Guerrillas in the Glen
Gordon Stearns

Chapter 1
The Laboratory of Dr. Spengele
page 4 of 5

"It's a wonder there's any of them left," marveled Monkey after viewing a particularly bloody movie. Once Charley happened to turn on the nightly news. Monkey watched the unfolding scenes of war, murders, and other vicious acts.

"This is as bad as the movies," Monkey muttered to himself, "and I am the prisoner of these violent creatures."

One evening as Charley switched channels looking for a horror movie, several chimpanzees appeared on the screen. "Wish to watch this, Charley," Monkey said excitedly. Charley nodded, but yawned while Monkey studied a community of wild chimps living in a rainforest. A female human approached them. Offering a banana, she spoke to an adolescent chimp whom she called Figan. By the program's end, Monkey was strongly impressed with Figan's intelligence and cunning.

Afterward Monkey declared, "Charley, you call me 'Monkey', but the chimp lady said chimps aren't monkeys. Monkeys have tails. I don't have a tail. I don't look much like a monkey. I'm a chimp. Don't wish to be called 'Monkey' anymore. Wish to be called Figan."
"Huh?" replied Charley.
"Call me Figan."
"O.K., monk- I mean Figan," Charley nodded slowly. "Guess you outta have a name you like." From the chimp lady, Figan learned more about chimps. From Charley, Figan continued to learn about humans. In the weeks that followed, he decided to escape. He began to talk quietly to other apes. But they simply stared back at him in bewilderment and hooted.

Then one day, the doctors opened the cage adjoining Figan's to give his little neighbor a shot. However, instead of trying to hide in the corner as usual, he did something totally unexpected. With a series of angry shrieks, he hurled himself at his tormentors. As they leapt aside in astonishment, the little ape dove through the cage door. He led the humans on a frantic chase around the lab, knocking over test tubes and beakers and nearly escaping through the lab entrance. Finally with the help of cage-cleaning humans, the little ape was captured and returned to his cage.

"How you doing, little guy," whispered Figan, after the commotion had died down. "Why did you decide to fight the humans?"

There was a long silence while the ape gazed strangely at Figan. His mouth moved awkwardly, forming new sounds. "They . . . not . . . do this to me. I . . . not . . . hide . . . anymore. I . . . get . . . away."

"You can talk!" shouted Figan. Excitedly, he turned a somersault in his cage. Figan laughed for sheer joy and happily rubbed the little fellow's head. Then he paused for a while, thinking carefully. "All right," Figan finally said, "We'll both get away." At this very moment, Figan saw two human doctors re-entering the lab and warned,"But we must be very quiet so the humans won't hear us."

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Gordon Stearns
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Guerrillas in the Glen Copyright 1997, 1998 Gordon Stearns
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