Let’s Have Some Fun
I was a long-haul truck driver in the twenty years before I retired. Sometime after 9/11, I happened to hear a couple of truckers talking over the CB radio about “trailer monkeys.” My innate curiosity was tweaked, but I couldn’t get a word in edgewise to ask questions before they went out of range.
At the time, I was hauling freight from coast to coast and found myself peeking under trailers at truck stops and rest areas, trying to catch a glimpse of one. Of course, I never discussed it with other drivers. I knew if I told anyone I was looking for “trailer monkeys,” they’d react the same way as if I’d said aliens abducted me.
Sometimes, at night, I would see a fleeting shadow or movement out of the corner of my eye. If I looked up, I’d occasionally see a flash of headlights casting odd shadows. I’d begin to doubt my senses.
I stopped one day for lunch, and the truck stop tables were full, so I asked an older fellow if I could join him, and he nodded. We ate silently for a while, but I finally asked if he was a driver. He nodded again. I asked who he drove for. He looked straight at me and said, “You’re a bit nosy, eh?” I told him it was just in my nature. He said he’d been driving since he’d been old enough to get a commercial license. He started his dessert. I could tell he thought our conversation was over. In a moment of impulse, I asked him if he’d ever heard of “trailer monkeys.” His spoon of peach cobbler stopped in midair, his mouth gaping, and a sudden look of astonishment crossed his face.
He dropped the spoon back into the dish, closed his mouth, gave me a piercing look longer than I liked, and asked, “Where did you hear about that?” I noticed he didn’t use the words “trailer monkeys.” I told him I’d overheard some other drivers mention them. I confessed I’d been intrigued by the idea. Furthermore, I told him I knew it sounded crazy, but who knows? New species of life are being discovered all the time. He then said the most astonishing thing.
“They’re real. I’ve seen them. But you never will unless they want you to.” I felt a rush of excitement. My thought was, “I knew it!”. I asked him what would lead them to trust me. He told me – “It doesn’t work like that. They only appear if two conditions are met. One, they trust you, and two, you provide something they can’t otherwise get for themselves.” Without another word, he got up, paid his bill, and left.
I drove for a few more years before retiring. On each trip, I looked under random trailers, hoping to catch sight of an unwary monkey. I brought them little gifts, but they remained reclusive.
I like to think I have a logical mind. Who but a nut case entertained the idea of little monkeys traveling around like the train-hopping hobos of the past? Yet, part of me still wants to believe in leprechauns, elves, fairies, and, well, yes, trailer monkeys, too. I guess I never grew out of the stories I loved as a child of fantastic creatures and magical occurrences. I always wished Raggedy Ann would shake some cream puffs out of her apron for me to gobble down, even to this day.
Is your imagination wild? Mine takes me on unexpected journeys.