Saturday, March 15, 2008

Monkeys Make Horrible Pets

-I wrote this years ago. It deserves fresh eyes.

“You feel that monkey bite.” Henry Rollins

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Jeff was over. Jeff works at Pet Fun in Salinas California. This is the truth. Jeff works with fish and hamsters and rabbits. Jeff is a self-proclaimed ‘fish-person.’ Our conversation turned that evening, over a few beers, the smoking of some cloves and video games.
“What is the matter with our society today?” I asked him.
“What are you talking about?” Jeff answered.
“California is so materialistic. It all boils down to what kind of car you drive and how much money you have.” I said.
“Man, I know, and Pet Fun really isn’t working on that level.” Jeff said.
“Hey, you have seen the POS that I drive.” I responded.
“You’re right though, everyone is concerned with aesthetics. They don’t really care about what is going on inside of people; they only see the outer trappings.” Jeff said.
“I am personally tired of having to explain to everyone that I actually like my Van.” I said.
“I am kind of tired of telling everyone that I actually like working with fish.” Jeff said.
“California is so stuck up. There are other states in the union that move at a different speed. The only reason why I stick it out here is because the Pacific Ocean is right there.” I said, gesturing towards the Pacific, which was twenty miles away. The conversation dies for awhile, and we concentrated on beating the hell out of each other in Virtua Fighter. Since he had mentioned his job at Pet Fun, I started to ask him several questions about exotic fish. I asked him about the deadly fish. I asked him about dogs and cats. Then I asked him a question that had been burning in me for some time.
“How about a monkey? How come you never see monkeys as pets?”
“Monkeys are illegal as pets in California.” Was his knowing response.
“That guy down at the wharf has a monkey. That little one-armed bastard won’t even pick up pennies.” I said.
‘That guy at the wharf is grinding organs for a living. That guy down at the wharf has a permit.” Jeff said.
“What would it take to get a permit?” I asked.
“I dunno. Call fish and game. Call the FDA. It’s some sort of state or federal deal.” Jeff said.
“I wonder why they aren’t allowed in California.” I asked.
“There is obviously a good reason for it. I have heard that they make horrible
pets anyway. California has a stick up its ass, didn’t we already talk about that?” Jeff said.
“Yeah, but the temptation is there to just see what would happen if I got one. I
mean, it would be like having a little person around or something.”
“You want a monkey? Why would you want a little stupid sub-human? Get yourself a kid, or a dog or something. Hell, get yourself a fish. I hear monkeys crap all over the place. I also hear that they bite like nobody’s business. Yeah, they look all cute dressed up and stuff, but forget that! A monkey to me looks like it would be a lot of work. A lot of unnecessary work.” Jeff didn’t even look me in the eye when he said this. He was watching the pause screen for Tekken 4 on the television.
“Well, it seems like a challenge, to get a monkey into California.” I said.
“It isn’t a challenge. Listen, if you were to get a monkey into this state, it would prove to be a pain in your ass. You ever heard the term ‘beaten like a circus monkey’? Why the hell would anyone coin such a phrase? You never hear ‘beaten like a circus tiger or elephant’? Monkeys suck. California has a damn good reason for keeping them out of here; trust in that.”
“I don’t know. I just don’t know. I think I’d like a monkey on my back. It looks like it could be fun.” I said.
“Suit yourself, but at least watch the screen while I kick your ass? Thanks.”
We went back to our video games and Jeff proceeded to pummel me in every game that I chose to play him in for the rest of the night.

The next morning I got on the phone. This monkey thing was really working on me. I had a slight hangover and felt slow. Making a couple of calls to the state department to find out about a monkey permit seemed to be the best idea at the time. I brewed a cup of molten death sludge coffee and went to work.
The Yellow Pages are horrific. It took me a solid five minutes to figure out that I needed to look under ‘California State of…’ before I could get down to business. Assembly, Corrections, Equalization Board, Fish and Game, and Highway Patrol, they were all different ways of saying that someone was behind a desk with the phone numbers to the other places. They all seemed so similar. I was headed on a collision course with red tape. I finally settled on calling the ‘Toxic Substances Control Department’. My rationale was that they wouldn’t be that busy and they could point me in the right direction. 1-800-698-6942. The numbers inputted into the phone quickly. I felt as if I was meant to make this phone call. There were two rings and then a voice was on the other end. He recited his position so quickly that I can’t even recall what he said.
