Billy' Box

Billy keeps a locked box in the tree-house in his garden. In it he keeps souvenirs of his adventures. A souvenir is something he has collected on his adventure to remind him of it, whether it's good or bad. He is meticulous in his labelling of his souvenirs, and keeps a journal of his adventures. Please create one for him!

Billy cut a length of sticky tape and put it carefully on the table, sticky side up.  He fished in his pocket for the plastic bag.  It wasn't there!  He peered out of the doorway, through the leaves and branches.  It must have fallen out as he climbed the ladder.  Yes, there it was, a subtle gleam on the ground below.

Billy climbed back down, through the canopy of the tree, picked up his small packet, and headed back into the tree house.  He opened the pack very carefully, and took out the strands of black hair.  He laid the hairs neatly on the sticky tape, then folded over the ends, eclosing the ebony lengths.  He wrote the date on a small, white adhesive label, and stuck this on the tape.  The sample now complete, he unlocked the padlock on the box he used as a table, and carefully tucked the souvenir in the next slot, next to the acorn from last week.

He took out his journal, and opened it at the next page.  He sat on the floor, rested the book on the top of the chest, removed the pen from the spine of the log book, and paused to think.  How best to tell the story?

Today, Saturday, Mum took me to the zoo.  Well, not a normal zoo, she doesn't agree with caging animals just so that people can look at them, she says that's inhumane.  This zoo is where Mr Robertson breeds endangered species of animals.  They're primates, actually.  We're doing projects at school, and I'm doing gorillas, so Mum arranged for us to go and meet Mr Robertson.  He doesn't normally talk to visitors, he's too busy, but because I'm doing this project, he said he would talk to me, and show me round himself.

It took us over an hour to drive there, but it was worth it.  Mr Robertson explained about endangered species, and the fact that some animals are literally dying out in the world.  He showed me some video clips he'd made out in the forests where the gorillas he looks after live.  The big silver-back looked very fierce.  Apparently he's the head of the group, and whatever he decides, that's what the group does.

Afterwards. he took Mum and me in his truck round the site.  It's a huge area, so that life is as natural as possible for the animals.  There was even a nursery for the babies, with a sort of climbing frame for them to play on, before they get to go into the trees.  Really cool.  We went quite deep into the trees, and Mr Robertson turned off the engine, so it was very quiet.  He said if we didn't talk, he was pretty sure we'd see some gorillas.

He was right.  After about quarter of an hour we saw the foliage in the trees moving, then this huge body dropped to the ground in front of us!  Several others appeared, and they just sat there, in this glade, and started to groom each other.  It's a bit weird to think of finding the fleas, then eating them, but that's what they do.  Mr Robertson said it gives them protein.

They stayed in front of us for about half an hour, then, suddenly, first one, then all of them, just melted away into the trees.  It took no time at all. 

'Wow!'  That was amazing!  Will they come back?'  I asked.

'No, son, not today.  They've gone off now to find some food, then they'll sleep for a few hours.  Like people do in hot countries, they have a siesta.  They usually come to this glade, though, for their morning grooming session, and I thought you'd like to see it.'

'I did, thank you very much, Mr Robertson.  It was fantastic.'  I grinned.  'I'll have lots to write about in my project.  Mine will be the best.'

'I hope it is.  You've certainly got some good photos to include in it, haven't you?'

'Yep. Dozens.'

'Will you e-mail me a copy of your project when it's finished?  I llike to see what people have made of their visits here.'

'Would you really like to read my work?  Yes, of course I'll send you a copy.  No problem.'

'Thank you very much, Mr Robertson.  I do appreciate you taking time out to show Billy round.  I've found it fascinating, and I know Billy has too.'

'It's my pleasure, Mrs Bolton.  Who knows, Billy might end up working with animals himself, one day.'

'I might.  They're very interesting.  Could I ask a favour, please, Mr Robertson?'

'Of course, what would you like?'

'I'd like to see if I can find something to remind me of how special today has been.  I try to take a souvenir home with me from all my trips, but not just the usual sort of things you find in souvenir shops.  Could I just go and quietly see if there's anything there that I could pick up?'

'Well, I don't usually let visitors out of the truck, but I know they won't be back, so, just this once, you can have two minutes.'

I was out of the cab before he'd finished.  I was very quiet, so as not to disturb anything, and had a good look round.  On the bark of a tree, I saw something moving gently in the breeze.  It was some hair form the large gorilla who had first dropped down from the tree, he must have knocked against it as he landed.  I pulled the dark hair gently, and went back to the truck, holding my souvenir tightly.

'What have you found?' asked Mr Roberson.

'Some strands of hair from the first gorilla, I think.  Do you think so, Mr Robertson?'

'Yes, I think you're right.  That was very observant of you, Billy.  Well done.'

We went back to the main building, and Mr Robertson showed us out.  He shook us both by the hand, and said it had been a pleasure to meet us.  Mumm drove us home, but we stopped at a chippy on the way, and bought some chips for a treat.

It was a great day, and my souvenir is safely filed away.  I'm looking forward to my project now.

The End

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