Regan Murphy didn't hear the wildest stories his dad until after he'd died.
Murphy, who was around 25 when his father lost his life to cancer, recalls a fishing trip not long after the funeral, when a close friend regaled everyone around a campfire with tales of youthful mischief. How his dad had been kicked out of North High School and Patrick Henry, before finally graduating in Robbinsdale. How Larry'd once stole a motorcycle, and another time owned a van that he drove around despite its not having any doors.
That one about stealing a monkey.
Regan Murphy, now the mayor of Robbinsdale, hadn't thought about that monkey story in some time. Not until he saw tweets Tuesday about the discovery of mummified monkey remains inside the site of the old Dayton's department store.
Says Murphy: "I saw the picture, I read the headline, and I just thought, 'No way.'"
As the story was told to Murphy, his dad and a friend skipped school -- either junior high or high school -- to make their way downtown to execute their caper. Their plan went as follows: Step one, kidnap a monkey then on display as part of a Dayton's store window display by putting it in a backpack and escaping; step two, take it home.
These steps they executed flawlessly. It was when they got back to his dad's friend's house their plan fell apart.
"It pretty much just destroyed Tom's room," Murphy says. "It shat everywhere."
Whatever they'd planned to do with the monkey, the two teens quickly reversed course. Over the weekend, they packed the monkey back up, boarded another bus, and returned to downtown Minneapolis.
"They went inside the store, they put the monkey on an escalator, and took off," Murphy says. "We've always wondered what the hell happened to that monkey."
And now they might know: Murphy says it makes sense that a "confused, captive" primate would've hidden out in the store until it perished... days later? Years, as we like to think? We might never know.
Murphy tweeted about the story after reading the news:
My dad once stole a monkey from a Dayton’s display back in the 60s. They decided to bring it back after it shat all over my Dad’s friends bedroom while they were at school. They returned it by letting it loose in the store. This is probably that monkey.— Mayor Regan Murphy (@mayor_murphy) April 10, 2018
...and says he's somewhat shocked at how much reaction the tweet's gotten. (We're not!) For his part, Murphy has no reason to doubt his dad's story, which his mother backed up.
The story of Larry Murphy, at least, has a happy ending: Regan's mom "got his ass back in line," and got him to go to school to train for work as an electrical engineer, at which he was "really successful."
Regan suspects he hid these stories (and his shabby old report cards) from his kids, in the hopes they might lead a different, less mischievous childhood than his. In some ways, they did.
But did Regan Murphy get up to anything like this when he was a kid?
"Absolutely, and that's all I'll say about that for two years, when I'm not the mayor anymore," adding: "It was nothing criminal."
After a moment's hesitation, Murphy clarifies: "I can guarantee you I've never stolen any monkeys."
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