Monkey Boy and the Monsters
by Jeremy C. Shipp
Or Not To Wash
Monkey Boy threw his poo into the toilet–to be a good monkey, while at the same time acting upon his animal instincts. His nose traced circles in the air as he watched his dark mass descend into the Abyss.
Then, of course, he washed his hands with Soapy. “How ya doing?”
Soapy waited for Monkey Boy to finish rubbing him before he spoke. “Not so good, Monkey Boy.”
“Why?” He dried his hands.
“Just been thinking. You know, about life.”
Monkey Boy nodded–pretending to care.
Soapy paced back and forth on his soap dish. “Life is a strange thing. I get rubbed, massaged, every day of my life. And it feels really, really good, you know? But…but I can’t ignore the fact that eventually I’ll be massaged into nothingness. How can something that feels so good be the cause of something so bad?”
Monkey Boy shrugged.
Soapy stopped walking and looked at Monkey Boy in the face. “And so I’m really only left with two options, aren’t I? One, live a happy, soapy life–and die. Or two, live a stale, lackluster life–and live forever.”
Monkey Boy snapped out of the trance of soap-induced boredom he was frozen in. “Uh…interesting thought. But we gotta go, Soapy. You ready for the war today?”
“Yeah. I’m ready.”
Monkey Boy fought on two fronts. One was, obviously, the physical war out there, and the other was the mental combat that occurred in here. Here being the home of Bill, Renee, and Tommy Robinson–the General, the Prostitute, and the Georgian.
Tommy sat, hands over face, with tears in his eyes–like usual.
Monkey Boy jumped on the child’s bed and petted him. He liked Tommy, because Tommy wasn’t afraid of his pain. (The General and the Prostitute, however, were afraid of their own shadow selves. The General didn’t lead an army into battle–instead, he forced Tommy to clean his room twice a day, and made Renee line up the silverware at the table just right. The Prostitute didn’t sell herself for money–instead, she did everything everyone asked of her, because she couldn’t stand the idea of not being liked.)
“You should just tell ’em, Tommy.”
“I know. I know that’s what I’m supposed to do. Parents are supposed to love their kids no matter what. But I know it’s not going to happen that way. They won’t love me as much anymore if I tell them. Do you know how I know that?”
“Because when I first realized that I was Georgian, I didn’t like myself as much anymore. Mom and Dad hate Georgians, and so part of me hates Georgians too. Which means, in some twisted way, I hate myself.”
Monkey Boy monkey-laughed. “You liar. You go out with other Georgians almost every night. You told me you’re having the time of your life.”
“I am, but–”
“No buts. Let me ask you something. Do you really believe Georgians are any different from other people? Deep down, I mean. Deep down where all the poo is.”
“Well then you shouldn’t be afraid. Bill and Renee might be shocked at first…they might even be mad…but just give ’em a little time. They’ll come around. They love you, Tommy.”
“Yeah. You’re right.” He sighed. “I’m just so scared.”
Monkey Boy smiled.
Faeries were just as mean and bloodthirsty and dastardly as any of the monsters (and perhaps even more so), but since they were cute and small (and no one could really understand what they were saying), the humans let them hang around.
Monkey Boy, nested in a chandelier, kept an eye on the dinner party down below. The owner of the mansion had hired Monkey Boy to make sure things went smoothly. He swatted at a few faeries who buzzed a little too close to his nose. They stunk like burning tires. They also, according to the humans, brought “atmosphere” to parties by throwing “magic pixie dust” on the guests. Which was really just a mixture of vomit, urine, and feces.
A man in a top hat stood. “Hello all, and welcome to the annual Family Wholesomeness Conference. As you all know, we are here to decide what is wholesome and what is not. Children everywhere are depending on us, so let us act cautiously and in an all around snooty manner.”
“First on my list–the word booby.”
At the mention of the word, many of the men giggled like Japanese schoolgirls.
