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WALT MAGUIRE Monkey See Illustrated by the author .
com ENC Press P. except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.MONKEY SEE © 2009 Walt Maguire All rights reserved. NJ 07030 ISBN 978-0-9752540-7-3 Printed in the United States of America 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Cover art and author’s photo by Jessica Hui Design by . No part of this book may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission. For information. contact ENC Press at pr@encpress. Box 833 Hoboken.O.
which is fair but nobody needs that kind of publicity once they’re— I won’t say what happens. specifically. At first I thought I was supposed to read the whole book and add something. I think this is an excellent preface.Foreword to the First Edition of the Preface A NOTE FROM THE END I HAVE BEEN ASKED to say a few words about the preface to this book. though nobody else does. It uses a lot of big words with a lot of soft consonants so it sounds very brainy and spiritual. a book should just start with “Chapter 1” and end with “The End” at . I did like the preface. I have been told that the reason I was asked to write this is because I am one of the few survivors of the events in the book. I was there at the end. but it turns out I heard it right the first time. I’m also not sure what the difference is between a preface. but I didn’t see my name. since I haven’t read the whole book. and an introduction. It’s short. I understand I am talked about in the preface. a foreword. As far as I’m concerned. I didn’t understand a word of it. but I hear I come off pretty well in it. This is sad.
and I feel bad about some of the things I did. The important thing is that I’m done and he can stop calling me every five minutes for more dustjacket blurbs. Not like before. I’d say he’s a tall man with a chin like Franklin Delano Roosevelt. A Masterpiece! A Work of Staggering Imagination! Hollywood Fodder at Its Best! No Trans Fat! There. I have been informed that this is not true. It was nice of them to ask me to write something. I stay to myself when I can. I miss the people I think this book was written about. but judging by the preface they let me read. and I thank them. so you know there wasn’t any mix-up at the printer’s. I have never actually met him. I’m done. Ed the Talking Monkey Yarmouth. Nova Scotia .vi Walt M a g u i r e the end. Enjoy the preface! It’s short. I have also been asked to praise the author of this book.
We dreamed of the possibility. and we joked about it. . no one dreamed it would lead to sophisticated preteens flicking through text messages and the rise of a booming trendy clothes industry. it was impossible to see how it would happen. How could it happen? When the microchip was invented to advance industrial and space electronics. Now it seems so normal to look around the table and live among the mingled. any more than a ghost or the permanence of first love. before man and animal crossed and drifted and dusted their futures like new apples strains in wild orchards. When the elevator made skyscrapers possible. how much they have pruned. to wear fabric of no plant nor animal nor metal. we thought to ourselves. to look into the eyes of friends and wonder how much we have in common.Preface A MINDLESS START BEFORE THE CHIMERA ARRIVED. to dope our blood with life-preserving inhibitors and antihistamines. because Of course. it cannot happen. to eat rice no ancestor knew.
This was the arrival of the new chimera. While investigating electricity. an unnamed researcher with an unmarked slide created a third.viii Walt M a g u i r e no one realized how ugly the buildings would get while they grew taller. While looking for India. Columbus discovered America. Franklin invented lightning insurance. neither fish nor fowl. We had thought the river impassable. diary excerpt Wendy Misselbach. While comparing two kinds of brain cells. PhD (missing. presumed dead) . with instincts and tools and tears. That is how you and I reached this place from our opposite banks on the same river. We had believed the deep waters empty.
I still haven’t read the book. Who are you people? Now that I’m reading it again. I don’t get it. Ed the Talking Monkey Yarmouth. and I’m not going to have any time to.Afterword to the First Edition of the Preface A NOTE AFTER THE END OF THE START I HAD BEEN ASKED to say a few words about the preface to this book. by the way. Now they wanted something on this page. if you keep calling me to do these things. Nova Scotia . Am I supposed to write one of these before and after every chapter? Nobody told me.
My friends had claimed a monkey could operate it. So when those little leathery hands picked it up. Why We Love the Big Ape I was sitting in a hut near Coaxacoalcos when a capuchin monkey came in through the window and picked up my expensive new smartphone off the breakfast table. I held my breath. sat on her haunches. plus my postcard addresses. and stared at it mournfully. not very—is that I wasn’t so much worried that she would steal it as I was hoping she might get it working. I hadn’t been able to. I’d given up days earlier. thinking I would store my itinerary and my Journal of Deep Musing and Advice to Future Travelers. but it turned out to be good for setting off airport metal detectors and not much else. Now I would see. .Introduction A PRIMER ON PRIMATES Or. She held it in both hands. What makes this story interesting—and. I hoped for the best. could she really show me how to operate SOME YEARS AGO NOW. I had bought it for the trip. I admit. She surprised me by flipping open the cover.
I bring this up because I think my reaction was perfectly normal. the . when we see them in a movie—but deep down we worry they’re snubbing us. or make them gigantic and superstrong. they’re always portrayed as angry with us. it was announced that rats had been trained to seek and rescue humans through tiny mind-control brain implants. perhaps to reassure me not everything in my life lacked value. that we stereotype them that way? In May 2002. She looked at me as if to speak. her half-open mouth swallowing a withering response after thinking better of it. with that same mournful look kids get when an adult makes them a present of the wrong skateboarding video. She looked around the table top. Then she ran off with my camera. when we see them on television—or scary. How ungrateful is that? And what does it say about us.2 Walt M a g u i r e it? She put it down gently on the table. She wouldn’t even look me in the eye. In 2006. In movies. We think monkeys are funny. even though we’re the ones who give them the power to speak. “How’s it going?” I asked.
the precautions. or chocolate-grapefruit. If you are one of those people who don’t like monkeys. For all we know. . the etiquette of this new life. The French have cloned cats. say. he should try buying you a nice perfume—lavender. It’s time to really sit down and study the ramifications of this. which is nicer than it sounds. I have one request: Don’t hurt us. and yes. If you’re a highly evolved mutant ape reading this. Human DNA has been spliced into tobacco to produce a new strain of federal tobacco farming subsidy. It’s obviously only a matter of time before monkeys start to speak.MONKEY SEE 3 first stem-cell transplant into a living human brain was attempted. Cars and digital cameras already do. We’re all living in a world we never made. if you are even creeped out by them. it’s already happening. This book is a guide to the science. You should hand it back to the friend who is insisting you read it and tell him that if he really wants to impress you. then this is not the book for you. In 2008. monkeys controlled robot arms with thought.
TALKING MONKEYS: WHY ALWAYS SO EDGY
IT’S A CURIOUS THING:
whenever apes are portrayed as talkative in the movies, their main topic of conversation is vengeance against humanity. Yet when apes talk in actual lab experiments, the conversation revolves around food, who loves whom, and “blue circle hand red line line up”—which might be a translation problem. So where did this reputation for touchiness come from? In cinematic terms, a snarling chimpanzee is an exciting image. Coupled with a snappy line, it can become a riveting moment on the big screen. Psychologically, however, there might be a more compelling fake explanation. Recent studies show that children with poor language skills will resort to violent acting-out to compensate for their frustrated attempts at communication. This is especially true in bilingual situations where a child can be confused about declensions of both to go and ir, the Spanish form
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“ E i t h e r t h o s e c u r t a i n s go or I d o ! ”
of the same verb. How much more frustrating, then, for our talking monkey friends, who are simultaneously learning to wear pants. Add to that the new stress of switching from a grub-based economy to a complex socio-macroeconomic system based on paper currency in transition to electronic debenture, and you have the makings of a congressman. Now imagine that this state representative is a homicidal ape, and you can see the difficulty it presents in planning a dinner party.
DINNER CONVERSATION A Guide to Etiquette
Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that you’re having Ed the Talking Monkey over. Since you created Ed, the conversation will either be parental or fawning, depending on the level of advanced intelligence you have bestowed on Ed.
I like what you’ve done with this room. GENERAL: Thank you. Ed. GENERAL: Sit! Eat! Both feet on the table! I will kill you! YOU: I like what you’ve done with this room. GENERAL: Where are your kids? YOU: Well. Ed. die! Yes. This time. sorry I’m late. Now contrast that with a dinner conversation where man’s brutality has led to an uprising that ends with the apes in charge. Hope you’re hungry! Doris has cooked up quite a roast beef. I think. Am I colorblind? I forget. (Maniacal monkey laugh. then. Which one is the foot? See how the conversation flows? Though there is some initial tension. YOU: GENERAL CHEKCHEK: YOU: . I’m not telling you. GENERAL: What do humans know of cool?!?!! YOU: Good point. The kids have a weakness for pink flamingo tchotchkes. Such trouble parking in this neighborhood. YOU: It’s very cool. Have a seat. weak human. Fresh from the garden.) YOU: Peas. it is more in the way of good-natured ribbing. ED: These peas are very good. Die. no. you’re thinking of Charlie the Dog Boy.MONKEY SEE 7 Hi. Foot off the table. I’m a vegetarian—(eyes Doris strangely)—so far. Thank you so much for inviting me. ED: Actually. I daresay the missus and I like to encourage their artistic side. You see colors fine. you are the dinner guest. ED: I’m sorry. YOU: No. My kids are always asking me that.
Note how less brutal the tyrannical chimp dictator became when the subject turned to his beloved offspring. BANANAS JAMBOREE Ingredients 3 doz. Talk of interior decorating can soothe murderous rage. let’s consider the menu.) Primates have a good sense of humor. There are small communities of old-style craftspeople throughout most areas. Now that we’ve covered dinner conversation. cut or picked within the last 2 hours In a large colander. Serve in a series of shallow bowls no more than 12 inches deep.8 Walt M a g u i r e Once again. But that’s also true of college human males on spring break. Note: I prefer to serve my guests using traditional woven bowls. bananas. for easy reach. wash the shoots thoroughly. SHOOTS GORILLA Ingredients 20 lbs. peeled 3 lbs mixed berries 1 lb sunflower seeds . Serves: 1 gorilla. the human capacity for humor keeps the conversation light. (Talk of contractors does not. so don’t rule it out as a point of connection. though the punch line often involves flinging fecal matter. assorted grasses. Many local artisans near my home weave excellent handmade baskets.
This is when you realize that Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey sat for long periods in the forest. Any leftover bananas can be sliced and used to decorate the top of the berry bowl. Serve it to the monkeys. point them out to a tribe of chimpanzees. Serves: 1 tribe of chimpanzees. because those people did all their research watching Wilma Flintstone strap a handle on a pterodactyl to brush the venetian blinds.MONKEY SEE 9 On a large platter. It’s no good borrowing ideas from the movies. Sprinkle generously with sunflower seeds. you might cast your mind around for examples you’ve seen on National Geographic or the Discovery Channel. or 1 gorilla. alone. I suppose you could just cut out the middleman and . 3 chimps. arrange the bananas to form a “bowl” or basket shape. Colubus monkeys. Fill the center with the berries. Serves: 2 doz. and never really brought their work home with them for a dinner party. either. While they’re eating. peeled lbs mixed berries lb sunflower seeds doz. bananas. Colubus monkeys Prepare Bananas Jamboree (above). FURRY SURPRISE Ingredients 3 3 1 2 doz. When you’re having extended-primatological-family social engagements in your house.
and an obsession with hand-puppetry that has made him popular at . Apes are closer to humans than monkeys. since effective cleaning products would not be invented for another three hundred years. they were elaborately.10 Walt M a g u i r e watch The Flintstones. and probably died from whatever the king was infecting everybody with that season. Dr. This sort of singerie may be ideal for entertaining your talking-ape guests. it would be like decorating a room with drawings of cows in top hats. with or without an organ grinder. Ed was an early experiment. or dressed as little pashas prancing in ornate trompe l’oeil jungles or palace gardens. They usually weren’t allowed in the singerie without supervision. Servants’ rooms were decorated with other monkey artifacts. Cogitomni added some humanlung genes to test a possible cure for asthma and somehow remodeled Ed’s brain to have human reactions. and find monkeys as entertaining as we do. such as the poop. Harold Cogitomni has invited Ed the Talking Monkey over for dinner. language. The monkeys themselves were rarely present. For us (humans). In the 17th-century French court. emotions. These singeries were hand-painted with monkeys in little suits. but when they were around. meticulously dressed for entertainment. aristocrats would sometimes decorate a drawing room or hallway with images of monkeys. Let’s go back to the dinner party. when Dr. The singerie works especially well for a formal dining room. since many apes also find monkeys delicious. but they got all their ideas from The Honeymooners. or military uniforms.
had spent most of his week sweeping floors at Best Buy and going home to hang from a tree branch and watch Schwarzenegger films. and gone on to more specifically view Ed as a dirty. and perhaps in the back of his mind hoping for signs of regression. He and Dr. in part because he worried no one else would. watching TV and showing each other interesting Web sites they’d discovered during the week. His visits to the zoo proved unfulfilling. Cogitomni feels somewhat responsible for this chimerical evolution and invites Ed over for “civilized discourse” and dinner every Friday night. The doctor said less. since his vocabulary was limited to about three thousand words. their careers and losses. and rosemary mashed potatoes. which was often. fit into the world. Over a dinner of roast beef. much like the rest of her children. since failure would relieve his sense of responsibility for creating a life that does not. cannot.MONKEY SEE 11 children’s parties. stringing wispy threads across the huge maw of edited news they have given her. for his part. has grown to view Ed as a son. He enjoyed Ed’s company. Cogitomni quietly observed Ed. abhorrent. Ed arrived twenty minutes late. garden peas. since he’s the only one of the children who visits. brooding over his fail- . stupid. Doris Miers-Cogitomni. Ed. disappointing son. clapping and squealing when he couldn’t think of what to say. Dr. the doctor’s bafflingly patient wife. as always. Doris chatted carefully about her children. because he understood the concept of “fashionably late” and did not particularly care for the food. and Singles Night at the art museum was a social disaster best not described. Dr. Ed gushed over every detail. but she still looks forward to these evenings. irritating. studying his handiwork. Cogitomni spent a few minutes in the living room.
. A batch of cupcakes. . Chekchek. “I hope it didn’t seem like I was spying on you from the patio. Ed smiled blithely. “That enough?” “That’ll do. Cogitomni. “You own a house?” Ed asked in astonishment.” “Certainly. .” Chekchek said. A cup of butter.” said Doris. Oh.” “Well.” Doris and her husband felt their blood run cold at the sudden nastiness in the ape’s voice. . “I was wondering if I could borrow a cup of bullets. Some of that butter. you haven’t met out guest. “it did a little. this is Ed. . coup . I mean butter—sorry. entering the dining room.” said Chekchek. . “If you know what I mean.12 Walt M a g u i r e ure in these lives. . Suddenly there was a tap-tapping at the patio door. He waved an empty Starbucks mug. . “You should come by sometime.” He hunched forward in naked insinuation. “Hi. “I run a small Tai Chi center. my first tutor was French and I was thinking of beurre. baking . The gang is over. “Hi. makes perfect sense. . a six-foot chimpanzee in jeans and a Charlton Heston T-shirt.” said Dr. His mood was noticeably grumpier. taking the mug. you .” said Chekchek. cupcake. We have very special meetings for our kind. Beer.” said Chekchek with a strained attempt at an ugly smile. Chekchek. I love cupcakes!” he said. Chekchek. as an ironic balance to Ed’s apparent heartiness. “I guess your gang is waiting for you to plot . . Cogitomni slid it open to admit his new neighbor. Cogitomni used a napkin to scoop the slab of butter off its dish on the dining table. this is our new neighbor. But . Ed. Dr. “Oh.” The two simians bared fangs in greeting. not bullets at all. Doris. and we’re plotting a coopcake . Now Chekchek stared.
I wouldn’t .” said Chekchek. “I should let you get back to your hunt-sharing. “Yes.” hastened Doris. “Yes. of course . “That sounds nice. So I know how hurtful monkeys can be.” “It’s a term of affection.” said Chekchek. of course.’ ” said Cogitomni. I meant cupcakes.” Doris smiled too quickly and it slid off the other side of her lips. It’s just a funny name. staccato. with noticeable quotation marks around the final word. with a sort of soundless laugh. We all realize. unsure if that were true—“that Ed’s a talented ape.” said Ed. “Ed the Talking Monkey they call me. Ed pumped a handshake that shook the table. like Ernest Hemingway. “It’s kind of a nickname.” “I thought you were making cupcakes?” asked Ed.” . of course—” he watched Ed. was it?” “Ed. . “What?” he said. . . . not a shoddy monkey.” Once again.” Ed said. Chekchek couldn’t decide how much impatience to show. “I know I’m an ape. and—” he turned and extended a hand. . “I have to plot those buns. Doris unconsciously clutched her dessert fork for reassurance. “I used to call all my children little chattering monkeys. our children ended up hating us. “I’m sorry— Ned. Now.” repeated the doctor. these days. disappointed.” she said. pal. Harry. “Nice to see you. Doris. experimenting unsuccessfully with a disarming smile. “Ed the Talking Monkey.MONKEY SEE 13 those ‘cupcakes. Butterscotch cupcakes. .” “It’s just what I’m called. Chekchek gave up any attempt at manners. I mean .
In any case. It may be instructive to study the details of this scene in order to discover the dynamics of cultural expectations and the internal springs of ego pushing against the sash weights of superego. (Except for Doris. Then he was gone. disinfecting. I mostly just go by ‘Ed. as manifest in social interaction. “Take pride in your accomplishments as a species! Don’t let the Man make fun of you with that stupid name! You’re Ed the Superior Ape. they whistled with the friction. It solves the problems of territoriality. When Chekchek’s hands slid off Ed’s sleeves. Nor are . “Now. we shall return to these characters later. who’d had it with these shenanigans and finally split for her old college flame. Unlike Frankensteinian monsters. Cream-white unsalted butter crept down the striped wallpaper. not Ed the Talking Monkey!” “Actually. now teaching pesticide deployment at Kansas State University. menus. cleaning. escape routes. with the only movement being the gleaming twitch in Ed’s eyes as he stared down the other chimpanzee. discoloring the rose stripes to magenta and the eggshell to a sepia. sending butter onto the wall. It may be.) A cookout in the great outdoors is also an excellent idea for cross-species get-togethers.” The room stuck like a watch hand. talking apes are not intimidated by the exposed flame of a gas grill.14 Walt M a g u i r e Chekchek pulled Ed to his feet and clapped him on the arms. and seating—provided there are trees and an outhouse. my dinner is getting cold.’ ” Ed responded with a flat-line quiet in his voice. but I doubt it. “What is wrong with you?” snarled Chekchek. if you’ll excuse me.
they turned on by flames, like your common gigantic lizards and turtles. Best of all, their opposable thumbs mean you can share duties flipping burgers with the spatula, or squeezing the ketchup bottle. It makes a difference if the talking apes enter our society as guests or conquering invaders. Americans are more sensitive about being con-
quered than other nationalities, because it has never happened to them. As former President Franklin Roosevelt said, Americans are afraid of fear, and periodically panic themselves into violating their own laws in order to keep outsiders from messing things up first. So a monkey army would not be greeted warmly. With that in mind, it’s important to remember that there are no invaders or crushed citizenry at a cookout. When it comes to entertaining, all guests are honored invaders and you, as the host, must conquer them with charm and good food. If you are out of food, getting them drunk is acceptable. If you are out of booze, decaf coffee and
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Death by Chocolate is a crowd-pleaser. Everybody is there to have fun! There is no reason to think we will be conquered by talking apes, anyway: we outnumber normal apes over a hundred million to one, and there are even fewer talking ones, so far. This conquest notion is not worth thinking about. Ignore any reports you hear on the radio in the next few weeks. A cookout with wild monkeys and suspicious gorillas is no more stressful than any holiday with your family, and you don’t have to pretend you enjoyed it afterward, if you didn’t. Many people enjoy the clever chimp, the majestic gorilla, the breathtaking orangutan, and the sexually communist bonobo—and how much more so if they can ask you if you would like another Pepsi? Your kids will have a wonderful time! Encounters in the laboratory are another issue, of course. The work environment is often full of pitfalls.
WHEN ED GOT HOME,
he turned on the late talk and fixed himself a bowl of ice cream. He slumped on the couch and let the vanilla melt as he flipped, finding nothing comprehensible. Humans in ties laughed or insulted each other but he could not get the big chimp’s growling sneer out of his head. Those uncombed hairy apes always felt the need to express dominance unless they were distracted by a dish of bananas or something else they could squish—it wasn’t even something they usually did, but they liked having a squishable object nearby. Humans seemed to like having the chimps around, but they were the least sociable bunch in or out of the jungle. He couldn’t understand this preference by the talkers; it had something to do with the movies, some romantic notion of tree houses and swinging from vines in a lice-free tropic paradise. For all their intelligence, humans didn’t have much common sense about letting jerks in. Humans seemed to have strange ideas on marking their territory with little bits of screen
Chekchek sat in the tree in his backyard. There was no way to tell if this new language meant the same to all of them. and it was convenient to I-95. he never would have let Chekchek through the door. a streetlight burned at eye level. weakly filling ice trays. chipped in a thousand places by smaller airless balls of rock and ice. Still. in the shadows. crouched. save that it was insulting and frightening and vaguely true. not wanting to risk trouble with the . next to the TV. He could remember little of the exchange. but he resisted. sitting. washing out the moon he’d passed on the way home. Ceylon. He kept meaning to climb over and see what happens behind the upstairs curtains. but it was better than that.18 Walt M a g u i r e and glass and a low wrought-iron lawn edging. In the next house. he could see that the good professor’s wife had gone up to bed. Out his window. He lifted his spoon and swallowed his ice cream like a good boy. other Improved Apes in the trees. but he wouldn’t be sure he had joined them. he liked his ranch house. The moon seemed another trick to him now that the humans had explained what it was—an airless ball of quiet dust. The professor himself seemed to be stalling in the kitchen. staring at the same moon that rolled above Africa. Backyard trees had become a hot commodity since the neighborhood went Ape. If it had been his dining room. He could walk out this window and join them. Madagascar. He could not articulate to himself what he thought it was before the operations. He could see. fuming at the mortgage rates around here.
