My name is Digits Monkey, and I am a collector’s item, or so I have been told. Being crowned with such a title might have been an effort to make me feel better about myself after I sat for months on a display shelf, watching other monkeys being carted off to families, while I just….sat. Or, it could have something to do with the heart shaped tag on my ear that says T-Y, which pretty much means I’m gaining in value as each moment ticks by. I was devastated when nobody bought me. I want to belong to somebody, to be played with. I yearned for friendships (and rivalries) with other toys. So you can imagine how I felt with no home, no friends.
A last attempt to find me a home was made by a post to something called eBay. One day, to my surprise and delight, a person said “Digits, we’ve found you a forever home.” I was fluffed up, wrapped in a plastic bag, nestled into a box of Styrofoam peanuts, sealed up, shipped off. I couldn’t wait.
I am a plush monkey. So squeezable, with hair so soft it feels rain washed. Any child would love me, if I do say so, because I am so huggable, so snugly. I couldn’t wait to be hugged and loved. I put on my very best smile as I heard my box being opened. I came into the light of a bright, warm house, with music playing, the squeal of children (hooray!!!). I looked into the face of a very Pretty Lady. I was home at last. I was so excited to have been purchased, so happy to know somebody wanted ME.
Pretty Lady held me down at eye level of two small children. I kept smiling until, to my horror, I looked to the floor and beheld the most frightening sight, and all my good feelings left me immediately. There, on the rug, was what appeared to be the corpse of another monkey. I couldn’t believe my oval button eyes! All this brightness and warmth were just showing to be a false front for what was really going on behind the scenes. Besides the dead monkey, I saw trains derailed, cars overturned, and a plush zebra was having a blanket held over its head; probably the next victim for the corpse pile.
I forced myself to look more closely at the lifeless matted thing. He looked a lot like me. Well, I should say he was my size, my shape, but that is where the similarity ended. What torture had this poor creature had to endure? About that time, a Little Boy toddled up to me, looked at me, then went straight over and picked up the dredded, matted thing. He hugged the corpse, he talked to it, and kissed its dead little nose. It was then that I noticed that the dead monkey had bright little eyes, (a lot like mine) and a smile! I was confused. He was the motliest plush toy I had ever seen. His hair was matted and small sticks and grass were embedded therein; something the color of peanut butter was smeared on the back of his head, and his tail….oh my goodness, his tail. A string! That’s all it was! Not a respectable monkey tale in any fashion! While I did notice similarities between me and the corpse monkey--if he was alive, and if he was indeed a Digits Monkey--he was sorely disgracing the name of T-y.
Then, faster than you can say “monkey’s uncle,” I was placed on a table and Dead Monkey was placed beside me with his arm around me. I froze in terror! He spoke to me. “Welcome to our home.” The monkey wasn’t dead after all! I’m not sure if I felt relief, or more fear for this poor creature and the terrible condition he seemed to be in. “My name is Money,” he whispered to me. “That is my Little Boy over there.” The Pretty Lady appeared with a camera and the flash was blinding me. Snap, snap, snap. Money and I were soon left alone, and I got to know him a little better. He did his best to make me feel at ease, and while I appreciated his welcoming approach, there was a part of me that actually felt a little sorry for him. I was pretty sure my new assignment was to replace Money. I certainly never wanted to end up looking like him, though. It’s never complimentary when somebody seriously thinks you’re dead when you are very much alive.
Pretty Lady tried again to give me to the Little Boy. Once again, Little Boy walked past me and put his arms out for Money. I had given my best smile, just wanting him to touch me and feel how soft and….non-matted and non-stickered I was. I knew that would be my redemption, my selling point. But he would not even touch me. He only had eyes for Money. And so I ate my gluttonous serving of Humble Pie in several gulps. Little Boy’s Brother paid some attention to me, and that was kind of fun to be held and tossed and played with. Still, I was envious of the love that Little Boy had for Money, Humble Pie be darned.
There had to be something extra special about that dead-looking beat up monkey to garner so much love from Little Boy. Once, Money was dropped and left in an orchard for a few days. It had snowed, melted, frozen during those days, but when Pretty Lady retrieved him, Little Boy gave him a huge hug with kisses and squeals, never minding the wet, the mud, the sticks in Money’s fur. Oh, to be so loved as that Money. I slowly began to feel happy for him.
I did, after all, have a new home. It was a comfortable place, and I had the companionship of Brother’s zebra named Marty, a giraffe named Quetzal Melman, various friends from the Hundred Acre Wood, and a plush pal named Puppy. I had a place.
Not long ago, Little Boy took Money to his Nana’s house and forgot him there (the Nana wasn’t paying attention!) Little Boy was sad and kept asking Pretty Lady “Where’s Money?” She would say “He’s spending the night with Nana.” Little Boy seemed resigned to this and would take Puppy to bed, but it seriously pained me to see how much he missed his Money.
One night, when the lights were low and Little Boy was in his bed, Pretty Lady held me out to him. I felt his arms go around me and squeeze me tight. He kissed my nose and said “Money! I love you, Money!” Oh, I was so happy. I took Money’s place if only for a moment. I know Little Boy was fooled in the dark, I know that! But he was happy and I was happy and I knew I’d found my place. When Money returned from Nana’s house, I deferred to him once again, but that’s okay because he is really a nice guy with a very important job. And once you get used to looking at him, he doesn’t look dead at all. He just looks very, very loved. I have decided goal in this life is to someday look just like him.