Well, the day has finally arrived, when the monkey who's attempted to wreck my marriage, accused me of being the father of her child, and tried to murder me, becomes a part of my family!
Benita danced around the house all morning, doing last-minute touch-ups on everything. "Darling," I reminded her, "Clem's been here, before...remember our party for Erich?"
"Oh, I know, silly!" Benita replied, gaily. "That was the night she climbed into bed with us...and how I screamed in the morning! Isn't it amazing, how often our first impressions are proved wrong?"
"Even more amazing, how often they're right," I said, glumly. "It's not too late to drop this whole thing, and leave Clemmie where she is..."
She stopped her dancing, and turned to face me. "Ronnie," she said, seriously, "I'm doing this for you. This delusion about Clemmie that you have, that she talks, writes pornographic letters, and schemes to break up our home, it's...well, it's not rational, darling! Bringing her here to live will prove she's simply a monkey, and nothing more..."
I shrugged, realizing that her mind was set...and when Benita sets her mind on something, neither heaven nor earth can change it!
We drove to the Luna Park Zoo, entered the administrative office, and a very pleased Clemmie was brought in, inside a cage.
"Is that cage really necessary?" Benita asked. The administrator explained that it was for our safety, and my wife laughed.
"Nonsense!" she exclaimed. "We're all friends, here! Release her!"
Unhooking the latch, the zoo official had to jerk his hand quickly back, as the monkey flung the door wide, and leapt onto my shoulder!
"See, Ronnie!" Benita exclaimed, "She likes you!"
Of course, Benita didn't see that Clem's other hand was busily pinching my posterior!
"*SMACK*SMACK*!" she whispered in my ear, as I tried my best to ignore her!
It wasn't easy, attempting to drive home, with a monkey rapped around me, and Benita chattering away...
"...Yes, you'll love our home," Benita chirped, "We've a beautiful house, with lots of room, and plenty of space, outside...Ronnie and I act together on radio, a lot, and Juliet is in preschool, so you'll have loads of time to climb trees, swing on the branches, and do monkey things!"
Clem's fingers formed a box..."Square," she was indicating...and I grunted in disapproval, which made Clem giggle, and start grunting, as well.
"Isn't that sweet? She's imitating you!" Benita said, gaily.
"Simply marvellous," I answered, sarcastically, and Clem kissed me on the cheek, for the tenth or eleventh time...
We finally arrived, and entered our home.
"And here we are!" Benita announced. "Your new home! Can I carry you, for a while?"
Clemmie looked up and down Benita's body, then stuck out her tongue, made a pig snorting sound, and continued clinging to me!
From upstairs, I heard Juliet cry out, "Is she here? Is she here?", and our daughter raced down the steps. Dressed for a party at Glenn Ford's home, she looked simply radiant, and surprised me by performing a curtsy for Clemmie!
"Good afternoon, Miss Clementine," she said, then began to giggle. "Miss Clemmie, I'm so glad you're here! You are so beautiful!"
Clemmie surprised me...she climbed off of me, strode up to Juliet, and returned the curtsy, with a smile and nod! Then, noticing Benita's curious expression, Clem began dragging her knuckles of the carpet, returning to her simian 'character'!
"Juliet, dear," Benita said, reassured, "Glenn and his sons just pulled up. You have to go...Clemmie will be here, when you get home!"
"Oh, alright, Mommy..."
"Nice to meet you, Miss Clemmie! I like you!" She gave me a quick hug, and whispered, "Thank you, Daddy!", then bolted out the door.
"Now, Clemmie," Benita continued, "there is so much to tell you!" We walked into the den, and Benita took a seat. "I've been working very hard to make everything just perfect for you, to give you a happy, healthy home, not like that den of iniquity John Barrymore lives in...how you could share a roof with that drunken old sot, I'll never know!"
Clem, glaring, started to make a fist, but I quickly cleared my throat, and she calmed down.
Benita, oblivious, pressed on. "I've purchased an entire collection of really adorable dresses for you to wear...monkey or not, we can't have you running around naked..." Clemmie looked to me, and winked..."and we've bought lots of your favorite food, like mangoes and bananas..." the ape looked at my crotch, and grinned..."and GUESS where you'll sleep?"
Clemmie's grin got wider and wider...
"In your very own backyard TREEHOUSE!!!"
Clemmie stared at me, in disbelief!
"See, Ronnie," Benita said, proudly, "I knew she'd love it!" As Clemmie shook her head, Benita laughed, and proclaimed, "Ronnie said you'd never accept that arrangement, but I've been reading up on monkeys, and far up in the trees, away from everybody, is the perfect place for you to sleep!"
Away from Benita's gaze, Clemmie offered a certain hand gesture to indicate her true feelings on the subject, and I had to clear my throat, yet again.
"Now, Clemmie, why don't you take a look around at your new home?" Benita concluded.
With all that had been dropped on her, Clemmie made the logical first stop...
"BAD CLEMMIE!" Benita shrieked.
"She was with Barrymore far too long," Benita muttered.
As Clemmie ran around, exploring, Benita and I sat, to catch our breath.
"I think it all went very well," she said. "You worry too much, Ronnie! It may take a little time, but when Clemmie knows I'm boss, everything will be just fine!"
"I don't know..." I muttered.
"A lot of people have tried bossing Clemmie...and she always seems to end up on top."
"That's because she never knew anyone like me! I may look sweet and docile, but when I put my foot down, I get my way!" She rose, and stretched. "I'm going upstairs to change clothes. Keep an eye on Clemmie, won't you, dear?"
I heard her climb the steps...and a moment later, SCREAM!
"ALL MY CLOTHES ARE MISSING!!! WHERE ARE MY CLOTHES????"
I glanced out the window.
"I think you'll find that Clemmie has moved them all to the treehouse..."
...and the Clemmie adventure has truly begun...
THE RONALD COLMAN SAGA
"The Dinner Party for Erich von Stroheim"
"The Misadventures of John Barrymore's Cheeky Monkey, Clementine"
"The All-Star Surprise Party for Laine"
"The Classic Hollywood Long Beach-Catalina Yacht Race"
"The Ronald Colman Seance"
"My "Lost Horizon" Surprise!"
"A Night at the Hollywood Canteen!"
"But I Thought You Were..."
"The People vs. Ronald Colman"
"The Epic Hearst Costume Party..."
"The Monkey on Ronald Colman's Back Saga" (A 9-Part Adventure):
"A MAN, A MONKEY, the MOB, and RONALD COLMAN!" (A 5-Part Adventure):
"Introduction: Broadway, 1920..."
"Chapter 1: A LONG Memory..."
"Chapter 2: Barrymore's Reply..."
"Chapter 3: Barrymore in Cement!"
"Chapter 4: A Desert Grave..."
"SURPRISE PARTY for RONALD COLMAN!"
"The RONALD COLMAN Banner Collection"
Finally, if you'd like to 'go to the source', with over 200 photos of Ronald Colman's life and career, please visit Myspace.com/Ronald Colman...the page that started it all!