Friday, February 20, 2009

Monkey News: Introspective

More monkey news. (c. 2007). For all Monkey News, see the 'monkey news' tag on the left, or click here.
Alright mates,

Carl Dilkington here with some short Monkey News this week. Due to summer and
deadlines all around, seems like the newswire is runnin' a bit thin. But I got
this little nugget to keep the Monkey Pains at bay. Looks like a coupla pages
off an old shipmate's diary - looks pretty old, like, from 1970 or something. Or
1870. My mate at the dating lab's busy dating some bird, so I couldn't check it.
Anyways, this might be the last monkey news for some time, unless some obscure
demand, like a bird does me. Feeling left out, kinda. Anyways, Monkey News:

Sept. 12th (at sea)

They've started letting me around the ship now. Oh, I know it must be bizzare
for them to have a stranger as myself aboard - a stranger from another land -
someone picked up, one may venture, in travels far away. A curiosity. That is
what I am to them. Oh, I notice - do not think that I don't. I notice when they
observe my skin, different from theirs, my darkness. The First Mate, especially,
has been most unkind. It seems he is the sort of man who enjoys the humour of
segragation in the most unkind fashion. He has taunted me with words, by false
offerings of food always pulled away at the last moment, and once, when no one
was looking, by inflicting my person with a jab to the head from his broom. The
Captain has told them to leave me be and to get about their work - and they
obey, mostly - but I can feel their muscles wriggling inside them whenever I
amble by. It must be strange to see a man such as myself, roaming free. I cannot
say I enjoy being isolated so psychologically, but I am happy they've released
me from my chains, at least.

Sept. 13th

I've been assigned to paint the decks. It was an accident, really. That fool,
the First Mate, had left a can of shellac drying in the sun. As everyone else was
occupied, and I, sunk in a deep depressive boredom (no doubt from the confines
of this horrendous ship, and being so far away from friend and family), picked
the brush up and started doodling on the mast. It was only when I was putting
some finishing strokes upon my surrealist depiction of Time and Rivers, that I
noticed the ruckus I had gathered. Of course, I have always craved attention,
and unsatisfied by the hoots and catcalls my piece of art apparently garnered
amongst these paleolithics, I started drawing some trashy cartoons on the floor.
I did one, of a character bearing striking resemblance to the First Mate, arched
baroquely over a sheep, a mangled look of joy upon the face. This brought
tremendous laughter from the crowd (and venemous stares from the First Mate).
Next, I sketched a picture of the Captain, standing proud at the helm of his
great ship. His legs heroically apart, one hand on his hip, the other set
determinedly upon the ship's steer. This brought tides of commendation from the
crew, proud as they were of their ship and Captain, braving the dangerous seas.
It brought, however, even greater tides of laughter, when I completed my cartoon
by placing the now famous First Mate directly at the Captain's posterior, his
large mouth open and tongue hanging out erect in licking splendour.

It was at this point the Captain happened to cross the deck. Parting his way
through the gathered crew, he walked directly up to me. "What's this then,
what's this?" he asked.

I was a little nervous, suddenly realizing my place, and where I was. I was not
at home - I was not amongst friend or family, who may tolerate my outrageousness
in lieu of my sheer artistic genius. I was in a foreign ship, amongst foreign
people, and, decidedly, a prisoner.

The Captain reached me and looked down. Peering over at the First Mate, I
noticed he had a very happy smile now, contrast to the pure anger and vileness
I had been receiving from him. He was gleeful. I looked up at the Captain, and
for some reason (I don't know why - perhaps to add insult to injury, as is my
way), offered him the brush, tentatively.

He burst out laughing. He held his belly and laughed out loud. He slapped me on
the back and kept laughing. I peered over at the First Mate. He was furious!

"Right then. What idiot left this shellac lyin' around in the sun?" asked the
Captain. All hands pointed at the First Mate. The Captain gave him a disgusted
look. Then he turned to me, putting a hand on my shoulder, and said "Right then,
chap. We may not be alike, we may not be the same, but you're a good man with a
brush. I want ya to paint our decks." Then he turned to the First Mate and said,
"And you. You come into my cabin for a little talk."

Sept. 16th

I don't think the First Mate is very happy with me. But I'm thriving on it. It
is not easy to live on this ship with these white people, heading into a world I
know nothing of. The crew have warmed to me, and now speak to me here and again.
This afternoon, one of them showed me to the lower deck at lunch, where they
have their meal. We all ate together. I was given my own seat, which was very
courteous of them, and my own plate, filled with every sweatmeat and savoury any
other ship man was having.

Despite this newfound camaraderie, I still ache for home and familiarity. I
suppose it is as they say, "An ounce of blood is worth more than a pound of
friendship". However, I seem to gain an enormous relief and satisfaction from
this pain by causing the First Mate some utter grief! It seems that regardless
of my intent, regardless of my ambivalence, even, everything I do causes him
grief. This morning I fixed a broken rung on a ladder. The First Mate, who was
at the top at the time, apparently, came down, expecting the broken rung, and
his foot was confused by the now fixed appendage. He had scrambled at about 12
feet above deck, and then fallen on his posterior. This brought a belly full of
laughs from the crew, but not from the First Mate.

At lunch, yesterday, the First Mate told a joke. I could tell he had thought
about it for a long time. He had prepared the joke, and had waited until just
the right moment to mention it. And then - he told the joke. It was purile. It
was extremely unfunny, and even in this company of paleolithics, not a prick of
a giggle was to be heard. Therefore, feeling somewhat sorry for the First Mate,
and hoping to make amends for the shellac humiliation prior, I started
laughing my ass off. I just laughed. I banged upon the table and laughed loud.
Slowly, the crew started laughing too. I laughed louder. I jumped onto the
table, ran up to the First Mate, hugging him tightly, and laughed. The room was
in uproar by now. Everyone was laughing. I glanced up at the First Mate, and the
look - that look - I will always remember. I looked around, and slowly, it came
upon me the horrific (yet hilarious) fact that all were not laughing with the
First Mate - they were laughing AT the First Mate.

Sept. 17th

I feel I may have gone too far. At dawn, I heard the rustle of chains I had
become so familiar with on the outbound portion of my journey and jumped up,
awake. It was the First Mate. He was sadly gathering the chains about himself.
When he noticed I was awake, he turned looked at me. I looked back, hoping he
would not afflict me with the chains again.

"What you lookin' at?" asked the First Mate.

I stared back intently. I knew what he was saying, but I didn't know what to
say, or how to say it.

"You think you're so clever? You think you're better than us?" jeered the First

I wanted to say that I was a god damned genius. I wanted to explain to him that
my mind, alone, would bed more women that his entire ancestry. I wanted to
describe to him the trains of consciousness so beautiful in nature and science
that seemingly eluded his undeveloped brain.

"You're not all that. Fancy this. Fancy it comin' to this," weeped the First
Mate. He was tying the chains around the mast. "You think you had me, didn't ya,
eh? You think you've sussed me n' that." He was now tying the other end of the
chain to his neck.

I wanted to explain to him the beauty of continuity and depth. I wished we could
both make up and instead, together, roam the vistas of perplexity and wonder,
despite his unevolved mind. Let us cross even the boundaries of idiocy and enter
a truly native realm, where the speak of the stupid may be translated to the
brilliant, and vice-versa.

But I couldn't. There were no words for it. I stood there, mute.

"Well, bollocks to ya, tosser!" screamed the First Mate. "You're just a fucking

And with that, he jumped off the ship.

Alright then. Well that was a bit of nasty, weren't it. Till next week, mates, if I get a shag!

Carl Dilkington,
Dartford, Kent

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