“Yeah, um, hey? I am looking into purchasing a pet monkey and I want to know what the proper protocol is.”
“Sir, monkeys are illegal in California.” The voice countered. It was a male voice. Gravelly, I could hear each painful vibration of his weathered vocal cords. It sounded like the rock star whiskey and razorblade diet.
“I know that they are illegal, that is why I am calling you.” I said.
“Sir, there are departments that handle this sort of thing. This is the Toxic Substances Control Department.”
“Well, I knew that. I figured that you could point me in the right direction.”
“Sir, monkeys are not toxic substances.”
“I know this, who would I call?” I asked.
“Sir, I don’t know who to call. Hang on a second.” He said. There was a loud pop on the line, like a fuse had blown within the phone.
“I had to dismantle the recorder. Sorry.” He said. I now knew that I was onto something good.
“Sir? I have a friend who wanted a monkey not to long ago. He was at a loss, so he ordered one.” The man said.
“Ordered one?” I asked.
“Yeah, he ordered it from a magazine. They shipped it here in California in less than twenty-four hours.” He said.
“You seen this monkey?” I asked.
“Yes, it’s really a cute little thing. It’s a little dirty, but that’s how monkeys are. This friend of mine won’t go anywhere without it.” The man said.
“You know this company?” I asked.
“No, but I do know the magazine that he found it in.” He said.
“So what’s the magazine?” I asked.
“Young Bondage. They sell it at 7-11. It’s behind the counter. It comes wrapped in plastic. It’s pretty kinky…” I slammed the receiver down. I was on a mission.

There is no point in my detailing the fact that I was buying porno in the local 7-11. There is no point in going into who I knew in the line when I asked the clerk to reach behind the counter and get it. The point is that I had to flip through that magazine to the back page and read the want ads. Then I found it:
I knew this. That area code was somewhere in Texas. I hustled the cover around the back of the magazine and charged towards the phone. Once again, the numbers leaped out of my fingertips, like small static electricity charges. It was all coming together. I had always been curious about monkeys and here I was, almost at the door. Jeff had warned me, I guess the guy over the phone had warned me, and the Young Bondage episode could have been considered a warning, but I was almost there.
“Celestial Monkey Company, Marlena speaking.” Spoke the voice, the sultry voice with a drawl.
“I’d like to order a monkey.” I stammered. I didn’t even want the monkey. I wanted to see if it could be done.
“Where are you calling from sir?” The question that could derail it all was now in the air.
“Northern California.” I said. I figured if I said northern that she might cut me a break. Or she might have a drop box in Oregon. My question would be answered and I could finish this.
“Not a problem. Shipping to California is tricky; I will have to put in you in touch with my supervisor.” She said.
“Put him on.” I said.
“She will be on shortly.” She said, tersely. The next think I knew, I was listening to Peter Gabriel classics on their in house hold station. It was a solid fifteen minutes on my bill before I heard another voice.
“Hello, this is Joanna, you calling from California?” She asked.
“Yes, I am calling from California.” I said.
“Here is the thing: We can’t legally send you a monkey. We can however, send you a gift. If you like the gift, feel free to mail us one-hundred and eighty nine dollars. There will be a form in there.”
“Will my gift come with instructions?” I asked.
“Just how to care for it.” She responded.
“Well, let me give you my address so I can get this gift.”
“First you have to answer a series of questions. I have to record the rest of this phone call.” She said.
“Record away.” I said.

The questions that she asked me to respond to were more like legal mumbo jumbo to keep the CPC out of trouble in case my gift went haywire. It also made it clear that I could not hold them responsible for the gift that I was receiving. When I pressed her, she told me that the gift was small and metallic. I also agreed to send her the money within my first week of having the gift, or else I would be held legally responsible. She took my Visa number for a credit authorization and that was the end of it. I agreed to all and finished the phone call.

