Scott Hollifield: The triumphant return of the Monkey Action News Team
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Who could resist such a heartfelt plea for monkey news?

On Dec. 15, I received the following email, subject line: I WANT MY MONKEY NEWS AND I WANT IT NOW!

Dear Monkey News Editor Hollifield,

Please do not abandon your monkey news readers for a new career as an underwear model, underwear hawker, or underwear whatever. Otis Campbell would tell you to follow your bliss to the nearest drink house, but your bliss is monkeys. You must concentrate all of your journalistic talents on monkey news and the Monkey Action News Team.

Out here in fake news land you provide us with our only source of trustworthy monkey news. Without you at the helm of monkey news we are doomed.

God bless you and your Monkey Action News Team,

Bunny.

As I read Bunny’s words and wiped a tear from my cheek, I recalled last July when I, the theoretical cigar-chomping, hooch-swilling, skirt-chasing, cholesterol-lowering-medication-taking, underpaid and overworked bureau chief of the fictional yet highly respected Monkey Action News Team, fired the entire lot in a fit of rage, disbanding a squad that had labored tirelessly to bring readers monkey-related happenings from around the world.

Had I selfishly put my own ego above both the needs of the team and a public with an insatiable appetite for monkey news? I feared I had. It was time to make amends.

I summoned my culturally diverse former team -- Johnny, Rico, Lulu, Jaafar, Kichiro and Toots -- to my downtown office.

“I suppose you’re wondering why I called you here today.”

“Hopefully it’s for our overdue severance checks.”

“SHUT YOUR FACE, JOHNNY! No, no, no. Look, I’m sorry, gang. I’ve always run the Monkey Action News Team like a stereotypical editor from a 1930s newspaper movie.”

“I wondered why we were in black and white.”

“Good observation, Lulu. You’re going places, kid. Anyhow, it’s time for me to change my ways. Crusty, blustery editors from the 1930s have no place in today’s workplace, even an imaginary one. From now on, no more cursing, very little yelling and, Toots, I promise to refer to you only by your given name.”

“But Toots is my given name.”

“We’ll figure it out. What do you say, gang? Can we tell Bunny we’re back in the monkey news business?

After several meetings with company lawyers, extended contract negotiations and generous incentives packages, the answer was a resounding YES!

The Monkey Action News Team was back in action and here’s what we found:

* Big money for a little monkey – According to a Dec. 15 report by WSVN, a Florida resident is offering a $10,000 reward for the return of his 3-month-old capuchin monkey named Henry, stolen during a break-in.

“You need 1,000 hours to be able to get a permit in the State of Florida, so I worked for a long time to get him,” the grieving man told the TV station.

It wasn’t clear from the story if he had obtained a regular monkey permit or a concealed carry monkey permit.

* Look out, Rudolph – In a Dec. 18 story in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, scientists researching the romantic involvement of monkeys and deer in the wild found some. They observed 258 episodes of sensual entanglement between the two species, but weren’t sure if it is a “short-lived fad” or a “culturally maintained phenomenon.”

All of those encounters occurred outside of Florida so no permit was required.

* This year’s most sought-after-soon-to-be-worthless toy – Fingerlings, or toy robotic monkeys (and other animals) that cling to your fingers and blink and blow kisses are so hot they “essentially evaporate from our shelves,” a Toys R Us spokesperson told CNBC in November.

If you are lucky enough to find some, just keep the monkeys and deer at opposite ends of the toy box.

And that’s all for now from the Monkey Action News Team. Merry Christmas, Bunny.

Scott Hollifield is editor/GM of The McDowell News in Marion, N.C. and a humor columnist. Contact him at rhollifeld@mcdowellnews.com.

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