In the beginning there were no trees and only shrubs and maybe some bushes or something and the Creator surveyed the world and said “there is more work to do. I have now done the work to make these beautiful trees but I am tired and I wish for someone to help plant them.”
And so the Creator brought into the world the first Highballer, who wore the great thousand-pocket bags of legend. The Highballer back-bagged entire forests and planted only straight, perfect trees that were never duff shots and there was no word for J-root because one was never planted.
Now the Highballer worked hard and without complaint even though he received no compensation for unloading vast reefers of trees on his days off. The Highballer worked happily and planted great arid forests across the plains and lush tropical forests in the valleys and tall proud forests in the mountains where he would stop where the air grew cold and thin and the snow jealously covered the ground year round.
He loved his work and loved the forests but he was lonely and wished for help. He asked the Creator for a planting partner but was told about a whole thing that happened with a rib and an apple in another camp and that it was better if he picked an animal to help him.
So the Highballer went searching the forests he had planted and that he loved so dearly to find another that also loved the forests who would help him. He came across a monkey sitting in a tree who seemed very pleased with the tree and the Highballer said “ho there monkey, I am the Highballer who plants the forests of the world and I have come to look for help.”
The monkey was a cunning monkey who had tricked the other monkeys into doing his work for him – he was the first of what would be known as the Supervisors – and this was the first he had ever heard of the Highballer.
He decided to learn more about this Highballer and replied, “ho there Highballer I am the Cache Monkey and the protector of the trees you have planted and I thank you for your work.”
The Highballer had never considered that the forests needed protection and he was glad to know that this noble monkey was serving as custodian of that which he had toiled to plant.
“Ho there Cache Monkey, I bid you thanks, would you care to join me in planting more forests, it is a thing of great joy?”
Now the Cache Monkey liked work and what it produced but did not care for it himself – he was the first of the Supervisors – so he replied,
“Ho there Highballer I wish nothing more than to plant the forests with you and be part of this great joy but if I do not guard the forests the great fires will come and all will be lost”
Now the Highballer knew of fire and its destructive nature, and he was doubly impressed by the monkey’s role as protector of the forest.
“But my people,” the monkey continued, “they will help plant your trees and grow your forests, they will assist you and you shall count as many friends among them as there are stars in the sky.”
“That is good and pleasing and I thank you” said the Highballer, awed by such offerings of help, “I thank you Cache Monkey, you are a worthy creature.”
“May I ask”, said the monkey, “what you might be willing to pay my fellow monkeys for their help?”
“Pay?” said the Highballer, who had no knowledge of bartering or currency.
The monkey explained that in order to supply the energy needed to plant trees, the monkeys would need nourishment and that if the Highballer gave the Cache Monkey things of value that the Cache Monkey, in return, could keep the other monkeys supplied with the things they needed to work like bananas and coconuts.
“Have no fear of such things Cache Monkey”, said the Highballer, “for the Creator provides me with the Cook Who Lives in a Van who bakes me a magic block treat every morning at dawn, laid out on a table in the great Mess Tent at Valhalla Pure. He will set out all the GORP needed by your kinsmen and bake each of them a magic block treat every morning.”
This intrigued the Cache Monkey, who was generally gluttonous and who could never get GORP with the good candies like M&Ms in it, all his GORP had the knock-off smarties that tasted like Tylenol pills and this greatly displeased him.
“Ho there Highballer tis a great thing indeed, I will select from my friends eleven of the finest monkeys to aid you in the planting of your trees and we shall be merry together.”
The Highballer was pleased and looked forward to the next day when it was arranged that the monkeys should meet him at the great Mess Tent at Valhalla Pure for nourishment before their work.
The next morning the Highballer arrived at the Mess Tent a full hour before dawn in excitement. There were to be 11 monkey planters and the Cache Monkey, who would come along for “quality checking” (though that term was new to the Highballer too). The Highballer instructed the Cook Who Lives in a Van set out enough divine GORP for 20 and place 20 magic block treats on the table, to be sure there would be enough. Perhaps more monkeys would show up to plant trees than the Cache Monkey thought. It was a great honour, after all.
Dawn arrived and the Highballer scanned the horizon eagerly. Ten minutes passed and the Highballer waited patiently. After thirty minutes the Highballer began to worry that he had not given proper directions to the Mess Tent at Valhalla Pure and he was filled with worry and doubt.
After forty minutes, however, his spirits lifted as he saw a hulking mass of steel creak its way over the horizon toward him. The Cache Monkey had built a contraption to transport the other monkeys and it was known as the first crummy. It had only existed a single day and yet it somehow already smelt like a mixture of rotten bananas and stale vinegar. It creaked to a halt at the entrance to the Mess Tent and the monkeys tumbled out of the crummy, groaning and complaining.
When the Highballer saw the state the monkeys were in, he grew worried that they were injured.
“Ho there fine monkeys, I see you are not sure of your footing and your eyes are red and bloodshot and there is an odour about you that I do not find pleasing, are you ill?”
The Cache Monkey, realizing the impression made by “the finest monkeys”, stepped forward to explain the situation.
“Ho there Highballer, these monkeys have been toiling night and day helping protect the forests elsewhere and they are suffering from the Terrible Tendo. It is why we are late joining you on this joyous day; to ease their suffering I was forced to stop the crummy and gather herbs to smoke to alleviate their suffering.”
The Highballer frowned at hearing such terrible news. He had never missed a day due to injury and imagined their suffering must be great indeed to arrive so late and to appear so ill. “Come my friends” he said, gesturing at the Mess Tent, are you hungry? There is enough for all on the great table.”
The Cache Monkey thanked the Highballer profusely as the other monkeys sullenly made their way to the table as the Cache Monkey explained to the Highballer how the Terrible Tendo had struck the monkeys low and how it would be difficult to say how many trees might be planted on this day.
The Highballer listened, but as he did so he saw that the sun was as high in the sky as it normally was when a thousand trees were normally in the ground already.
For the first time, doubt entered the Higbhaller’s mind and he began to grow uneasy as he listened to the Cache Monkey explain the need for cache breaks and how they would need to stop for gas on their way this morning because the Cache Monkey was too busy to fuel up the night before and some of the other monkeys needed to run in for drinks and snacks anyway but the Highballer needn’t worry because they would be very quick.