Ape, with Tangerine arrives in London with tags marking it as passenger luggage from the nonexistent China Moon. An overenthusiastic cargo master misdirects it onto a train bound for Cornwall. Before reaching that destination it is seized, marked as salvage, fraudulently claimed, transferred, seized again, rejected, quarantined and finally shelved in the physical equivalent of “I’ll think about that on Tuesday:” a warehouse in tax distraint. All this before the statue is even uncrated.
It is not until the complex and unhappy responsibilities befalling one Mr. P. F. MacGuffin cause him to retrieve Ape, with Tangerine that our story properly begins.