MINNEAPOLIS — The mummified carcass of a monkey found in the air ducts of a century-old downtown Minneapolis department store has triggered a mystery.
The monkey quickly had his own Twitter account, the state's governor steadfastly denied any involvement, and at least one Twitter user credited the animal's recent discovery with breaking a curse that kept the Minnesota Timberwolves out of the NBA playoffs for 14 years.
The whole thing is a little bananas.
GOVERNOR SAYS HE'S INNOCENT
The monkey was found in what used to be the flagship store for the Dayton's department store chain — which was once owned by Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton's family. That prompted a reporter to ask Dayton what he knew about the monkey in the duct.
"I was not responsible," Dayton deadpanned at an unrelated news conference Thursday. But he did recall working at his family's downtown store in 1968 when the eighth floor was transformed into a rainforest display — complete with monkeys and birds.
"Somebody didn't figure out that the monkeys were carnivores," he said. "I won't get into the graphic details ... But the next day they had a netting up to segregate and separate the birds from the monkeys. And they said one monkey got out and went into the air duct."
OR MAYBE ...
Another man's family came forward to say that before he died, he told his family a story of stealing a monkey from the Dayton's pet shop when he was a teenager. In a video posted by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, that man — Tom Netka — said he and friend Larry Murphy were forced to return the monkey by Netka's mother.
Netka said the boys "just walked into the store ... just opened the door and threw the monkey in." His daughter, Jessica Christensen, told the newspaper she believes the mummy monkey is the one her dad swiped.
MONKEY OFF THEIR BACKS?
Regardless of its origins, some are crediting the dead monkey — publicized this week after being discovered during renovation work — with the Timberwolves' overtime win over the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday that sent the team to the playoffs for the first time since 2004. The win ended what had been the longest playoff drought in the NBA. One Twitter user wrote (hashtag)CurseBreaker, with an image of the mummy monkey wearing a Timberwolves hat.
Others tweeted that the monkey's discovery was another kind of curse: One destined to prolong Minnesota's dismal spring, as a mid-April bout of snow and rain was moving into the state.