Doctor of Large Animal Veterinary. of how impure the world was. his experiments. and he was grateful for the small responsibility. He bit into another of his fresh-baked madeleines and chewed silently. He stacked the filled trays. the incredible insignificance of the work. though he rarely spotted them even in daylight. Harold Pryce Cogitomni. he imagined the joy of tearing down those ugly brown-flower curtains and scaring the bejabbers out of Cogitomni and his wife. Professor of Cellular Biology. but. legal questions . Doctor of Gerontology. above the trees he assumed were filled with his new neighbors. however much he was excused—victims. and slid them under the ice bin without spilling. He looked to the full moon out the window. When the time came. There was a chill in the vinyl tiles under his feet tonight. opened the freezer. puffed hand and wondered—also aware of the obvious irony—how much of his own structure had become mixed with that of his subjects. They did not need ice. lost in thoughts of his plots and remembrance of what was only halfknown in the first place. filled the ice-cube trays very slowly from a tight trickle of pure spring water out of the jug dispenser in his kitchen and thought. Someone at a neighborhood meeting had proposed banning tree-climbing. He looked at his hairy. Professor of Tweaked DNA at Princeton. too aware of the obvious metaphor. The night rustled. his—inescapable word. but he was the only one to ever fill it. He pulled his robe tight. of how he had muddied the waters between the species.MONKEY SEE 19 human police before he had a chance to complete his planning.
somewhere there below the astringent cleanser and the mixed furs of the two outsiders. playing in the night’s yard. and Miss Manners. historians. The hum of the refrigerator. He told himself he could taste the purity. and he found himself drawn to it now. and it is sometimes what we want. as the moon and streetlights reflected—leap from tree to tree. Doris had said little about the incident at first. building slowly not in volume but increasing detail until he knew every second of the dinner interruption from her interpretation to the likely conclusions of their guest. He turned his back and listened to his house. the bridge club. would not shut up about it. He imagined there was still a faint scent of warm butter. His wife had hung thick curtains on all the windows except for this small one over the kitchen sink. a strong smell of field and barn masked by vaguer smears of strange oils and dollops of popular shampoos promising no tears. He poured himself a glass of water from the plastic jug and added one of the fresh ice cubes he’d popped from the trays. though of course he could not. judging him. The apes wore human clothes not out of humiliation or vanity but because they had . He heard a sound beyond the curtains and he moved to the French doors to see a great silverback gorilla—almost white. then. the hush of the forced-air system. their intruder. watching him. as he had cleaned the wallpaper. there is a taste to impurity. He had stripped off his human clothes. He walked quietly into the dining room. struggling for a verdict and then a punishment. on these nights when he could tell himself he knew his audience was out there. there seemed no practical way to enforce it.20 Walt M a g u i r e aside.
we did not care about trees. in the proper lighting. Cogitomni watched the great muscled back disappear into a pine and thought. his hour of the day the universe changes would be his next experiment. his next step. truly. His medium was evolution. and he flexed his mind like the back of the great silverback in savage. it came to him (ironically) naturally. Like to them. Godlike certainly does not have a connotation that translates well. We cannot explain ourselves to them either. He was a know-it-all who really. and it was perhaps unfair to call it brilliant. . even if irritating to others. we wanted them to speak. It was unfair to call it an experiment. to think of a better word that was still in the lexicon of science. knew it all.MONKEY SEE 21 come to understand it gave them portable shelter in a cold climate. he mused. Professor Harold Pryce Cogitomni. learned fellow of ethical pointlessness. preternatural chutzpah. again. But it was true he had seen a new path in the blood. to their way of thinking. followed his mind drifting back to work. and all the freedom pockets can bring. the microscopic mechanics of cellular reconstruction. What he had done so far were stepping stones. they could not stand to ape us. But in the night. When a genius states fact it sounds immodest. and. unable. They remembered what we had made them think unimportant. and only a proper framework of recognized accomplishment makes it acceptable. did no one see that? His ultimate goal. just as Einstein could not help but see a different pattern to the universe or Lennon and McCartney balanced one another’s excesses. We wanted them to type. in the undressed distances.
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In the morning, he would go to his laboratory and begin. The new specimen would arrive between eight and ten. He was ready for her. And when she was ready, he knew what he would tell her to do. And he knew, knowing it all, that his wife would leave soon. Everything was about to work out fine, for him. A gust rattled the trees, as if earth bowed to him. On the other side of town, a crate was loaded onto a truck at the airport. Inside, a lonely, frightened, cold, and hungry baby pulled on her tail for small comfort.
It is a fact, known to the quiet-lived, that there is no limit to the cruelties imagined by humans. Some are practiced, timeless, repeated atrocities waning only in popular details though not in true form: rape, murder, indifference to the suffering. Once in a generation, the imagination produces a new atrocity mechanism: gas in World War I, radiation to end World War II, machine guns freely available to rich high school students in conservative communities. These crimes are balanced by opportunities for the goodhearted to resist them, to liberate the death camps, to reaffirm the faith in love. These opportunities are sometimes not taken, or, if taken, not successful, but they are always there. Professor Harold Pryce Cogitomni, Architect of Life, Engineer of Wreckage, Honorary Chair of Evolutionary Misstep, would be presenting such an opportunity in three months, on the twelfth of June.
... He looked at the moon, at the great, green dining room, and went to his comfortable, warm bed. And in a great green box with four great locks the experiment did what the helpless have always done, and she cried and asked, in her own way, for help, for comfort, for mommy already dead in the poacher’s gun-barrel stew. I’m telling you now, help will not come.
FIENDISH LAB EXPERIMENTS YOU CAN TRY AT HOME
(Adult supervision advised)
in the world without inventing some, it must be said that those darn monsters come from somewhere, and since there aren’t any in the headlines right now, it’s obvious you could get in on the ground floor. All scientists, good, evil, or working for the pharmaceutical industry, are motivated by a desire to understand the world and help it along. What separates the evil scientist is the results.1 Many evil scientists mean well but simply haven’t thought through the ramifications of their work. For instance, the team at Bell Labs, who invented the cellular phone, never dreamed wireless companies would charge as much per minute to
WHILE THERE IS ENOUGH DANGER
Also, the lack of a pension plan for the staff, but that’s another story. Most of the staff don’t live long enough to merit the payments.
What you’re after is a brilliant idea that no one has attempted before. Possibly. such as building a secret lab- . it’s important to follow some basic scientific guidelines. you’ve got a degree. in that it advances humanity’s understanding of the universe without making a buck for stockholders. Something that will advance the scientific community.” The other kind of scientific research is pure. Any idiot can do that. or can afford to. There are ideas that have “practical” applications. genetics. in extorting some level of tribute. The fiendish experiments in this chapter are for the True Evil Scientist. These scientists are rarely evil. Don’t get any ideas. also. Then let’s suppose you have nonscientific outside interests. nuclear physics. perhaps homeimprovement projects. But if you’re going ahead with anything. for Pete’s sake. genomics. that’s been done. you will also be interested in stunning the world somewhat. then mad-scientisting is a good career. They did not know they were evil at the time. in the sense that they can be “used. So let’s suppose that you have a degree in biochemistry. and even more rarely do they dress well. The goal is not to inflict pain and misery. The phone industry has set a bad example.MONKEY SEE 25 receive a call as they charge to make one. except for the one about having a valid point to the experiment. WHY DO IT IN THE FIRST PLACE? If you have a desire to make the world a better place. at least for you. If you’re evil. and you’re a scientist. and theoretical mathematics.
This will get the mad scientist nowhere. Or perhaps you like self-improvement. so you commonly inject yourself with mutagenic agents. Liability insurance is difficult to get.26 Walt M a g u i r e oratory behind your bedroom closet. damn you and all that. Most conscientious scientists use computer models to test their ideas. Whatever your reasons. oboyoboy!” but fiendish experimentation is never that simple. Let’s say you have decided to mutate the spider monkey Aunt Clarice gave you at Christmas. so you’ll have a fatal flaw. The bigger the monster. we’ve reached the part where you experiment on hapless apes. It’s not as popular to “go giant” these days. of course. The important thing is to know what your strengths are. and then build on something else. ONE STORY OR TEN What’s the Difference? Congratulations! You’ve put your self-gratification ahead of any concern for the community and now you are ready for your first insane experiment. the bigger the expense. and we’ve spent enough time on the preliminaries. How giant do you want to get? Many people immediately assume the answer is “As big as I can. especially when you have . so you commonly inject yourself with mutagenic agents. thinking you were the Cleveland Zoo. So. Or you could be more the heavy-metal fan. and let’s get on with it. There are many ways to go. but your particular expertise lends itself to creating a giant.
the larger the ape the less likely clothing will be an issue. because people will think it’s a chimpanzee with a tail. The poisonous breath will not be lethal but more bad-tooth stink resulting from poor diet. A normal spider monkey is about two feet tall. A giant monkey presents a unique challenge for cage design. why not start with something a little taller to begin with and save yourself all the trouble of enlarging the little snookums. and that puts you in clown territory. Pick the right monkey when you start. unless you plan to make her talk and wear tail-permissive pants. . Luckily. This is where safety glass has a big advantage over old-fashioned steel bars. if you double her height. either. plan for them flinging giant feces. If you are growing your own monkey. let’s say. that means you have a creature four foot tall. you’ll be wanting a cage. for our purposes. When planning for giant monkeys. you don’t want that. and if you want to go that route. but a cozy breadbox might be the place to start. Next.MONKEY SEE 27 no idea at the outset just how big things are going. you have to allow for scalability—your end result might require a hangar. twenty-foot-tall spider monkey with poisonous breath and a paralyzing screech. Your most immediate concern will be the cost of groceries. So. Changing the litter increases in difficulty geometrically as you progress from a two-foot cage lined with newspaper to an airplane hangar with a sixteen-foot-high flush toilet. old habits die hard. When your monkey exceeds sixty feet. Three times the size of a normal spider monkey puts you at six feet. which is more confusing than alarming. you might consider the purchase of a street-washing truck. that the end result will be a moderate.
If you are doing your work under a government contract. There will be plenty of deliveries. We recommend ordering your supplies over the Internet. so a suitable parking area or loading zone is important: parking tickets attract attention. with adequate plumbing and a convenient route to a populated area to endanger later. STEP 1: STEP 1 Now that we have set the goal of our experiment. and there’s none of that awkward undercover-cop-following-you-home business. you are less likely to make impulse purchases. will be as irritating as a normal spider monkey’s but amplified to something that can break shop windows. Also. Your Place The best place to conduct a diabolical experiment is in privacy. Our monkey will be very angry and destructive. other scientists won’t buttonhole you in the store aisles to beg you to endorse their plots or “put in a good word” for them with your assistant. provided you can guarantee that your results are tremendously dangerous and therefore suited to military applications. You avoid crowds. thanks to the combined effects of chemical imbalances and being shot at by tanks. I get a “click-through” commission for the links on my Web site. you will have the advantage of better funding opportunities. Her name: Giga-Spide. it is time to lay the groundwork. The disadvantage is that your laboratory will be .28 Walt M a g u i r e The screech. of course.
Another route to go is the smart-but-expendable assistant. because you certainly wouldn’t hold up under close questioning.” Thick as a thick pudding in a thick fog in a thick thicket. . from the old days when most fiendish experiments were conducted on ham. it’s important to get someone who is “book-smart” but emotionally stunted and lacking the common sense to see what you are really up to—that is to say. and not just as a DNA source.MONKEY SEE 29 located where your senator or congressman prefers. This is usually someone you have cheated out of their grant. because it’s probably going to be the only beautiful person a geek like you is going to get to come around your house. but beyond that there are many ways to go. Here. someone we commonly refer to as “thick. You can go the beautiful-but-stupid route—by “stupid” I mean scientifically uninterested. someone who would be just as happy working at the Gap—though some scientists prefer the type with a PhD who would actually be of enormous help in the lab. Your Staff Whomever you pick as an assistant must be an idiot. This is a wise move. Most mad scientists like to choose an attractive member of whatever sex they’re attracted to. It helps if you are a real dazzler of a boss. This is referred to as “pork-barrel” funding. So you could end up with a much better lab than you could afford in the private sector. who demands unquestioning loyalty. as a way of enhancing the local economy or the state’s notoriety. someone who actually knows how to do the thing you’re trying to do. of course. however. but it might be located in a strip mall by the airport.
While it might seem funny to be addressed as “my liege. as will their tendency to marvel at lightbulbs and refer to the toaster oven as “sorcery. . You are probably reading the wrong book. but if you need to pad the payroll with expendable screamers. and the answer must not be ignored: is she a screamer? No matter what your experiment. You will not find many attractive assistants. One aspect of the hiring practice that is frequently overlooked is the role of the assistant in the final stages of the experiment. Do not recruit at a Renaissance Faire. if you can put up with their incessant “science talk. They are the canary in a coal mine for this sort of thing. A growing trend on the East Coast is for scientists to recruit from opera conservatories. You will find plenty of people who love to scream and will frequently tell you things are “awesome” when you need a boost. If the mad scientist is smitten with his assistant. you’re also looking for someone unspeakably thick. it has nothing to do with monkeys. but it can pay off big later on.” Anyway. his mind jumps directly from lab beakers to matching chaise lounges by a pool in Arecibo. the early warning sign is a screaming lab assistant. mad experiments.” that will wear thin quickly. It will not tip your hand—remember. Another potential source for recruiting is a science-fiction convention.30 Walt M a g u i r e These people have great value in science. when it goes to hell. this can be a real lifesaver. There is a major step in-between.” Under no circumstances should you hire an accountant. You will be constantly harangued about the economic infeasibility of your mad. You wanted the one to your right. You might feel silly holding screaming auditions. and the question must be asked. These people work cheap.
11. Closed-circuit monitors. DSL is more reliable. Blinking wall lights wired to explode if they are hit with a barstool. Computer network. Lasers wired to explode if they’re hit with a barstool. 10. Cable modems can slow down if your kids are online a lot from their room upstairs. 4.) High-speed Internet. Subscriptions to the Scientist. 12.MONKEY SEE 31 Basic Equipment 1. One of those capacitor things that make sparks in the background: a Tesla coil. 13. 5. Barstools. Videophone hookup via the Internet.” above. 15. and the Weekly World News. 7. 6. Clipboards wired to explode if they’re hit with a barstool. 14. Did you forget you’re doing science? Lab coats. the New Scientist. 16. 8. the New Yorker. . (See “One Story or Ten. 2. Syringes. Lots of assorted beakers. Useful for ransom demands or futile pleas for help. Psychology Today. 9. Microscope. National Geographic. the New Republic. but good luck finding a provider that stays in business more than a year. A cage. wired to explode if you spill coffee on the keyboard. 3. Pens and pencils.
Sturdy lab table precut in the center so it breaks easily if jumped on. STEP 2. Self-destruct button. we haven’t dowsed you with the new experimental conditioner yet. 18. How’s that? TALKY: What’s this? Lavender? You’re making me smell like a girl? Help! Help! My fur is becoming dry and flyaway! YOU: Oh. but once again a good sense of style and proper etiquette can carry the day. 20. This time. I think that’s got it. Talky’s eye. FIENDISH EXPERIMENTS AS A GET-TO-KNOW-YOU Defusing Tension in a Fiendish Experiment Now let’s explore another social situation. Explosives. with electronic sensors taped to his shaved nipples. Or you’ll die. Mr. Flyaway fur will become silky and manageable in no time. depending on the toxin levels. There we go. but that’s what testing is . you are testing shampoo on your chimp while he’s strapped to a cold aluminum slab. Talky. Secret exit wired to explode if anyone tries to follow.32 Walt M a g u i r e 17. TALKY: YOU: Aagh! I’ve got soap in my eye! Oopsy-daisy. The hidden underground laboratory can present some of the most awkward possibilities for sophisticated conversation. Your assistant has just “accidentally” spilled soap in Mr. 19.
General Chekchek is poking Dr. The shampoo is a big seller in many countries with lower standards than the U. hoping against hope for something you can use as a tool or a weapon. Everyone is snarling. hands chained. most talking mad monkey scientists have never had any advanced science courses. Torches of burning Spam fat sputter and smoke on the mud walls as you cast a peripheral glance despairingly about. you look great. this conversational gambit is a bit one-sided. Because you pointed out the positive aspects of the procedure. really. FDA.S.MONKEY SEE 33 all about. (Mr. by the way. goading him into poking you with a pointier stick. but it’s important to take control when there’s a potential for panic. screaming. . Mr. glaring with hatred for all life. Admittedly.) Defusing Tension in a Fiendish Experiment When You’re the Subject Picture this: you’re in a cage. hiding your poker chips behind nothing but a greasy tea towel you’ve tied on as a loincloth. and not just underpaid dopes who were too lazy to program a computer model instead of lathering up a chimp. Did you have that rash when you came in? Because the ruddy look works for you. Question: What exactly is the purpose of this experiment? Tragically. Pointy with a pointy stick. Either way. Talky was reassured that he was surrounded by devoted professionals who knew what they were doing. Talky recovered. calculating the distance you must cross to reach it.
A good icebreaker might be observational humor. We must assume all scientists understand the importance of hygiene when striving for accurate results. on the off-chance he will obtain grant money later on. More of a faux pas is the general attitude this statement conveys. If you are being prodded by a damn dirty ape.” It sets the wrong tone. is that the proverbial ten-foot pole?” . and did not ask. but it’s probably a wise precaution to explain things to your subject.34 Walt M a g u i r e Many have been at Ivy League universities. such as “Hello. but no one ever explained why. Create a positive atmosphere. They know that science inflicts electricity or rewards with brownish fruit. Granted. they could not speak yet. you damn dirty ape. but the course of their studies has been limited to learning to thread a maze or which lever releases the banana painlessly. it does not help the situation to yell out something like “Take your stinking paws off me.
who is likely to be directing things (see pointy stick. Now the Romans are gone and the Greeks are in the EU. above). on second thought. and what sort of life would that be. anyway? No. The very fact that you’re the one who has been captured and tortured suggests that you have more worth. forget what I said earlier about screwing your chums. On the other hand. Appeal to his high opinion of himself. Recommend some good books. If they admit there is no point to the experiment but torture. point out that much research has already been done on human physiology. Another consideration is that you might be dooming the only people who could save you. I hope you kept reading after that sentence. this tactic helped the Greeks survive the Romans. Plead for mercy—this is no time for dignity! Offer to share your advanced knowledge with him. It is a question of whether your survival is more important than theirs. . it’s one of the few things you have going for you.MONKEY SEE 35 Next. Ask—politely—to see their lab notes or project proposal. it might mean you were the slowest and dumbest. If it is a legitimate experiment. yes. There’s also little guarantee the damn dirty ape will keep his word and spare you. Avoid naming studies that explicitly mention picking monkeys apart. shift your focus from the scientific team to the alpha male of the cluster. at this point. be polite. albeit as slaves. redefining pizza. The answer is: by all means. You might wonder. and even hosted the Olympics again. ascertain that they understand what they are doing. Above all. if betraying your friends to save yourself would be socially acceptable.
her voice. and the monkey babe cried out as if she knew God and could not reach Him. trying not to listen. and he assumed. though whether from the chemical treatments or her general . Finally. listening. Everyone quaked at the screaming. except Cogitomni.36 Walt M a g u i r e . in almost military precision. and seeing one in the cold light of Cogitomni’s lab was a bit disturbing. was already coarsening. One of the assistants made cooing sounds. incorrectly. A second needle. Then Dr. She was only a few weeks old. and some of the others smiled as the baby responded. The assistants straightened up. who gazed with unbroken concentration. as the great science man strode over. so high and sweet and sad at first. Already by lunch anyone could see there were changes in the baby. that he was experiencing some memory of an encounter with a spider monkey in his wild past.. defying the notion of humanity to come into his presence. which reminded Ed of an eagle sizing up lunch possibilities. watching her. Cogitomni walked in.. rougher. listening. her fur was getting grayer. so Ed’s fears for the baby seemed unfounded to him. though he didn’t understand why. He watched them put her in a cage. Ed hadn’t seen a baby in a long time. Cogitomni had been good about keeping his subjects (Ed) from seeing the more exotic enhancement techniques. He gazed at the baby. inspecting her with tilts of his massive head. Cogitomni nodded his assent and the first assistant returned and plunged a fat blue needle deep into the monkey’s abdomen. Ed sat in the lab rafters most of Gigi’s first day. watching the humans.
or awe. but there was something that even shocked the humans about this—he could see it in their faces. in all except Doctor Cogitomni. but Ed sat up in the rafters all afternoon. He hadn’t moved from his perch in the ceiling all morning. he thought but he could not process it. picking. he tried to remember his own journey through the lab and could not remember. one gap of activity. and keep in touch with the “enhanced” community. Ed’s work at Best Buy was mostly to take the blame for lost or otherwise unrepaired computers brought in by optimistic consumers. He felt the breeze from the ventilator and the drifting ammoniac smells of astringents and the hometown scents of manured hay and newspaper. had he come this way? Had he made those sounds as well? This seemed different. and he thought he knew not what. and the slim black bonobo lowered himself slowly to the walls. churning the atmosphere with this mysterious recipe. Cogitomni’s lab. To supplement his income. and for one second. Then he flicked his hand to signal Ed to leave. though he couldn’t think of a comparison. to the exit. he also spent a few days a week sweeping floors at Dr.MONKEY SEE 37 treatment Ed could not discern. directing actions that brought reactions even Ed could read as fear. then headed. hear it in the hushes and sharp words. who strode like a chef among market stalls. This metaphor should have made him hungry. coolly pointing. . or confusion. then the floor. the great man looked as if he knew he’d been caught with his pants down. unimpeded. unnoticed until one late moment when Cogitomni suddenly looked up and their eyes met.
Once your tuxedo is on the chimp. if you would like to know how to get a chimp into a tuxedo.38 Walt M a g u i r e STEP 3. . you always hear scientists saying. 1 See “Best Last Words and the Best Time to Say Them. judges reinterpret civil rights laws out of existence. call a friend and ask him to pick you up. Get over it. MAKING A MONKEY WITHOUT MAKING A MONKEY OF YOURSELF Science is a constantly evolving body of knowledge. a man beats his dog until it learns to attack anyone in its path. When these things go wrong. and that’s why it’s called an experiment. they didn’t know. he assists in an evil lab. before they have time to become old-school obsolete. which is what we’re all about. Every time someone turns his back on abuse. “If only I had known. I have no idea how to make a giant monkey. Thousands of Americans create monstrosities every year. what you do is this: you and the chimp go out one night and get very drunk. However. Creating a monster in your own home is easy.”1 Well. a girl is betrayed by trusting supposedly grown-up men. But they’re not having fun. as today’s will seem tomorrow.” chapter 9. a boy is humiliated by a supposed father. and it doesn’t require a lot of intelligence. a woman saves so many cats she can’t afford to feed them properly. Make sure he brings you another pair of pants. no doubt. All this is a way of saying that this is not a science textbook. New discoveries in genetics and physics mean you need to finish your experiments quickly. A woman burns her children with cigarettes. Yesterday’s fiendish experiments seem foolish by today’s standards. it’s fun.