“Now then, the word booby has many meanings. It is a type of bird. It may also be used to propose that someone is ignorant. But–lately–when people say booby, they are usually referring to the female breast, which of course is a horrid, horrid thing for any healthy family to talk or think about. I propose–”
The door of the mansion exploded, and zombies flooded the room–moaning, hissing, growling, and making other stereotypically monster-like sounds. No matter how many times attacks like these occurred, people never learned. Sometimes, when a person wished too hard for a dead loved one to come back, it happened. They always came back as mindless, flesh-eating corpses, but that didn’t seem to matter. People didn’t change. They didn’t care about the consequences of their thoughts–their dreams. Even if the whole world became swamped with zombies, people wouldn’t stop tossing their pennies into wells or wishing upon disintegrating meteors.
Monkey Boy went to work. He threw poo balls at the eyes of the creatures (and blinded many of them) before leaping off the chandelier. The Conference people were so caught up in their discussions, they didn’t seem to notice what was going on. Even when the zombies started gnawing on and devouring their flesh. Monkey Boy jumped from body to body, slashing, biting. He didn’t hate zombies, so he had to use the trick his old fighting instructor, George, informed him about. George had fought in Nam, so he knew what he was talking about. George said that in order to kill something you don’t hate, you should imagine that thing as something you do. So Monkey Boy didn’t see zombies–but people. Poachers, specifically. Poachers brought back to life so Monkey Boy could get his revenge. He didn’t think the poachers were bad people–they were probably nice enough guys out trying to make enough money to feed their families–he just hated them. Hatred had nothing to do with how good or how bad a person was–just what the people did. And these poachers had killed Monkey Boy’s family.
The reanimated bodies had been decaying for a long time, so it didn’t take much clawing before the chest cavity erupted and spewed out rotting organs.
Monkey Boy sat on the floor, gasping for air. This had been one heck of a fight, and it had produced one heck of a mess. Blood, guts, everywhere. And if there was one thing rich, powerful people like this didn’t like, it was filth. After their meeting was over, the first thing they’d notice would be the eyeballs on the table–not the cuts on their arms or the massive gashes on the back of their necks.
That was where Soapy came in. Monkey Boy reached in his pocket and set the little talking cube on the floor. “All yours.”
Soapy nodded (the best a soap could nod) and started licking. He dragged himself around and left a trail of sparkle in his wake.
Monkey Boy was sure glad Soapy had a thing for human flesh.
He sometimes wondered–but not too much, because he liked getting paid–why the rich people didn’t leave raw meat outside the door, like most people did to keep the zombies at bay.
After a few thoughts ping-ponged in his skull, he decided they just really, really, really, really didn’t like solicitors.
Hair in Strange Places
There came a point in human history when the void of poetic justice grew so large, irony itself anthropomorphized. Werewolves. Zombies were nothing compared to the werewolves. At least zombies wouldn’t put an acid tablet into a businessman’s wallet so the next time he wore it, the tablet would break, and burn a hole in his pocket–and his flesh. Zombies would never use laughing gas on clowns, or test cosmetics on corporate scientists, or gut fishermen. They wouldn’t steal a woman’s breast milk and feed it to a baby cow, or a woman’s egg and feed it to a chicken.
Monkey Boy, an expert in werewolfism, was often hired by parents to check on their children.
Today he sat on a glass table–and gobbled up the fresh batch of cookies the mother just finished baking.
“Would you like anything else, Monkey Boy? Soda? Tea?”
“Got any bananas?”
“No. I’m so sorry! I should have–”
“I’m just kidding, Mrs. Stevens.” He grinned. “I have a few questions for you before I go in there.”
Monkey Boy scratched the top of his head. “You said Samantha’s been acting different lately. How exactly?”
“Well, she’s really sarcastic sometimes. She laughs at things I don’t think are funny. And she stays in her room a lot.”
“I see your point. I’ll go talk to her.”
