Episode 30: “MONSIEUR BUMBO”

In the salon of Mme de Cambremer there was a waiter who, seeing my usual bored-looking attitude, recruited me to help him in his mission. It was not about carrying trays with canapés and glasses of champaigne, of course. Because the waiter was not really a waiter. He was a monkey keeper. And you may wonder: what was a monkey keeper doing in Mme de Cambremer’s salon? Or maybe it was the other way around: Had Mme de Cambremer moved her salon to the monkey enclosure of the Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes? Well, to answer that question we must go back several months, when a chimpanzee named Bumbo managed to escape from Prospect Park zoo in New York by the simple procedure of smacking his keeper and making a picklock with his glasses. The keeper followed Bumbo’s trail to a pier in Chelsea where the transatlantic SS Paris had just set sail. Assuming that Bumbo had embarked as a stowaway, the keeper embarked on the next ship bound for Le Havre. He assumed that one of the eccentric and snobbish passengers of the SS Paris would have run into Bumbo during the Atlantic voyage and adopted him as a pet. So once in Paris he enrolled in a temporary hiring agency of waiters for parisian high society’s parties, a job that would allow him to sharpen his hearing on the lookout for any information about the chimpanzee. To his surprise, while he was exercising his cover of waiter, he recognized Bumbo among a row of guests at a reception in the palais de l’Elysée. The chimpanzee was wearing evening dress, top hat and monocle, and was shaking hands with the President of the Republic. Further investigations revealed to the keeper that Bumbo had somehow managed to sneak into the jet set imitating the arrogant behavior of its members. In short, I accepted the challenge and, for weeks, toured all the Paris’s salons in search of the chimpanzee. In the end, I had five candidates who fitted the profile. Hence, the identification was not an easy task. Only when I challenged the five of them to climb a tree did the monkey unmask himself.

This is a non-profit blog whose purpose is to raise funds for children in need. So if you want to make a donation in exchange for this story, click on this link to UNICEF. I really appreciate it!

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