It is not true that all the good names are taken. Here are some simple examples to get you started. supersizing.MONKEY SEE 39 PICKING A GOOD GIANT APE NAME There are a few simple rules for naming a monster. though it’s probably a misguided reference to the Congo in Africa. for instance. All you need is to take half the name from a word meaning large or scary. uses the word King to suggest grandeur. supremacy. King Kong. The other half of the name refers to the species of the beast. where Kong would live if he were not a giant prehistoric beast living on a South Seas island twelve thousand miles from Africa. The word Kong seems to be used to prove me wrong. MAKE YOUR MONSTER NAME RANDOMLY COMBINE ONE ITEM FROM EACH COLUMN MONSTROUS PREFIX PERSONALITY HINT TURN IT JAPANESE! Giga Giganta King Monstro Largey Super Mega Multi Meglo Killer Death Bouncy Mistress Were Red Garga Gargan Gargantua Binge Trump Puff Zilla Spide Fang Claw Talon King Fluffer Rilla Ula Lawyer Panzee Chubster Creature MowMow Wolf Ratster Fish Boy Hair -mon -mon -mon -mon -mon -mon -mon -mon -mon -mon -mon -mon -mon -mon -mon -mon -mon -mon -mon -mon . Just close your eyes and point at random. or its place of origin.
except possibly among some fish . A primate is an animal that breathes and has fingernails.” This goes a long way toward explaining a lot of things wrong with the Latin language. meaning union or to join in a couple. The word primate comes from the Latin: pri from the root meaning look into or snoop. as in pry or privacy.” Therefore. which I don’t think ever really caught on.Chapter 4 IT TAKES ALL KINDS: APE VS. as opposed to the unopposable thumb. the word primate can be defined as “to spy on your boyfriend” or “to eye one’s wife suspiciously. We are very lucky it died out. and mate. and how best to distort it into something unspeakable. the Spanish verb form for “We are going to kill him. MONKEY (The chapter with all the footnotes and endnotes for the entire book) BEFORE WE EXPLORE the monkey world we live in. let’s learn a little more about the ape and the monkey as they live today. One of these fingernails would be on the famous opposable thumb. as in maté.
gorilla. sometimes with a two-tofive-hundred-car garage. you’ve got the wrong book. monkeys. Most animals do not survive long in our man-made zoos and water parks. we use structures of one-tothree-hundred stories. Of these—of all the species on earth. we put on smaller. Instead of a cave or simple nest. If you expect me to criticize this. Given that the number of primate species and their populations declines yearly. and how do we fit the others in our picture. A man is sometimes called a Big Ape. koalas. When we rise from sleep. The primate order includes such species as apes. which kind of spoils the concept of primary life-form. The human concept of shelter has expanded far beyond the standard for other animals. if not as lunchmeat? Our language provides a clue. but humans thrive in artificial environments. human. Of this writing. and lemurs. Primate is an order of the class mammalia. The ape species includes the families of chimpanzee. there are over 230 species of primates. choppy lake I would be shortening a certain other human’s lifespan pretty quick. except for humans. portable shelters designed by Armani or the Gap. marmosets. it’s hard not to admire Las Vegas.MONKEY SEE 41 that don’t get flaky when you cook them and therefore died out. and if I had to spend another minute in a canoe on a deep. and bonobo. if you think about it. it increases our lifespan. orangutan. in fact— only the human has felt a need to completely transform the environment in order to survive. I vacationed a week in the Adirondacks this summer. A service or product no one in their right mind would want if it weren’t for marketing could be called “designed by a chimp.” If . I can tell you that much. But how does mankind fit the bigger picture.
Koko. apes eat monkeys. apes do not have tails. It should be possible to infer.42 Walt M a g u i r e there isn’t much skill to producing it. The footnotes are not references. traveling in tribes and building camps in the undergrowth of the forest.org. Chimpanzees are considered the brightest of the apes.1 ** * Much “monkey work” is performed now by robots. MONKEY While the terms ape and monkey are used interchangeably in everyday conversation. and gorillas have the smallest testicles. as the endnotes are. However. how much time I actually took to really look things up. or at least create the impression that there is a lot more the author is not telling you. several significant differences from a biological standpoint. except for fast-food preparation. The Ape Apes are ground dwellers. which might explain why they tend to be the quiet ones. 1 ** This chapter originally contained both footnotes (at the bottom of the page) and endnotes (to be found at the back of the book). . in fact. we hate working in the service industry. but clarifications or comments that amplify the main material footnoted. The endnotes marked the references used in this book. where they are hiring more actual monkeys. This means they have bigger butts. there are. Unlike monkeys. from the number of endnotes. APE VS. I didn’t really think you’d keep checking the back of the book. some work is said to be “performed by a trained monkey. so I dumped them all up here.”* In other words. For example. or at least the instances where I wrote something down. for comfortable sitting.
Ibid. . If you can’t find it. which doesn’t sound like much until you’re asked to pass your own leg down the table. I swear this information was there when I wrote this. It’s possible the problem is on your end. I want to avoid misdirecting you.* and will organize raids on colonies of little tiny cute monkeys.3 * Omnivorous. Sometimes there’s a charge for viewing archived material. 2. are omnivorous. Up to 2 percent of a chimpanzee’s diet is meat. herbivorous creatures who only attack other animals if provoked. they’re ripped apart and eaten on the spot.MONKEY SEE 43 Aggression varies among the apes.1 They sleep thirteen hours a day. This whole business of Internet referencing is tricky. I am not being lazy by not giving precise addresses. They’ll spend six hours a day eating shoots and leaves. Extreme example: soup of the day at an all-night coffee shop under a subway trestle.2 Their fearsome reputation is based largely on their largeness and squinty little eyes. I do not condone any of that. Things are moved. more often. and when an eight-hundred-pound gorilla sits. or. Latin for “will eat anything. Things come and go.” Example: burger with fries and pickle wedge. 1 Ibid. check your Web connection. are gentle. Gorillas. Gorillas’ lives are contemplative. 3 . Many ape species. or suddenly start a softball game around him. The gorilla prefers to sit. in the empty-your-mind sense of contemplation. however. . such as chimpanzees. it is not an enviable thing to be the one who gives him the incentive to get up and stretch in your general direction. put an embarrassingly cute hat on his child without asking. herding them into an ambush where they are pantsed and lose their wallets . The three easiest ways to provoke a gorilla are to hit him in the ear with a snowball.
starring Raymond Burr and Lon Chaney Jr. Voltaire. Guerrilla Marketing Weapons: 100 Affordable Marketing Methods for Maximizing Profits from Your Small Business (Writer’s Digest Books. Gorilla (G.44 Walt M a g u i r e Web sites are constantly updated and occasionally redesigned. 2009). 2000). 2006). Jay Conrad. Battle for the Planet of the Apes. Hansen. . Journey to the West. starring Roddy McDowell (1972). 2003). W. (1951). starring Tadao Takashima and Kenji Sahara (1963). If you’re not. Pierre. Stevenson. Poe. Jekyll and Mr. You might give up easily if what you want isn’t right there. Edgar Allan. You don’t want to go through life like that. (Foreign Language Press. The Gorillas of Gill Park (Holiday House. Planet of the Apes (Lightyear Press. starring Roddy McDowell (1973). Rathmann.. Beneath the Planet of the Apes. 1996). Kindle edition. I sure hope not. Candide (Bantam Classics. King Kong vs. Jenner. Creatures from the Mist (Brown Watson. Robert Louis. Conquest of the Planet of the Apes. Planet of the Apes. starring Roddy McDowell (1971). F. Wu Cheng’en. starring Fay Wray (1933). You should be able to find it. Ltd. Escape from the Planet of the Apes. “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” (Modern Library. but not at the page I bookmarked. with or without bride. Think of it as a video game. Peggy. Amy. It will be the sort of adventure an interested party such as yourself would enjoy. London. 1999). transl. J. No actual gorilla. Good Night. Gordon. so the information might still be there. Dr.P. starring Roddy McDowell (1968). Boule. King Kong. 1963). Vern. First English edition published as Monkey Planet (Secker and Warburg. 2000). 1993). Hyde (Topeka Bindery. Levinson. then you won’t mind browsing the Internet to find the material I cite. London. you might be that sort of person. Bride of the Gorilla. because it could poison your relationships and darken the best days. starring Roddy McDowell (1970). Putnam’s Sons. Godzilla. 1963).
starring the Three Stooges. Planet of the Apes. 1 Kaplan. Unless I’m thinking of a different Stooges movie (1943). loving families or four cats. tinny boxes. starring Bela Lugosi (1943).1 They use peripheral vision extensively. they fall into two camps. Lesley J. famous for having long arms and being orange. They walk Planet of the Apes.** Orangutans build a fresh nest every night to sleep in the treetops. and Rogers. 2000). And the other thing they all share is a love of music played on cheap. If you do not know any illustrators personally. it’s based on drunken book illustrators of an earlier century. Planet of the Apes Goes to Hawaii. miserable curs who resent your words hogging so much of their illustrating space. so perhaps they are too cool to look you in the eye. Spook Louder. TV series (1974). ** I feel I may have created the wrong impression about illustrators. Most are pleasant. Gisela. just as all biscuits would like to be muffins. The Magilla Gorilla Show. and hijinks ensue. I’m pretty sure there’s either a guy in a gorilla suit playing a gorilla. the Jane Goodall of orangutans. starring Bob Denver and Florence Henderson (1976). * This reminds me of my own experience with a drunken illustrator.MONKEY SEE 45 Mostly. Some are grumpy. Much orangutan research has been done by Burute Galdikas. That’s all I’ve got on orangutans. . or a guy in a gorilla suit pretending to play a gorilla. giving the impression that they are too cool to look you in the eye. Hanna-Barbera (1963).. All of them want to be doing more serious work. starring Mark Wahlberg (2001). after all. Behavior. I really was thinking of one person in particular. The bonobo has attracted more attention lately as more is learned of their society. The Ape Man. or both. nice people with wonderful.* Then there is the orangutan. The Orangutans: Their Evolution. and Future (Diane Publishing Company.
and the art department was sending the production editors very clear signals that this insult was not appreciated. thin on some slopes and wild in other spots. in this case. But a new management edict had declared that signatures were not to be used anymore. where tacks supported curling snaps of children and spelling jokes. and all the same pale blue. these work areas were dioramas. they were always more peaceful. those we just stuck in however which way and no one ever noticed. I was returning it because it wasn’t clear which side was the top of the picture. but they were more mysterious. If the women of the art department were all raven-haired and gentle. except with ears. The simplest way to find the top of these drawings had been to look for the artist’s signature at the bottom. which gives them a strangely human appearance. with big. sort of like the Who people in Dr. Unlike the cubicles below. I was working as a medical editor when I was asked to take an illustration back to the art department. I cannot say the four women there were more beautiful than the editors seven floors down. and I always volunteered for the assignment. but drawings were still used for schematic displays such as. a cross-section of a deviated septum. I rarely visited art. full environments designed to enhance the attraction of the women. His eyes and nose were of a piece.46 Walt M a g u i r e upright more frequently than other apes. He looked unhealthy. and sleepy ambient music was always playing. . because there was always some flubbed detail an alert reader would spot and use as an excuse to cancel their subscription. This was not an unusual problem with photos of diseased kidneys. Art had a side of the top floor. maybe because they weren’t editors. though I’m unaware that he ever took sick days or vacations. His head resembled grassy sand dunes with the beach eroded down to rocks and clamshells. The scent of various herbal teas marked each island. He had dry hair. Drawn plates were a different story. Seuss. as if they were dropped there by a careful storybook tornado. sometimes with whale accompaniment. Most of the illustrations we worked with were clear color photographs or MRIs. even if it wasn’t my book. Dave was the groundhog rooting through trash cans at summer camp. unshaded windows overlooking the square. one feature as far inset as the other protruded.
It was the sort of thing that only turned up in a certain light. The snot had no medical reason to be there. “If you look at it in a certain light—” “—Then don’t look at it in that light. pretending he didn’t expect me. soapy membrane that made the sinus cavity into a repugnant snow globe.” “So which is the top?” Social skills aside. For a long time.” he said. freakishly hot chimpanzees. chimpanzees have lost their reputation for wild sex. or television to make it sound necessary. fancy shoes.1 “What?” he said. such as a bright studio. wild sex. The cartoon nose had the thinnest. staring at me.” “But—” “It’s fine. Don’t you know any actual women? . an unintended alignment of a watermark in the paper. he was still a miserable jackass. then went downstairs and reported we’d probably have a usable picture by the next afternoon but we’d be wiser to leave a blank space and invite readers to test their skills at drawing their own. after the bonobos. “I don’t see anything.MONKEY SEE 47 They also spend a lot of their time having sex with one another without benefit of alcohol. I worked with him for twenty minutes. unless it was to illustrate the importance of carrying tissue. Humans have the second-most sex. clearest drop of something hanging inside. “What?” I explained. It was a translucent. after the bonobos. by definition. Now that they are recognized as a separate species. I spent the rest of the afternoon watching the elevator doors in case Dave showed up to teach me a lesson with a T-square and his hardest charcoal pencil. evangelical sermons to make it sound exciting. or smeared ink. It might have been an accident. except in the sense that any sex between two animals in the wild is. including pointing lightly. people believed the bonobo were simply rare. If that’s all you were reading this for. you can stop now. 1 Humans have the second-most sex.
and walking around town was fun and usually the only exercise I got. “Hey.* Recent DNA studies have muddied Anyway. Dave came over and sat next to me.” he said. it is more accurate to say that all primate species evolved from a basic set of genes in a common sludge that mutated in different directions.” I said. I was alone in those days. Dave. * .48 Walt M a g u i r e Man has long been believed to be an evolutionary offshoot of the ape family. After work. which has been a bad idea since the day it opened in 1863. the illustrator. It is wrong to say mankind is descended from apes. I ended up at McGlinchey’s. “Hey. It was six and there was already something anti-gravitational about his intersection with the stool. much to the embarrassment of people who flunked science and compensate by getting all pious about walking upright. I took a long walk. I was in between ordering and drinking when I noticed fierce groundhog eyes staring at me from across the oval of the bar.
“I heard you in the park at lunch yesterday. “For a book.’ Is it a comic book?” “What?” He sounded offended.” I had been eating with a few other editors. “You said you’re doing illustrations. but the melting ice was making it a pinker shade of brown. holding it close and tilting it to get a better view.” “All right.” I said.” “Great.” he snapped at me. I couldn’t tell what he was drinking. “It’s about how King Kong got to that island in the first place. and the subject of an old cartoon had come up. “We were trying to remember the theme song.” he corrected. “Way before the movie. What time did you start here?” “I’ve been working on some illustrations. You like King Kong. He looked around the bar for examples. then turned back to me in sour patience. talking about monkeys. “We were talking about Magilla Gorilla. You remember that island?” “Manhattan—? Or you mean the first one?” “Don’t be smart. and I’m doing the illustrations. Is it a graphic novel?” “No!” His refill came and he clutched it like the stick shift on a tractor. It’s a King Kong novel. He’s got a publisher. but we’ll see what happens tomorrow. “Lots of people don’t like King Kong. “Well. I’m trying to explain something. “I said they were illustrations.” This threw him more than I expected.” “Based on the movie?” I asked.” “It’s okay with me if you just call him ‘Kong. right?” “Who doesn’t like King Kong?” I said.” he continued. “It’s just that there aren’t really many illustrated novels put out these days. I nodded and sipped.” he continued.” he said.” I said. . great. “Lots of people. “I heard you talking about monkeys.” “Sorry.MONKEY SEE 49 “Did you get that picture problem all straightened out?” “Something about that question tells me the answer is no. He’s got a publisher for his science-fiction novel about King Kong. He stared into his drink. Are you talking about real people or people in the movie?” “It depends on which movie. Friend of mine’s writing it.
Anyway. he had been talking about himself but lower than I’d realized. ten feet across and equally high. ruminations on getting models to pose free. The farthest wall. I’ll have to check. a killer out of nightmares and comic books. In my experience. In the foreground of each portrait was a woman in a torn summer dress. floating on a cloud of stale beer. I don’t—” “My studio is upstairs. even the dangers of paints freezing in the chilly studio. Some were reproductions of old book illustrations. You have to see this. I waited for him to talk about his work. had Dave’s own artwork. He spoke up. Some of it was about his color choices. angry.” “I don’t see how that’s the point at all. Technicolor images misrepresenting stinking blackand-white grease spots on celluloid such as Bride of the Gorilla. I want your opinion. one was carried. one hoisted a bazooka. “Come upstairs.” “Oh. moron? I did these. There might have been windows. the point is. There were some twenty charcoal sketches and three massive acrylics. brown.” The groundhog is a powerful beast. massive gorilla. I cleared my throat. “—And the banana myth. “What do you think. as you can see. the larger the art. but every inch of the walls was covered in pictures of savage apes. and pitch. Two out of three had mixed feelings about this. malevolent. devoid of anything natural but familiar as the Wolfman or the Hamburglar.” he growled. and in the center of each. Except that one looks . in indefinable shades of gray. Finally.50 Walt M a g u i r e it’s not a manga. and occasionally rabid. not exactly giant but fierce.” I said. His murmur jumped to a jaggy grumble.” As he went on. I had to ask: “—But what’s the problem?” He stared at me in monstrous fury. “These. In the big works. he grew louder and louder. all storm clouds over mossy thickset jungles. three out of three were blondes. His studio was a dank cave in the air. the louder the self-aggrandizement. some had fainted. a fanged. All were the object of the monsters’ attention. compact and dangerous when roused. Some cowered. under the brightest light. you’re an editor. Some were movie posters. in brilliant blots of blood and mustard and purple. Yet he said nothing.
to my advantage. was looking back with cute velvet-painting cow eyes. A puppy. the green powdery walls behind the pictures. tagged with sketches on cheap newsprint stock. you can’t really go wrong with adorable. I had been amazed how little attention he was paying to my responses. . even my clothes were sagging and seemed to be passing the cold dank into my heart. This place was dank. the crumbling ceiling. I casually backed toward where I remembered the door being. I was never more aware in my life of a definition of a single word. and it wasn’t cool. “What was it you wanted to ask me?” I asked. I hadn’t noticed him sneaking it out of the bar. Is the puppy chocolate?” “I’m asking you a serious question. Now I felt him tune the noise of his own brain out. He misinterpreted this. he was. “Were you paying any attention?” “They’re awfully big for a book.” “But how? That was my question for you. I could suddenly hear my own belching. aren’t they?” he said. who. What do you think?” I stared at the puppy. though. My skin felt dank just sagging there. the wrinkled sheets.MONKEY SEE 51 like a movie poster. In a far dark alcove was a stained bed.” “Cool. You’re an editor— how would a crazed monster ape react to being attacked by a puppy? Would he eat him?” “It depends. its door hanging open. “They’re for the book. “I thought about adding a puppy to give it more of a Japanese schoolgirl manga thing. A microwave looked exploded. shiny with whorls of grease. Dankness sagged the walls. He waved his drink like a baton.” And the sad truth was. And that one. it’s from an 1848 travel journal. even in sepia sketch dust. the lighting. Sagging was another word that came to mind. He fixed his eyes on a small sienna charcoal pinned to his drafting table. “What do I think—about adding an adorable puppy?” “Is adorable bad?” “Well—no. This far. It was the smell. It looked like one of those aptitude tests for mail-order art lessons. I guessed something had escaped and was hiding under a table.” he said.” “Why did you do these?” I tried again.
” “That’s a sideline? To modeling? For you?” . Vane’s To the Rescue. O. The Creeping Man. “Who’s this one?” “Heather.” he said. but I’d been lucky so far. I was at a disadvantage. . “It’s always hard to tell if lust and rage will overcome the fear and confusion a great lumbering brute will feel when confronted with a small. “They’re easier to draw. but when I went to the zoo to do some sketches on Saturday. is what I’m really asking.” I said. Adventures and Explorations in Equatorial Africa. Puppies can be fierce. Hansen’s Creatures from the Mist . Bomba the Jungle Boy.52 Walt M a g u i r e “Can I justify the puppy. though. the gorillas just sat around eating. I saw one drive off a bear. and I had missed the end of the program.” he said. And I was still trying to work out how Dave thought I might be the person to ask about this. yapping bundle that’s protecting his mistress—his somebody. Would a puppy be a good fighting companion in the battle of blonde versus beast?” “Which side is the puppy on?” “On the left—I figure he’s at her feet. Planet of the Apes. Africa Screams. “She’s probably in the bar right this minute.” “—And you haven’t told me anything about these women. “Tarzan. C. These two seem capable of holding their own with or without canine help. wondering where the heck they lived. sweeping my hand around to illustrate that it needed another beer to hold.” he went on. . “Here’s the problem.” he corrected. “What is the context in the story? Some of them look frightened. How can I capture that action if I don’t see it? Where are the wild guys from the movies?” I studied the women in the pictures.” It had been Lassie. “Do you use models for all your subjects?” I asked. too.” “I was thinking of making it a girl. “I’ve studied all the gorilla literature. because it’s hard to know how a completely nonexistent type of enraged monster is going to react to a completely nonexistent cartoon dog. distracting him with a new problem. possibly to me. but nobody was acting crazy. protecting his mistress.” I was going to ask for more specifics on a puppy with a mistress.” I added. “The puppy?” “Right. Works as a fortune-teller on the side. The small monkeys were climbing in the trees.
just above the frame. Elaine A. the saucy blonde now manhandles a fat cocktail shaker. “Nan’s in that one. Small monkeys trail at her sandal heels. Jane Iber. I have not made it clear how awful his art was. Kerry L. and Ajit Varki.” Proceedings of the National . “A Mutation in Human CMP-sialic Acid Hydroxylase Occurred After the Homo Pan Divergence.” he said. I felt just how cold the room was. Muchmore. Sandra Diaz. pointing to a seven-inch square of green in the lower right corner of the picture in the center. Humans and apes show a 98 percent similarity in genetic makeup. “I know. But for this brush-stroked clearing. And I counted all the steps in my own nightly walks across the wide. I saw her walking behind some bushes. happy to have her around. I was aware of the damp sheets across the room without seeing them. or aroused.1 This is the same percentage of similarity—or difference—as between men and women. Hiromu Takematsu. “You know?” he added. And somewhere on the lower right. strolling through a nicer part of the jungle. how late the hour. “I didn’t mean to make her look so serene. Unlike the other women on display. Nan’s face was perhaps an inch high. I knew exactly what it was. though. 1 Hsun Hua Chou. I had to look at her face a little longer. she did not seem alarmed or frightened. David L. it was all misshapen and lurid and slop. slightly off in the distance. a serene face is visible in its own frame of raven hair. and the weak smell of filthy coffee cups under wasted canvas and Bristol board and ugly light. Wright. yet delicately rendered.” he said. over a bar.” There was something new in his voice. Looking closer. Stephen T. Instead of hoisting a bazooka. the strong smells of paints and beer. a white sun hat in her hand. I saw the painting once more. “It’s hard not to. Nelson. At her feet is a dewy-eyed pup. The scene was a break in the trees showing a sunlit lawn in the distance.” I said. empty city.MONKEY SEE 53 the waters in the gene pool. knocking against her skirted thigh as she passes the red blossoms of a jacaranda. Elizabeth Nickerson. Warren. her calm smile in an island sun breaking through the trees and flowering bushes.
1998. September 29. pp. Issue 20. Vol. 11751–11756.54 Walt M a g u i r e You may insert your own joke here: Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 95. .
