The Monkey and the Banana Wrench


It’s a Wednesday afternoon and I have the honor, and pleasure, to look after my grandson. For the first couple of hours with my wife, and then I’m on my own, until my daughter comes home. She has gone back to school to pick up her Masters in history.As her parents, we are delighted to help her in anyway. The bonus is that we get to be surrounded by our little tyrant, our little fast tyrant. Just one of the benefits of getting older. 

I arrived early at the apartment, and the grandson was still out with Sherry, walking around yelling, making demands, and throughly enjoying the beautiful weather. I was fortunate enough to find a parking spot directly in front, within a few feet of the front door.

The neighborhood is called Uptown, and in the process of changing over from an economically depressed area to one of affluence. I remember the first “foodie” restaurant, now there is two or three, and several more within a block. Rents will be going up, and the few “sketchy” businesses will make way for more upscale shops. The local liquor store has already renamed itself “Market and Spirits”.

The interesting thing is that the people of the neighborhood are slower to change. There are the upscale “foodies” that dine in the new restaurants, and there is still the mostly homeless person who used to own the street. 

The restaurants set a few tables out front, on the sidewalk, as if it were Paris, or maybe, North Beach in San Francisco. The street person looks at the same spot, and it is where he dropped a bottle of cheap wine purchased at the liquor store. Wait, now it’s “Market and Spirits”

It’s still interesting, with the mix of folks, upscale or not. I’m sitting in my car waiting for my grandson, and I observe a non upscale, older gentleman, in a heavy long leather coat, pushing a sad looking bicycle on the sidewalk. He was coming in my direction.

I watched, not out of concern or fear, I watched him because he had to divert his path around the upscale restaurant, and that he had a small shuffle in his gait.

As soon as he came abreast of my front bumper, I saw him turn his gaze to the street in front of my left tire. He stopped, tilted his head slightly, then pushed his bicycle into the street, leaned it against my car, then stooped down to pick up the object that had attracted his attention. 

It was a ring, it was a diamond ring. The mounted diamond flashed in the sunlight, the white gold making the best use of light and setting. There was a white band of paper on the ring, typical of a price tag found in a store. 

“I found a ring! Did anyone lose a ring?”, he said as he spun around. It was loud enough for the few patrons sitting at their tables on the sidewalk. And certainly loud enough for me sitting in my car. Then he saw me, as if for the first time, and approached my open window. 

“I found this ring. Is it yours? I don’t need it or anything, if you want, you could give me a little something, and I’ll give it to you. Maybe you can find the owner.” He then handed the ring to me. The paper had a price tag of $1200 for white gold & the diamond. 

Several scenarios come to mind. “Hey, that’s mine. Must have dropped out of my pocket. That’s great, thank you. Here’s five bucks for your trouble.”

It would not have been the truth, and it also would have been quite the scene as the negotiations would have started in front of upscale “foodies”, I’m sure the finder would have complained loudly about the $5.00 reward. Particularly since he knew it to be a lie. Why reward a thief?

Another scenario is that “Wow, that’s great. Hey, it’s worth $1200, I’ll give you a couple hundred and everybody wins.” Maybe he negotiates even that a little bit. 

I suppose there might be several more scenarios that might be played out, particularly if you have a lot of experience in finding lost rings. The one scenario that is not welcomed, is the polite, “Thank you, I’m not interested.”

When I said that, he looked at me for just a second, then got his bicycle and walked away in the same direction as he came. He diverted around the upscale “foodies”, and shuffled just a little as he disappeared down the block. 

My grandson is here! Just in time!

I will tell him the story of the Monkey and the Banana Wrench.