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Memoirs of a Transient Monkey – Part 1

Memoirs of a Transient Monkey

By Greg Yingling


Youth, a fleeting thing, mine was fast and crazy; full of simple things quickly forgotten and brief moments best lost. I don’t really remember my childhood much, but in summary here it is.

Banana’s, eat, eat, swing from tree to tree, hit someone, throw a banana, eat, eat, swing to another tree. Stare at passing animal, scratch head, giggle, run away. Climb tree, jump, swing, eat, eat, poop, eat, play with other monkeys, make faces. Scratch head, peel banana, drop peel, watch animal slip on peel, giggle, run away. Eat banana, drink, laugh at other monkeys, giggle, eat, poop, fling poo. Run away, sleep, eat, play, swing, climb, jump, run, laugh at other animals, play. More banana’s, eating, playing, sleeping, swinging, climbing, dancing, and flinging poo. Banana’s, banana’s, banana’s. Run, run, run. Swing, swing, swing. Drink, eat, drink, eat, drink, eat, drink. Laugh, giggle, point. Climb, swing, climb, swing. Hit, smack, trip, punch. Poop, poop, poop. Fling poo…..

It was at this point that I came to an epiphany: Life isn’t about flinging poo. Sadly, during the rest of my life I found very few others who had come to this realization. And so my story continues.

“I used to think I was alone in the world, but then I opened my eyes and realized I was surrounded by idiots and people who liked fish.”

Chapter 1 – Welcome to the Monkey House
When I look back it seems almost like yesterday. It was in late August when I first started my travels; I remember I had just woken up on a Tuesday morning, staring out at all those fat faces.

Ugly people were always passing by, pointing and staring, and gorging themselves. Apparently watching me and the others provided them with some sort of sick satisfaction and amusement.

I wasn’t really like the others though; they never seemed to have a care in the world. They would point and laugh at the people walking by, sometimes they’d even play: simpletons. It’s not that I didn’t like them, I just couldn’t really talk to any of them; they were always distracted by the moment, as if nothing really meant anything to them. Even Anya, the cute little one who always danced in the corner was like an empty shell, all she would do was dance. Sometimes I’d dream about her, we’d be taking a moonlit walk in some exotic locale, her hand in my, it usually ended with us swinging from tree to tree though. It was a melancholy dream.

It was apparently feeding time, bananas, again. You’d think I’d like bananas, and I do, but not all the time. Occasionally I’d like something different, something else to moisten the palate. I’d always wanted to try different things, but you’re rather limited when you live in a cage.

That day was different however, very different. Big things were going to happen. Very big things, the sky would never be the same after that, nor would my dreams.

My banana was too ripe – but what could I do? I lived in a cage; I was at the will of the zookeepers when it came to food. I was going to be stuck with the ripe banana.

It must have been an elementary school tour day. There were large groups of small children streaming by, looking in, pointing and laughing. Pudgy little things, most of them, pushing and shoving at each other to boost their position. What exactly they hoped to gain was beyond me, I never understood those sorts of things. Most of them looked on with ignorant bliss, stuffing their faces with packaged peanuts and cotton candy. A few of them actually seemed genuinely interested however, taking in everything they saw. Their future was important.

I could see in some of their eyes hope, others had a deep sadness – like pools of water that never ended. In others I saw innocence – the weight of the world had not yet hit them. If only they could hold onto that for a little longer. Some of them had lost their innocence long ago, malice, hate, and contempt flowed through them. Dangerous times were in their futures.

So quickly life seems to pass you by. It’s there for but a moment, and then it’s gone for good. Sometimes you wanted to hold on to those moments forever. I can’t tell you how much I longed for that sometimes.

As I was watching all those faces go by, and looking into their eyes, I suddenly realized someone was talking to me.

“Hello my simian friend, I see I’ve finally gotten your attention. I was starting to think you’d never hear me.”

I looked up to see the face of a haggard old man, with a wispy beard and tired eyes, but those eyes held a slight glimmer within them.

I was very confused – more confused then you might think, until you consider that I’m a monkey. I looked at him a little longer, trying to decide if he was mad or not.

“I’m not mad, little friend. Perhaps it’s you that’s mad, did you ever think of that?”

Now that he’d mentioned it, he had a point. Crazy old man, talking to a monkey, no one else seemed to notice him. How could I be sure he was really there?

“I’m pretty sure I’m here. I think I’m here anyway, don’t you?”

The fact that he knew what I was thinking played along with the concept that it was in fact me who was mad. It seemed like a rather vivid madness to come on so fast though, I’d never had signs of it before. Was it something in the banana I was eating? Ripe bananas didn’t typically make me mad…in fact they never made me mad before. I looked down at the banana for a minute pondering.

“Give me that banana. You don’t seem to be enjoying it.”

And he took it from me.

“Have a mango instead.”

And he handed me a mango. It tasted delicious. Considering I’d never tasted mango before it seemed I was either definitely delusional, but very good at creating fake tasting sensations, or it was in fact a real mango.