A gaggle of chimps came out—a class ended?— . he could see it plainly. the T wilting into a surprised stickman and the C in CHI doubling back to form a U. He watched a number of apes. It was a low building with a glazed pancakebatter-yellow brick storefront with cinderblock sides. dodging traffic to cross the street. come and go. so to those who didn’t know better. Half a block away he remembered why he was there and started back. CHEKCHEK partially covered CHEK CASHING. Ed could make out the scraped outline of a word under the name. it read CHEKCHEK’S YAI UHI.Chapter 5 SELF-IMPROVEMENT THE NON-OPRAH WAY ED LOOKED AT THE ADDRESS from across the street. or not at all. Humans would walk carefully by. but after staring at it for an hour. mostly male. He stood there for a long time. Eventually he forgot why he was there and started walking in the direction of an ice cream truck bell. The deep blue letters in the plastic sign were peeling.
thing. The grunting chant resumed. . Ed thought he seemed a bit tense for a relaxation expert. as did Chekchek.” said Chekchek.” he said. . not entirely sure. . It repeated.” he explained. Thumping and outcries of panic erupted.” “Yes why anyway are you here? Ed.” “Now I’m thirsty. mopping his brow with a towel. anyway . not chai tea. right?” “I don’t know. trying to lighten things up without using his bonobo sex techniques.” Chekchek stared in the way Ed had when he discovered plastic fruit.” muttered Chekchek. . “It’s tai chi.” said Ed. The closing doors cut off the sounds of the street. . “The inner chi . you—” “I’m joking. “Aligning the chi. “Oh. “Meditation exercise. “Excuse me a moment?” Chekchek trotted into the back room. It did not have the desired effect. He decided not to point out the unreadable sign. One snarled at him. . with his hands up. . which he quickly put back down. “Hello?” called Ed.” feebly ventured Ed. it’s you.56 Walt M a g u i r e as he returned. He did add a friendly chimp-style lip flaring. “I like the iced chai latte. a rhythmic whoosh of exhalation like fat men doing situps. Chakra alignmentation.” “Joke. “I meant chakra.” he said. Chekchek returned.” “I don’t know what that is.” said Ed. but another hushed the snarler. The room was empty when Ed entered. “Just . “Anyway. ha-ha.” “You’re still talking about tea. From the back came a choir of grunts. and again.
for some reason. Where he seemed nervous and baffled before. You invited me to check out your studio. too many bowling alleys and dry cleaners and frankly poor mass transit and. Oh! I see what you mean. so I—I—” “—you were just in the neighborhood and thought you’d drop in. puffing up his chest. during the third awkward pause in the tour. watching Ed’s reaction carefully.” Ed continued. Ed thought. no. now he seemed almost unhinged. except for the increasingly furious chanting beyond the particle-board dividing wall. No. “Aaeeeee?” . I went out of my way to haul down here on my day off. this required very slow ambling. near the shoe rack. They walked around the studio as Chekchek explained the range of exercises and class schedule. no offense. .” Chekchek hissed. “I never come to this part of town unless you hold a tranquilizer dart gun to my head . Ed thought he found this soothing. a casual visit. The whole zen thing seemed to be very difficult.” said Ed.” Ed was struck again by Chekchek’s unpredictable temper. “well. “Advanced Ape Empowerment Exercises. exactly. Finally. Yes. Ed asked about the class in the back room.” said Chekchek. “Good lord. of course I know my name. Ed wasn’t sure what reaction would be appropriate. He watched the chimp struggle for composure.MONKEY SEE 57 “I mean. . . I mean I don’t know why I’m here. unintentionally making it easier to read his ASK ME ABOUT MY SERENITY MEDITATIONS T-shirt. which has happened . . no.” explained Chekchek. As the room was only three hundred square feet. “Let me show you around. but really some pretty scary excuses for bike lanes.
something like that. I was expired soup.” he explained. a chimpanzee thing. feeding her. and. Edgar. there’s also a new little baby.” Ed shrugged. as far as he could tell. I was released from my lab at an early age.” Chekchek beat his chest for a moment and screamed something in D. Edgar. you know. he was flattered. “Pretty much the usual. lots of salads being conscientiously ordered then pickedat lightly between snacks. Just discarded. He was more certain earlier in the day. “But tell me. he could not explain what bothered him. “What’s he doing with the poor little thing?” This was what Ed came to discuss. “I don’t know what the usual is. hearing himself addressed as Edgar. I guess. Chekchek—” “—then. What’s it like in the lab these days?” Ed gave this serious thought. I don’t remember much of what was usual.” Chekchek’s eyes held the greedy gaze of a .” Chekchek corrected.” continued Chekchek. even though he wasn’t sure that was his actual name. Cogitomni?” “Maybe. weighing her. Funding cut. Edgar. “So far he’s just. Edgar.” said Ed. Edgar—if I may call you Edgar—” “—you can. “Oh. Are you good friends with Dr. And no one had ever called him more than “Ed” before.” Chekchek screeched a little. yet now that the time had come. “I mean. tell me about yourself. “Sorry. I got to cuddle her while they cleaned her cage. just wondering. you know. you know. just came in this morning. Anyway.58 Walt M a g u i r e “Two ‘e’s. “I mean. Big switch to energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs. grant not renewed.
He knocked. “Well. He tried again. He held his hands a short distance apart.” “Chimpanzee. “Chimpanzee? Bonobo? Not .” said Ed.” he snapped impatiently. as if his energy were transferring beyond the door into the great force beyond. maybe he’s preparing a snack for you. It stuck. a gorilla?” “Spider monkey. tapping . “Cute little thing. pistons overheating in a huge engine.” corrected Chekchek. They stood in silence. . . “Meditation exercise. The rhythm grew in power as they approached. filling the narrow hallway with as much drama as the quick. Perhaps you would like to see?” He waved his hand and Ed followed the motion toward the back. looking at the shoe rack as the grunting chants were joined by a rhythmic thumping that shook the building. “All you chimps think about is food. . “It helps them focus . all sweating.” Ed rolled his eyes. “Interesting. .” repeated Chekchek. . Ed’s legs felt heavier in contrast. disappointed scratch on the air. long pointy sticks. Maybe two weeks old. and turned to watch his guest. Chekchek stopped heavily as they reached the door.” Chekchek screeched again. all baring their fangs as they drove their steel lances into the floor in a . He hunched his sloping shoulders with his back to Ed.MONKEY SEE 59 mortgage officer without regulatory oversight. . He turned the knob. obviously practiced gesture allowed. He placed his long hand on the handle. suddenly he faced at least five hundred apes. He hadn’t noticed from the outside how far back the building went. It cracked open. a short. The wave of heat struck Ed full in the face.
“There is fast approaching a tipping point. He kept being interrupted by huge apes coming up to Chekchek and telling him what an awesome speech it was. how the hours were at Best Buy.” shouted Chekchek. Ed guessed a lot of these speeches ended the same way. From the look of the wall. Ed made a fourth attempt at a graceful exit. And then he caught his reflection in the mirror.60 Walt M a g u i r e united wave of military precision. He was getting too numb to think of a second choice. Finally Chekchek pried his paw from a gladhanding silverback.” Roars. He was relieved there were no bonobos in the mob. “We must be ready for when the humans turn against us openly. gorillas. “And that is the tip. They have brought us into this world at the same time they are taking more and more of our dumb cousins out of it. Chimpanzees. when our numbers grow beyond licensed laboratory stock into a full population. The orangutan quietly badgered Ed with pleasantries: how he enjoyed the speech. even an orangutan.” Roars in time to the beats. how the commute was. and if Ed had tried the new Mexican place in the next block. wiped the spittle from his . Ed started to wonder if orangutans were the most boring race on earth. “We must be prepared.” Roars erupted as the poles banged. where Ed worked. “We must be ready when our own tolerance wears thin. as they grow tired of tolerating one another. We must be ready when they grow tired of tolerating us. For that was what it was: an army. as much to his men as to his guest. After the room cleared.” He pulled a lance away from the orangutan and threw it deep into the wall behind Ed’s head.
“Wait—he called you General Chekchek.” “It’s not actually my name.” Chekchek steadied himself with a hand on Dr. “General Chekchek was telling me you work for our old friend Harold Cogitomni.MONKEY SEE 61 fangs.” “You know the doc?” Pointy chuckled. Ed turned to the chimp. “Edgar? Charmed to meet you. Is it really dignified?” “I think so.” “But—” “—Never mind. “You don’t go by Edgar? It’s very dignified.” The ape scientist smiled slowly and wobbled his wet black eyes back onto Ed’s face. Dr. yes. interrupting his good-bye to introduce him officially to the droopy orange bore.” Pointy turned to Chekchek. “I see you must be on close terms if he lets you call him ‘Doc. this is Dr. “Edgar. Percy Pointy.” He extended his hand. Pointy gently lifted the chimp’s paw from his long fur and took Ed for a walk across the . and turned to Ed. “Just a nickname. who looked a bit apologetic.” “I told you Ed—but I like Edgar. professor emeritus of simian life technology. “Just Ed. Are you really a general?” Chekchek’s eyes darted angrily to Pointy.” said Ed. “I see what you mean.” “Why didn’t you stop me?” “Edgar sounded good. “Wait— You told me your name was Edgar.” he said. Pointy’s arm.” interjected Pointy.” he said lightly.’ ” “He doesn’t. Edgar is a wonderful name.
poor things. Cogitomni looked extremely imposing and unapproach- . Though he wasn’t scheduled. “Doesn’t not being born to it make it more worthwhile?” Pointy laughed. He was astonished to see the little girl was a foot tall. “I see you’ve studied philosophy. seeing all those poor apes and monkeys come through and what he does to them. Cogitomni sitting at a workbench with a stack of papers he was scribbling on. and learn more of our way? I’m sure a bright ape like you would find it fascinating. really . And it must be very difficult working for Harry. but he has a good heart filled with a healthy passion for the welfare of all apes. inside and out. in a slideshow. and the baby was their only concern. Dr.” Ed was starting to find the boring orange guy’s placid tones every bit as alarming as Chekchek’s army of shouters. A computer sat nearby with photos of the spider monkey. friendship is not the same as something you’re born to. He made promises to return.62 Walt M a g u i r e floor. she had seemed half that when he left at lunchtime. “Young ape. he had learned from the humans already the value of promises. . have you ever considered a new line of work? I know the general can be a bit rough at times. and so was relieved that was all he had to do to get out of there. Why don’t you attend a few of our meetings. I know he’s your friend. but. well. He assumed he’d remembered incorrectly.” Ed felt the round dents in the wood floor against his feet. It seemed that all other activities in the lab had ceased. He found Dr. . he returned to the lab that afternoon. Things were still busy.
but I’ve got my hands full. if you’re available.” Cogitomni sighed. Ed. I mean—it’s an expression. Wet one for me.” “Oh.” Ed handed him a towel. You’ll see. Finally he asked. would you? Thank you. and I don’t mean it’s fresh. Was it over already? “The baby monkey.” His maniacal mood faded. “How is the baby?” The doctor gazed at him curiously. I’m the one who has to work long hours.” “But she’s already created. The spider monkey. Looking forward to it. that one. Her name was Gigi.” “She’s all right?” Cogitomni wiped a spot of egg from his face. And I don’t know when I’ll shower again.” Ed replied. Lot of work. I think I’ll have more hours for you here on this project. Lettuce is practically straight out of the ground. Everyone will see. then stood there nervously. even as he bit into an egg salad sandwich and parts of it splattered across the computer screen. no. “Gigi? She’s all right. Look at this sandwich. Ed. but. Which is something I have in common with this lettuce. waiting. “She will be my greatest creation. “She’s fine. “What baby?” Ed’s heart sank. his heart was leaping out of his throat straight into his eyes.” “Okay. He couldn’t understand why he was so excited about this. He seemed unsurprised that Ed was there. “What are you doing to her?” A metallic grind came into Dr. Cogitomni’s face as he turned from his sandwich.MONKEY SEE 63 able.” “Yes. He fought down something like panic. “Ed? Paper towels. Over there. her. “But I can’t keep working on smudged .
When the moment came. though she’d told him many times that he should. and squinted against the coming onslaught.” And then. When Doris saw him flinch. He couldn’t think of anything. she paused. with particular details about the condition of the lettuce. “Yes.” Ed trudged dutifully to the house. And then he was knocking on the door. He didn’t take it personally. in his present state.” she said. “Okay. He found none. she touched him. Ed?” she asked.64 Walt M a g u i r e bread. the young simian stiffened his spine. Her hand rested lightly on his shoulder momentarily as she walked in front of him down the path to the laboratory. “I think I should talk to my husband myself. for the first time. aware of his dutifulness and keeping his eyes open to any possible distraction. He thought about getting an iPod and what he would then put on it.” said Ed. Cogitomni was in the middle of lighting a cigarette when she opened the door. her first puff drifting to the left of Ed’s face. “I wouldn’t want to confuse him about what’s on his plate. with no hint of inviting him in. puffed. He related her husband’s instructions to her regarding dinner. like a starlet in her giant shoe closet picking the sharpest stiletto heels in the right color. Everybody was onslaughting him today. relieved. You can start by telling my wife I’d like some actual food for dinner. He had the impression that a long list of responses were running through her head. like mercy. covered his ears. and changed her stance to something that almost seemed. Mrs. still holding a lit lighter in one hand. .
subsequently cavernous. His attention. here he is. There was always a stray taste of some other flavor in the bottom of the cup. to watch. he thought to himself. he estimated. Doris spoke first. he wasn’t sure it wasn’t fries. tablet computers. while granting the couple some more discreet distance. was drawn by a crash and some sort of slapping sound. He looked over to see it at the connubial couple’s feet. Look. keeping a discreet distance—or at least discreet and a half.” He climbed halfway down. Cogitomni sitting on the floor. sorry. Then he thought it best to reverse direction and continue up into the rafters and across the room. he wasn’t sure the machine nozzles had ever been cleaned on the local one. Doris .or special-sauce-flavored chocolate shakes were not appetizing. I found him. He directed her to her husband’s last known spot.” “Okay. where he had a clear view of Dr. He couldn’t see her but there were three grad students gathered around it with notepads. Ed shifted to the next rafter.MONKEY SEE 65 He followed her back to the lab. Ed. The lab was a converted supermarket. and that of the ten employees in the building. “Thank you. He could see Gigi’s cage below. Horrible things. and shakes from McDonald’s. rubbing a red welt on his cheek in the distinctive shape of his wife’s right hand. fry. I’m going. he decided to climb up on a cabinet. When they reached the workstation. He knocked a crate of reports and a stack of data disks off the other side. why was he thinking of shakes. those shakes. once the aisles had been removed. he wondered quietly to himself. kicking the computer over on the way. vertically.
What does he want?” Ed looked at the flowers in the garden and wondered who would take care of them.66 Walt M a g u i r e herself was standing there heaping both scorn and the rest of lunch and anything else at hand onto her husband’s pants. She wanted to say good-bye to him. “I just wanted to say good-bye. Ed. sir?” Dr. but she could not. The pants. now and to come and long past. she knew he’d earned it. “Are you all right. then found the hose and watered the plants. was too much for her to bear. “Doris?” She kept walking. He watched her go. but there was a lot of glass. too. and she felt his loneliness as it touched against everything she hadn’t remembered about herself for decades. The staff reached the scene just as Doris reached the exit and left the building. except for a “Good-bye. Ed climbed down and followed her out. He set . He did. Her husband picked her wedding ring out of the shards of glass on the floor. Harold” just before she left. “Doris?” She turned. “Yes. finally. Cogitomni released himself from the assistance of his assistants and again marveled how much loyalty unpaid interns could provide. Doris was silent through all this. Everything. Ed wasn’t sure what had broken. They were probably ruined. and she hoped he understood from her expression.” Something about his naked tone pulled him into focus for her.
MONKEY SEE 67 two of them to clean up.” He smiled mechanically. “We must have a long conversation one of these days. sweetie. He estimated what was happening to her internally. He’d been expecting this moment for fifteen years. Time to get to work. and the terror of it had worn out a long time ago. seven back to work. he was relieved it was over and out of the way. he checked the schedule for her next injection. “You’re going to go far.” He could already see something like recognition in her eyes.” he murmured. and one to fetch a takeout menu and make coffee. and he checked his watch. “I’ll see you after dinner. He walked around to Gigi’s cage. young lady. .
personally. much less a neighborhood where they need to order things in restaurants. You can’t just expect a chimpanzee to know things they don’t need to know. . a monkey is injected with a drug and suddenly begins to speak in the measured tones of a British expatriate living in Malibu for twenty years. and they’re probably good at that. So perhaps you will never be in a situation where you. If perfect diction and grammar were that simple. Her years alone in the jungle have not made her crazy. such as English. They don’t even come from countries where English is the primary language. How apes will one day acquire human language is not known. They spend the day speaking to other chimpanzees.Chapter 6 TEACH YOUR PRIMATE A LANGUAGE IN MANY MOVIES. schoolteachers could concentrate on teaching the state capitals. Not even Jane Goodall speaks English to chimpanzees and expects them to reply. we only know that everything in the movies eventually comes to pass.
but if you are—are you prepared? We’re not talking about the current forms of inter-species communications. There are drugs that can make you think that a chimp is talking to you. typing. talent. So your ape subject might require oral-maxillofacial surgery. The first problem with getting an ape to talk is the physical shape of the jawbone. even limited word recognition are simple subjects. one day. Sign language. Being out of your mind will be something people could remember about you. The notion that a drug can instantly create perfect English is flawed in many ways. this is the sort of work you . and not French or Swahili? Is it a matter of dosage? Of herbs and spices? There have been efforts since the dawn of civilization to get eloquence from a bottle. desperately uninsurable physician. plus access to a nonhuman primate. in that they exist and anybody with an advanced degree in primatology or linguistics. Once the biological problems fall by the wayside. debating a chimp will come out of your mind. Perhaps. can do it. Consult a licensed. Are you a good teacher? Have you ever successfully taught anyone anything? If not. how do you design a drug that makes language come out in English. What we’re talking about is actual. Scientists have a theory that the human jawbone was distorted by evolutionary mutation. talk-show-level talking chimps. It takes a special kind of mind to be an expert on that one. For starters.MONKEY SEE 69 have to teach a chimp how to hold up their end of a conversation. there is the issue of teaching. but this always assumes you already speak the language and that you will sober up in the morning. mime. creating an elongated shape that makes it harder to eat raw greens but allows us to articulate a sophisticated language. years of patience. grunting.
”) So what would motivate a talking chimp to learn the language? The same motivation they use on professional athletes: money management. for instance. And if you are going to put your life in the hands of a trust fund manager. so as to avoid what happens to football players who aren’t watching their account managers. It’s one thing to build a mutated talking chimp. (See chapter 3. Mostly they learn sounds and then group them into nouns and then use them as verbs where necessary. You must ask yourself: What does a chimp need to discuss that he cannot cover in his native tongue? Rewarding with bananas will only go so far. which means trust funds and investments. Electrical shocks are counterproductive. Ball. LESSON 1: BASICS Toddlers learn basic words. These preserves will probably be privately funded. section “Defusing Tension in a Fiendish Experiment When You’re the Subject. but running a classroom for beginners’ English is something completely different—and a talking chimp is as beginner as it gets. may mean “This is a ball” or “I want ball” or “The color of this ball is ball” or “I would like to .70 Walt M a g u i r e might want to subcontract out. and it’s one thing to plot the downfall of your own species. At the rate the great apes are being exterminated. to start. the only way they’re going to survive is in nature preserves. Part of the problem is going to be motivation. there is a lot of motivation to learn as much as possible about what they’re doing.
For these reasons. Hiring a trained professional to handle the early stages of this may be a welcome option. And I would like that in a juice box.” will be of use.” or “potty. and some of these people might know what they’re talking about. (See chapter 3. but all I know how to say is ‘ball. The first reason. Or. probably. Your Place. regardless of the subject’s language skills.” “sleep. you are probably too busy and important a person to take the time for the patient and tediously thorough tutelage of a super-genius orangutan or any other kind of young person. to put it another way. you are unlikely to have the parenting skills necessary to do anything except emotionally cripple those around you. I recommend hiring a nanny fresh out of community college. There are plenty of exciting books on improving a child’s language skills. for many reasons. of course. Your Staff.” I will not go into detail about how toddlers pick these things up. is that if you are the sort of person who had taken the time and effort to create a talking ape.MONKEY SEE 71 play ball” or “If you touch my mommy again I am going to kill you with this ball” or even “I would like to have an orange. And the third reason is that you might need some basic conversation training yourself.’ which is a reference to its shape. I can say that exposing your great ape of choice to conversation and coaching him (or her) on simple things such as “ball. section “Step1: Step 1. provided they speak the lan- . Basic Equipment.”) Foreign au pair exchange students might do as well. The second reason is that you will need someone to tend to the care and feeding of the ape subject anyway. if you please. with no work experience to make her think she could have a more tolerable salary.
folks begin to wonder if there is a thought trying to get out past the sentry of the mouth. a slight hint of an accent might be attractive.72 Walt M a g u i r e guage at an acceptable level. There have been periods throughout world history when our ancestral rulers could proclaim “I have no room for improvement but the rest of you better try to catch up” and then shoot those who disagreed. It is certainly true that nations can be ruled by leaders who lack basic communication skills. The United States has had at least two such leaders. . reduced to simplest terms followed by pouts and whining. After a while. I’m here today to tell you of my plans for reducing the deficit by collecting less money to put into reducing the deficit and putting the money into the stock market. you have speeches that sound like baby talk. your plans probably involve a violent monkey uprising. but you don’t want to siphon millions of federal grant dollars into your insane project just to have it ruined at the final stage because your terrifying talking über-chimpMensa-mutant monkey shows up to conquer the United States and it turns out he only speaks French. do not comprehend.) People cannot follow a leader whom they literally cannot follow when he tries to convey a simple thought. yourself. a language you. until. as spoken by a fifteen-year-old au pair who lied about her grammar competency as well as her age. (True. But these are not leaders who can hold on to power and make a favorable impression on the history books. in the end. French. but popular elections can be helpful. Then the leader has to keep making his thoughts simpler and simpler to get them out through his mouth. which is falling right now.
but it has no connection with the work done by members of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. At some point. You shut up. The practical scientists believe in a big tip. you can pay them under the table. where no one ever tips more than 10 . including the tip. Not my fault. In mathematics. which helps when you’ve illegally channeled funds into this sort of secret. there is tremendous work being done in number theory. A similar debate goes on in the Speaking Simian community. The lively debate between these two groups really isn’t about that. because they rarely get out to a business lunch and they won’t believe somebody isn’t going to track them down later in the afternoon and tell them it was all a big mistake and now they have to pay back the money they spent on lunch. LESSON 2: PLANS TO CONQUER THE WORLD There has always been a lively debate between those who do pure research and practical engineers who work in applied sciences. Evildoers. 73 This is why I recommend a nanny. applied math was theoretical math until someone found a practical application for it. unholy experiment. The theoretical scientists believe in a tiny tip. for instance. The real debate is about how large the tip should be on a business lunch if it’s going on the company card. because the company is picking up the bill. who solve the equations necessary to monitor air traffic or calculate how much fizz to put in whatever the hell they’ve done to Coca-Cola this summer.MONKEY SEE Ball. Besides.
It is a common mistake to turn to the corporate world for corrupt guidance. and so did Margaret Thatcher—both smooth talkers. knows a thing or two about creating a freak of nature instilling terror and obedience in a confused population. it is time to bring in someone with a worldview. but they are more like the triplewart seadevil. have the control to exercise all kinds of personal lunacies. such as funding a monkey revolt or even a line of homicidal automatic toasters waiting for the signal to rise up and kill those who like bread. attracting the tiniest prey in the immediate area. The conflict between the theoretical and the practical is just as lively here. or anglerfish. The people who are most interested in getting an ape to speak English are least likely to be interested in teaching the ape to say anything interesting. . Leaders of privately held companies. a deep-water fish that can see no farther than the bioluminescent light they project from their own antennae. This is how Darth Vader started. To put it bluntly: Is that your whole plan for conquering the world—teaching a chimp to request a banana bilingually? Your physical scientist. They are guided by short-term profit. but if you decide world conquering is the next step you seriously want to pursue. and frequently jettison longterm health—or world conquest—in exchange for an extra tenth of a percent hike in the fourth quarter. it is acknowledged. There are many power-mad social-studies majors who have an idea or two about working with a talking chimp to conquer the world. however. Corporate leaders are portrayed as allconsuming sharks. Your nanny may know a powermad sociologist from her community college.74 Walt M a g u i r e percent. you will have to work with consultants. Once your ape is speaking at the level of an eight-year-old.
a live chimp can do better at acting. Your . Granted. might be one of these company presidents yourself. It could be said that man does things in order to talk about them—and if you quote me. And you can’t put a computer graphic on stage in Las Vegas for ten shows a week. Think of the new recipes! The product lines at Kmart and PetSmart! As Emeril. one of the greatest powers in the history of mankind. It’s probably better to train a talking ape to do well in entertainment. Of course. but why would anyone want the job? It’s much more profitable and relaxing to be a retired president. compared with computer graphics. there’s really no reason one should train a talking chimp to rule the world. Speech is not the most accurate talent. nor was it ever meant to be. You have given the ape a jawbone for speaking. the human chef. that sentence alone demonstrates the power of speech. Restaurants are another possibility. If you teach your talking ape to cook. once said. in which case the mad scientist works for you and you won’t be needing the sociology major. he (or she) would do better than most of the humans trying it. Men do things in order to exaggerate them later. selling your memoirs and visiting the talk shows to profess an intelligence never proved in office.MONKEY SEE 75 You. Your nanny has given your ape a vocabulary. and to decorate the house. you can build an empire far beyond that of the legendary Martha Stewart. “Bam!” LESSON 3: EFFECTIVE PUBLIC SPEAKING Your ape has been given the power of speech. gentle reader.
