Tuesday, November 24, 2009
On another occasion, once again while left completely unsupervised, George escaped from the apartment and frolicked around Manhattan, somewhat at random. An inexplicable chain of events led to his employment with a window washing company and while climbing down the outside of a 38-story building, George plummeted to the ground and snapped his leg.
Clearly, Steve Durango didn’t have sense enough to raise a goldfish, much less a rambunctious primate, but we’ll get back to that shortly.
George simply did not possess the experience, training, or instincts to survive in the most dangerous city in the world and this, combined with Durango’s lackadaisical attitude toward parenting, left the poor monkey at the mercy of the streets.
“You know, I picked up that ‘Curious’ label early on,” recalls George. “But curiosity had nothing to do with it. I had no idea what was going on. I mean, one day I was swinging in trees and eating bananas, the next day I was dodging taxicabs. Maybe they should’ve called me ‘Confused George’ or ‘Displaced George’. ‘Scared Out of His Fucking Mind George’ probably says it best.”
By the mid-40’s, the terrified monkey had become a weird sort of New York City icon. He was a renegade monkey on the loose, and every couple months the papers would scream out a new headline:
CURIOUS GEORGE GETS HIT BY A BUS
CURIOUS GEORGE GETS STABBED IN A 42nd STREET JAZZ CLUB
CURIOUS GEORGE FALLS OFF THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE
In 1949, George was taken by ambulance to Lenox Hill Hospital after getting his tail severed by the uptown D train. Thanks to the quick work of surgeon Dr. Sidney Fishman, George’s tail was reattached and steps were taken to ensure his future safety. After the subway incident, Dr. Fishman placed a call to the New York Department of Public Safety.
“We’d seen a lot of that poor little monkey,” Dr. Fishman explained to the police. “Concussions, broken bones, stab wounds, the works. Every time we treated him, we’d contact his guardian Mr. Durango, and it was always, ‘Oh, I don’t know how he got out this time,’ or ‘I’ll be down to pick him up after work.’ He didn’t seem concerned at all. It got to the point where I felt the need to report him to the authorities.”
Durango was arrested, and eventually convicted for child endangerment, cruelty to animals, and kidnapping. As he left the courthouse after sentencing, animal rights activists pelted him with banana peels and monkey shit. Durango served a 20-year sentence at Bayview Correctional Facility, where he was known simply as The Man in the Orange Jumpsuit. He was released in 1971, and lived in Rochester, New York until passing away in 1988.
Dr. Fishman escorted George back to his native Africa in 1955, reuniting him with his brothers and sisters. George went back to using his given name of Bozi Kima and lived a peaceful and injury-free life. He found a mate, fathered seven young monkeys of his own, and died of natural causes on April 2, 1967. He was 29.
Universal Pictures purchased the rights to Bozi Kima's story, and the resulting motion picture, The Abduction of Bozi Kima is scheduled for release in 2011. Mel Gibson has signed on to play Steve Durango, and Matt Damon will star as Bozi/George.