But let’s backup a bit, what had happened was that some of the guys were standing around at LZ Hambone when a platoon of the 4th Infantry filed passed to hop a ride back to their base camp. One happened to have a monkey on his back, literally, sitting on his Ruck and hanging on with a rope or leash tied to him attached to a collar.
Someone said something about it being a cute monkey and that opened the door to negotiations. The “grunt” said that yes they really loved their monkey but the sad thing was that he found out that they couldn’t keep him at their base camp due to regulations and besides he was leaving country soon and he needed to find the poor monkey a good home. I think it was Smart that asked what he needed to part with his best friend, the monkey, There followed the bartering with numbers being tossed around and the grunt being very good at it. I think that something like $25 bucks was the final price for the cute little fella.
I can’t tell you what kind of monkey he was but he was a smaller monkey and may have been a Rhesus, and when they guys asked me about keeping it I said the words that I would later regret, “sure it’s okay with me.”
Soon after, on 1 March ’68, we did an air move down to Dak To and by road to Artillery Hill and base camp taking our feisty little fur ball from hell with us. I say that because in the few days we had him we found out he had some habits that didn’t endear him to us.
He liked to tear paper up, any paper, from forms to SOI code books, maps and charts to someone’s mail. Now we knew what the leash was for. Not to keep him from escaping but to tie him up to keep him from doing damage to everything around him. Then there was the biting. To be fair there were times when he was cute and friendly and would climb up on someone’s shoulder and the times he could be very playful and gave us a few laughs at his antics. But then, at the drop of a hat, he would suddenly turn mean and even scary. While sitting on your shoulder for no reason he would bite your ear, hard. When you grabbed him to pull him off he would attack fingers and thumbs. These weren’t love bites; they were downright hard and malicious.
Then there was a favorite of the fur ball from hell. When he was tied up so he was safe from destroying property or biting someone he would crap into his hand roll it up into a ball and throw it at people. No accident that he hit you with his crap, he took deliberate aim and he was a good shot. Sometimes he would lay in wait to either, ambush you with a ball of crap or leap out at you and bite you, then run as far as his leash would take him.
One day after about three weeks of this moth eaten, monster monkey from hell, while still at Artillery Hill with our mission as Pleiku defense, some grunts passed through our area and one of them said the magic words, “that’s a cute monkey you have.” “Bingo!” The door was open and we said yeah he’s a joy to have around but it was sad because we were moving out to the Indian country soon and we couldn’t take him with us. Then the bartering started and we soon had him sold for the $25 bucks we paid for him. We didn’t even miss the crazy, crappy, chump of a chimp from hell, but felt sorry for the fella’s who bought him.