The purpose of this elocution skill is to make a good impression when calling the masses to follow your ape’s mad dream of World Ape Conquest. but realistically it’s an equally useful skill for making a good impression at those Great Ape Preserve fund-raisers.) Do not introduce these speeches in print. That’s a bleaker profession than even lunatic monkeyexperimenter. Play audio or video of these speeches. you might be wondering why you’re bothering with an ape at all if you’re just turning him into a human. everything from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address to Sally Field’s acceptance speech for the Academy Award for Best Actress for Places in the Heart in 1985. It really depends on how cool your ape is.76 Walt M a g u i r e nanny’s anarchist boyfriend has given your ape a world vision. Teach the difference between a good speech and a bad speech. powerful. People will give money to a cause they believe in. That’s something you will have to decide for yourself. (If you are a rich. but successful fundraisers also appeal to people who are just looking for entertainment. At this point. Introduce your ape to the great speeches of history. at least not the first time—you don’t want to encourage the young ape to become a writer. he (or she) will be running the pony rides at the petting zoo. and some people will pay for the privilege of getting into an event other people couldn’t afford to get into. Without that. evil mogul. you could probably just kidnap any available public speakers you admire. and doesn’t pay half of what a documentary filmmaker gets in a decade. What will separate one talking ape from another is the ability to make a great speech. There is one last step to greatness. .
you know. The drop in Catholic attendance can be directly tied to the day “Let There Be Peace on Earth” was printed in the missals. It shouldn’t be. Alternate reference for those under age twenty-four: Public speaking hasn’t been the same since SpongeBob ran out of things to say to Sandy and split his pants on purpose just to get a laugh.MONKEY SEE 77 A great speech makes a difference. For the over-educated: Since Socrates defended himself at his trial by arguing that execution was preferable to growing old ungracefully. Alternate reference for non-Catholics: Public speaking hasn’t been the same since sound-bites were replaced by 140-character text messages. like stand-up comedy. Sometimes bad public speakers feel obliged to not shut up. it is much longer. For those eighty and over: Since Jack Paar told that “water closet” story on live television. And the music in Catholic ceremonies has deteriorated since the guitar mass was introduced in the 1970s and never updated as the New Christy Minstrels became less popular. I don’t know why Catholic priests are so much more boring than ministers or rabbis. but that seems to be the trend. People would be happy just to hear him read the phone book—but don’t do that. Articulate apes must also do well in television interviews. Good public speakers can make longer speeches. You’ve already got a talking monkey. 1 . is a different animal (if you’ll pardon the expression) from the excerpts you see on television. Catholic masses have terribly boring sermons these days. but it is. The length really depends on the speaker.1 So remember not to bore your audience. A live speech. It’s really just an expression. for one thing. Great public speakers know they shouldn’t. It would actually turn people off after the first two hundred pages.
Hug Gigi? Gigi want your tie. You will die! All will die before us! Die! Go #@!# yourself. . press boy. Charlie. at least. perhaps. it must be extremely trying to be an endangered species faced with a hoard of men—and women—humans—who on the one hand are the instruments of your possible destruction—I’m trying not to say “inevitable”—possible destruction—but at the same time these are people who are struggling to find a way to work with you to save the world. genetically enhanced DICK CHENEY spider monkey with spiky tail and poison fumes PRESIDENT Excellent question. But. your extended family of friends. but in a more immediate sense affects you. your family. Describe for me what it’s like in these negotiations. which in a larger sense affects the whole world. Because I would think you would have a natural advantage in your status as a member of the great apes. your world.78 Walt M a g u i r e I was reading the part in your new book where you talk about your negotiations with the Hawaiian government over the size of the gorilla sanctuary you’re raising funds to build. at the same time. being on the verge of extinction. with a moral authority that goes with. What? Gigi like nice man. or comes with. Describe what these meetings have been like for you. GOOD DR. POINTY TALK SHOW HOST: BAD GENERAL CHEKCHEK BAD VICE AWKWARD GIGA-SPIDE 18-ft.
something with only two notes. and. No headaches. close together. and people will love that sort of thing. but remember that we’re discussing talking apes. it helps to be a sparkling conversationalist. And a religious talking ape can go even farther if he runs for office. Sometimes it seems as if the more self-confident denominations are just waiting for a public personality to say “I agree with you. Better to be a one-term vice-president and then retire to the board room and the golf course. Screaming opinions and orders is generally considered boorish behavior. And the way to do that is to listen—people will be flattered that a big star like Your Chimpness is interested in them. Monkey songs would be hits too. To stand out in the crowd. This can be extremely profitable. to be sure. especially if she doesn’t talk much.MONKEY SEE 79 How far can a talking ape go? Not as far as a talking ape who embraces religion. like U2. Movie monsters are trending . no matter how tedious. no assassinations. no brain dissections. But then we’re back to that whole declare-martial-law scenario.” so they can throw pots of cash his way. Being twelve feet tall with a spiky tail would make your talking ape stand out. and who needs that. in this case. LESSON 4: THE ART OF CONVERSATION It’s a given that people will hang on a talking chimp’s every word. but that will only work as long as there aren’t many talking chimps at the table.
on motorcycles. . A large horde of twelve-feettall monkeys with spears and spiky tails. and your dog can’t spew fire from his eyes or work a computer.80 Walt M a g u i r e toward bigger and less articulate these days. just as any living creature would. 1 Apologies to those scientists developing giant mutant dog people.1 Even if you have a talking orangutan in a Versace jacket. Screaming ape generals will be listened to. Spears are helpful. but then again. This would probably rule out the home-decorating-empire route to success. and not as a person. assuming he is their leader. they do have feelings. You wouldn’t treat your dog with contempt. can you truly say you are listening when he speaks to you of his theories that mankind has reached the end of the line as the dominant species? It’s already hard to be the odd child in the class. so are action stars. YOUR MONKEY’S GROWING NEEDS What’s Their Problem: Being Sensitive to Your Growing Behemoth’s Uncertainty About His New Stature—or Hers The reason so many giant apes get angry is because they are treated as just another federally funded pork barrel. would help your talking ape dominate the blogosphere. or even actual apes. While they’re not actual persons. I’d be curious to see what they come up with for living room drapes ideas. but if it doesn’t.
. we recognize the unique gifts that make us worthwhile individuals. too. It is good exercise for both of you. then it will be easier to communicate when she hits eighty feet tall. It’s important to get away from lab fumes once in a while. but to teenagers those gifts don’t seem clear or permanent. and the next full moon she’s a thirty-ton. this is because your monkey is eighty feet tall. then toss a few cars around the parking lot. Once again.MONKEY SEE 81 As adults. This is happening to your monkey. it all comes down to fashion. Sit down with your monkey at least once a day to just talk—and listen. You might want to disguise your monkey as your grandmother. It can be awkward. if she gets confused easily. when the relaxed atmosphere opens up intimate conversation. It doesn’t help that you have increased your monkey’s brain to allow self-awareness and a budding fashion consciousness. eighty-foot-tall purple monkey with tail spikes. If you start doing this when she is one foot tall. All they want to do is sleep late. eat. One minute she’s a cute little monkey in a monkey tree. they are too wrapped up in fashion to learn how to converse. In part. Don’t wait until she is sixteen feet: once they get into their teens. Your monkey may feel different from the other monkeys. You might also want to discuss this with your grandmother. to look inconspicuous. Take your monkey for long walks in the park. Be sure to discuss this with your monkey. to make it clear that you are not dressing her down because you are ashamed of her. It can be a bonding experience on warm summer days. You have to get through to them when they’re tiny. and all they have are the transitory peculiarities that appear and vanish in the mirror each morning.
she has. the gigantic spider monkey. This is why they wear out shoes so quickly. One theory is that they’re big enough and powerful enough to behave irresponsibly without worrying about you spanking them. It is nature’s way of keeping them in fashion. it’s just too. but at this stage she is simply a talking. name of Gigi. A boy does not freak out because he might have to start shaving. too depressing.82 Walt M a g u i r e Many researchers have explored the reason the pubescent ape is the most dangerously unbalanced of all. ramshackle con1 It’s common practice to wait until a monster is mature before assigning a monster name.1 She is a very emotional teen. five feet tall and growing inches daily. There is even some theory in the medical community that teenage mood swings are caused by something “inside” the body. . he freaks out because his sneakers are last season’s. that can’t be right. Your monkey might not seem to worry about fashion. let’s not talk about that case. Our subject will eventually become Giga-Spide. five-foot-tall spider monkey. Obviously. But for the sake of argument. She is chattering in long convoluted sentences. with a short attention span and an interest in fashion but no sense of what looks good on her. limited experience with people. after all. Let’s say you have a typical teenage talking spider-monkey. She looks up to you as the guiding parent figure in her life. but what is the fashion in giant mutant monkeys? What Do You Say? Let’s try out a simple evening. and not by clothes. So you are spending the evening watching Nickelodeon and making candles.
and product names as nouns. right?” The problem with all of this is the presence of a mad scientist.) Check out some of the television programs she enjoys. You have little spots where hot wax has wilted the short hairs off your bony knuckles and left faint reddish welts on your thin skin.MONKEY SEE 83 structions of overextended adjectives. and secretly give your monkey child a sense of cultural superiority as she protests that you are so stereotypically “not with it. (If she spends all her time locked in an electrified cage in your laboratory. rusty verb forms. or what her friends are doing this night. She is avoiding talk of boys. or her sports teams. you wouldn’t be spending all . but these guys just won’t shut up. Bits of hot wax fall on her hairy wrists and she rubs them off. Talking monstrosities present their own problems. leaving a white residue of powdery cracked wax on her fur like snow on winter grass. You might start off asking about school. Show an interest in her friends but avoid prying. misplaced adverbs. You would think the ability to speak would ease communication. do not harp on this “friends” business. sometimes it’s plain nice to feign a little ignorant vulnerability.” When you are a know-it-all mad scientist. which is why you know she is thinking of them. If you are any good at connections to other people. “Why is the sky blue?” “Why does the sun shine?” “Who exposed me to a diabolical combination of chemicals and radiation?” “What happens when I grow too big for this cage?” “Why do all the radio stations sound the same?” “Do these sandals make my toes look fat?” “Should I buy this skirt? I can always bring it back later. and talk knowledgeably of them—though sometimes a frustrating ignorance can be amusing.
Parental figures don’t have to be the best at anything. but the truth is you’re not so much honoring her privacy as feeling terrified she’ll want to talk to you about it. or how so-and-so will pay dearly for mocking you at the tech school reunion. The morning mirror becomes the magical talking looking-glass that gives teenagers the forecast on the day to come. which is especially hard for the shy. You can congratulate yourself on spotting your girl’s interest in a boy. or did I just think it would make me look good? A lie will come out as much as the truth. Our Gigi has these problems too. When teenagers wake up in the morning. or is she just around for my own amusement—to look cute. but they should give the impression they mean for the best. So she isn’t always in the mood to listen when you want to ramble on about her being the key to your plans for world domination. In the long run. . if your calculations are correct. plus she is growing four inches a day and her tail has developed spikes on the end. or whenever. the trick is to not make your children afraid they will become like you. to mow the lawn.84 Walt M a g u i r e evening doing low-skill crafts with a stranger you had to build yourself. most of them dread that first look in the mirror. The first signs of male-pattern baldness might have appeared. to fetch tea? Is this where I want to be. Ask yourself: Do I really want what’s best for this youngster I’ve created. things have happened to their skin: eruptions have appeared. even when you’re a girl. During the night. or so it has been said. or breasts might have gotten larger. You have to want to be with another being. which will fall off eventually. or walked across their nose to perch on the forehead for the rest of the day.
Also. just pick up the doily and put it on the new. and then they’re afraid of water and you have to hide the ice cube tray or they’ll freak out and the next thing you know all those doilies are ruined. . larger beanbag chair.MONKEY SEE 85 Sometimes she just wants a hug. You could cut up an old athletic sock and they’ll believe you. And who says they have to be lace? Kids don’t even know what the hell a doily is until you tell them. so there is plenty of material available on making a small space comfortable. They are an underrated decorating accessory. and Gigi’s small cage will keep getting smaller as she balloons up and (with the help of binge-eating) outwards. long out of fashion as “grandmotherly. Doilies will help. a staggering real estate market has forced more people into cramped quarters. Making doilies might even be a nice activity for the two of you. unless they’re shooting it out of their own faces. Check back-to-school articles on dorm rooms. So how do you make Gigi feel better about sleeping in a cage? Style mavens are once again a help here.” just as diamonds and miniskirts were a few years ago. Whether you’ve created your little monster or captured/adopted/stolen him/her. but not in front of the other monstrosities. What were you going to do with all those candles? Monsters are notoriously afraid of flame. Not too tight! She probably can’t control that spiky tail! This brings up another subject. you can’t always provide adequate guidance on this difficult journey of self-discovery. The nice thing about doilies is that you can move them easily as the furniture is crushed. Growing behemoths don’t have much control over their blossoming superpowers.
. it’s important to spot the difference between normal teen bipolarity and massive psychosis induced by science run amok. Just pick up the doily and move on.86 Walt M a g u i r e And finally. If you hit your monkey with 50.000 volts and a simultaneous injection of giganto serum. of course the toaster is going to get broken. and you can’t blame your little monkeykins for that.
on her usual stool at Shraftt’s drugstore. As Dr. American Sign Language. a female lowland gorilla who learned American Sign Language as a baby. also known as Ameslan or ASL. Patterson describes it in The Education of Koko. essentially introducing her to language at the same level a human baby would begin. Koko was around three months old. . Francine “Penny” Patterson was a graduate student when she discovered Koko. I speak of Koko. No one had worked closely with such a young gorilla. of course. without a visit to the ape who has been talking for over thirty years. Dr. took advantage of the primate’s dexterous hands while bypassing the obvious problem of spoken language from inadequately evolved vocal chords and a thick jaw.Chapter 7 A FRANK AND INTIMATE CONVERSATION WITH GORILLA CELEBRITY SPOKESMODEL KOKO NO BOOK ABOUT TALKING APES would be complete.
There are plans to move the operation to a new. and Koko was taken away from her when she became ill herself. I learned as much as I could of Koko. The Education of Koko. To this end. At age one. To prepare for my interview.1 What started as an experiment grew into an emotional attachment and a grander experiment: survival. Francine. The Education of Koko (Holt Rinehart & Winston. including a few that have also learned ASL and Gorilla Sign Language (GSL). in Woodside. Patterson’s care. Dr. In fact. I had had my eye on this gorilla for nine months. and Linden. With Love from Koko. Though I have not had time to read them. and they are extremely close. Koko’s Story. California. 1981). I did not want to waste her time with my ignorance. a modified version tailored to the specific skills of the users. Koko’s own mother became ill shortly after giving birth. much larger gorilla preserve in Maui. Patterson has been with Koko for more than thirty years now. or Koko. Koko lives at the Gorilla Foundation. . once fund-raising permits. the day after I received permission from the San Francisco Zoo to attempt to teach Ameslan [ASL] to an infant gorilla. I bought books— Koko’s Kitten. as she was nicknamed. I had begun planning Project Koko the day I first saw little Hanabi-Ko.88 Walt M a g u i r e Project Koko began in July 1972. their weight has reinforced to me the 1 Patterson. Hawaii. Maui is considered comparable to the environment of the African lowlands while being considerably safer from hunting. Eugene. she had just recuperated when she found a home in Dr. There are other gorillas in the compound.
Patterson in my wallet. after all. When one is to meet the world’s foremost something. which gave me some scientific facts in a comprehensible style. answering our questions. a very smelly project. I read articles in National Geographic. It’s not that the smart ones are less successful as stars. It is because they are put on the spot by total strangers who have not kept in mind the two-way-glass nature of stardom: We know much of the private lives of these beautiful creatures. Gaining access is both a privilege and a responsibility to represent the prying questions and misplaced curiosity of tens of thousands of other. without any reading material and very few books on tape. but they know little of us. It’s not stalking if you are researching a book.MONKEY SEE 89 tremendous love and goodwill involved in what must be. I carried a picture of Dr. which funds the research and provides a home to Koko and the other gorillas. it’s just that the successful ones have to spend more time in front of the cameras. I bought all her CDs. Speaking to us. is all very tiring for celebrities. Any sort of celebrity is bound to have many opportunities to look stupid. . it is important to remember that when it comes to meeting any celebrity. and this frightens them. They are not necessarily stupid. opining on subjects they have already opined on hundreds of times while having had no time to study the issues properly because they have been too busy indulging our begging for their opinions. and I watched videos available from the Gorilla Foundation. Patterson. I became familiar with the work of Dr. When many of them sound stupid in interviews. less fortunate noncelebrities. it is because they have been too busy doing interviews. many people have the same idea. My office is lined with pictures of Koko.
It’s hard to measure if they’re signing no. I decided to begin with but one word: “ No. and sleep. Could sign language be the answer? Turns out. that was the premise of this book.90 Walt M a g u i r e This all changes when you get to politicians. drink. Dr. It helped when I learned that I couldn’t get a private meeting with the gorilla. because cats already bend their paws that way to hesitate before climbing up furniture. and even if I could. ” I picked this word because it seemed to be a response cats used all the time and yet did not seem to comprehend when it comes from humans. or swat string. anticipate scratching fuzzy slippers. The more I learned about this living example of what has been mangled in the movies. Could I put it to the test? And thus it was that I began teaching my cat GSL. the more I was moved to model my experiment after the original. Could I reproduce what Koko and Dr. I couldn’t wangle the airfare to San Francisco. Patterson started by teaching Koko only three words: food. Since I was training a cat. which had never been attempted before. In order to prepare. . it’s not the answer. I decided to conduct my own experiment. Patterson had achieved? Could I do this in the comfort of my own home? After all.
I decided to train my seven-year-old cat instead of a newborn. but I was afraid Maffy would get territorial and do some harm to a kitten. Maffy and I have been together a long time. more neutral word: “ Orange. I don’t look good in orange. I associated each shirt. pair of socks. and I know how aggressive the fluffy girl can be.MONKEY SEE 91 Though my cat might just be stubborn. tie. such as food or sleep. and therefore it would be more likely to stand out in conversation. because my cat can be ornery enough to refuse tuna just to spite me. until all the laundry was shredded. I decided against more obvious words. I realize this was a mistake. undershirt. ” The sign involves putting your open hand in front of your face and making a loose squeezing motion. and silk jacket with the sign. I laid all my orange clothes out across the bed (mine). suggesting juice. whoever heard of trying to teach a kitten sign language? I began my experiment on a Monday morning. each time moving her little paws to sign orange. with a simpler. Besides. Immediately after breakfast (mine). . So I tried again. I carried Maffy over and placed her on top of each item. Unlike Dr. In this way. I did this for two hours. Patterson. I picked this word because it is not one cats use frequently. to my knowledge.
where she waited until I arrived before she picked up her own long-term project to deconstruct my 1958 Knoll armchair one cotton ball at a time. yet lazy. properly admired lowland gorilla Hanabi-Ko. if I’d had the chance. May 1984. keeping the responses from Koko exactly as they were written. She must have grown suddenly tired of our game. to create a scent association. One thing you can do with a cat that you cannot do with a gorilla is prop her up on your knees and wiggle her around in “dance” steps. Desperate. According to the Koko. 6/3/04 Koko. conversation with Koko.html. I decided to try the technique that became popular at the more credible magazines a few years ago. 1 “State of the Art Preserve Designed for and by Gorillas. . Francine Patterson and Leigh Anne Kranz.92 Walt M a g u i r e Then we moved to the kitchen. so I decided to give up. because she lost interest immediately and walked past me out to the hallway and down to the living room. She. After a few rolls.org Web site. then. I found some transcripts of Koko’s old conversations and changed the questions. The line was busy. with the great. it became increasingly difficult to coax her out from under the bed. where I rolled her favorite ball to her playfully. After several days. I picked up the phone and tried calling the Koko Foundation again. and to a lesser extent her fellow signing apes. is the interview I would have done. it’s extremely difficult to get a meeting with Koko.” by Dr. I thought it might help to train her in ASL using this technique. known as Koko. I replaced the ball with an orange I had been keeping in a box of catnip overnight. are sick to death of strangers.1 This.org/preserve/what.
forgive me if this is too personal. ME: Thank you. Koko. ME: Pretty kitty or stuffed monkey baby doll—which do you prefer? I realize that’s an unfair question—you’re very attached to all life.MONKEY SEE 93 MY DAY WITH KOKO First of all. ME: I’ve seen pictures of you with lots of celebrities. I know—but do you. I want to emphasize that I mean no disrespect to Koko. in my own defense. that any celebrity—whether human or not—could sound silly in an interview if you ask the right ME: . I realize some readers might feel I have been unfair to lift Koko’s responses out of context. What about me? How do I smell to you? Is scent important to you? I’m sure it is. I don’t know why. I’ve never heard anything that would make me think it’s true. thank you for seeing me. KOKO: Visitor dirty curious. or any person or fellow ape associated with her. Koko. Do celebrities smell better than normal people? I’ve always imagined Robin Williams smelled of Ralph Lauren. ME: Is celebrity difficult for you? Are you sensitive about your privacy? Who is it you want to meet? KOKO: Frown bad. ME: But who is it you want to meet? KOKO: Frown bad. Do you? KOKO: Gorilla love. It is important to note. KOKO: Frown bad. do you think about children? You must.
