Goin' bananas

Anybody who looked out the window the other day in Schweigern, West Germany, must have thought he'd been whisked to the Planet of the Apes. There were all these hairy chimpanzees careening around as though they owned the place, knocking on homeowners' doors, cavorting in open garages, and one-handing it through the trees.

They startled adults, kept a kindergarten class indoors, and did to a nosy photographer what lots of harassed humans have probably wanted to do: They bit him.

Turns out they had escaped from a local zoo. The chimps, not the humans.

For a while nobody could figure out how to get them back there. Police tried, and the initial result was a standoff: two chimps captured, one car damaged. And most chimps still on the loose.

Homeowners tried, using garden hoses. They discovered that when you get a chimp wet, you face an angry simian, not a retreating one.

Whatever the chimps thought about these persecuting humans, they weren't saying. But as long as their freedom lasted, they were having a swingin' good time.

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