“One minute he looked too sick to move — and the next he was up like a shot. He must’ve been faking all along"
The van turned the corner and into the driveway of Eli’s Animal Center. The logo on the side of the van read, “VICTOR THE VET.” Eli and his assistant, Izzy, were waiting, looking worried.
The vet jumped out, carrying his bag.
“How can I help?” he asked. “I got a message one of your animals is sick.”
“That’s right,” replied Eli. “It’s our monkey, Manny. He’s been quiet and droopy, nothing like his usual self. We think he’s coming down with something.”
“All right, let’s have a look,” said the vet.
Eli and Izzy took Victor to Manny’s cage. Indeed, the monkey was lying on his back, eyes half closed. He didn’t look up even when the men crowded around his cage.
“Hmm. Does look like something’s wrong,” murmured the vet. “I’ll need to check his temperature.”
Izzy unlocked the cage door. The vet entered with his bag. In the split-second before Izzy locked the door behind him, Manny jumped up. Quick as lightning, he pushed past the vet, nearly toppling him over, and ran straight out of the open cage!
Eli and Izzy gave chase, but the monkey was much too fast for them. In a moment he had disappeared.
“I’m really sorry,” Izzy apologized to Eli. “I should’ve been quicker to lock the door.”
“It’s not your fault,” Eli replied. “One minute he looked too sick to move — and the next he was up like a shot. He must’ve been faking all along. The whole thing was a trick.”
“Naughty fellow,” observed Izzy, shaking his head. “I only hope he hasn’t escaped from the Center altogether.”
Eli turned pale.
“Me, too. He could be run over by a car or something. We have to find him.”
“I wish we had a dog to track him,” sighed Izzy. “Maybe Gimpel can help? Don’t goats have a good sense of smell?”
Nobody was quite sure. Eli decided to give Gimpel a try. Izzy thought Tuki might be able to help too. The parrot was smart as a whip and seemed to understand all that was said to him.
Eli took Gimpel out of his enclosure, and gave him some of Manny’s straw to sniff.
“Find Manny! Go on, follow your nose and tell us where Manny is.”
Gimpel bounded forward, as Eli and some of his staff followed. But the goat merely led them on a wild goose chase. It wasn’t every day he was free to roam around, and Gimpel was determined to make the most of it. He ran round and round in circles, making everyone dizzy.
Meanwhile Izzy had taken Tuki out of his cage and was earnestly talking to him.
“Go find Manny! Manny’s lost! Find him, Tuki.”
Tuki flapped his wings and flew upward, as Izzy watched. But, instead of searching for the monkey, Tuki just flew up into a nearby tree and perched on a branch.
“Come back!” called Izzy. “This is no time to sit in trees. We need you to find Manny.”
Tuki opened his beak, and said: “Pop goes the weasel!”
Izzy clutched his head in despair. Then a light came into his eye. He ran over to Eli.
“Let’s call Jolly Solly!” he cried. “If anyone can find Manny, it’s him.”
Eli agreed. The staff waited eagerly for the clown to arrive in his cheerful car. He got there pretty quickly, and eyed Gimpel running around in circles.
“We thought Gimpel might be able to follow Manny’s smell, but it didn’t work,” explained Eli.
“And then we tried Tuki, but that was no use,” added Izzy, pointing to the parrot in the tree top.
The clown reached into the back of his car, and pulled out a pair of stilts. Everyone stared in surprise. How were stilts going to help?
Towering over everybody, the clown tap-tapped toward Tuki. He reached out, parted some branches — and there, grinning among the leaves, was Manny the monkey!
“It was good old Tuki that led me to him,” said the clown, but nobody was listening. Gimpel bleated, Manny thumped his chest, Eli and Izzy and the staff clapped and cheered.
But Tuki had the last word. As the clown treated the bird to a handful of his favorite birdseed, Tuki puffed out his chest proudly. “Pop goes the weasel!” he announced.
(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 938)
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