NIXON Hello. Yes. here I can illustrate that Koko actually comes off better than two random humans I fake-interviewed using the same technique.c What the hell do you think is involved? What’s your guess? d Is celebrity difficult for you? Are you sensitive about your privacy? Who is it you want to meet? Frown bad. “Well. fairer context. . it fits into a lot of archetypes. Visitor dirty curious. Hello. He screwed us all. I don’t know why. I’ve never heard anything that would make me think it’s true.b First of all. What about me? How do I smell to you? Is scent important to you? I’m sure it is.a I’ve seen pictures of you with lots of celebrities. f . . Do celebrities smell better than normal people? I’ve always imagined Robin Williams smelled of Ralph Lauren. There’s the sadness of that and the acceptance of that. Ever since DeNiro put on 60 pounds for Raging Bull. yeah.94 Walt M a g u i r e questions and then change the questions but keep the original answers. Yeah. Well you still alive? Yeah. for Christ’s sake. I get it. that set the course. To provide a broader. but also the excitement of a new era. really. ME KOKO BRAD PITT PRESIDENT RICHARD M. he said. thank you for seeing me.” We know that. Frown bad.e Goldwater put it in context. you’re going to probably be sued or some damn thing. . everybody bugs everybody else.
j (23 sec. And don’t. we. I just typed up a couple. — — . . do you think about children? You must. just don’t let this keep you or your colleagues from concentrating on the big game. NIXON But. I just got it. just to have here which I’d be willing to put out. . that’s right. Always. (pause) Well. . anyway get a good night’s sleep.. this. the point is.MONKEY SEE ME KOKO BRAD PITT 95 PRESIDENT RICHARD M. I mean this. pause) Sure. Yeah. what’s your advice that we— You see. Okay. uh. uh. we don’t have— I just. Okay? Yeah. forgive me if this is too personal. this thing is just. Do you? Gorilla love. pause. 32 sec. well. (1 min. g Pretty kitty or stuffed monkey baby doll— which do you prefer? I realize that’s an unfair question—you’re very attached to all life. Okay. noise and unintelligible conversation) k But who is it you want to meet? Frown bad. I’ll tell you. the point is. pause) Thank you. . Yeah. i Thank you. So it’s that transitional spot. don’t bug anybody without asking me. h (18 sec. at this point we just stay away from it all. . I know— but do you. You know . one of those side issues and a month later everybody looks back and wonders what the hell the shouting was about. uh. Yeah. you know. that moment when you’re at a depot and let’s see where you go.
This may be the first time that the target audience and the celebrity icon are speaking to each other on the same level. You just have your little fun with your little friends. 1 I have decided to abandon the footnotes. feel free to tear this page out like you tear out my heart. most other language experiments have been conducted with chimpanzees. I’d hate to see you ruin a precious tabletop over my wasted work. Go on. The ekers are well aware of it. and all it’s brought me is heartache. are the future. in the long term. and they’re eking out a meager billion in the present. much of Koko’s efforts are directed toward children. I don’t care. the people with the money are grown-ups. and so their signing skills have been used primarily to make snooty remarks to the other apes. I’m wasting my time. You aren’t really reading these. long before that future when the kids inherit the earth and whatever’s lying around in the trust fund built from the current eking. I’m sure I don’t mind. who like to lord it over the other apes with their tricycle skills and sharp clown-clothes closet already. . Unfortunately. One of the intriguing things about Koko is that she is one of the few gorillas on the planet who have been trained.96 Walt M a g u i r e More than anything else. They don’t teach you that part in fund-raising school. Koko has become the spokesmodel for the worldwide effort to save the great apes from extinction. Turn to this page and just rest your wet glass or cup right on these carefully documented pages. I’ve tried being the adult about this. If you need a coaster. If you don’t care. Don’t worry about the referential credits here in the footnotes. and count on apes pinning too much hope on the calendar. on the theory that they.1 Like all great representatives of a dwindling subject. Go read the rest of the book with your little friends.
It would push a lot of bananas and cereal. p.. White House Tape Transcripts.. 1:55 p. Nixon. 6:31 p. At the first hint of evolution. Haldeman. That could happen. Would signing become part of their culture? Would such gorillas communicate with one another in GSL? The biggest question of all: Would the first generation of these gorillas pass that skill to the next generation.” Reuters. President Richard M. Haldeman.m. ET.m. 3. p.com/id/4953083.msn. 1972. d White House Tape Transcripts. John Dean. 5:27–6:17 p.m.msn. R. however. NOTES a “Brad Pitt Says He’s Ready for Fatherhood. September 15. John Dean. Msnbc. 1972. without help from humans? It’s unlikely anyone will ever get the funding to conduct such a study. they will be hounded to death by talk show hosts and network programmers. the way human babies are exposed to speech. May 13.com/id/4874478.MONKEY SEE 97 One cannot help but wonder what would happen if an entire colony of gorillas learned sign language from infancy. b c “Brad Pitt Goes to Extremes in Troy. H.” MSNBC. ET. 2004. They’re already on the verge of extinction. unless the television networks run out of people to humiliate in contests. . H. Msnbc. R. September 15. 5:27–6:17 p. 2004. and teach the language to their offspring. President Richard M. April 30. Nixon. The next question might be: Could this tribe of talking gorillas be the first step to the end of mankind? The answer to that is: No.m. 10.
p. September 15. p. 5:27–6:17 p. R.” MSNBC. H. ET. White House Tape Transcripts. 1972. 2004. k .com/id/4874478.” MSNBC.. R. John Dean.m. R. President Richard M.m. Haldeman.. Msnbc.98 e Walt M a g u i r e “Brad Pitt Says He’s Ready for Fatherhood.m. 5:27–6:17 p.m. 2. 2004. 6:31 p. ET. 6:31 p.. President Richard M. President Richard M. i “Brad Pitt Says He’s Ready for Fatherhood. p. 10:00–10:40 a. 5.m. 1972.msn. John Dean. Haldeman. President Richard M. Nixon. Nixon. Haldeman. John Dean. 6:31 p. Nixon. April 30. John Dean. 10.m.com/id/4874478. September 15.com/id/4874478. April 30. 5:27–6:17 p. April 30. White House Tape Transcripts. 1972. j h White House Tape Transcripts. Msnbc. ET. Nixon. April 15.” MSNBC.msn. 2004. 10. p. September 15. f White House Tape Transcripts. 1973.. Msnbc. H. H. g “Brad Pitt Says He’s Ready for Fatherhood.msn.m.
Any reference to beating opens the floodgate of memory. Economic interdependency has proven to be an effective way to build world peace. The mangabeys. If man and ape are to live and work side by side. Countries that start wars have traditionally been isolated. when you mention beating. even . just before they ate them. Attacking the country that produces your favorite wine only destroys your own dinner parties. Talking chimpanzees start reminiscing about the great beatings their tribe gave to the red-capped mangabey monkeys. You are going to have to stop using that expression when the talking apes arrive. Then they will beat you. good old capitalism might be the way to do it. just start screeching. this can go on for the whole day. Gorillas will simply misunderstand and think you have posed a challenge. join ’em.Chapter 8 MORE TALKING APE SITUATIONS START A BUSINESS There is an old saying: If you can’t beat ’em.
) If a country makes human rights part of the cost of doing business. help them develop an industry that makes them valuable. . For one thing. Already a leader in this field. These are the common-sense rules of twentyfirst-century living.100 Walt M a g u i r e ostracized and sanctioned. Fast Food. they might not require staircases in the hallway. just a few strands of rope. self-righteous idiot would ignore them. (Oil is historically the exception. and plumbers. 2. 3. This common sense applies equally well to calm coexistence between the intelligent species. Hash-slinger meets banana-flinger in a whole new world of faster fast food. and only a greedy. contractors. If you want a country to not attack you. It’s not clear why that’s the sort of person who keeps rising to the top in politics worldwide. help your neighbors give the folks a reason to stay home. Business Opportunities Everywhere What are some good business opportunities for a joint venture? 1. When starting a business with a talking ape. make sure both sides pay at least a basic. minimum amount of lip service to these principles. with no sense of interdependence. Conversely. law firms will continue to make things up. then they stand a better chance of avoiding revolution or an exodus of emigrants. Law. if you want to stop a flood of immigrants across your own borders. Housing. Apes will require a radical new approach to the standard apartment. Critical need for architects.
this would be a growth market. let’s learn our lessons early. but who knows what talking apes like? The term “crossover artist” takes on a whole new meaning when there is an entire new audience to reach. On the other hand. Music. Real Estate. 10. 9. A natural knack for picking from the higher branches will mean fresher apples and oranges making it to market. Television. Rap sampled heavy metal and nursery rhymes. 7. 2. Pop artists added “guest appearances” by rappers. Fashion. because record executives think that the talking apes are afraid of technology and won’t download songs off the Internet. an adequate supply of acrobats. Farming. 6. 5. 3. Businesses to avoid 1. Firearms.MONKEY SEE 101 4. Monkeys have been running the networks for years. The circus. Since apes are generally naked. Except French-Canadian troupes. Monkeys respond to Mozart. Space Exploration. They’re always dressed badly in the movies. See Housing. 8. humans might just need a way to escape. . Cirque du Soleil. but now they can write their own jokes. Apes would be especially attractive to record companies. Since the talking apes might arrive from elsewhere. Finally. they could play an active role in developing a human interstellar capability. Product testing on animals.
“I see what you mean. “Good idea. Just this morning. will give it a great advantage over the other pointy sticks on the market.102 Walt M a g u i r e A Day in the Office Let’s say John Q. Human has formed a corporation with a brilliant ape colleague. as well as the doughnut shoppe. completely unsexily.000 pointy sticks from General Chekchek. “Get Larry to give them a call.” she says. They have been marketing it as the perfect way to pick up a doughnut without getting glaze all over your fingers. John likes to get to the office at exactly 8:30. since he hates to admit he hasn’t read the details before . and review his schedule for the day. a very influential chimpanzee who runs some kind of secret underground bakery. considering the size of the order. Dr.” he says. Its adjustable plastic grip. suitable for any opposable thumb. John is going to manufacture Percy’s patented pointy stick. tapping the papers. Percy Pointy. onto his desk. which makes it handy around the home or office. He is ready to work by 8:32. drink his coffee. for testing if it’s filled with cream or jelly. they received a big order for 500.” says John.” she says. check his mail. John reads the fine print and nods as he sips his coffee.” “What?” “Well. and I think we can complete this order in six weeks—or four weeks if we can postpone the Donut Towne production. it’s not a big deal. I mean. “Well.” He starts to feel uncomfortable. “I reviewed the figures.” “We are going to have to retool for this. His secretary walks in with a copy of the Chekchek contract and slides it.
and John devoted a lot of time to developing a comfortable. John drops into one of the human seats (no shedding) and waves his copy of the contract.” he explains. Pointy and on calling John by his last name. Pointy arrives at nine.MONKEY SEE 103 now. It is his defensive place. but his jacket is usually hanging on the back of his chair unless there are clients visiting. but he remembers how long it took him to get Percy to wear pants. and it made a difference when he relented on this. come on in. “Eileen just gave me a copy. well. “The more I listened to his plans for using the sticks. open office environment. . . Percy still prefers to wear a suit and tie to the office. Percy had insisted on being called Dr. John gives him a moment to get settled before he pops his head into his ape partner’s office. like he’s going to spit. the more I thought we should make some modifications to meet his needs. they weren’t in the meeting. making it harder to see the orange fur sticking out of the zipper. “Well. He thinks about mentioning it. John wears a tie. . When Dr. John. John doesn’t want to break his line of thought. Percy shifts to hang sideways by one arm and a leg. “Hi. “Some of these features you negotiated with the general .” Percy swings on the trapeze contraption hanging above the wet bar. but this splits into a charming smile. Percy. Got a minute?” “Sure. John. Percy had a very formal approach. so he tells her to make the arrangements and sends her on her way. I walked the general out to his car. He puckers his lips a bit.” he says.” When they started working together.” John can’t help noticing his colleague’s fly is open again.
I mean. Percy. Percy. our pointy sticks come in six-inch coffeestirrer length and the industrial twelve-inch.” “Well. it’s because you’re an orangutan. and things can sour over one incident—though usually it involves something obvious from the beginning.” he begins. “Look. and I am very disappointed.” Here. John is now in the delicate position of questioning a business decision without unraveling the entire company.” John concedes. look. he can address the immediate problem. But it’s not because you’re an ape. John. “is that you should have told me about this change before I . John has shown his soft emotional underbelly to reduce the sense of threat his partner feels. biodegradable recycled plastic. They’re made of a light. Round Foods ’n’ Sound Moods. “it’s not that I’m second-guessing your ability to negotiate.” All business relationships are built on trust. Percy. I know. We’ve talked about our biased notional mindset of judgmental prejudices. But this order—” “—This order isn’t any bigger than the one you brought in last month for that stereo store café. “All I’m saying. You’re right. “Frankly.” “I know. and I’m sorry. like the presence of an Australian media billionaire or a CEO from Texas. Now that he has restored them to a level playing field. maybe not.” he continues.104 Walt M a g u i r e “Well. It’s just a bit unusual. I do tend to think I’m a better businessman than you. this smells of prejudice. I appreciate your desire to please the customer—” “This is a big account. and I was brought up to believe you guys are brilliant scientists but not the contract-fine-print types.
“I think I was just worried about meeting these requirements. but he and John are relieved that their crisis of faith has been resolved. When he stops spinning. John notices that Percy has come back from lunch wearing some sort of leather-and-Kevlar outfit instead of his customary Jos. But I suppose if our client is willing to pick up the extra cost. perhaps. Later in the day. you are absolutely right. “I guess us orangutans have a thing or two to learn about the practical side of manufacturing. John returns to his office. It took me by surprise. “Listen to me well. I kept meaning to tell you. A. Whereas General Chekchek wants his to be eight feet long and stainless steel. wagging a finger in mock reproach. tapping his fingertips together. Percy corrects himself hastily. it’s none of my business—I mean none of our business. that’s all. “Johnny. And this business of delivering them in the dead of night to a secret underground location—the Teamsters are going to want overtime for that. “Oh.” It’s John’s turn to grin.” he assures. When .” Percy laughs—a bit nervously. but they were ordering our standard six-inch plastic sticks with their logo on the side. That’s all. Human—” “John.” John interrupts. It just didn’t seem like that big a modification. Forgive me. John is pleased that their little talk has helped promote a more casual dress code.MONKEY SEE 105 heard it from my secretary. he leans forward. I mean. no harm done. Bank’s blue serge. it’s the same number as the Round Foods order.” Percy drops himself onto the bookshelf and leaps onto his desk chair. After some small talk about office romances and the upcoming Wimbledon finals.” He grins sheepishly.
he will be able to complete his plans knowing he has taken the time to seek out the best jobbers in this highly specialized field.000 pointy sticks. he shoots John a big thumbs-up. In six weeks. See how easy it is? It can’t be any tougher than putting a Harvard MBA and a Wharton MBA in the same department. Even in a good economy. Many of these factors are barred from official consideration by federal law. though. when the customer receives his order of 500. It c a n ’ t be a n y t o u g h e r t h a n p u t t i n g a H a r v a r d M B A a n d a W h a r t o n M B A in t h e s a m e d e p a r t m e n t . Percy Pointy can be proud that their fair and balanced partnership has made a real difference in the marketplace.106 Walt M a g u i r e Percy passes him in the parking lot. Human and Dr. some political groups pretend that the absence of biased hiring means the laws are . John Q. people tend to consider factors other than pure skill. The Job Interview Looking for work is always hard. unfortunately.
it might come down to who would fit best into the office social group. But not every company is stable.MONKEY SEE 107 unnecessary. and health care can be an opportunity for new beginnings and a better life. Fake . Still. Pennsylvania. Fort Mifflin. but you could say it. Go ahead. Brazil. Peever. Each department had to find its own balance for diversity. You could even say diversity is the definition of society. Percy Pointy into his company. Or vice versa. Let’s say the company has changed ownership and there are very few positions for humans in the new social order. despite everyone’s best efforts. Say it. sometimes bitterly. or Colonial Williamsburg. because of a successful talking-ape-army uprising. Even with these laws. (The one exception was the cafeteria. yet recognize the advantages in their differences. income. John is applying for a new position as a laborer in the slag pits of what used to be Dallas. After much disastrous experimentation. When you are applying for a job and there are several other equally qualified contenders. South Dakota. hoping no one will notice the stupidity of their argument. Human brought Dr. It would be fatuous. This was true when John Q. as in John’s case. Tribalism has replaced diversity. status. a company changes direction and a partnership dissolves.) Diversity is an ongoing process. Texas. sometimes. They decided to have a fully integrated man/ape staff. personality matters in the workplace. credit rating. what seems like a devastating loss of power. See who looks up from their drink. They had to consider their personal prejudices. Indiana. and sometimes. sometimes amicably. family. or. they decided to close it. just like cleaning off cat hair. however.
He wants all his skills accurately described. Sometimes it’s the cumulative effect of your presentation of yourself that makes all the difference. so that it seems all your experience has been leading up to this opportunity. going over his work again to check for mistakes. Although most employers will believe you are. In a soft job market. He must decide which magazine would most impress the interviewer as he is “discovered” reading: Forbes. reminding himself it’s not a race. sloppy scribble. and he uses that to his advantage. The stack of magazines on the coffee table can be a trap. or Highlights? Or would reading . a specific skill is still the best tool. John has to use every skill in his arsenal. because he has not eaten in two weeks. a neat tie. block by block. a neat form is more professional than a fast.” John is very excited about this interview—in part. It is a prestigious job. When he fills out the application form. This is where the apes are breaking up the human cities. How you present yourself in the reception area can be important. and restraint from playing air guitar in front of the receptionist. it’s always important to focus your description. Because you are. to burn as fuel for their power plants. and that you’re not simply applying for any old job. but that’s not the case here. this is just another job. because slag laborers are rarely herded to the slaughterhouses for “reeducation. a paycheck for just another Joe so he can keep food and video on the table. However. he has to wait for the interviewer. Time. No. including correct posture.108 Walt M a g u i r e Colonial America. he writes slowly and carefully. Once he’s turned in the application. Outdoor Living. because by now he’s forgotten what job he’s applied for. He knows they are going to make him wait when it’s finished.
an option—if she is on the phone. or someone is ahead of you.MONKEY SEE 109 a magazine suggest a lack of concentration on the interview. or she is a silverback gorilla—then stand up and look at the art work on the walls. even though it hasn’t started yet? A good compromise. Make impressed sounds. a photo of the supreme commander in full battle regalia on the deck of an aircraft carrier. A photo of the current president is common and does not necessarily indicate a political preference. but not too loud. is to get up and hit on the receptionist. say things like “Huh” and “Wow. You’ll probably never see her again.” but avoid pandering exclamations such as “Boyoboy!” and “Zounds!” Look for telltale signs of a strong political or religious slant to the organization. titled ONLY SPECIFIC PEOPLE ARE GOING TO BENEFIT FROM THIS. Study the framed industry awards. so why not? If this is not H o w y o u p r e s e n t y o u r s e l f in t h e r e c e p t i o n a r e a c a n be i m p o r t a n t . is a very good sign if you are looking for a position that will rebirth your immortal soul instead of delivering health insurance. A life-size painting of the crucifixion. if the wait won’t be too long. signed “Thanks for your enormous contribution to .
This is not strictly true. though John made Percy successful.110 Walt M a g u i r e our righteous cause. Percy comes to the lobby and ushers John into his office himself. John can’t help thinking that he made Percy what he is today. A photo of President George Washington may mean you are in a grade school assembly. The interview itself is a bit awkward. biting his nails. Kennedy indicates you are in an Irish Catholic barber shop.” would seem to indicate a certain bias. which is a petty warlord. A photo of President John F. your prospective employers probably buy their decor in bulk at an office supply house and none of this means anything. If there are pictures of Washington and Lincoln in identical frames. it was Percy’s ambition and General Chekchek’s army that made Percy what he is today. But our friend John—remember John?—elects to show his ape masters what he thinks they are most likely to want. This is an encouraging sign of . so he just slumps in his seat and stares into space. A poster of a kitten on a tree branch with the caption HANG IN THERE means they have not redecorated since the late 1970s and you have a snowball’s chance in hell of getting a raise. That would be total submission.
They engage in small talk about the old days.” “Right. The point is. acknowledging their years of work together in the past. It’s just that I saw your name on the application and I wanted . . . . Percy is in charge today. offered as a social nicety given the present circumstances. Pointy! John stares at him. the position has already been filled. remember that bowling party for Phil’s birthday?” “Those were good times. .” Though he is depressed at his failure to secure work. “I know it’s a tough job market out there.” he mumbles feebly. a courtesy interview would be the least I could do. John is heartened by this sudden realization that the talking ape rulers are afraid of flying. “It’s tough here too.” Perhaps there are some awkward apologies for past mistakes—half-hearted. .” That last bit was no doubt unnecessary. “At least it’s there until we learn how to fly those jet things.” Percy adds helpfully. but the rest of Percy’s remarks were at least an attempt at honesty. “I’ll come to the point. “Look. you weren’t really qualified. and he has to take command of the conversation. Percy guesses this. So kudos to Dr. he has not had the courage to look John in the face since he sat down. Human.MONKEY SEE 111 respect. and he is anxious to leave and pass this vital information on to the underground resistance. “Hey.” says John. “I think there is still some human civilization in Greenland.” “Sure were.” “You betcha. .” he says. Right. with ice in his voice. Anyway. But the economy will turn around. I thought it .” “. I wanted to hire more people. .
