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Monkey Business! On the Lam!

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See the AP article at the end of this post for more details about this real monkey who's escaped for over a year in the Tampa area. He has more than 20 thousand Facebook fans and has been featured on The Colbert Report. I cornered him for this exclusive interview before he swung away:

Phew. Traffic's getting pretty heavy. It always crowds up going north after 4. Too dangerous to cross. I'll wait it out behind Starbucks again. I'm hooked on the chai tea and that lady in the Hermes scarf who always orders a grande usually leaves at least half. And she asks for low-sweetener and that's a bonus, because I'm gaining too much weight with all this waiting around. I can feel it when I swing through the neighborhood trees. I can't scale apartments anymore beyond the second floor. Getting harder to swipe grapefruits every day, too.

Not sure where I'll eat tonight. The dumpsters behind Olive Garden aren't bad. Always lots of uneaten food, but I'm sick of Italian. I like Indian. Tastes more like home.

I do have to lay off the Whoppers. Maybe that's the cause of the weight problem.

And maybe it's the munchies. They've been shooting me up with something that makes me pretty happy and pretty hungry. That's why I let them find me every once in a while.

Had a great swim today in that old lady's pool. I like it better than the lap pool yesterday. I can do fifty laps now. I'd love to just sleep in the sun by the pool but I guess a monkey on the lam doesn't have the privileges of a human. Why not? They act like idiots. I was watching the one who cries and screams and thumps his chest on one of the animal networks, Fox, the other night. Strange animal indeed. I much prefer the other animal network, Animal Planet. Saw my cousins on there a few months ago.

I am sooo lonely. My only friend is a service monkey named Ralph. But he's a workaholic. He does everything for his human and never has a day off. He likes opening the door and putting the dishes away. Good guy, but no fun.

So I'm heading for the state park in Ocala tomorrow night to see my girlfriend. It's been too long and I'm horny as hell. I'm trying to figure a way to get her out. Then we can settle somewhere in the Tampa area. Stephen Colbert says he knows some empty property on the water that looks pretty good. A friend of his was going to build there before the economy tanked. Loads of properties like that I noticed. Stephen and I are close.

I wonder if that agent who called him about me is really going to get me on Oprah. I'd almost let myself get caught for that. Maybe it would lead to a reality series. I've seen worse. I do like The Bachelor. Reminds me of my courtship rituals.

I think there's a book in my future, at least. I hear a place called Huffington Post has a lot of writers with free time. Maybe one of them would ghost it for me.

Then I could get some real money and settle down with my SO, maybe back in the Far East with my family. We could live where there are lots of trees and nuts and fruits. We could swing along and have lots of babies. I'm sick of the traffic and the noise and the lousy cable shows and fast food and having to out-think the humans. And it's not a challenge anymore. A year is enough.

Oh well, off to the internet cafe to get in when it closes. I need to check my Facebook page.

**

From the Associated Press: In the hours after a monkey on the lam fell into a woman's pool and then swiped some fruit from her backyard tree, fans of the wily primate cheered it for avoiding capture.

"Go little monkey, go! No cages for you," wrote a guy named Jack on the "Mystery Monkey of Tampa Bay" Facebook fan page. (There were more than 21,000 fans of the elusive monkey as of Wednesday morning.)

"I sure hope 'they' don't catch you!" wrote a woman named Kathleen. "Why can't 'they' just leave you alone?"

Why, indeed?

The rhesus macaque monkey has avoided capture for nearly a year. Authorities don't know where the animal came from, but some believe it could have gotten separated from a troupe of wild monkeys in an Ocala-area state park, some 118 miles north of St. Petersburg. Another possibility: the animal could have escaped from an owner who doesn't have a permit and is therefore not registered with authorities.

The creature has captivated people in Tampa Bay and beyond -- possibly because of his ability to outwit the humans trying to catch him.

"It's something that you can kind of cheer for," said Amy Ellis, a Pasco County employee who has become a fan of the monkey on Facebook. "Every day there's so much bad news. He's kind of like a little hero."

The monkey was even featured two weeks ago on "The Colbert Report" with host Stephen Colbert poking fun at the creature, who has been shot numerous times with tranquilizers, apparently unfazed. One trapper claimed the monkey was becoming a "drug addict" because of all the shots.

"You took a monkey on the lam and put a monkey on his back," Colbert wisecracked.

Wildlife trapper Vernon Yates has tracked the monkey through three counties, and heard reports of it rummaging through trash bins, scaling the wall of an apartment complex and even hanging out by a pool behind a foreclosed home.

Yates swears it is the same monkey because of its size, coloring and behavior.

"He is an extremely intelligent monkey," Yates said. "He is very, very street-wise. He knows to check traffic. He knows to look both ways so he doesn't get hit by cars. He knows to stay out of power lines."

Yates said he worries that someone will shoot or kill the monkey. If he catches it, Yates will have the animal tested for disease. If negative, the trapper will try to find the monkey a home, likely a private individual who has a permit to care for exotic wildlife.

State wildlife officials are also serious about catching the evasive primate.

"That animal is so much quicker and more powerful than people perceive," said Gary Morse, a spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. "That monkey would absolutely tear an adult male up. People have no idea how fierce their bites would be."

Morse said monkeys can harbor communicable diseases, such as hepatitis and herpes, and can become aggressive if cornered.

On Sunday, St. Petersburg resident Renee Barth got a laugh when she spotted the monkey swinging from a tree in her pool enclosure. She managed to get a photo -- then watched it fall into her pool.

Barth said the monkey climbed out, then took off with some grapefruit.