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Part of the Animal Kingdom

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George was visiting the Man with the Yellow Hat at the museum again, and he peered curiously at Professor Wiseman, who appeared quite fatigued. The Man with the Yellow Hat seemed to notice too, as he shortly inquired about the dark-skinned woman's well-being.

"I guess I'm just tired," she sighed. "It's hard to concentrate on this experiment today. Maybe I should try working on something else."

George perked up. He knew what to do. He jumped up and down and vocalized. Somehow, his owner understood him.

"A picnic in the park? That's a great idea, George!" Then he turned to his human coworker. "What do you say, Professor? Up for some sandwiches and lemonade?"

She shrugged. "Guess it wouldn't hurt. There are numerous studies stating that low blood sugar can affect cognitive capacity."

"Great, then it's settled. I need to get the food ready, but I'll meet you back here in an hour."

As the Man with the Yellow Hat disappeared out the door, she mumbled to herself, "I hope this helps. I could sure use a boost of any kind."

Ninety minutes later, they were laying out the fixings onto the picnic blanket, but Professor Wiseman still looked unhappy. As she munched on her sandwich and sipped her lemonade, she intermittently rubbed her head.

"Do you have a headache?" asked the Man with the Yellow Hat kindly. "I think I might have some tylenol somewhere." He began rummaging through his bags.

"What? Oh, no, I'm fine," she promised. "Just hoping, perhaps, that some external stimulation could assist my internal functionality."

"I see," replied the Man with the Yellow Hat thoughtfully.

Just then, George got another idea. He began to gesture wildly, vocalizing his intent in monkey language. Both adults' eyes grew wide.

The Man with the Yellow Hat squinted at the monkey and said, "Surely you're not suggesting what I think you're suggesting."

"Uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh!" said George, nodding vigorously.

The man turned to the woman, and, with a bewildered look on his face, explained, "I think he's suggesting that we, uh, mate."

Meanwhile, her initial look of confusion had been replaced by a smile. "That wasn't the kind of external stimulation I was imagining, but it makes sense. He's a monkey; he wouldn't have the same inhibitions as we do due to living in human society. Where he comes from, mating is done whenever, for whatever reason, among whoever wants to participate. Within certain guidelines, of course, but not the same ones we're used to."

"I'm so sorry," the Man with the Yellow Hat apologized. "I'm glad you understand. I'm not sure how, but I'm going to need to teach him what's appropriate and not appropriate in human society."

George sat down, feeling dejected as he realized his suggestion was being ignored and gleaning, from the tone of his owner's voice, that he'd done something wrong, although he wasn't sure exactly what. He hung his head in his hands.

"Don't be," the professor reassured the man. " I think it's adorable that he wants to help. Besides, George might really have a point. I do remember reading a study recently that suggested that regular sexual activity helped to stimulate other parts of the brain. The effect was mediated by gender; it was more pronounced for women than for men."

She knelt beside the monkey and put a hand on his shoulder. "Thank you, George," she replied. "It's certainly worth trying." She looked up at the Man with the Yellow Hat, not rising from her squat. "If you're willing, of course. Otherwise I suppose I could seek out another partner."

The Man with the Yellow Hat knelt down beside her, then took her hands in his own and rose, once again, taking her with him. He looked into her eyes. "I am more than willing; there's nothing I've wanted more since I first met you, but I'm worried about how this might affect our working relationship."

She grinned. "It won't be detrimental. Let's take a page from the monkey's book and let it be an integral and necessary part of our lives as part of the animal kingdom. Besides, if it helps me think, then it can only help our working relationship, as I'll be more productive. And if it doesn't work, we'll just file the data away for future use. There's no need for awkwardness, since it's merely another experiment. Not a controlled one, of course, but that's not particularly possible under the circumstances. We'll make do with observational research."

"You are amazing," was all the Man with the Yellow Hat could say.

As they finished their lunches, the professor and the Man with the Yellow Hat stole glances at each other, seeing each other for the first time in an entirely new light. George saw this and wasn't sure why, but felt encouraged and comforted by the interaction.

The next day, nestled in each other's arms, the two humans awoke to the sound of monkey vocalizations. George ran into the room, jumped onto the bed, and screeched excitedly. The Man with the Yellow Hat released the professor, allowing the monkey to jump into his arms. "Hi there, George!"

From his hug with his owner, George looked over at the professor, who was sitting up, looking happy but thoughtful. "You know," she said excitedly, "I think I finally figured out what I was doing wrong! The experiment ought to work now."

Quickly, they dressed for work, and George accompanied them to the museum. Several hours later, the professor was proudly inputting results into her computer. As she worked, she looked down at the monkey, who had wandered in to visit. "George, you're a genius!"

Over the next few months, the professor began to sleep over at their apartment whenever they were in town, and even came over a few times to the house in the country. Always, she brought work, but George always found her in the arms of the Man with the Yellow Hat in the morning, and it made him very happy.

One day, when he came in to wake the amorous humans up, he realized they were already awake, and their faces were serious, but they were holding hands, looking at each other. He thought, perhaps, that they hadn't noticed him enter, but then the professor turned to him and broke into a wide grin.

"George," she addressed the monkey, "how do you feel about having a sibling? A human one?"

George jumped up and down excitedly. "Uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh!"