The Scripture Scout
Monkeys on Mars: A Fable
for Missionaries, pt 1
by Greg Taylor
Cover Artwork by Bobby Gombert
The retired monkeys who had traveled to space, once upon a time, were bored and got to chatting.
They were irritated with humans trying to reach Mars with their remote control go carts that kept failing. They could do better. After all, the monkeys had made as many trips to space as humans.
So the monkeys broke out of the zoo.
And built a spaceship.
Half-way through the project they ran out of funds, so they sold candy bars to children and candles to old ladies to raise money to complete the spacecraft.
The ladies and children were quite impressed with the monkey’s entrepreneurial spirit.
The monkeys even attracted quite a crowd as they completed their spaceship. They only hoped the zookeeper wouldn’t happen along and find them!
After weeks of building and dozens of trips to their helpful hardware man, the day came when they would launch their craft and cruise to Mars.
They loaded the spaceship with enough food for the trip, as long as it didn’t take longer than a week, and prepared for launch.
Before the three monkeys—Bob (smart), Skip (cool), and Dave (dopey)—entered the spacecraft, one of the ground space crew threw…uh, a monkey wrench into the project when he asked a perplexing question.
“What is our mission?” Dan, a young grounds crew monkey, asked.
Bob the monkey-naut scratched his chin, Skip scratched his head, and Dave was picking nits off Bob.
“Indeed,” said Bob, “What is our mission?”
Skip looked up into the air, waved his arm out as if sprinkling magic dust across the crowd, and said, “Our mission is…to go where no monkey has gone before...”
Dave shook his head in agreement and tried to separate his fingers with two on each side and hold it in the air, but his timing was off and he couldn’t get his fingers configured just right anyway.
The old wise monkey, who they just called, “The Monk” tried to speak—which he did not often do, but his voice was drowned out by the countdown, which was set on auto.
10—9—8— time was wasting! No more time to think about the mission, Bob, Skip, and Dave had to get in the ship or it would take off and aimlessly drift without them, just like those un-Monkeyed missions the humans always sent to Mars. No, they had to get in.
“All aboard!” shouted Phil, the second grounds crew member.
The monkeys scampered onboard and took their positions, Bob in the drivers seat, Skip in front of the mirror, and Dave in the kitchen checking what would be served for the in-flight snack.
Dan, who had asked about their mission, shrugged and went to the controls to monitor the take off.
From the window in the capsule, Bob stuck out his head.
“I’ve got it!”
“What?” said Dan and Phil at the same time.
“Our mission! It’s to tell them about life on earth,” Bob said.
So with time counting down, everyone agreed they would teach the Martians (or whatever lifeforms—so passé to call them Martians—they found there) the most important facts about earth.
Bob’s suggestion that they tell about life on earth stuck, because they knew more about that and could easily take some photos and prepare some fun projects for the monkey-nauts to take along.
But, the countdown! 4—3—
“Hey!” said Phil, “remember when Dave was so into scrapbooking?”
“How could we forget!” all the monkeys said in unison.
“Well,” he continued, “Dave gave me that great book of pictures of us swinging from trees and eating bananas on the fake zoo island, right?”
“So?” said Skip from the window of the craft.
“And the funniest picture: when the zookeeper found out we’d borrowed the zoo camera without asking and she chased Dave through the gift shop and Dave knocked down an entire display of stuffed zoo animals—yikes, I hate those—”
“Phil!” Bob said. “The countdown! We don’t have time for you to get off track.”
“But where is the scrapbook?” Dave hollered out the other side of the command module.
“It’s in your bag! I decided you’d need it more than I will on your trip. You can use it to show the Marti—uh, the lifeforms EVERYTHING that’s important about life on earth!” Phil said.
“You! Why did—what?! Why didn’t you just say so!” Bob said.
“You didn’t ask,” Phil said, pulling his lips down over his teeth to keep from smiling.
“The countdown!” they all said, as if collectively remembering themselves and their mission.
2—1 BLAST OFF!
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