No one expected all three of them to sit there on their tree stumps forever, their senses covered with their sinuous paws so as to shut out the vile, nefarious world.
As it happened, it was the one on the left who was the first to desert his post, uncupping his ears, then loping off into the orbit of rumors and lies, but also into the realm of symphonies, the sound of water tumbling over rocks and wind stirring the leafy domes of trees.
Then the monkey on the right lowered his hands from his wide mouth and slipped away in search of someone to talk to, some news he could spread, maybe something to curse or shout about.
And that left the monkey in the middle alone with his silent vigil, shielding his eyes from depravity's spectacle, blind to the man whipping his horse, the woman shaking her baby in the air, but also unable to see the russet sun on a rough shelf of rock and apples in the grass at the base of a tree.
Sometimes, he wonders about the other two, listens for the faint sounds of their breathing up there on the mantel alongside the clock and the candlesticks.
And some nights in the quiet house he wishes he could break the silence with a question,
but he knows the one on his right would not be able to hear, and the one to his left, according to their sacred oath-- the one they all took with one paw raised-- is forbidden forever to speak, even in reply.