My package was on my doorstep the next morning. It stunk. The box smelled musty, like a smoking lounge, yet there was an acrid high end to the smell, like that of bile. I could smell it through the door in the walkway. I really wasn’t expecting it then, I was just on my way to get the newspaper. I picked the box up. I shook it. The box shook back at me. I knew that I had my monkey.
I took the box to the kitchen table and opened it slowly. Inside was the cutest little humanoid that I had ever seen. He was curled up in a fetal position. He looked up at me with squinty eyes. I was sure that he actually smiled at me. He sat up, rubbed his eyes and hopped out of the box. The box was stained black on the inside. It was a thick, tar like blackness. This blackening was all over the monkey. He was cute, yet foul. I looked into the box. There was a stained black envelope taped to the side of the box. I reached in carefully, around the monkey and detached the letter. The monkey suddenly lurched in my direction. Towards my face with his teeth bared. I jumped back, but it was too late. He had grabbed me by the ear and he swung around my head and perched on my shoulder. He sat there. I froze. I wasn’t sure what to do. If I moved, I could feel the wrath of the little primate. He froze. Then I felt a little movement. Something was fiddling with my ear. He was stroking at the lobe with his gentle little hands. I had heard of monkey bites before, and I didn’t want this little thing to take a chunk out of my ear.
I walked slowly towards the bathroom. Slow deliberate steps, like the ones you make when you are trying to act sober when you are not. I went around the corner. I faced myself in the bathroom mirror. There was the monkey. He was filthy. My face was dirty from that musty smoky grime that the monkey was covered with. My shoulder on my white t-shirt was completely blackened. There sat the monkey, holding my ear, and from what I could tell, kissing it. I reached up and over slowly. I scratched the little fellow on the head. He arched his back, enjoying my touch. I scratched him on his neck, and under his chin. He was content. His leap from the box must have been our bonding moment.
I went back to the box, looking for that instruction envelope. The monkey shifted and hung onto me. His hands went through my hair. He moved all over my shoulders. I could feel his grime. I was beginning to smell like him. I began to know his musty, barroom smell very well.
I found the envelope. Inside of it was a little key chain. It was of a flat metallic monkey. It said, ‘God grant me the serenity to accept this monkey.” There was a letter, but it was merely the receipt and my bill for the hundred plus dollars for the ‘gift.’
“Ha!” I said. I knew that I wasn’t going to pay this bill. I was also rather miffed that there were no real instructions on how to care for this guy. Suddenly I heard a croak, followed by a splat at my feet. I held out my left hand in front of him. He jumped onto it, blackening it. I examined him closely. His fur was matted with this filthy blackness. I began to wonder if this blackening was something that he was secreting from his skin. I looked closer. The monkey opened his mouth, wide. I looked into it thinking to myself that he was used to being scrutinized this way. I was examining his pink little tongue when I heard the croak again. The monkey leaned back a little; the croak had come from his throat. Suddenly, my face was covered with a syrupy, brown liquid. The little bugger had projectile vomited in my face. My eyes stung. The vomit had a sickly sweet yet abrasive aroma about it, like that of molasses mixed with gasoline.
I rushed to the bathroom; monkey in hands. I tried to put him down in the sink, so I could wash myself off. The monkey clung to my arm. He scurried up my arm and back to my shoulders. I am sure that he left a black trail behind him, though the smell of his sugary vomit and the sting in my eyes kept me from seeing it. I wanted a shower. I wanted a shower alone. This meant that I had to put the monkey somewhere. Anywhere. I turned the tap of the sink on. I splashed cold water in my face. The vomit stuck like petroleum jelly to my face. I did manage to clear my eyes and I could see that I was a total mess. My entire upper torso was covered with this black, smoky grime, and my face was covered with an oily, unctuous mucous by-product. I needed a shower at that very instant.
