Hitting Rock Bottom

story & illustration © 2003 Bruce Van Patter

M
ocker couldn't take much more of Screaming And Jumping Class. It was all just too silly.
He sat apart from the other monkeys on the rock while the teacher showed them how to scare the Baboons. The teacher jumped up and down, bared his teeth and yelled. The other monkeys did the same. All except Mocker.

He knew this wouldn't work. Three weeks had passed since the Baboons had taken over the fruit trees and forced the monkeys to the rocky hills. All the other plans had failed. Why should this one work?

But Mocker was really mad at himself. He was too smart to just sit there and be silly. After all, though he was young he was the only monkey to have ever left the forest. Of course, he only left because he had been caught by trappers and sold to a zoo. But he had been smart enough to escape and come back. He had been smart enough to teach himself to read while in the zoo.

The monkeys kept screaming and jumping. He picked up a piece of bark and threw it down into the dark, empty cave a little way off. He heard it hit the distant rock floor. I should tell the pack I'm smart, tell them that I can help, he thought. But even if they believe me, I don't have a plan. He stared into the cave for a while, his mood as black as the big hole.

Then the piece of bark came flying back out. It bounced and tumbled along the rocks, stopping by his feet. He scooped it up. Words were scratched into the bark

I can help... for a price.


It's Your Story - well, scratch my fur and call me a monkey's uncle! Can you finish?

First, decide who or what is in the cave? Could it be another animal who can read and write? Why is it stuck in the cave? How will Mocker and the cave writer get rid of the baboons? What will the other monkeys think of Mocker? And... does this mystery writer know he's getting into monkey business?

Have fun -- finish the story -- be creative! And email me your story! I can't wait!

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