Monkey Signs

Dean’s father works at Welles Bend Wildlife Park.

Dean has been friends with one of the squirrel monkeys, Allukah, ever since he went deaf seven years ago.

But Dean has a secret, one that happened by accident, and one that he can’t tell anyone about.

Until Allukah needs his help, and he has no choice…

Formats: ebook $0.99

Genre/s: contemporary, disability

Series: The Kids of Welles Bend

Audience: middle grade

Length: short story

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Dean got off the bus in front of the Welles Bend Wildlife Park and hitched his school bag across both shoulders. He felt frustrated and angry. Sometimes it was hard being a deaf kid in a normal school. Usually he was fine. He could lip-read really well, and before he’d gone totally deaf seven years ago, when he was five, he’d learned how to speak so he knew he sounded mostly like everyone else. But sometimes he just missed stuff and got stuff wrong and it was just plain annoying.

And other days it wasn’t an accident.

Brad Colson was big and loud (well, Dean remembered him being loud from pre-school). Brad picked on a lot of kids – he’d been the unofficial school bully in primary school, and he’d kept right on bullying in high school. The few kids who had physical disabilities, like Dean and Lara, who had cerebral palsy, and Damien, who had really bad vision, were his main targets. His favourite trick was sneaking up behind Dean and clamping one of his big hands on Dean’s shoulder and jerking him sideways to face him. Then he’d yell ‘Hi!’ in Dean’s face and walk off laughing. Dean, of course, never heard him coming and jumped almost every time.

Problem was, this time Dean had an open carton of chocolate milk in his hand, and Brad hadn’t seen it.

Good thing: Brad had worn most of the milk.

Bad thing: Brad stank of stale milk by the end of the day, and Dean knew he was now enemy number one on Brad’s list.