I turned the sink water off and whirled around to start a shower. I bent to turn the tap on, the monkey scrambled up to perch on my head. He was a quiet, affectionate thing, but I was already growing tired of him. I heard him croak and felt the vomit whiz by my ear and saw it splash in the tub. I manipulated the hot and cold and then twisted the knob that sends the water through the shower spicket. I lumbered back. I tore my shirt off. The monkey latched onto my hair so that he wouldn’t get tossed aside with my now blackish–white shirt. The thought crossed my mind to throw the monkey into the toilet and slam the lid down so that I could have some privacy, but then I thought against it. I tore off my jeans and underwear and hopped into the shower. The monkey re-settled on my shoulder, content to have the water run over him. I looked down and saw a thick, inky, black swath heading down my body from the shoulder where the monkey sat. I moved so that he was directly underneath the water. The trail of liquid grime continued to pulse from his body. It seemed like it would never end. I reached up and scrubbed him with a bar of soap. The white bar turned to a dirty gray, and the grime continued to seep from his fur.
The shower was a solid forty-five minutes. When we stepped out, the monkey was clean. I had given him a shampoo. I was clean too. I just needed to shave, and then I was going to go to Pet Fun to see Jeff and show him Brak, my monkey. I named him Brak because that was the sound that came from his throat when he vomited. I was convinced that this vomit thing that he did wasn’t a sign of illness, but some sort of learned behavior. Brak was alert. Brak seemed lucid. I didn’t know a thing about monkeys only two hours before, and now I was a scholar.
As I shaved my neck, I saw that my shoulder was beginning to get dirty again. I noticed that as Brak dried, the grime had once again begun to ooze out of his fur. Soon, my shoulder and my neck were completely black again. I finished shaving, threw on some pants and went to the kitchen to use the phone. I was going to have to ask Jeff about this dirty monkey problem that I was having.

“Pet Fun, Jeff speaking.”
“Jeff, this is Peter. I ordered a monkey; he is sitting here on my shoulder.” I said.
“You have a monkey?” Jeff asked.
“Yeah, I thought about our conversation and I got one. I ordered it from some company in Texas; they got it to my house overnight.”
‘What kind is it?” He asked. I could feel the excitement in his voice.
“Dirty. This thing is filthy. I just washed it and it’s already dirty again. Its skin weeps some sort of black nasty ooze.” I said.
“I never heard of that.” Jeff said.
“Can you ask around? Get me some pointers? The little fella is cool and all, but I am getting filthy dealing with him.” I said.
“Hey, I have to go, we are gonna fight some Betas in the back. I’ll come by later this week ok?” Jeff said. Then he hung up. He must have really been in a rush.
Suddenly, I didn’t feel so good. I had a sick stomach. Just as soon as I was aware that my stomach felt nauseous, my head began to spin. I went to lie down on my bed. I blacked out. The monkey was sitting on my chest.

When I awoke, the walls were black with little handprints. I sat up and it looked like someone had dumped a bucket of oil over my bed. The bed was slick with Brak’s smoky oily funk. I could tell that my face was covered too, based on how I could see the blackness caked on my cheeks when I looked down. The monkey was nowhere to be found. I stepped into the hall. It looked like someone had taken a hose connected to a tar vat and sprayed the lower half of the hallway with it. The smoky, urine smell was everywhere. There were handprints all the way to the ceiling at some points. The light bulb that was in the ceiling was a dirty gray. Brak must have hung from it at some point.
I walked into the living room. My normally white walls were slick with monkey oil. The floor was covered, as if a big party had happened and oil had been struck in the center of the room. Every fixture, every picture, every last thing had been touched and molested by Brak and his filthy little hands.
I was done. It was time to return the monkey. I remembered something about that in my call with the Celestial Primate Company. I just had to find the foul little bi-ped. I headed for the kitchen, but stopped suddenly. I couldn’t breathe. Then I began to cough. I hacked and hacked and hacked. Black, sticky tar shot out of my nostrils and my mouth. It tasted horrible. It tasted bitter, like bad milk. It looked like syrup though; it looked like that same tar that Brak had been coughing up. I must have coughed for five minutes, hacking up what felt to be the very bottom recesses of my lungs. It hurt. I could taste blood in the back of my mouth. I had obviously contracted this disease from Brak. Who could I call? How was I to explain? I had what seemed to be the Ebola virus.
