Illustration by Hisashi Okawa
“Shall I scrub your back for you?” the monkey asked, his voice still low. He had the clear, alluring voice of a baritone in a doo-wop group. Not at all what you would expect. But nothing was odd about his voice: if you closed your eyes and listened, you’d think it was an ordinary person speaking.
“Yes, thanks,” I replied. It wasn’t as if I’d been sitting there hoping that someone would come and scrub my back, but if I turned him down I was afraid he might think I was opposed to having a monkey do it. I figured it was a kind offer on his part, and I certainly didn’t want to hurt his feelings. So I slowly got up out of the tub and plunked myself down on a little wooden platform, with my back to the monkey.