“What is your mission?” the Martian said in Universal language the monkeys somehow understood.
“To go where no monk—” Dave began. Bob slapped him back.
“Um, our mission,” Bob said, “is to tell you about life on earth.” The leader translated for Bob and the Martians all cheered. They’d been wondering about that blue ball in the sky for centuries, and now they would find out everything about it!
Bob and the Martian leader—Dave called him Marty and it stuck, though that wasn’t his real name—decided to they would plan a seminar for the next day. They would need a day to rest. The Martians ran different ways to prepare food for the monkeys and cook Martian food, but the monkeys told them they’d brought their own food, thank you, and in fact they would show them this food as part of the seminar. Very important part of the presentation.
The monkeys decided they’d sleep better in the rocket, even though it was cramped.
They were afraid of the small flying creatures that seemed to be biting the Martians and figured they couldn’t get inside the rocket. They bit them anyway, and Skip seemed to garner the most whelps from the flying minions. They woke not as refreshed as they’d hoped but ready nonetheless for the seminar, which would be held in a crater, a bowl-like arena where thousands of Martians gathered.
After being introduced, Bob said, “Thanks, Marty,” and launched into his presentation while Skip and Dave stood behind him with props they’d brought—bananas and the larger photos from the scrapbook.
“We came to tell you about life on planet earth!”
“We want to keep this simple, because you seem to be simple people—much like the zookeepers we used to keep on earth,” Bob the monkey said.
“This,” Bob said holding up a yellow oblong object, “is a banana. The most important food on earth.”
“And this!” Dave said, grabbing the banana out of Bob’s hand, “is how to eat a banana.” He ate the banana so quickly that some of the Martians didn’t even see him swallow. They just noticed he was now holding a limp something that Dave then tossed over his shoulder.
Skip tripped on the banana peel and whumped down on his backside. He cut his eyes up toward Dave from the ground.
The Martians laughed uproariously, slapping one another on the tops of their heads and turning extremely green while doing so.
Bob wanted to get back on point, so he swiped the photos from next to Skip, who had dropped them when he slipped on the banana peel.
“Next we’ll show you photos of life on earth, then finally we will demonstrate how to swing from trees, and since you have no trees, we’ll swing from the spotlights,” Bob said. He showed them photos of the zookeeper, their island, the other monkeys, and more bananas.
The Martians ooohed and aaaaahed.
Dave and Skip, meanwhile, were climbing up the side of the spotlight frame and met in the middle, swinging each other like flying trapeze artists to the crowd’s delight. They gave them a standing O.
But shortly after the seminar, when all the Martians had gone home, Dave said what all three Monkey-nauts where thinking.
“I miss home,” Dave said. He curled and pressed his lips together to keep from crying.
“Don’t cry!” Skip said, slapping Dave on the back. Then seeing a nit where he’d slapped Dave, he picked it off, thought of eating it then thought better of it. Could be a Martian nit.
“Yes, you know what they say about visitors and fish?” Bob said.
“Yip,” said Dave, “they both have gills.”
“Whaaa?” Skip said scrunching up his eyebrows.
“No—Dave—no, they both stink after three days. I think tomorrow we shall go home,” Bob said, taking pride in being the one to set the course for their adventures.
The next day the monkeys blasted off to the applause and wistful watching of the Martians who had once again gathered to see the earthlings and learn just another bit about life on earth.
Out the window Dave shouted one last parting word of wisdom to the Martians:
“Don’t take any wooden nickels!” Dave had heard a zoo visitor say that and he’d always wanted to repeat it somewhere for posterity.
The Martians scratched their heads as the rocket ship lifted and zoomed out of site toward the big blue ball.