“Oh it’s real. Bought it myself at the corner store on my way here. I though you might like it.”

The tasteful sensations stimulated my palate and I fell into bliss. It was divine.

“Whoa there little monkey friend. Careful, that mango is delicious I know, but you can’t go getting caught up in it.”

Who was this strange man, talking to a monkey, and trading a mango for a half eaten ripe banana? This just wasn’t normal, not normal at all.

“The names Godfrey, but you can just call me… Godfrey.”

Apparently he didn’t realize I couldn’t talk; much less say the name Godfrey. He stared up at the sky.

“Look at the time – I’ve got to get going. I’ve got things to do today. You can’t even imagine what I’ve got to do today.”

I looked down at my mango and took a bite. When I looked back up he was gone. That was a strange day indeed.

Nothing else eventful happened, more pudgy faced people went by, and then it was time for closing. Time for another feeding – more ripe bananas. I finally curled up for sleep on a padded piece of grass near the back of the cage.

I woke up to a drop of rain, and then another. I looked up, and then it hit me like a bucket of water thrown over the edge of the street. A downpour – I was soaking. You would think they’d take care of their animals at the zoo, apparently we’re rather expensive, but providing cover in the monkey cage, well that’s just too much to ask for.

I was already soaking wet, as I attempted to seek shelter under one of the rock overhangs, but already they were occupied by the others, and I was left out in the rain. Oh well, there wasn’t really anything I could do about it then.

It was a cold long night, and I was happy to see the first peaks of light across the edge of the world. A brilliant sunrise, its warm light brought me some comfort from the storm.

I was dead tired, and at first I didn’t hear it again, but there it was.

“Hello again my little simian friend. Had a rough night I see.”

How did he know these things? He was a strange old man.

“I brought you a couple mangoes; I thought you might enjoy these after a night like that. They should bring back some of your energy.”

They did do that. As I ate my mangoes I stared up at the wizened old man, and he stared down at me. As I finished he looked around him, and with a sudden surprise said the strangest thing, as if everything else he had said was normal.

“Big things are happening today. Be ready for them, and don’t let them take you by surprise. Your life is about to change completely, but you’re more than capable of dealing with it, just have faith.”

And then he was gone again. I scratched my head and wondered. A very strange man indeed.

Since it was getting close to midday the sun was getting hotter. I decided to seek shade under a tree, and having been up most of the night I quickly fell asleep.

I was awoken by a loud crash and the sound of elephants stampeding. The elephants should not be stampeding, I was very confused. The children were screaming, the zookeepers yelling, and the elephants trumpeting loudly. It was quite a chaotic mess.

My monkey brethren were caught up in a flurry, a vivid dance of dripping overzealous glee; the excitement had driven most of them quite mad.

I moved to the gate to examine things closely when one of the elephants stormed by. With his enormous trunk he grabbed at the door, and flung it into the lion’s cage.

Now was my chance, but what if I left? Where would I go? What would I do? My life was in this cage.

I turned to look at the others in our cage, too stupid to know what was going on. Yet suddenly I saw a strange man in the cage. He had never been there before, this day was so strange. He was sitting in a tree, looking down at me. Then he jumped down and walked out of the cage.

It was then that I decided to leave the cage-things had gotten too weird here. And so I walked out the gate.

As I headed towards what I thought was the entrance I noticed a calming sound, as if all the chaos had suddenly stopped. I could hear the wind whistle through the cages, but nothing else made a sound. As I rounded the corner past the crocodile pit I saw the sign – “OOZ MUCINREPAC” – what could it mean? Such strange symbology, the words have stuck in my mind since.

As I walked towards them I could hear the chaos in the background starting to return. The trumpet of an elephant, the scream of a child, the sound of a gun – I would leave it all behind.

That was the last time I saw my home, as I crossed that gate and entered the world. I would never see my simian brethren again; I can only hope they lived on to see better days.

That was the last time I saw my home, as I crossed that gate and entered the world. I would never see my simian brethren again; I can only hope they lived on to see better days.

Before me lay a strange black path with a dotted yellow line down the middle; there was silence all around. It seemed strange to me that this place would lay dormant; I expected the outside world to be a hustle and bustle of activity. Knowing that if I stood there much longer my absence might be noted I decided I should start moving.

Out onto that black path I stepped; it was warm to my feet. Not knowing where else to go I decided to follow the path. Suddenly I heard a strange noise, a noise that I did recognize, however I’d never been this close. I had always thought the noise belonged to some strange beast that roamed freely in the outside world. A deep humming sound, getting closer, I could feel the ground rumbling slightly, and then it made a great honking sound.

I turned to look at these awesome beast, alas, it was too late, no sooner had I turned to see it that I heard an awful screeching noise, and the beast rumbled and wavered. I then remember feeling all of my bones crunching at once and the world spinning round and round. Pain.