Chimp: Problem Solver
The children had been told repeatedly to sort out their toys and find better places to store them. Tom had promised to do this chore, but there were always more interesting things to do, especially when Chimp came out to play. Chimp’s favourite trick was to take a flying leap from the ceiling light onto any difficult spot, usually Tom’s head. Today was that kind of day.
‘Yo!!’ screeched Chimp as she landed, wrapping her tail round Tom’s neck, and shoving her wobbly nose into the boy’s face. Tom tried not to laugh, so as not to encourage Chimp’s wild ways, but it was quite a task to keep a straight face.
Chimp loved puzzles and riddles. ‘Yo, Martha,’ she yelled, ‘What has to be broken before you can use it?’
‘An egg,’ Martha said promptly, without looking up from her book.
‘Everyone has it, no-one can lose it. What is it?’ Chimp’s teeth rattled loudly and she began searching into the roots of Tom’s hair with great attention.
‘A shadow!’ Tom’s reply was instant.
‘What’s a ghost’s favourite food?’ demanded Chimp.
‘Ice-cream. Come on Chimp. We’ve heard all of these before,’ said Tom.
‘Just checking you’ve remembered,’ said Chimp and jumped suddenly onto Martha who was quietly reading. ‘Martha, Martha, Martha,’ shrieked Chimp. ‘Solve me a riddle?’
‘Go on,’ she said.
‘What gets wetter as it dries?’ Chimp began plaiting Martha’s hair which she loved almost as much as Tom’s.
Neither of the children had heard this one before. ‘What goes up and never comes down?’ chattered Chimp, not waiting for answers. ‘Where can I get a bunch of bananas? What is the easiest way to double your money?
‘Slow down,’ complained Tom. ‘We haven’t had time to think...’
‘A towel, your age, the kitchen pantry and looking in the mirror,’ Martha said remarkably quickly..
‘Well done, big sister,’ whooped Chimp, as she leaped back onto the ceiling light, swinging perilously back and forward and scratching one armpit with her long dark nails. ‘Now then, tell me about riddles.’
Tom spoke first. ‘A question to exercise the brain.’
‘And problem solving?’ hooted Chimp, getting ready to land. ‘What’s that?’
‘We all have problems,’ said Martha, and Tom added, ‘And we have to work out the best way to solve them.’
‘Bingo!’ cried Chimp and instead of aiming for Tom’s head, landed straight in the toybox.
‘Wow,’ said Tom, ‘You missed me that time!’
‘On purpose!’ Chimp laughed crazily. There was a sudden shriek from the box. ‘Not enough room in here,’ complained Chimp.
‘Hey, I’ve got a bigger box upstairs,’ said Tom, thinking of a recent effort to make a kennel for Dog, and realising that this is how his task to find better storage for the toys could be solved.
‘Good problem-solving,’ said the voice from the box. ‘And thanks too for letting me know where the bananas are kept.’ For some time, Chimp had been trying to work out where his favourite food was stored.