Short Story

Submitted By odv27
Words: 421
Pages: 2

Michael has worked tirelessly to bring this labour of love to fruition. He has spent the past five years working with some of the world’s most renowned authorities on organic food and wholefoods cooking and has apprenticed under master organic farmers. In addition, he earned his certification as a herbalist from Dominion Herbal College. Outside, a frost has hardened the suburban back lawn to a square of brittle mud and concrete.

From inside a cage in the garden, two little monkeys survey this sorry landscape with bored, expressionless, yet disturbingly human eyes.

The balmy, verdant jungles of their native South America are a very long way away.

This is their life, shut outside a house in the West Midlands 24 hours a day. There’s nothing for these marmosets — typically sociable, playful, curious and intelligent animals — to do, not even a toy to play with.

Inside the house in Walsall, the monkey couple’s four-month-old son is faring a little better. At least he is kept in the warm.

He spends his days in the living room, while his owners, Keith and Sue Watkins, ‘humanise’ him to prepare him for sale.

Albert — as they’ve called him — is at least allowed out occasionally and has a few plastic toys to play with.

Meals also punctuate the boredom: he is usually given fruit, but sometimes gets some chips to nibble on and a bottle of Fruit Shoot for a ‘treat’.

It’s quite a departure from a marmoset’s diet in the wild, where they eat plant gums, fruit, flowers, insects and other small animals — even snails or lizards.