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I'm trying to remember the title of a good short story I read at least 30 years ago about aliens studying a bipedal mammal to determine if the creature is good enough to work as slaves. The aliens ultimately decide that the creature is not smart enough. The twist ending has a reporter talking to his editor about which story to publish - a UFO sighting or a monkey that mysteriously disappeared from the zoo. Any ideas on title and author? Thanks!

  • Shouldn't it be "monkeynapped"? – Wad Cheber Sep 27 '15 at 22:58
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I'm trying to remember the title of a good short story I read at least 30 years ago

"Not Yet the End" by Fredric Brown.

about aliens studying a bipedal mammal to determine if the creature is good enough to work as slaves.

Kar turned to face his companion in the cube, a being like himself. "We are here," he said. "The first stop, Star Z-5689. It has nine planets, but only the third is habitable. Let us hope we find creatures here who will make suitable slaves for Xandor."

[. . .]

He stepped outside, Lal just behind him. "Look," Kar said, "two bipeds. Two arms, two eyes—not dissimilar to the Lounacs, although smaller. Well, here are our specimens."

[. . .]

"Viviparous," said Lal. Five-fingered, with hands suited to reasonably delicate work. But—let's try the most important test, intelligence."

The aliens ultimately decide that the creature is not smart enough.

"Seven points below minimum," Kar said. "They could not be trained even for the crudest labor in the mines. Incapable of understanding the most simple instructions. Well, we'll take them back to the Xandor museum."

"Shall I destroy the planet?"

"No," Kar said. "Maybe a million years from now—if our race lasts that long—they'll have evolved enough to become suitable for our purpose. Let us move on to the next star with planets."

The twist ending has a reporter talking to his editor about which story to publish - a UFO sighting or a monkey that mysteriously disappeared from the zoo.

The make-up editor of the Milwaukee Star was in the composing room, supervising the closing of the local page. Jenkins, the head make-up compositor, was pushing in leads to tighten the second to last column.

"Room for one more story in the eighth column, Pete," he said. "About thirty-six picas. There are two there in the overset that will fit. Which one shall I use?"

The make-up editor glanced at the type in the galleys lying on the stone beside the chase. Long practice enabled him to read the headlines upside down at a glance. "The convention story and the zoo story, huh? Oh, hell, run the convention story. Who cares if the zoo director thinks two monkeys disappeared off Monkey Island last night?"

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