The Monkey in Menswear

“The darker blue looks good with your eyes.” Jenna, back from checking the handbag sale, held a tie up with both hands, draping it across the bridge of my nose.

“Thank you. They’re not usually worn that close to the eyes but if it gets us out of here—”

“There! That’s him!”

The tip of the tie whipped my ear as my wife spun to see what nut was yelling behind us.

“This gentleman?” from the security guard standing next to Old Yeller (okay, young yeller, but that doesn’t flow the same.)

“That’s him.”

The guard took a step back and measured the guy with his eyes.

“Him. Right there. In the suit I know he didn’t buy here because we don’t sell anything that sharp.”

Jenna did semaphore with the tie. “What did my husband do?”

The guy looked abashed for the first time since he started shouting. Then he stepped to one side, made eye contact with me.

“I was over there looking through the clearance shirts. All of a sudden, this guy jumped on the table. I didn’t even see where he came from. He jumped on the table, and he, um, he . . . ”

We weren’t the only ones watching his performance. He’d noticed the crowd gathering and it stumped him. But not for long.

“He started making noises. Monkey noises.”

People snickered, but it seemed to fuel his ardor.

“Monkey noises. He was hunched over, scratching his armpits, bouncing up and down and making ‘ooh ooh ooh’ noises.”

The snickering was augmented with giggling, two guffaws, and a snort.

Mr. Security Guard was the snort. “Him. In the suit. He was jumping up and down on a table acting like a monkey?”

“Yes!” Nutty guy was becoming agitated.

“So? What’s it to me?”

The wildlife avoider glared at the guard. “So he attacked me.”

The guard wasn’t even trying to hide his amusement any more. “Attacked. Explain.”

Storytelling whackadoodle seemed to have lost steam. He glanced around like he wanted to retreat but they had him surrounded.

“He jumped off the table. Jumped at me. Making, um, noises, and, um, his hands, waving his hands.”

The guard was watching my face the whole time. Our eyebrows were racing for our hairlines. His won, I think.

“This gentleman leaped from a clearance table in a threatening manner. That’s what you’re saying?”

“Yes.” It wasn’t so confident now. The crowd was dispersing, now that he wasn’t yelling every sentence.

“Beat it.”

Monkey-hater leaned toward the security guy. “What?”

The guard leaned, too. “I said beat it. Get out or I’ll throw you out.”

“You’re not going to do anything?” Mr. Wild Kingdom (Not) was, it appeared, astonished.

“I told you what I’m going to do.” The guard reached for him.

He bolted. Shoved through the crowd, who gave him one last laugh, and dissolved.

The security guard walked over, hand out. I shook it and he apologized, tipped his hat to my wife, and strolled off whence he’d come.

“Scott, what was that about?” My wife has a look she gives me sometimes. I don’t get it, but it’s her look, she can do what she likes with it.

“Hey, I just remembered Macy’s is having a big sale on dark blue ties.”

I grabbed her elbow and pushed her toward the exit.

Not the one near the men’s clearance shirts, though.

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