Hey Hey, It’s The Monkey

You first read about Bruce Nelson here when It’s Not About The Numbers profiled his Doctor Who caches. Now the American teacher and cartoonist reveals how his TB counterpart Professor Zoom and arch-nemesis Cecil-Evil Geocaching Monkey came to life …

“Everyone has a story about finding their first cache … but as I’m a travel bug, people tend to only ask me about the monkey.

You see when I first started geocaching I created an account for ProfessorZoom  in the summer of 2005.  Like many cachers, my wife Sue and I cached with the same user name.

Amazingly enough, as a teacher, I would chat with people about caching and show them using my account as an example.  Funny thing was once I went back to school, I was still finding caches!

Each time I’d show someone my account, I would have more and more finds. This dilemma came to a head when I attended my first event and people kept asking me about caches that I had no idea about. We cached together for a while, until it came to GC100CE Indy’s Lamest Cache, which marked the first appearance of Cecil-Evil GeoCaching Monkey.

Legend has it that Cecil is an escaped monkey from San Diego Zoo, who – due to top-secret government experiments – gained superior intellect and a warped belief that he can rule the world through geocaching.


The red phone rang – it only did that when a call was coming in so I picked it up. The receiver was heavy in my hand as I listened to the call to adventure. “Zoom, you must find this cache … the safety of the free world is depending on it.”

I took down the co-ordinates and thought to myself, I may need some back-up on this one – it was in a part of town known for danger.

I explained the mission to Mrs. Zoom as we sped to the co-ordinates: “It looks like a basic park’n grab, but I sense there may be more to it than just that.” She looked at the co-ordinates and asked: “Are you sure this isn’t a setup?”

I shrugged, a geocacher has got to do what a geocacher has got to do. We drove past the spot and made a quick U-turn, hoping no-one saw us. “Cover me,” I said as I made for the lamp-post. Suddenly, we were surrounded by robot ninja monkeys! They had been hiding in the old shed.

It had to be my arch-nemesis, Cecil. He was trying to get to the cache before we did. Fortunately I was prepared; I’m glad we stocked up on bananas at Costco. We loaded the shopping cart with the bananas and shoved it away from the cache.

Using all their ninja skills, the robot monkeys silently chased after the cart – we were clear, the cache was ours. As Mrs Zoom tried to open the cache, I knew time was running out and soon the monkeys would be back.

I tore open the container and wrenched the damp logbook out as the monkeys – having finished the bananas – turned to face us. As they piled on us in the hopes they could win with sheer numbers, I was able to tear off one of their tails and sign the log with the green coolant dripping from one end.

Cecil, knowing he was beaten once again, called a retreat. “This isn’t the end, Professor Zoom – we’ll meet again.”

As I replaced the cache and got back in the car all I could think was: “I probably should have taken my pills this morning.” Then again, if I had, this cache would have been pretty lame.

Cecil became a re-occurring part of our DNF logs; he was a convenient excuse. But soon I became tired of people asking me about places I had never been to so as Sue reached her 1000th cache milestone I decided to create an account for Cecil-EGCM – his first find was her 1000th.

Before that, Sue had bought me a stuffed monkey, which has become the embodiment of Cecil. He travels with me everywhere meeting people, since he is not a travel bug, I am. Cecil’s logs were a way I could keep track of the caches I had been to. While this is the story I have told people – once they stop looking at me funny for carrying around a monkey – Cecil, I think, prefers the My Geek Odyssey comic version.”

*To see more of Nelson’s work, check out his My Geek Odyssey blog and Indiana Geocaching website. When not teaching, drawing or watching Doctor Who, Nelson can also be found cruising Indianapolis in his beloved Mini Cooper with Cecil-Evil Geocaching Monkey. His furry sidekick even has a Facebook page.



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