I first met the monkey at a bar on New Year’s Eve, more or less. We spotted him, sitting atop a wooden bar, as my sister and I passed an open-air restaurant on Koh Chang island in Thailand. He was small and furry — clearly a baby — with a protruding brow, a slight faux-hawk, a round tummy, and little human-like hands.

 

I’d come to Thailand as a monkey enthusiast, hoping to see them in the wild. This was my first monkey, and he was sitting on a bar in the middle of a restaurant, but I loved him anyway. I pulled my sister over. “Let’s see the monkey,” I insisted. Stacy had been living in Bangkok for a year already and had seen many wild monkeys on excursions to places like Kanchanaburi and Koh Samet. This monkey was attached… More…

 

Who, if anyone, will benefit from Michael Jackson’s death? The obvious answer is TMZ, the Web and TV tabloid organization that was supposedly legitimized by their breaking the news that the King of Pop was indeed dead. The more obscure answer is the Center for Great Apes in central Florida.

It’s not that anyone welcomed the news. It’s just that the Center is the current home of Bubbles. Everybody remembers Jackson’s pet chimpanzee, who appeared with the singer in the ’80s. But nobody really knows whatever happened to him. In the wake of the singer’s death, rumors circulated that Bubbles was a plastinated display in Gunther von Hagens’ Body Worlds exhibit in London (and that Jackson had plans to join him). But Bubbles was actually still very much alive, and still in the States.

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