Good to see you. . John. sensitive beings inside those suits. Pointy. . thank you for seeing me. Percy— Overlord Pointy. I mean. Human— John.” “—Yes— okay— Well. but few realize that America’s most precious resource is the giant head inside the giant head.” “Good to see you too. Very decent of you.” Can a Human/Ape Market Make It? We’re having fun with the financial end of human/ape mixed society. “Good to see you. sorry—” “—Doctor. it is well known that there are gifted. I still go by Dr. Help yourself to a banana muffin on the way out. Even fewer people realize that America’s . but could they really live together in peace? They have so far. I better go.” “I think there is still some human civilization in Greenland. Most major cities are run by sports mascots.” he says. standing quickly. At least it’s there until we learn how to fly those jet things.112 Walt M a g u i r e “Well .
is that he (or she) (or it) is one of a kind. The other point is that some species eat pretty plants while others just smell them. “You never bought me flowers. The advantage of this is that you .MONKEY SEE 113 military might is in its vast number of aquariums. The first problem a monster primate faces when dating. Nothing in-between. and then you moved into my apartment. FIRST DATES AND HOW TO AVOID THEM One of my ex-girlfriends told me that she had never dated.” She studied the baffled expression on my face. and then we talked over drinks. so we will explore the nature of social problems among enhanced apes and monkeys in the racy. all bets are off. all of these creatures work for the betterment of the human race. and then we had sex. This is not really an interesting point either. she leaned over and said. making them the mightiest armed force in the modern world. “I think I’ve always either been alone or living with someone. she said.” This story illustrates an interesting point.” When I pointed out that she had dated me. Fortunately. of course. Until the toaster uprising. After that. After this went on for nearly an hour. “No. where dolphins work tirelessly to solve the difficult equations that keep our troops deployed at maximum effectiveness. randy realm of dating. and we remain— and will remain—the dominant species on earth. you and I had a series of conversations. besides why that relationship was a mistake.
including the unlikelihood of hooking your friend up with her sister. The girl in question is a cute little spider monkey. though they might imagine they are. if truth be told. the emotional needs and reactions of teenagers are a mess. before you knew what you were doing. performed by child actors raised by tutors and personal trainers. And if you’ve been near a high school lately. A sophisticated level of language simply means there are more words involved. or that teens are unlikeable. no matter the level of intelligence. It’s possible Planet of the Apes was inspired by a request to borrow the car. is a talking bonobo you created early in your career. The male.. Let’s suppose two “enhanced” primates have a crush on one another. which makes research easy. a sort of cross between the hairy polite son you never had and a pet you don’t have to walk. who at this time is an inch over . no matter the outside appearance. The disadvantages are many. name of Gigi. if one adjusts the data to allow for the fact that the work is largely written by fortyyear-olds on deadline. a friendly boy who adores you and.114 Walt M a g u i r e can be extremely specific when you say someone is your type. a favorite of yours too. While it is difficult to study the mind of the teenage mutant monster primate. Ed. there is plenty of material available on human teenagers to guide us. He is chatty. No matter the species in the primate family. Much of this material is available on cable TV between four and eleven p. you understand I’m being generous when I say “sophisticated” language. This is not to say I dislike teens. and slapped together by underachieving directors on basic cable.m.
and he has a simple mind.MONKEY SEE 115 five feet and speaks in a touchingly clear. though high-pitched. 251-A. Ed was an early. on the intellectual level of a situation comedy character. and when she is fully grown she will stand over three stories high and sport such malicious enhancements as a glass-shattering screech. raising her protests at first. and stinkbreath. they are a boy and a girl. is the latest specimen from the laboratory. They like the same music. He will never develop further. As he cleans. Gigi. It all starts one night in June. they eat the same termites. by human standards. he earns an allowance by sweeping up the lab. On weekdays. At this point in time. when Ed has to stay late to clean up an exploding goat (Exp. he is articulate and upright. He clowns around with the goat innards. though he thinks he’s learned a valuable lesson every thirty minutes. and then shy squeals of delight at his liver puppetry and “intestine charmer” routine. . poisonous tail spikes. Most of their old chums have already evolved and gone on a rampage for the summer. They put on some tunes and split a bag of BBQ chips. She is being groomed for havoc. however. but they have to settle for tenderly touching fingertips through the feeding-window slot. voice. Though he’s talked to Gigi before. he is looking for the key to her cage. Biological Time Bombs). however. Before they know it. they talk. and they don’t have many friends in the neighborhood. Ed has never been alone with her for an evening. This boy and girl come from different backgrounds and face different futures. simple experiment.
as soon as he remembers where he is.” “And they’re not scheduled until the end of next month!” points out the lab assistant. next Saturday night. “at least until Gigi develops her poisonous spikes. the date is set. It takes a while to clean everything up and recapture everyone. since they have no butts. “Letting them be together seems harmless enough. It’s easy. Our mad scientist has conscientiously spent quality leisure time with both of them. he heads off to a nutritious breakfast of termites and orange juice—keep that energy up for the big night with protein and vitamin C! Ed rushes through his chores around the lab as quickly as he can.” he says to his assistant. Gigi isn’t in today. The Big Day So now it’s the big day! Ed wakes up Saturday with the bright morning sun in his eyes. He leaps brightly from his shelf and. After some hemming and hawing. low-slung pants look. so he can’t catch a glimpse of his beloved. He rubs a little mashed banana into his scalp: it helps maintain a neat appearance. their liveliest advocate. while they each work on the boss to let them hang out together. but separately.116 Walt M a g u i r e This clandestine romance goes on for three weeks. He slows himself down by breaking equipment in his haste and accidentally releasing two giant killer mynah birds into the neighborhood. What to wear? Talking bonobos favor the floppy. and the taste . Wendy. Gigi will be allowed out of her cage from seven to ten thirty. so he barely has time to shower and change before the Big Date.
and does not live in a 9' × 9' cage in the back of a converted supermarket. reading the lab note for contraindications. the magic moment arrives. the doorbell rings and Wendy the lab assistant ushers in Ed. Gigi has spent the day as any young girl would: locked up in an iron cage. Finally. Her Saturday was more leisurely.MONKEY SEE 117 drives the ladies crazy. In her mind. tries different scents. our mad scientist finished the latest round of injections on Wednesday. Gigi. her hair done up like Annette Funicello. so there was nothing to do but wait for them to take effect and record the results. handing her a corsage. she answers the door of a big white house. Gigi is a vision that takes his breath away (which . too. plus there’s the problem of her growth spurts and ungainly teen monkey tail. wearing his best Philadelphia Flyers jersey and his baggiest Vans jeans. She dreams about Ed appearing at her door in a shiny black monkey suit. meanwhile. though her choices are limited to what the female lab assistants will spare. She flips anxiously between Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel. All she owns is contributed or ordered from misinterpreted photos in catalogs. checking herself in the mirror for signs of erupting poisonous spikes. How to dress is another problem. and measuring herself to see if she’s grown any. watching anything to fill in for what she wants to see. He plucks a few hydrangeas from the neighbor’s yard. has been spending the day in preparation. which is why she’s already picked out an outfit that’s 40 percent spandex. She tries her hair different ways. At seven o’clock. and he’s off.
She coos with delight and nibbles at the blossoms excitedly—but not too excited to remember her manners and offer her date a stem to nosh. she is a monkey. she certainly seemed more demure. but the stars are out and they’re .” Then you slip them a few bucks and they skedaddle off to the flivver for a quick jaunt to the malt shop on their way to the moving pictures. Or it might happen that way if this were Wabash in 1923 and the boy and girl were not talking monkeys. not really a place to swim. Once they both straighten up. he reminds himself. She is wearing an assortment of strings and straps that leaves her practically naked. On the other hand. you are obligated to come downstairs right now and intimidate both of them. As the mad scientist who created them both. and he’s seen more fur in his comb. which is what the staff calls the trailer home next to the distilled water supply tank in the parking lot. as any well-mannered young ape has been taught. Instead. This is not what he expected. Wear a cardigan and say things like “Where are you going? Where do you think you’re taking her? Is that how you’re dressing? Not you. they order takeout over the phone and download some tunes off the Internet.118 Walt M a g u i r e isn’t the same as a blinding stink). Ed hands her the bouquet of hydrangeas. . For the evening they have the use of the guesthouse by the pool. Lab assistant Wendy handles the cash when the delivery boys come. I mean her. . trembling now in girlish trepidation as she sweetly bares her teeth in the ritual domination exchange. Ed politely bares his butt in return. . one with pad Thai and the other with Crazy Bread and a box of termiteinfested driftwood. Her lips are a demure pink.
not because it should but because they’ve run out of it. sliding on the enamel until they sense a better fit.” which is his stab at gallantry. if he runs all the way. all parts exploring as much as they dare. but just enough to add another flavor to the night. and Ed interrupts Gigi’s heartfelt longings from time to time to say “—Ooh! This is a great song. deep. the scientist has promised he will no longer lock her in. he doesn’t see her for two weeks. At one point. Wendy returns to escort Gigi back to her cage. she giggles. They talk and kiss and smell and move their hands. and it’s long. She beats him at Tony Hawke games on the PlayStation. provided the experiments don’t go awry. Ed says good-night at the foot of the garden. not enough to destroy them. Neither has done this before. uncertainly clumsy. humanlike. they moan over TV. They talk. as Wendy carries in the bags. go ahead . . . awkward. He is so happy. which is true. They eat slowly. the idea that this can’t work out. this is not a problem. and neither knows if they should be enjoying this more. they talk freely in the lab and meet twice a week in private. That lasts five minutes—they’ve talked before—and then they kiss. and point out stars. Ed is never allowed in the laboratory during experiments on Gigi. and a good effort by both of them. She slips them a small bottle of tequila.MONKEY SEE 119 alone for a few hours. and laugh. They watch movies. and it comes up but they pretend it’s wrong. Finally the night ends. Over the coming weeks. Perhaps this is why young love seems more intense: we worry more about what the other one needs. plus a big bottle of Mountain Dew. I’m sorry. He can just make it home before curfew. The food arrives and they stand upright. time is up. Crooked teeth scrape against crooked teeth. .
“Have you been avoiding me?” “. “I just .” he answers. . he doesn’t say. “Everything is fine. remember? Third of all. . You know. Ed sidles over to her cage. . . Her screech is illuminated by a green mist emanating from the back of her giant throat. it’s all he can do to not lift his broom and bash the scientist’s head like a coconut. I’m a monkey. You chimps are the meat-eaters. Like small-monkey brains.” she snaps. Sometimes. . as male apes enter adulthood. . they become more aggressive.” don’t want to look into your mutated red eyes.” “I get confused.120 Walt M a g u i r e and then all she does is cry softly and lose at video games. One day. in the lab. like. a stench that reaches Ed’s nostrils on the other side of the room and nearly chokes him. . They are both going through changes. “I don’t care about you buying me things. reluctant to look her in the eye. “So .” Ed looks startled. he returns to find Gigi has grown three feet taller. a mix of joy and teen anguish. her hands trembling on the joystick. almost biting her own fingers as she spurts up another foot. quick to anger. I’ve been trying to find a better job. No . . Gigi is embarrassed by his reaction and covers her mouth. . though it must be said it takes little to make Ed fly off the handle anymore. Ed is angry at the scientist for this. so I could. She squeals when she sees him. taking too long to be convincing. spider monkeys are herbivores. bursting her pretty sundress at the seams. how’s it going?” he asks. . “.” “First of all. “Am I?” “You know you are. after Ed has been too angry to visit the lab for a week. I’m not one of the big ‘super .” she snarls. Stuff you like. buy you nice stuff. Second of all.
” “Just what?” “I dunno. listening to Born in the U. an escaped zebra-giraffe-boy from the Boston Zoo. where his increasing adult-ape temper results in a barroom brawl with some human astronauts and a spree in a nearby shopping mall with Joe. I’m not a chimp.” “Sure. until it snaps. So he is in no mood now to hide his feelings away. He sits at home alone at night with the stereo on.” Tears come to her teenage eyes. Gigi is growing too fast. Ed. of course not. . So monkeys are not a vegetable?” “That is so ape. Ed’s anger focuses on the scientist. “No. And anyway. . Darts bring her down so she could be dragged to the bigger cage on the loading dock. bursting her cage like another cotton dress.” he says.” he mutters. thorns in a poison garden.” she mumbles. Their weekend date never comes. and the collected works of Nico. like a lens twisted too far in one direction. “I miss you.A. maybe we can get together over the weekend or something. Her lips tremble as she admits the worst. “Well. I’m a monkey.” “I miss you too.MONKEY SEE 121 genius’ experiments. gagging on the untruth and the gas in her breath. The scientist ships Ed off to an experimental space program.S. like you. There is much confusion in the laboratory already on the day he returns. and . Do I look like a vegetable to you?” He tries not to stare at the green horns that have erupted on her forehead since he last saw her. Ed leaps to her defense and is tranquilized before he can do more than dislocate some lab-assistant shoulders. Never mind. “It’s just .
human or otherwise. His girl growing apart. I know what you’re thinking: what makes this different from any other teenage relationship. banished by the mall police. playing the electronic keyboard on disco versions of “At the Copa” and “Waterloo. his credit card canceled. This is a lazy plan. . he has no choice but to seek work in tawdry lounge acts on the nightly ferry between Portland. The sooner teenagers are tranquilized with a dart gun. the easier it will be for grown-ups to get a good day’s work done and get out to a nice restaurant without worrying the house will be knocked down by the time they get home. and Yarmouth. disowned by his father/creator. you can think of at least one case where a dart gun would have been appropriate. from him. except once.” Gigi never sees him again. I agree. human or not.122 Walt M a g u i r e two bonobo monkey prostitutes. It was probably on a Saturday night. Maine. and up. or raised a teenager. but if you’ve ever been a teenager. Nova Scotia. other than the degree of her growth spurt? This is my point exactly.
Things don’t always go well. or you personally have created a wild killer mutant. Though you’re probably guilty of something. Perhaps your uncle is behind the fire-breathing orangutan at the bowling alley. NOT ONLY good things happen to bad people. Whether your planet has been conquered by invading talking apes. everyone has to deal with the problem.Chapter 9 WRECKAGE The How’s and Why’s of Things Going Horribly Wrong NATURALLY. is the point. or good things get free shipping. TAUNTING: DO’S AND DON’TS It might seem as if all you would need to taunt a deadly monster into a murderous rage would be cruelty and thoughtlessness. but the responsibility might fall on your shoulders. or good things to good people. or bad people to good things. but there are sub- .
For instance. So many mad scientists poke their noses into areas mankind was never meant to explore. then. and the odds of being trampled. smashing his way out of a certain nightclub. is to bear in mind where you are. many hecklers forget that safety glass can be quite thick. do not take the word of the people running the lab. There aren’t many subtleties. wear a safety helmet and goggles.124 Walt M a g u i r e tleties involved. It’s hard to get a rise . or something in tight leather. too. It might have been Beauty what killed the Beast. and the monster could have trouble hearing anything you jeer. Don’t come straight from soccer practice to hoot derisively. Look for fire marshal certificates. before you encourage any trampling. they tend to be fanatics. or a trash man commands more respect when he is in proximity to a trash truck. only to realize too late that there is a difference between plate glass and safety glass. When is a good time to taunt? I wouldn’t do it first thing in the morning. or evening wear. Next. If you cannot ascertain the safety level of a situation. When in doubt. but they can be important. Take the time to put on a crisp white lab coat. so a master monster-taunter can really get one’s goat if he knows how to present himself. and climbing a certain 103-story building in a certain New York City. find your spot. Or remember a certain group of paparazzi setting off a certain rain of certain flashbulbs in the certain face of a certain giant ape. The first rule. What you wear is important. but it was a celebrity interview that cheesed him off. The first thing to keep in mind is safety. startling him into breaking certain chains. Just as a president is taken more seriously when he stands behind a podium.
This is ludicrous when the taunter is a security guard making minimum wage. malls. or the words WORLD’S GREATEST GRANDMA. somebody didn’t get her afternoon nap. at least not of the spectacular. especially if there’s a happy cat character on the side of the mug. What is the message you are trying to get across? Many people in this situation fall back on making the monster feel insecure. though they make everything so supersized these days I sometimes get logy by ten from all the carbohydrates. it guarantees endangering big crowds at theaters. making a stronger presentation as you deliver your bellicose sarcasm. if you consider that the creature is caged in the first place because it is more interest- . Though inferiority is a common theme when ridiculing these majestic creatures. in fact. it all comes down to what you say. and you’ll probably be dressed for the evening. sustained nature you seek. In the end. I know I’m sharper after that second cup and a nice chocolate croissant. The next best time for taunting is around nine at night. or a spurned lover with no training in defensive bazooka operation. Mid-afternoon is the best time to taunt: you will both be cranky and it won’t take much to push everything over the edge. It is not effective to taunt with a mug of morning coffee in one hand. the reason for this is mystifying. your subject has had a decent night’s sleep. This sends a mixed message. inferior. and ballparks. you can’t be sure you’re at your peak game yourself so soon after breakfast. It allows your monster two hours to freak out and break loose in time for the eleven o’clock news. and second. Even a line like “Well somebody didn’t get her afternoon nap” takes on more of an edge when. First.MONKEY SEE 125 out of anyone that early in the day.
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ing than some version not worth keeping in a secret lab. Taunting is all about pushing buttons. Humans are taunted by insecure other humans who feel threatened; they frequently turn on those they perceive as even further outside the circle of power by virtue of being newcomers, or inarticulate, or having a “K” in their name, which is always funny—always. Many people really don’t know how to taunt; they have the impulse, the opportunity is there, but their verbal skills lack. Frequently, this is simply a matter of preparation. Let’s say Tom’s brother-in-law Sam has created a monkey/werewolf mutant hybrid in his two-car garage, and has invited Tom over for some taunting (of the creature). Tom shows up, approaches the cage, and lets go with “Oo’s a widdle monstew? Oo’s a widdle monstew? Yes oo are, cu’sey poo’sey.” Sam and the monster both stare at Tom in disgust, and rightly so. Tom, despite his best intentions to be mean-spirited, has not taken the time to study his prey, and has simply paraphrased something he said to Sam’s kid on the way in from the driveway. He needs to get to know the monster in the cage, to learn his strengths and weaknesses. He hasn’t even bothered to learn that his name is the WereMonkey from Plan 3000. Tom didn’t even notice if the WereMonkey was a boy or a girl. (He is a boy.) Let’s continue this scenario for a moment. Now Tom’s wife, Martha, enters the garage. She is cut from a tougher cloth than her husband. (It is a sailcloth.) She has always had a bit of a thing for her sister Jane’s husband, Sam, partly because he does fascinating things like this in his garage, while her own husband, Tom, only uses their
garage for lifting weights, listening to the Allman Brothers, and consulting his Beer Meister. She has even fantasized about being Mrs. Sam Diabolicalenberg. So when Martha sees the WereMonkey from Plan 3000, her instinct is to flirt with Sam by taunting the goof—though that might be too obvious, she decides, so she focuses on the creature Sam has designed in his workshop. “Well aren’t you tall, dark, and ugly,” she begins. This is a slow start, a murmur under narrowed eyes supporting one eyebrow raised in a plucked and lined smirk. “Say, big boy, it’s a shame those long arms can’t find anything better to reach for than those things down there. Are those your droppings, or are you just glad to see me?” This is a bit risqué, though an excellent way to gauge the WereMonkey’s grasp of language. Naturally, these remarks are meant to be overheard by the evil amateur scientist. Martha is careful not to look at him, but to keep her eyes on the caged beast. Behind her, she can hear an encouraging snort break from Sam, shortly ahead of the shallow gasp she knows from sleeping next to her husband for seven years. She pulls her long hair back over one ear, capturing the creature’s attention in the light of her silver-and-coral earring. “You’re not really much, are you?” she goes on. “I bet you wouldn’t know what to do even if you did get out. You’re right where you belong—in a cage, sitting in your own filth. Good thing you’ve got a brain the size of a pea so you don’t know how bad you’ve got it. And you’ve got it bad, sweetheart.” Now it’s time to sum up, recapitulating her main points. “Look at you. You are a freak, you are a waste,
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you have just enough fur to make a dashboard cover, though it would be ugly, ugly, ugly. I bet you’d love to come down here and take me in your arms, but you wouldn’t know what to do after that and you know what? I’d spit in your eye anyway.” Here is where Martha finishes with a turn of her head that is at once dismissive of the creature and positions her to steal a flirtatious exchange of glances with wicked-scientist-brother-in-law, Sam. She finishes with a flip of her luxurious hair that brings her briefly into the face of her husband, meeting his stunned and questioning gaze with her downcast, disappointed eyes. It’s a complicated move worthy of the term choreography, and wrecks the minds of all three males in her immediate vicinity.
There is no need to go into the details of the next two minutes; the salient point is that 120 seconds later, husband Tom is curled on the concrete floor, scientist Sam is hunting for a blunt instrument, and dissatisfied wife Martha is resist-
all the damage flies out with the moldy words. 1 Never hire a lab assistant with six or more kitties at home. he’s going to wish he’d had a helmet and safety goggles. is the heckler. The stronger. Whether the loudmouth tells the truth or makes things up. or forget to lock it.2 Now your giant spider monkey is out of her cage. smarter. or leave a vegetarian au pair in charge. WHERE DEADLY MUTANTS GO WHEN THEY INVARIABLY ESCAPE There is a possibility your ape experiment will escape. everybody hurts. They spend too much time at their vet’s. This gets to the crux of taunting: when it is done well.MONKEY SEE 129 ing a furry tango with new boyfriend the WereMonkey from Plan 3000. saying them in this way has only one outcome: damage. bigger. the more likely you are to put him (or her) in an inadequate cage. what with the screeching (hers) and the mad dreams of power (yours) and it’s very easy to hit the cage release button instead of the digital cable remote. for instance. 2 Under no circumstances should you put both functions on one universal remote. when it is done at all. the subject. This usually happens when the ape has become extremely dangerous—and then it usually happens.1 Caretaking a twenty-foot spider monkey. When there is no barrier left. more infected your ape is. indirectly. If you can stay behind a thick enough wall. . When Tom gets up. is distracting at best.
you can guess there is complaining going on. in my experience. USA. such as an SUV full of drunk teens careening off Main Street. So now we have a loose. You can imagine that there will be a lot of repetition. to avoid confusion? I bet you didn’t. is knock over the lab table. the first thing I can tell you GigaSpide does is jump up on the nearest piece of expensive furniture at hand and defecate on it. in the movies.130 Walt M a g u i r e Let’s say you went to a hockey game and left your vegan animal-rights activist sister-in-law in charge for the evening. The first thing monsters do in this situation. and she seizes the opportunity to seize the opportunity. . but her grating voice annoys Giga-Spide. sending beakers and Bunsen burners to the floor in a fiery explosion. Even if there is a language barrier. giant. Even when they have a legitimate case. and she opened the cage to give Giga-Spide a seed-and-nut cake she’s baked for her. This might be your fault: have you given definitive instructions? Are the proper people fully up to date on your research. and crashing through the wall behind the cage. It’s all digital now. not simply the prejudice that one screech sounds like another but that your giant monkey is really being repetitive. it’s hard to sympathize with a repeater. Giga-Spide will be doing a lot of screeching at this point. However. We’ve all had family members do this to us. Or maybe there is simply a random accident. or has your hubris left them missing key facts? Did you properly label the vials SEDATIVE and UNSTABLE MONSTER BOOSTER. after careful observation. It is at this point that your assistant will inevitably do something to make the situation worse. You just don’t find a lot of labs with Bunsen burners and bubbling beakers of blue water these days.
MONKEY SEE 131 startled spider monkey with whiplash. sister-in-law. And the teens probably get her drunk. any animal will seek food and shelter. this means grocery stores and restaurants. no particular reason. abandoned industrial zones. You will note that savage talking killer apes tend to be guided by a murderous bloodlust for mindless savagery. she just does. any open area away from people Second tallest building in town Theme parks Supermarket. or neighbor has trouble reaching you right away. Your lab assistant. however. because you said you were going to the opera. where they can eat Your mother-inlaw’s snobby tea social at a posh hotel . which means they gravitate to crowds. Nice talking apes. trucks. Giga-Spide ransacks the nearest mall. are shy and seek places where they can avoid captivity. though don’t overlook docks. where they thrive on the attention they get. even before she eats the driver. being too snooty to admit you were going to the 600 level at a baseball game. yet still find the New Yorker. GIANT TALKING SAVAGE KILLERS Heavily armed military bases TALKING SMART’N’ SENSITIVE High school prom STANDARD Tallest building in town Parks. Now Giga-Spide is loose on the town. swamps. In a city. In general. Then the one who plans to go to Podiatric College starts playing with the syringes and injects Giga-Spide with unstable monster booster. and sidewalk vendors. adding five feet and three hundred pounds to her.
other giants. or crowded rollercoasters Your hair Broadway Shopping mall Research lab. no matter how big or smart they are.132 Walt M a g u i r e GIANT TALKING SAVAGE KILLERS Casino. . such as giant doughnuts. where they can eat well STANDARD Any oversize props. Rule of thumb: the more evil you are. Keep this in mind when cornering your monster. the more important it is to keep your underwear in good shape for your eventual trip to the hospital. and it is well documented that insurance companies will not cover your car when he does. where they can eat cheap TALKING SMART’N’ SENSITIVE Gourmet shop. to free friends The Today Show Your house Your house Your house Your house Where Do Escaped Mutant Primates Go? No matter where they’re coming from. mutant monkeys you’ve captured or created could very well be looking for you. Macy’s Thanksgiving Day balloons. It’s no joke when an eight-ton gorilla sits anywhere he wants. the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. BEST LAST WORDS AND THE BEST TIME TO SAY THEM Sometimes a giant monkey needs to sit.