“You won’t hurt her?”
“Not unless you pay me to.” Monkey Boy released a barrage of high-pitched chuckles and hopped off.
He leapt upstairs and entered the girl’s room without knocking.
The girl was on her bed, listening to music. She removed her headphones. “You…you’re Monkey Boy.”
Monkey Boy nodded and jumped beside her. He pointed a finger at her. “If you try to eat me, I swear I’ll slash your arteries.”
Monkey Boy sat and drummed his fingers. “Your mom says you’ve been acting kinda poopy lately.”
“You know what I mean. Sarcastic. Secretive. The whole bit.”
“Yeah, so what.”
“So what!” Monkey Boy hopped up and down the bed, screeching gibberish. After a few moments, he managed to calm himself and sat again. “I don’t want you to become my enemy, Samantha. This is a war, you know. People are dying every day.”
“I know.” She looked down at her feet. “I don’t feel right anymore.”
Monkey Boy put a hand on her leg. “It’s a scary time, I know. You just gotta control yourself. Make sure you don’t cross the line, ya know?”
“I feel like I can’t control it. I look at myself in the mirror, and I don’t see me anymore. I see a werewolf. Monkey Boy, I–I’m starting to grow hair in really strange places.”
“That’s not something you should be afraid of. It doesn’t mean you’re necessarily going to turn into a werewolf.”
“No. Even your parents have hair in strange places.”
“I didn’t know that.”
“Well now you do. Do you feel better?”
“I’m not going to have to come back and break your head open, am I?”
Monkey Boy nodded. “Good. Now I don’t want to leave here today and have your mom call me tomorrow and ask me to come back. Before I go, tell me, do you have any substances in here?”
“No.” Her eyes darted away for a split second.
“You don’t mind if I look around then?”
Monkey Boy bounced off the bed and rummaged through her drawers, crawled under the bed, and when he approached her closet–
Monkey Boy turned around. “What? What do ya have in there?”
“Just things. Personal things. I don’t want you to see.”
“I already went through your underwear drawer. How much more personal could it be?” He flung open the door. And there it was. A penguin dressed in a tuxedo. Sick, sick irony. “No substances, huh?”
“That’s uh–that’s my pet.”
“Sure it is.” He grabbed the penguin and tossed it out the window. He’d call animal control later. “I don’t like when people lie to me.”
“I don’t like when monkeys get all in my business!”
Monkey Boy stared at her.
Samantha broke into tears. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean….” She wiped her cheeks. “I want to stop. I really do. It’s just so hard.”
“I tried compassion. I tried being a good little monkey. Didn’t do any good. There’s really only one other way I can think of to get that sarcasm off the tip of your tongue.” He reached in his pocket and pulled out the white hunk. “Wash your mouth out with Soapy.”
Vampires–the worst of all.
They emerged in many forms–mostly boy bands and idol singers. More than anything, vampires feared death. They were obsessed with the idea of being lost in the Abyss. And so they spent their entire lives attempting to become immortal.
To accomplish this, they sucked out the essence of society’s youth. They took children’s souls and replaced them with song. Romanticized fluff. “If you believe in yourself, you can do anything.” “Love is great.” “Oh girl.” “Oh boy.” Blah, blah, blah. All they were doing was setting up kids to be destroyed in the real world.
Another reason he despised them–there were no Georgian vampires. Not marketable enough.
Monkey Boy hated the soul-suckers and he took every chance he got to rid the world of the bastards.
There they were. In the bus.
Monkey Boy paid the taxi driver, climbed out the window, and leapt into the open window of the vampires’ vehicle.
The vampires within screamed and waved their hands about like little girls.
Monkey Boy rushed at them with wooden steaks. T-bones, of course.
They attempted to render Monkey Boy unconscious by singing one of their horrible songs, but Monkey Boy had remembered his earplugs.