When I finished coughing, I made my way into the kitchen. The floor was a solid eighth of an inch deep in monkey ink. It stunk and the smell was misty like a cloud. I saw Brak, in the refrigerator, the door was wide open. He was working his way through it, level by level. The entire interior was black and slick. I lunged forward in time to catch his little inhuman eye. There was a glimmer of something in that eye. Something like hate. I slammed the door shut on him and leaned against the door.
I surveyed the room; there was nothing that I could really prop against the fridge. Everything in the room was black and slick. Every last white chair was smudged with little handprints. The cupboards had been rifled and all of the dishes were befouled with this inky, oily crud that Brak oozed. With my back to the fridge, I began to think. I began to wonder what to do about this. Suddenly there was a knock at the front door.
“It’s open! Come in!” I screamed. I heard the door creak open. I heard pacing down the hallway. Jeff turned into the kitchen area; his face was that of total bewilderment.
“What the hell happened in here?” He asked.
“It’s Brak, the monkey.” I said.
“You told me about this monkey two days ago, and I was looking forward to seeing it, but you haven’t returned any of my calls.” He said.
“Two days ago? I just called you this morning…oh shit.” I said. I began to put it all together. I really was sick. Brak had really infected me. I had blacked out for two days. That was how the mess had been so extreme in the house.
“Where is he?” Jeff asked.
“He’s trapped in the fridge!” I said. I was beginning to realize how weak I felt.
“Did he leave all of this black peanut butter stuff all over the place?” Jeff asked.
“Yeah.” I said.
“Well, what do you want to do?” Jeff asked.
“I don’t know. Catch him and send him back?” I said.
“Ok, I’ll get a bag. You have anything cloth?” He asked.
“Yeah, in my room. It’ll be black. Everything in there is black. It should be hanging on the foot of my bed. I put my dirty drawers in there.”
Jeff hustled down the hall. I heard him slip on the oleaginous black secretions and fall, with a profanity. Jeff came back into the room with my hamper bag, it was soaked black.
“Ok, you open the door and I’ll bag him.” Jeff said. I looked down; I was still backed up against the fridge. Between my legs, I could see a newer, thicker wave of that pungent dark ooze beginning to swirl around my feet. It was coming from the base of the fridge.
“He’s on the second shelf.” I said. I hadn’t seen any violence from this monkey, so I didn’t think that there would be any problems. I opened the door and stepped out of the way. Jeff lurched unto the fridge. From my vantage point, around the door, I could only see Jeff’s lower torso as he grappled with the monkey in the fridge. He suddenly shrieked and jumped back. The monkey was clamped around Jeff’s throat. I couldn’t tell how. What I could tell was that it was furry and dirty. Jeff’s face and neck were black. His hands pried at the monkey. Jeff fell backward into the wet floor and clawed viciously at his throat. His eyes were wide and his mouth was locked in a horrified ‘o’.
Jeff finally pulled the monkey free from his neck and threw it against the wall with a splat. He coughed spastically for a few minutes. Brak lay still.
“I think I killed the little bitch.” Jeff barked.
“Jeff, you’re bleeding!” I said, stepping towards him. I was right. The monkey had torn a chunk out of his neck. Jeff reached up and covered the wound. Blood flowed through his hands and mixed with the black slickness already covering his Motorhead t-shirt.
“He bit me!” Jeff screamed, hoarsely. Jeff jumped to his feet, wild eyed. He looked past me and ran down the hall towards the front door. I heard him open it and slam it. I heard his Volkswagen engine start and I heard his van careening out of my driveway.
I slumped to my ass on the floor. I was tired. I looked towards Brak. I had such a mess to clean up. I didn’t even know what this black tar stuff was; let alone, how to clean it.
