Peter Allison has been charged by elephants, threatened by badgers, squeezed by pythons, and gone swimming with elephants. As a safari guide in remote Africa he rarely has a boring day. His stories are short and often humorous. After being tormented for days by a group of monkeys who used his tent roof as a trampoline, Peter had the brilliant idea of scaring them off with a toy leopard, the monkey’s natural enemy.
I ran back to my tent, where the monkeys were in full swing. They scampered into the branches at my approach, but didn’t move to far from their game. They just sat bobbing and swaying, adding an occasional “Kwo!” which I was convinced was laughter.“Kwo yourself,” I said, and from under the scarf whipped out the toy—a rather poor representation of a leopard, but it was enough to put the heebie-jeebies into the monkeys. They went berserk. “Kwe! Kwe, kwe, kwe, kwe, kwe! Kwe! The whole troop now moved away a few trees, but still watched the predator I held in my hand. I tossed it from side to side, and the pitch of their calls went up an octave. I was amazed at their gullibility, but took great pleasure in it and derived even more at their reaction when I threw the toy into the air. The whole troop called “Kwe!” in unison; one even fell off his branch. Then they fled, yelling a chorus of “Kwekwekwekwe!,” as they went, and I imagined they were saying, “Holy crap! Did you see that? A flying leopard!”