In the early hours of a Monday morning, a monkey named “Casper Lollywinkle” escaped from the usually highly fortified Portsmouth Primate Sanctuary. In case you didn’t know Portsmouth had resident monkeys, it’s that place near the new Aldi that smells of fruit and shit. I guess if you hadn’t seen it, it may have passed you by.
After the escape there were no visible signs of how and why the breakout occurred. The owners and keepers were quick to react and sent out various alerts to the local authorities and contracted simian catchers advising that Casper was just an average monkey, and would be easily traced. They had trained and practiced for such eventualities and had, seemingly, followed every rule in their book but he was nowhere to be seen and their investigations had led to nothing. After three weeks of silence, there was news. When all hope was lost he was found, and he was running a fully operational museum (with charitable status) in a fashionable area of Shoreditch displaying only bananas, and employing staff of 45 people. To boggle the mind further, this museum had a footfall of 3,000 people a day and was already on an expansion program across the UK with a subsidiary museum already planned in the Northern Quarter area of Manchester.
Casper’s old keeper, Janice Fannyhat, was surprised at the situation: “To be honest, all I ever saw him do was scratch his ring-piece and sniff his fingers. If you asked me if I thought he could set up, and be responsible for a museum focused solely around a herbaceous fruit employing more people than I know, I’d announce you as a fucking charlatan!” she said as she took a glug from her weighty hip flask.
I took a visit round the museum with Gary Waddle who had started at the museum as a tour guide a week ago. He was keen, informative, and banana enthused. He was also full of praise for his new hairy-arsed employer: “He’s a great boss. We have a great pension scheme, and there are all the bananas any man could want. We get 30 days holiday a year and I can honestly say I do a job that enables me to live a dignified life. I never thought I’d ever work for a monkey, but here we are”
The owners were not available for comment, but sent a release to us advising that they “weren’t really bothered”, and they had no right to demand that Casper come back. Apparently, he “was a shit monkey anyway” and “he may as well carry on running his ridiculous, hipster, fruit circus as he was costing us [the sanctuary] an arm and a leg in food and other stuff. He’s no real loss”
I did not get the chance to meet Casper and he did not answer any of our correspondence and would not even offer a piece for this article. Despite this snub, his new acquaintances advised me he was charismatic, wise, astute and the perfect balance between professional and friendly. To the contrary, the people who knew him from old still could not quite understand how he managed to not get fucking run over or eaten by gulls. Whatever the view of this enigmatic, red-bummed entrepreneur, he has made his own way in life and is that not what we all desire?