Brak was lying on his back. His head was in my direction. He was watching me. Our eyes locked. It was creepy. His eyes were very aware of me, yet very animal. Brak rolled onto his stomach and began to crawl to me, through the oil now a half inch thick on the floor. He crawled slowly, like a marine through a mine field. He was working towards me, never breaking eye contact. What was he, a foot? A foot and a half long? I knew then and there that I was about to go to war with this little thing. I stood. I needed something heavy. I needed something that would wreck this little critter. Then I could get to the hospital and do something. I skirted around the room slowly. Brak kept on crawling, methodically. His eyes never left mine, though mine left his as I looked for a stick, a frying pan, anything. I knew that there was a broom right around the corner; all I had to do was get there. I was backing toward the door when he pounced. His little body coiled and he sprung at me. He flew through the air, like a sponge flying through the air, leaving a trail of greasy ink droplets. I flailed my arms at him, trying to block the incoming wet missile. I missed and he landed on my throat. One of his wet, nasty hands shot towards my nose. I felt his little fingers probing my left nostril. I exhaled hard through my nose. He only plunged his sticky arm further up my nose; I could feel his fingers in the back of my throat. He had worked his hand all the way through my nose. I staggered and fell face first towards the floor. I felt his other hand pull at my lower lip. I felt like gagging. I did gag, but I clenched my teeth. Something told me that he was trying to get into my mouth. He was pulling ferociously at my lower lip. I snapped my head back and coughed. I could feel his little fingers tickling the back of my throat. His elbow was in the opening rim of my nose. The skin was ripping. My lip pulled away from him and he lost his grip. He reached up and re-gripped my lower lip. I was up on all fours now. My eyes were wincing from the pain that I felt at the back of my throat, where he was ripping away with his little monkey fingernails.
Again, I pulled my lip away. Then, through a squinting eye, I saw him make a little monkey fist with his free hand. He used that fist against my clenched teeth. His little knuckles also broke my lips, causing a spray of blood as my head recoiled. I saw his little fist rise again. This time the impact left me flat on my back, sloshing in monkey juice. I don’t know how many times he knocked on my teeth until I finally opened that door, but I finally broke down and opened my mouth. As soon as I opened it, I felt his arm slide out of my nose. I felt both of his hands on my lower teeth and jaw. I was on my back, looking at the ceiling. The foul, acidic taste of the monkey was all through my mouth and in the back of my throat.
I felt a tug, like he was pulling at my teeth. Then the monkey’s face came into view. He looked me dead in the eyes again. I thought I detected a smile. I wasn’t sure, but I felt another tug at my teeth. Then I realized that he wasn’t pulling at my teeth, he was pulling at my jaw. Brak leaned back and yanked with a force that dislocated it. I reached up with my hands to stop him. He turned his head and bit at my fingers, partially severing one of them. The pain exploded through my throat. My jaw was off its hinges, and I thrashed around like I had been shot in the face. There was a vicious pop and I realized that my jawbone had been broken. My eyes were wide with pain. The tears streamed down my face into the monkey sludge underneath my head. I screamed, but I couldn’t really control my tongue. The sound was shrill, like that of a little girl. Then I felt something furry and wet in the back of my throat. Brak was inside my mouth. His motion irritated my broken jaw. I rolled over onto my stomach, and then I worked up onto all fours as he fought his way down my throat. I felt his scraping and scrambling against the inside of my mouth. Black thick wetness dripped from my bloodied lips. I stumbled towards the bathroom. I had to see this. I had to look into the mirror and see this for myself. When I came around the corner, I could already feel Brak making his way down my throat. It felt like my throat was going to split. I had too much in there. I tried to cough, but there was no air. I looked into my face in the mirror; my cheeks were blown out from Brak’s size and split at the corners. Blood freely flowed from my nose and from my shattered lips. I was covered with Brak’s black sludge. I tried again to breath and was able to get no grasp on oxygen. I felt lightheaded. There was only a few more seconds that I had until I would black out. I grabbed on the monkey’s tail, which was hanging out towards my chest. I pulled on it as hard as I could, and I felt him anchor his little nails into the sides of my throat. I felt the new wounds bleed as he thrashed and slashed his way down my throat. Suddenly my belly was full, and I fell over, blacking out.
I don’t know how long I was out. It must have been for some time, because when I awoke, all of my wounds were scabbed over, and the sludge that was a brook running through the house was now a grimy, cake like substance. The black crud everywhere reminded me of the truth; that Brak was in my stomach. I didn’t understand. I went to the kitchen and looked for the box that I had ordered. I wanted to find the number for the Celestial Primate Company. The box wasn’t there. It seemed that things were disintegrating around me. The floorboards weren’t as solid as they had been. My skin hurt wherever the grime was caked. Then I realized that I really was sick I felt the beginnings of some serious diarrhea churning in the base of my stomach. My head was spinning. I needed something, but I didn’t know what it was.
