There was a driving rain as she pulled up to the front of his apartment house. She hastily donned her rain scarf, grabbed the bag of groceries sitting on the passenger seat beside her, and ran towards the front door. She knew he was sleeping after pulling a double shift at the fire department. She planned to fix dinner before she woke him.
After unlocking the door to his apartment with the key he had given her, she entered, and set the groceries on the hall table while she hung up her raincoat, released her rain scarf, and shook her flaxen curls out.
Something seemed ominously out of order. While she expected him to be asleep, the apartment had an empty feeling. Maybe he wasn’t home from work after all. She carried the groceries into the kitchen and, as she set the bag down on the counter, her eyes scanned the table, and saw what looked like a note. She noticed it was addressed to her, and had a sinking feeling as she opened it.
Dear Liz, the note read, I have gone out looking for the orangutan. Will be home when I find him, and was signed love, Jeff.
Liz knew that Jeff had a friend called Josiah who had a pet orangutan. Had the pet gotten away from Josiah? Why was Jeff looking for him? Were Jeff and Josiah looking for it together, or had each one gone separately? She was in the living room now. No sense fixing any dinner now since there was no one to share it.
Liz was deep in thought, wracking her brain. Where would a lost orangutan go on such a miserable wet night? Suddenly, she remembered the Peaceful Valley Large Animal Shelter. Maybe they could give her a clue.
She hastened to the telephone, where she scanned the telephone book looking for the Shelter’s number. As she dialed the number she anxiously waited for an answer. Finally a voice said “Peaceful Valley Large Animal Shelter. How may I help you?”
Liz gave her name, and then answered with “I need some information, if you would be so kind.”
“What is it you’d like to know?”
“My boyfriend’s friend has a pet orangutan that has gotten out, and I was wondering if you might know of a logical place he might have gone to? Do they favor a particular kind of place? Is he liable to catch cold out in this weather?”
“First of all, no, he isn’t liable to catch cold. In their natural habitat in the rain forest they are accustomed to inclement weather. As for where he might have gone, do you know anybody who might have a female of the species?”
“No, I don’t. Do you have any females of the species in your shelter?”
“Why yes, now that you mention it. We had a female delivered just two days ago.”
“Is she in heat?”
“I don’t know, but I can find out and call you back.”
Liz gave the young lady at the shelter Jeff’s phone number, and then decided to call Jeff on his cell phone. When he answered Liz asked him what was going on. “When did Bozo get out? Is Josiah with you? How long have you been looking?”
“Josiah called me about 5. Bozo was gone when he got off duty. He’s been looking for him ever since. He finally gave into panic, and called me to help. You know how Josiah spoils that animal. He’s worse than a mother with her child.”
“Jeff, are you familiar with the Peaceful Valley Large Animal Shelter?”
“I’ve heard of it, but what has that to do with Bozo?”
“The lady at the shelter asked me if we knew anybody with a female orangutan, and I asked her if they have one. She said they just got one in a couple days ago. She’s going to call me back after she finds out if their female is in heat.”
“That’s all well and good, Liz, but I still don’t see what that has to do with where Bozo might have gone.”
“Oh, Jeff, get your head out of the sand. You know opposites attract.”
“I know that, Liz. But that shelter is no where near where Josiah lives.”
“That really doesn’t matter in affairs of nature. My folks once had a Boxer dog.
Every time he had a chance he got out of the fence and head for a house where a female was kept in an outdoor run. Dad would find him mooning over her, lying on the ground outside her cage. Dad would bring him home, and give him aspirin so he wouldn’t catch cold. The next time somebody would let the gate unlatched, away he’d go again. I’ll call you back when I hear from the shelter. And Jeff, please drive carefully. No monkey is worth getting hurt over.”
”That’s fine, Liz, but don’t ever let Bozo hear you call him a monkey. He’d be hurt.”
Liz was still chuckling to herself when the phone rang again. She picked up the receiver, anticipating the call to be from the shelter.
“Liz, you must be physic. Our female orangutan is in heat..”
“My friend’s orangutan’s name is Bozo. If you see or hear him, please take him in out of the weather, and call me.”
“Will do” as she hung up her phone
Liz called Jeff back. "The orangutan at the shelter is in heat. I asked the girl to call if they see anything of Bozo, and she said she would. Why don’t you head for the shelter. It’s on Deep Hollow Road, and I’m sure you’ll find Bozo eventually.”
Following that exchange, Liz kicked her shoes off, curled up on the davenport, and waited for another call.
This time when the phone rang, it was Jeff. “I found him. He was curled up on the ground, casting longing eyes at the female.”
“Does Josiah know?”
“Yes, I called him. He’s on his way. Meantime Bozo is curled up on the car seat beside me, and I covered him with a blanket so he wouldn’t catch cold. Strange. He looks like he’s smiling.”
Much later, as they sat eating the pizza Jeff had carried home, Jeff described the reunion between Josiah and Bozo. “You wouldn’t believe it, but they both had tears in their eyes, especially when Josiah told Bozo he’d bring him back to the shelter for a visit.”
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