Tuesday, June 02, 2009

500 Words About a Monkey

Gogo had a mouth of rotten teeth. They shifted and turned in his gums
causing pain to explode across his nerves and blood to run down his
throat. All bananas had to be pureed now. He often wanted to pull
them, just to be done with it, but holding the pliers, putting the
metal in his mouth, feeling the clamp, he always lost the nerve. Too
much pain. Even drunk, too much pain. So Orajel was his constant
companion. Always a half squished tube in his backpack. His breath
always medicinal and rotten. His words always slurred and sluggish.
Not much alternative though. Even good jobs wouldn't pay dental these
days, and Gogo wasn't officially employed at all. Contract Party
Monkey was never known for the comprehensive benefits.


He sat in a molded plastic chair and went though an abandoned paper
sack of party favors. Old kazoos, chewed ends on deflated balloons,
busted tops with no spin, a paper sack of trash left under the chair
Gogo now waited in. It was a suckers bet that waiting would produce
any opportunity at all. The good gigs all went to the clowns. That's
how it ran. After that you had to be at least clownish just to get
something cruddy. The purists, the monkeys that wouldn't hide the
jungle in them, they got the slush, the run off, the sewage. But
mostly they waited all day long to get nothing.


Other monkeys leaned on greasy walls. The office was a magnet for
wayward hopefuls looking to get off the road and into showbiz. Life of
glamour. Life of play. No more grunting under the hot sun, living from
vine to vine, running from tigers. Eventually the jungle got to
everyone, and there on the horizon was that big city beckoning to you.
A new life just a day's journey away. If you could break in, the whole
world would open up. Stability was a new concept for monkeys, but once
you tasted it, it was something you could get used to fast. But first
someone would have to call your name.


The one clown left lurking in the corner was feeling pretty cocky, but
he was only kidding himself. This bozo had a rep around town of having
too much fun with the kiddies. They let him hang around, it was a free
country and the office doors were open to anyone, but the bosses
weren't going to give this guy nothing. The chimps knew he was a wash
up, and tuned him out as he yammered on and on about his lineage.
Skamps was his name, and he was descended from one of the big top's
founding fathers. He was royalty, like it mattered in that dump. Old
clown blood in his veins, and pervert or not, he would still make
twice the cash of any monkey if he ever did get a gig. The best
all-singing all-dancing monkey in town made peanuts when compared to
the lousiest red nosed lush. All you had to have was that red nose.
The red nose was power and privilege.

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