I let them squawk it out between themselves, resigned to the fact that I'd be the one in the middle who got bitten. (My mother used to say "someone's going to end up crying" in similar situations.) But no blood was shed.
The thing about interacting with monkeys is that you know your time is coming. Monkeys bite.
And Chiquito was wired. He moved through the trees like he never has before. Like a monkey should. But he didn't want to play alone and Lolita was having nothing to do with him.
Chiquito swung at me from behind. Hard. And I took a header. During the rainy season the "path" is wet red mud, littered with slippery leaves.
Paul wasn't there to help, or to capture the moment on film. Because ironically, I had just said, "let's leave now and end this outing on a high note" and he'd gone back to the river to retrieve Chiquito's leash, which had been left behind.
As I fell forward Chiquito somersaulted over my head and landed beneath me on his back . We were face to face when I reached out to catch myself (Lolita still clinging to my left arm) and planted my right hand on Chiquito's chest, pinning him to the ground. I had broken the cardinal monkey rule.
The only other thing I remember is closing my eyes.
When Paul returned he asked why there was mud all over Chiquito's back. He didn't notice the red mud on the knee of my pale green pants. Or that my hair was unusually disheveled.
But Chiquito had played fair. Since he was the one who knocked me down, perhaps he accepted the consequences? We were both just a little muddier for the experience.