the case of the mysterious monkey noises

Last Saturday morning, as I made coffee in a small log cabin near Lake Tahoe while on a ski trip, my friend R. looked at me and said, “Do you have a monkey ring tone on your phone?” I looked at her, confused, and said, “Um, no.” R. said she heard monkey sounds in the middle of the night, twice. “What did they sound like?” I asked. “Hoohooheeeheee,” R. said scrunching up her shoulders and making a hilarious face.

P., R. and I were sharing a room (yes, a bunkbed) so P. and I should have heard them too. We made R. make the sounds several times that day, even on the ski lifts at North Star, and laughed every time she did it.

L&B had arrived at 1 a.m., and had used the bathroom. We thought maybe it was the pipes making the noise. So later that evening we actually flushed the toilet while Robin lied on the bed to test whether the pipes squealed like a monkey. They didn’t.

As we crawled into the bunk beds on Saturday night, R., P. and I continued to demystify the mysterious monkey noises like little girls at slumber party. In whispers, we guessed all possible scenarios. Maybe it was a mouse? Or what about an owl? How about a bear outside the window? A laughing hyena? No, those in Africa (we all erupted with laughter). What about a ghost? “Maybe you just imagined them, R.” “I know I heard something!” she insisted.

At 7:30 Sunday morning, all three of us heard it: “Hoohooheehee.” “You guys! Did you hear that?” R. said in a loud whisper. “Yes,” P said from the top bunk. “Yes,” I said. It happened again, and it came from the closet. R. got up and investigated, and found a bright blue plastic toy monkey on top of a box of toys. When she picked it up, it vibrated and said: “Hoohooheehee.” R. fell over on the bed laughing with tears running down her face. I took the monkey and stood in front of L&B’s bedroom door like a mischievous little kid to see if the monkey could wake them up. It did. “Is that a monkey I hear?” said L. from behind the closed door.

We made that plastic monkey talk over and over until we got sick of it. But we were glad to have solved the great case of the mysterious monkey noises. And to know that R. isn’t losing it.

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