Then I felt it. I felt Brak shifting around in my stomach. I looked down and saw my belly moving in whatever direction Brak chose to move in. I saw an elbow sliding up my stomach towards my ribcage. I didn’t know what to do about it, so I punched myself in the stomach. Pain gripped me, from the inside. Brak had an organ or two and he was thrashing against them. I dropped to my knees. I needed to get this damn monkey out of me. I needed an abortion. I felt him shift, and I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to take this pain for much longer. There was a slash from the inside of my stomach. I was pretty sure that he was going to slash his way out. I was about to relive that scene in Alien.
Well, I wasn’t up to it. I walked and stumbled, kicking up flecks of damp monkey fudge all the way to my toolbox. I tore into it and pulled out the longest screwdriver I could find. Then I tried to remember what side my heart beats on. I placed the screwdriver to my chest and ran full speed into the wall at the other side of the room. The screwdriver went in, and countersunk the handle a bit. I bounced off the wall, landing flat on my back. The pain was extreme. I missed my heart. I had punctured a lung. I felt like I was in the middle of a Los Angeles smog alert. Suddenly, I couldn’t fill my lungs with air any more. I was hyperventilating. I sat up, got to my knees and placed both hands on the golden, clear handle of the screwdriver. In two painful yanks, I pulled it free. Blood sprayed out of the wound with a strong jet that lasted for a second. Then there was a steady stream bubbling out of my chest. I knew I was done for. I started to crawl towards the phone. I now needed medical attention. I didn’t care about whatever laws I had broken, I just wanted to live. I reached for the phone and dialed 9-1-1. I felt something stirring within me. Something was working its way towards my chest wound from the inside. I screamed what I could as I saw Brak’s little fingers poke out of the hole. I was in no shape to talk to a 9-1-1- operator. I dropped the receiver and tried to concentrate on breathing, quite aware that Brak was picking his way out of me, through the doorway I had started.

I awoke in a hospital bed. Next to me on a nightstand in a jar was a huge jar, filled with formaldehyde and containing the corpse of Brak. I tried to sit up, but was handcuffed to the bed. I wouldn’t have been able to sit up as it was, my chest and stomach were a detailed map of swelling stitches. I looked to my left and right.
“You took quite a beating there son.” A voice said. Then the voice’s body paced over to my bedside. It was a big craggy-faced man. He had his detective badge out and was holding it in my face.
“Where did you get that monkey?” He asked.
“I ordered it through a magazine.” I said.
“This magazine?” He asked. He held up my copy of Young Bondage. It was blackened and cruddy. I realized that it was in a sealed evidence bag.
“Yeah, that’s it.”
“Kid, what you were dealing with was a new breed of monkey. You were dealing with a hybrid of several different monkeys. Those things are killing machines.” He said.
“Why do they sell them in porno magazines?” I asked, faintly.
“Who in their right mind is going to order a monkey out of a porno magazine?”
“Um, I did.” I said.
“Well look at you now!” He chuckled hard. He threw the magazine down on my chest and I winced.
“You should have known better than to test California state law on this one. You are lucky to still be alive!” He said. I rolled my eyes. I wanted this to all end. Hadn’t I already tried to kill myself?
“They are breeding these monkeys in southern states. They are apparently going to be used in some level of warfare at some point. Celestial Primate Company? No, no, no. That is Combat Primate Corporation. These guys are on the FBI’s most wanted list. We are going through your phone records now. We have also gotten a hold of your credit card transcripts. We are trying to find out where these people are located.” He said.
“The disease that these things are carrying is extremely toxic. It spreads like wildfire. We feel that there are certain deviant government operatives that are working double time to use these death monkeys against the US population. We have been trying to stop the smut influx, but as you can see, anyone over eighteen can order one of these monkeys. If one person gets out with while infected with this stuff, it could be the end of civilization as we know it. It’ll definitely threaten the lifestyle that we have here in California. Now you didn’t share your little find with anyone son, did you?”