twain once mused that Our Heavenly Father was so disappointed with the monkey that he invented man.
This was way back in the late 19th Century. But if he were around now, I’d wager Mr Twain would have said God was so disappointed in one John Owen Casford that he invented the squirrel monkey.
Perhaps we can make it clearer. It is generally accepted that the Good Lord did not make anything without a reason but mosquitoes, and the said John Casford come close.
Said bloke tried to steal the monkey from a New Zealand zoo to “impress his girlfriend.” In mitigation, Mr Casford said he was as “high as a kite” although a well-known kite from said miscreant’s neighbourhood testified it had never been as high as a Boeing 747 before. This tallied with the drunk-as-a-skunk’s blood alcohol level – “28,000 feet and climbing.”
The good people of New Zealand were shocked. They were generally not averse to a pint of the nourishing fluid but to try and steal a monkey was simply not on. OK, maybe a mug or three from the local pub or soap and towels from a hotel but this was a monkey, they muttered indignantly.
Man has always thought monkeys can be trained to do almost anything. That’s why we hear the phrase “surely out of a million monkeys, at least one can write like Shakespeare. ”
When not in his cups, John Owen Casford was made of sterner stuff because he thought out of the box. That was why he put the old axiom about the Bard on its head.
“If we had a thousand Shakespeare’s, could one write like a monkey?” the wasted wastrel wanted to know. “That is the question.”
It was the burning question he had uppermost in his mind when he broke into the Wellington Zoo in the dead of night and attempted to steal a monkey home to his girlfriend. Why the latter would have been impressed with such bounty was the burning question confronting the psychiatrists.
He entered the zoo through an unsecured gate and broke through two padlocks to enter the animals’ enclosure. Suffice it to say the astonished apes weren’t pleased to see him.
As they might say Down Under, anyone could immediately tell they weren’t prime mates.
On the morning after the incident, zookeepers knew something was wrong when they found most monkeys injured or frightened and one, missing. She had apparently taken a generous bite out of the maudlin miscreant and was later found raucously singing a simian version of Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport.
Meanwhile, the now-severely hungover Mr Casford was huddling with his lawyers. Asked why he felt compelled to drink that much alcohol he replied truthfully. “She is pretty sober,” he said, alluding to his girlfriend, “but she’s prettier, drunk.”
The plastered pisshead did not escape unscathed. He sustained multiple injuries, some self-inflicted and others presumably at the hands of at least one monkey with a fondness for horrendous Aussie songs grievously murdered long ago by Rolf Harris.
Alas, poor Casford. His girlfriend booted him out and the judge booted him in.
In jail that is. Four years of it.