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My little brother Micah tugged my shirt, ?What are those gorillas doing to each other?? Covering his eyes with my hands, we made haste to the next exhibit. There a loud growl hit my ears, but it was just his stomach. ?Can we get something to eat?? I spotted a vending machine ahead and bought Micah a packet of Twisties. An avid fan of Wests since the latter half of last year, he was intent on obtaining a Benji Marshall Tazo. With the last of my change I opted for a Snickers bar ? the peanuts and nougat forming a delectable combination, not unlike Tim Smith and John Morris of 2005. ?Don?t you mean Prince and Benji?? my brother chuffed. I began to worry that with his fair-weather glory hunting attitude, Micah would turn out like Raiders fans my age.
Judging by the look on Micah?s face, it was not good. ?How could they even put him on a Tazo?? he sighed, thinking about the ramifications, ?I won?t even be able to trade this for something better at school.? My laughs only dampened his spirits further. With two players from each team, the NRL Tazo collection features the game?s superstars and rising talents. I couldn?t blame Micah for being disappointed as he just pulled the exception, the obvious dud of the collection. Fortunately, the sour mood wasn?t to last much longer. Eating our snacks, Micah tugged my shirt again. He first pointed to the Tazo and then to a man sitting just a few steps away from us.
?Hey, are you ?,? was all Micah could let out before being interrupted. ?Yep, I?m Mark Minichello alright.? He seemed distracted by something in the distance, barely paying attention to us. I capitalised on the moment regardless, grabbing a Sharpie from my backpack and asking Mark if he could sign my brother?s Tazo, thinking it could capture a few dollars on eBay. He snapped back to reality and held the Tazo, looking at it amazed, ?I don?t even know how I got put on one of these things!? I didn?t have the heart to tell him we were just wondering the very same thing. John Sutton, sure, but I failed to see how Mark could be considered above Adam MacDougall and Shannon Hegarty, just for starters.
Surprised again, Micah and I instantly recognised the next person we saw. Anthony Minichello came across and rubbed his brother?s hair in a mischievous manner, ?What?s this Mark, you?ve attracted a couple of fans?? Anthony acknowledged us before continuing, ?I just saw the best thing ever, two monkeys doing it L-O-L!? We all laughed and Mark blushed as well. ?Hey, would you boys like to come and check out the Chimp Talk show with us? It starts in five.? Micah was keen as mustard and I figured hanging out with footy players would improve my chances of being noticed by chicks. We politely accepted the offer. ?Hopefully we?ll see the chimps doing it too!?
Anthony?s fetish for ape love aside, we had a great time at the show. The highlights were undoubtedly brothers Nalin and Kial, two chimpanzees from Uganda who moved to Australia in search of a better life. They dressed up like humans, drove around in miniature cars and smoked cigars, leaving the audience in stitches. At the end of their performance Nalin fell over as if to suggest he was completely exhausted. Kial held out his hand to help his brother up, which led to a standing applause. In the fanfare, Anthony pinched Mark?s cheek and chuckled, ?Nalin reminds me of you. He?s lucky to have a big brother looking out for him all the time,? and just like that it all came together in my head. I tapped Anthony on the shoulder and asked if he was responsible for getting Mark on a Tazo. He smiled and winked, ?Wouldn?t you do the same for your brother?? That would be impossible, but it was a good point regardless.
As we left the zoo, I reflected on Anthony?s words and came up with an idea for my brother. With the profits made on eBay from selling Mark?s Tazo, we could buy a Benji Marshall holographic Tazo and even have enough money left over for ice-cream. ?I?m not interested in trading the signed Tazo of my new favourite player,? Micah replied, brimming with enthusiasm, ?but I could go for that ice-cream right now!? I put my arm around my brother, ?Oh Micah, L-O-L!?