“You greedy, greedy monsters.” Monkey Boy stabbed another one. “You don’t care about what you’re doing. You don’t care that your immortality has a cost.” He kicked one in the groin, and ducked, avoiding a punch. “Doctors, scientist, philosophers. They’ll all be forgotten. But you don’t give a damn. It’s all about you, you, you!” He finished the last one off.
Soapy climbed out of his pocket and looked at the mess. “Should I?”
Monkey boy shook his head.
“No matter how many of these bastards I kill, more and more of ’em keep popping up. We’ll dump ’em in the middle of town. Word of warning, so to speak.”
During dinner, Monkey Boy “accidentally” knocked another plate onto the floor. He liked to watch the General’s face as his perfect little Universe became a chaotic, jagged jumble–even if it was just for a few moments.
The General had to laugh it off, of course. Seeing as the money Monkey Boy brought in made up about ninety-nine percent of the household income.
Renee gave him more mashed potatoes. “So how was your day, Monkey Boy?”
“What about you, Soapy?”
“We cleaned up.” Soapy smirked.
Tommy cleared his throat. “I uh–I have something to tell everybody. It’s not going to be easy for you to hear.”
The General didn’t look too happy.
Tommy continued. “I might as well just come out and say it.” He took a deep breath. “I’m Georgian.”
Silence devoured the room.
Monkey Boy didn’t like quiet. He liked action. He liked people working things out–and as quickly as possible.
“So–” Monkey Boy wanted to say the words, but he was afraid. He was a public figure and if he said the three words, the world would find out. The world would look down on him, and then he might not get as many jobs, and then he wouldn’t have as much money. But–
Monkey Boy sighed.
–but there were some things more important than what the world thought, and how much money he had.
Monkey Boy stood. “I’m Georgian too.”
And that was the end of that.
Break From War
This was why he fought the war–why he allowed himself to do terrible, terrible things to terrible, terrible things. Sometimes Monkey Boy wondered if he was just as bad as the monsters he killed.
But when he was here, those thoughts drifted out of his head and disappeared–like spontaneously combusting butterflies.
It was the largest collection of paintings, statues, vases, and other forms of art in the world. And these weren’t normal antiques either. They were famous. People spent years, decades, centuries admiring them. That was why it felt so good to mess them up. Every day, Monkey Boy smeared snot on works of art. Making the art of others, his. He chopped off the heads of Greek gods and replaced them with molds of his own. It was a power trip, but at least Monkey Boy wasn’t afraid to admit it. He liked watching the expressions. People from all over the world came to visit Monkey Boy’s special gallery. They would oow and ahh, pretending that it didn’t hurt their egos–pretending that it was okay that–during this time of war and suffering–humans would sacrifice art to the highest bidder. Even if it meant selling them to a primate who laughed at the idea of poo in the Mona Lisa’s hair.
Monkey Boy sniffed his most recent acquisition, and decided it would be his new spittoon.
Monkey Boy threw his poo into the toilet.
He washed his hands with Soapy. “How ya doing?”
Soapy waited for Monkey Boy to finish rubbing. “Not so good, Monkey Boy.”
“Why?” He dried his hands.
“Just been thinking. You know, about life.”
Monkey Boy gave a slight nod–faking interest.
Soapy paced back and forth on his soap dish. “The thing is…I’m the symbol of cleanliness, right? And yet, I come into contact with more dirt and goo and scum and grime and muck and glob and dust and–”
Monkey Boy yawned.
“–filth and puss and ooze and gunk and slime–than anything else in the world. Hell, I eat zombies for lunch. So what exactly does that make me, Monkey Boy?”
Monkey Boy shrugged.
Soapy stopped walking and looked at Monkey Boy in the eyes. “Am I, as a person, as an individual…really clean?”
Monkey Boy broke free from the spell of soapy snore-dom he was stuck in. “Uh…interesting thought. But we gotta go, Soapy. You ready for the war today?”
“Yeah. I’m ready.”