Show some dignity.” For one thing. Army shoots at you from the right. Just walk in and ask. This is a difficult subject at the best of times. It would be crass to say something like “Either those apes go or I do. They will be most attentive. and the sniper’s stray shot. for forgiveness. It’s important to pick your closing line carefully. the snapped collarbone. and it will be appreciated. Always have a closing bon mot ready. Don’t waste your final thoughts wondering if they’ll notice your clean underwear—they will. in case you are too pulverized to do more than gurgle. so you would be dismissed as delirious.S. there’s probably only one ape. this is where it all pays off: the snazzy outfit. Remember. it will be hard to be heard over the screaming and the sirens that are likely to be surrounding the event. You might want to keep one on a slip of paper in your pocket protector.MONKEY SEE 133 and plan ahead. . and the time comes when one of you must face the final curtain. This might—this will—be your last best chance for redemption. so you don’t want that. just the way your mom predicted—it will be hard enough to concentrate on speaking clearly as a killer monster bears down on you from the left and the U. Most local municipalities have emergency plans on file for this situation. But now the end is near. and people will already think you’re a nut for getting started. for one thing. the snappy line. When You Go First Suppose your monster runs amok and you are one of the victims—a harsh statement for a harsh potential reality.
filthy sidewalk. My God. if only I had kept better notes so you could make more of these monsters until you worked out the bugs in the process. 4. If only I’d known. . . 5. 3. 3. I used the word experiment and not superduper when I talked about my work. 2. The shame. the sorrow. She’s still loose? I’m sure she’ll calm down now that I’m out of the way. Oops. Last words when you’re expiring at the end of the spree 1. for . perhaps even chasing your creation into death’s shadow as both of you lay dying on some cold. in love with the same woman. 1. This is not all my fault. Remember. 2. . There are some things mankind was never meant to know—and when I say mankind. My God. . 4. I’ve always loved you [insert name of lover who’s rejected you as crazy] and I am so very sorry for . I’m referring to a species here. If only you had loved me [insert name of lover who’s rejected you as too caught up in . not me per se.134 Walt M a g u i r e Last words if you’re dying while your monster is still loose You are most likely to be among the first victims or the very last. everything.
) What you say at this moment will only be remembered if it captures the essential qualities of this piteous creature—for. and to hell he has returned. Get it? 3. This abomination was the spawn of hell. We can work backward from there. while this probably has little relevance for a situation where you are expected to eulogize over an expired lab experiment that has just killed a bunch of people and caused extreme property damage. I never meant for any of this to happen. 1. however terrible he or she might have been in the end. Let’s start off on the assumption that the dead monster at our feet was misunderstood and misunderstanding itself. but it’s not as if you are about to die yourself. and its last act was to sacrifice itself to save a child. I had bigger messes in mind. supersmart creature— though it might be argued that the supersmart might know a little more about this sort of thing than we do. I mean nobody in this room . the beginning was in your hands. Happy now? Last Words for a Big Ape It’s always hard to outlive a loved one.MONKEY SEE 135 your work] this could have all been avoided. Actual remorse is always preferable. This is all my fault. 5. especially if it’s a genetically enhanced. On the other hand. it’s important to act as if you are mourning a loved one. 2. every creature must take some responsibility. Have fun living with that. ’Twas Beauty killed the Beast. if only to minimize the resulting civil and criminal indictments. (See above. And when I say spawn of hell.
my child. you are indeed a terrible driver. 5. So. Taiwan. Either those drapes go or I do. except for those in Canada. He just turned up at my house one day. 5. but your puny health care system dooms your entire race. I must be delirious. If they’re going to speak. 2. Sleep. mankind and apes will live together in peace. 3. Did everyone hear me? Last Words from a Big Ape We should not forget our talking conqueror apes. No idea. Listen to me. My biography comes out next fall. This world is no place for better things. they might as well have last words. 4. I had the green light. and certain parts of Scandinavia. You have not seen the last of me. It’s a lucky thing I happened to show up when I did and stop him. 4. Miserable earthling! I die today. . 1. human. Someday.136 Walt M a g u i r e had anything to do with starting it.
broke her cage. even as the straps tying her to the slab burst like noodles. how she was growing. At seven-foot-six. if she chose to . but suddenly it shredded. once the dust settled. So it passed that one day the local boys lost control of their truck. and injected Gigi with the monster booster that pushed her over the edge into Giga-Spide. Now she was sixty feet tall. except in economics.Chapter 10 THE START OF THE END ALL GOOD EXPERIMENTS come to an end. Finally. the pathetic curtain she’d fashioned into an almost-pretty sundress was already tight. She slid as her growing feet struggled for consistent footing while the ground and her legs changed position. crashed through the wall. She felt the lightheaded waving of the coming change. she rose from her knees and walked out of the ruined former supermarket where the lab had been. how this small room suffocated her. all bad experiments do too. She knocked free the ceiling and breathed clean air. and it only took a minute for her to realize how much she had grown.
if not happening to her body. She knew her face. friendly voice. catching a rainbow in each one. the seven spikes on the end changed from brown tusks to translucent crystal. At that moment. and she knew this must be worse. and a pinkish cloud extended across the parking lot. she thought. She coughed. She had not seen herself. And this made her realize that what had happened to her was horrible. She headed toward the university anyway. She remembered how Ed looked at her the last time they met. There was a spark of warmth when she thought of this assistant: red curly hair and glasses. and a stinking mudslide over the wrecked lab extinguished the fires and any lives that had survived the transition. and frequently stopped to rest against the roof of a Starbucks. Faces too tiny to see now anyway. Fresh bananas. Pretty. Her tail swung into view. She was still unsteady on her feet.138 Walt M a g u i r e stand fully erect. She saw a pool and realized the tiny block next to it was the trailer where she had her dates with Ed. Giga-Spide wanted to go to Red-Curly now. She pooped. and then remembered. that Red-Curly was just smothered under tons of giga-poop. sneezed. She started to realize all the faces she would miss. she decided that all she’d heard about forgiving a bad parent was nonsense and that it was fine with her if he’d just died in the wake of her . She’d never really seen her neighborhood before. Dr. Cogitomni’s face was not on that list. Crushing houses along the way was easy and inescapable. with a sadness that knocked her like a dream of falling. knocking birds out of the sky and curling paint on the yellow lines divvying the black asphalt. except on a map a lab assistant showed her once. she thought.
and therefore useless as yardsticks. given that she was the tallest thing for miles. Telephone wires came up to her waist like a black velvet rope. where it must have gotten stuck when she went through the commuter train station.MONKEY SEE 139 growth spurt. She pushed down on her knuckles and propelled toward the tall buildings in the distance. on the bright side. The helicopters shooting rockets at her were eye-level. It felt strange to be naked. Her height was harder to measure. anything she got would have to be custom-tailored. but they were adjusting to her movements. She pulled a turnstile out of her fur. whether they hold up their end or not. She found the tanks painful to step on—like sharp . she measured her foot as the distance from first to shortstop. after reading Jane and Simply and Vogue and Marie Claire for so long. It seemed unlikely she would ever wear clothes again. As she passed through a Little League field. Some people get a break just because of their title.
He seemed to be addressing her through a bullhorn. When they started climbing over her face. but she couldn’t make out what he was saying. This is when she discovered her voice was gone. headed up from faculty housing toward a nearby WalMart parking lot. she was satisfied to see her growth had finally stopped and her foot measurement was consistent. A high screech. It also turned out the helicopters fried in the reflected solar energy of her crystallized tail spikes. She leaned on a fundamentalist church for support. and the taste of meat was strange to her. She had always thought Decker an unpleasant man. because those people have money. They tingled. She had always been a vegetarian. only breakable. shiny lances like so many straight pins. she instinctively swallowed. full of rainforest aches and pink smoke and a mist of faraway lost worlds all marched out. There were more tanks rolling up behind ApeAntua. so she turned down a street to her left and ran into General Chekchek’s army of spearcarriers. she ran smack into Ape-Antua. and she wondered if it were her cords or her mind that had gone. They clung to her fur and hauled themselves up. with bitter aftertastes of metal and cured . piercing her with their long. It wriggled like grubs. Crossing another ballpark. Rounding the office buildings at the edge of downtown. His army swarmed over her. and Decker looked up from his newspaper as Ape-Antua stopped. so she stepped on him. She had become a forest.140 Walt M a g u i r e rocks. She tried to ask for help. This was the beginning of her appetite. Decker in his big paw. but at this size he seemed more approachable. Ape-Antua gave her an impatient look and brushed past. He clutched Dr.
She realized she was eating for comfort rather than nourishment. the way they kept trying to save each other and here she was eating them like popcorn and not even enjoying it. so she nibbled instead on a sugar maple treetop. they did not mix well. The people were even stranger. She felt a little indulgent. The soldiers were the worst.MONKEY SEE 141 It w a s a b u s y d a y in t o w n . There was little remaining optimism about finding . slightly bitter from exposure to car exhaust but refreshing. with their flavorless Kevlar and popping munitions. leather. She decided to detour around the Gay Pride Parade ahead of her—it was a busy day in town— and concentrated on getting to the university. cow kebab. hot dogs. frankly. She could scoop up two or three at a time. being fattier and doused with herbal hair products and flowery perfumes and dry-cleaning fluids and faint traces of alcohol and Mace and shoes and whatever fast food they were still carrying—ice cream. and.
” the feckless boy replied. and decided he had pretty much worked out his anger issues and it was time to get back to his roots. stared at the frightened bike messenger kneeling before him. She smashed the tower with her tail. All the air went out of him then and he died before someone could step on his timing. followed by a crackle of static and then a familiar voice that rang through her head like sinus congestion. leaving gun- . most bell towers only serve one function—holding a bell— and lack stairs from which to assault. but the voice went on. Behind her. “My Giga-Spide. He looked at her retreating shoulders. Stop and listen to me. was passing the campus bell tower when she felt a sharp pain behind her right ear. which were in a brand-new refrigerator back at his apartment. “I had the right of way. One of the ape-army grunts arrived on the scene. Cogitomni. meanwhile. He had survived her stomping only to be mortally wounded by a bike messenger. studied the mayhem in the streets. “Everyone thinks that. they are not generally good places to launch an assault on fellow students. especially now that she’d eaten the business district.” the general hissed. Despite the many news reports to the contrary. General Chekchek lay in the park. “Stupid human!” grunted the dying military leader. It was Ed. This is Dr. Giga-Spide. He removed his helmet and stared at his fallen leader.” This enraged her. For one thing. A quick word is in order about campus bell towers. She scratched at her ear.142 Walt M a g u i r e help.
We’re going to Washington. Cogitomni! You know me! Obey! I order you to stand still!” He echoed through her head like a supermarket price check. the dart had been fired from close range. but . The result of her knocking down the tower was to give marketing focus to the next alumni fund drive. Dr. “Giga-Spide! Gigi! It’s me. It’s in Harrisburg. dementia-distracted rifle skills. forward!” She moved slowly. as they lack bathroom facilities. This handicaps their already poor. DC. so you’ve got a long hike ahead of you. the streets were empty.” the buzzing said. She stopped and listened. That’s it. The voice was annoying. Now. Turn to your left. And. Ha! I realize you’re a spider monkey. searching all the windows she saw. but she suspected the doctor was closer. Most don’t even have bells anymore—prerecorded carillons on all-weather speakers in a tall stick is a better description than “bell tower. damn it. the dart with the radio was shot into Giga-Spide from the Biology Building behind the tower. Ahead of her. Not to mention evil. After all. “That’s better. too Bauhaus.” In other words. Smoke was rising from the neighborhood she’d left.MONKEY SEE 143 toting loons clinging to the bell with one hand as they shoot. but worse: Dr. he was obsessive. Bell towers are not a place for a long siege. No one cared for Class of ’62 Tower anyhow. It had occurred to her that the only way to stop the voice was to get the source to reveal himself. “I want you to turn around and march on the state capitol building. of course. but I couldn’t resist. Wait! I changed my mind. Cogitomni was still alive. Obviously she was big enough to be seen from ten miles away. I think we’ll tell Congress they need a recess—I mean a rhesus.
T h e d e a t h of G e n e r a l C h e k c h e k .
She swung her tail and took out the surrounding buildings. but she was too tall. “Let’s go. At last. he gave up and climbed out the window. She tried hiding behind it. He even forgot to finish his beer. so she just pushed it over to block the road and took off at full lope. rolling countryside. but the cable was out and the broadcast towers had been in the campus bell tower. Crossing the farms south of town. When he started hearing the fire engines and ambulances. as she stopped on a hill to wipe a pasty cow herd from her foot. like a cattle prod—a bonus in the speaker implant. She walked on until she came to a barn by the side of the road. and there weren’t as many places for even as small a bug as him to hide out in the wide.” She felt a jab. It .” Back in his apartment. but still the voice continued to dictate. hoping to outdistance his transmitter before he could inflict more pain. Ed tried to watch the news. “I said move. We have a long trail ahead of us. He put on a DVD of Caddyshack but his mind wasn’t on it. She knew she herself was hard to miss at a long distance. she kept turning her head to see if she could spot Cogitomni. to surprise him. She kept walking until she climbed another hill and turned to see the car maintaining its distance. closing the distance as she paused. she caught the glint of a windshield about two miles behind her. girl.146 Walt M a g u i r e the crowds followed the action. injuring one another or being eaten. but she hoped the radio transmitter signal would force him close.
a ring of tanks matched a circle of copters above them. awaiting instructions.MONKEY SEE 147 had occurred to her by now that Cogitomni might be able to do more than just hurt her eardrum. “March. She tossed another barn on the fire and desperate handfuls of meadow after it. though the buzzing pain continued.” he said. She was almost to the next farm when she was hit with the jab that blinded her. and the pain abruptly stopped. She crawled as far as she could. When she could see again.” A breeze passed over her face. snapping and sparking along the edge of everything. She waved her tail. sonorous grin snarled in her head. Better prepared now. cooling the sweat. “I have you. The spikes flashed and slashed a scar through corn as high as an elephant’s eye. following the signs for the highway entrance heading south to DC.” The voice sounded almost kindly. “Typical. “Giga-Spide. The mad. and focused the glow on the distant barn she’d pushed into the road. “That wasn’t me. She heard a car approaching behind her and without looking raised her tail and shot rays that scorched the entire valley. She slowly moved down the road. nearly passing out on the edge of a high school’s parking lot. but just then the spikes fell off. it’s no use. It burst into flame and the crackling voice now suddenly cried out. saw the light refracting off her spikes. “I knew that would happen. At the entrance to the highway the army was waiting. Giga-Spide raised her tail. She raised her tail.” said Cogitomni. She calmly stood up.” said her master. But not the voice.” . she looked around. There was the soft pop of a car splitting.
It was not until he spoke into the mouthpiece that she realized it was Dr. for the hell of it. aimless. The press has arrived. As she entered the wide square at the heart of campus.” . She headed back into town. “Stop. then countermanded them. and ducked in through the loading bay. Cogitomni. Ironically. the green grass was potted with darker shades of army olive—tanks. He gave directions. There was no pain. until the interior walls collapsed and she found herself being broadcast live into millions of homes. interrupting himself and rambling in long gulps and short chokes. soldiers. which weren’t tall enough to hide her and only served to slow her down. Now things will be different. Just before the sidewalk crossed the street into the square. the home-shopping channel. He looked dapper in a pinstripe gray suit and a skyblue tie. Missiles landed on and around her with gentle puffs of cottony smoke and firefly light. but he still wouldn’t shut up. Sales went through the roof.148 Walt M a g u i r e Giga-Spide turned from the ambush and moved quickly through the valley into the trees. “We’re not going to let a few setbacks derail our master plan. but now it sounded confused. as did she. not counting annoyance. humvees. He sounded shaken. a single figure stood on the corner. The voice was still in her head. Your name has reached the whole country by now.” he said. This hid her for a few minutes. Giga-Spide. the product for sale at the time was a collection of hunting knives. Over the next hill she found the massive building of QVC. She did. Billowy oaks scraped her shins. and what looked like a camouflage latrine. martini glass in one hand and a fat radio transmitter in the other.
.” She couldn’t be sure if what he was saying was grammatically correct but it didn’t sound reasonable. Giga-Spide. She roared. Some of the soldiers were approaching Dr. disappointed man who had reached his fifties without friends or connections. She decided she’d rather not kill any more of them. Not that you aren’t massive as well. until she wasn’t sure why she hadn’t burst. He fumbled with the controls. Let go of your fear. GigaSpide. deeper down. and smacked him in the nose with it. Cogitomni. That will send a clear message to our enemies that smart power is more important than massive power. She stared down at the tiny dapper man and wondered why none of the soldiers had put a bullet in his head. “You can destroy this armored division. plucked the radio out of Cogitomni’s hand.MONKEY SEE 149 She wanted to say she hated her name. The smell was getting to her. “I want you to get on with it. There are only now you and I. It’s a long day. it was finally starting to sink in to her how angry she was. She screamed. and this made her angrier. She did not want her puffy face all over the world. After all that had happened today. but all she could do was roar. She lifted her knuckles off the street and covered her blushing cheeks. She wondered if all she had was him. A lone black ape in Lands’ End summerwear swung down from the library roof. All he had was her. It suddenly occurred to her they probably didn’t know who he was. but now she saw him as a tiny. Gigi.” She roared again. Remember that. but at the end of it. Let go of the past. She had always assumed everyone knew her father. it is our day. even without your spikes.
” said Ed. they all fired. Instinctively. “I’ve come to help you. knocking him down this time. Do you still like me?” And there she began to cry. and there isn’t much I can do. All Gigi could think.” She stared at him. “I’ve spent my whole life letting these people—I let this happen to you because it never occurred to me I could stop it. Cogitomni came up beside him. the shape of it. “Gigi. Ed. climbed the closest streetlight. “I never meant for this to happen. this is Ed.” he continued. you couldn’t. in the time remaining. She waited. I know I’m way late. and leaped at her mouth. “Anyway.” He waited for her to focus on him. . “Me too. bony back landed on them.” “Actually. but I can help. When she landed. Ed picked himself off the sidewalk and ran around to see Gigi’s face at the other end of the block. He conked the doctor in the face again. and as she fell those last few inches. the explosions tore up through her and pulverized everything clear through.” said Cogitomni. was that the poison in her breath would kill him if he touched her lips. but the exact detail. Dr. with salt enough to preserve all the jerky in New England.” said Ed.” He dropped the radio. But she knew he knew what to do. remained in shadow.150 Walt M a g u i r e “Gigi. she stepped back and tripped over the fifty robot cannons that had quietly rolled themselves into place. “. “Here we go. a smoking hand puppet with startled wet eyes already unguided. “Excuse me a second.” he said. “I had bigger messes in mind. Just before her long.” . she was hollow. .” said the doctor. She knew she understood what he meant.
not me per se. bounced off. Cogitomni pulled out a laser pistol and tried blasting his way out.” he whispered. “Okay. He called an old friend and by midnight was on his old job. Got some questions.” he protested. It would not be true to say he never loved again. “I never met the young lady before in my life. sir.MONKEY SEE 151 The platoon sergeant eyed him suspiciously. and tore his new suit on the concrete sidewalk. Nevertheless. five on the daylight return trip. but he never learned how to make it . I’m referring to a species.” “Me?” Cogitomni stammered. but the battery was running down and the best he could do was remove the sergeant’s tattoo proclaiming his love for Britney Spears. and Dr. he fumbled weakly at Ed’s pima cotton broadcloth sleeve. and Yarmouth. ten shows nightly. “There are some things mankind was never meant to know. playing keyboard for the show band on the overnight ferry between Portland. With his dying strength. “This is all my fault. Not that I met her back then.” he whispered as Ed cradled his head. Maine. “He can’t even work the cable remote.” He shivered and gasped. Your buddy put us onto it. “Who can?” he replied. The sergeant treated himself to a cigarette. the rest of the patrol fired back. “Happy now?” Ed walked away. for which the sergeant was grateful. She just showed up at my house one day. Nova Scotia. bewildered.” Cogitomni looked at Ed. I think you better come with us. Harold Pryce Cogitomni flew against his fallen offspring’s elbow. “And when I say mankind. Did everyone hear me?” “Been listening to your little radio show.
to General Chekchek and Dr. farewell to your sweet ass.152 Walt M a g u i r e stay. Pointy. Good-bye to GigaSpide. good-bye to the WereMonkey from Plan 3000. knowing less of either with each departure. He rarely touched land again. That’s all. . passing back and forth between two worlds.
Certainly the fledgling movie special-effects industry would not have survived if films were not made to record an archive of these special effects. GIANT APE? HOW DID THIS FASCINATION with giant. therefore there must be a giant fire-breathing lizard with wings. Another theory is that the invention of movies had something to do with it. there were hawk bones by the pond.Chapter 11 WHITHER HENCE. Now. fantastical creatures begin? Some believe our ancestors found dinosaur bones and did not understand what they were looking at. But which ones? . Perhaps ancient people had not invented the ruler yet and confused inches with yards. and human imagination. so they made entirely logical conclusions based on the world they knew from the evidence at hand. and they found a stegosaurus skull in the potato bed. legitimate scientific research. we can finally bring these frightening giant creatures into the world. thanks to film. For instance.
and won’t let their children go to the Museum of Natural History on class trips. for instance? Is there a similarity in the sharp beak and heavy. there seems to be a connection between the hollow bones of birds and the hollow bones of certain dinosaurs. Some people think the giant dinosaurs of Jurassic Park have already been created. If there is one thing movies have taught us. untiring hind legs. With his massive.154 Walt M a g u i r e It probably won’t be giant apes. Might the ostrich be a descendant of the ferocious velociraptor. Many modern creatures are descendants of prehistoric types. clawlike feet? Could this mean the raptor had feathers instead of leathery reptile skin? Or what about the resemblance between the stegosaurus and the modern rhinoceros. with its powerful nose horn and aphrodisiac qualities when the horn is powdered? Surely the modern alligator descends in a direct line from his ancestor. Insurance people rent a lot of movies. and humans. dinosaurs. just in case it comes up in an election year. What of the Tyrannosaurus Rex. the most fearsome of the fossil record? His descendant roams our modern world too. his short. If we eliminate monkeys. For instance. Congress has already banned human cloning. what’s left? Lots of gigantic possibilities. it’s that insurance companies are going to take one look at the phrase “giant ape” in a contract and turn you down flat. his disproportionately large tail doubling the length of his torso for balance. It is surprisingly easy to see this simply by recognizing the similar characteristics. seemingly useless forearms perfectly designed to either dig in savagely with sharp claws or to delicately hold food up to be shredded by deadly inci- .
Yet we manage a grudging coexistence with the squirrel. twitching that cute squirrel nose. as he is called. discharging an occasional eep-eep of defiance to echo off the looking- . this fierce beast roams the twenty-first century. for one second. cold-eyed scavenger. It would be a different story. however. still a remorseless. nibbling. (Perhaps you are not giggling. Because it is less than 1/ 200 the size of the Rex.MONKEY SEE 155 sors. as was the original a million years ago. nibbling away. Imagine a gray squirrel the size of a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day balloon. It is a frightening thought once you stop giggling. Those balloons are just not that funny. if the squirrel were the same size as its ancestor.) Coincidence? Picture him taking those clowns in his tiny front paws and nibbling. Imagine. a Macy’s balloon eating those clowns. but climbing the walls of Times Square skyscrapers instead of floating playfully on ropes held by clowns. surveying the panicked humanity below with those mercilessly adorable black-button eyes. we ignore this threat.
It leaps as much as six feet into the air. but suppose it isn’t? Suppose it gets worse until they get ahold of some guns? Or what if it ends up as a sports event on ESPN-2? In the summer of 2002. . another Chinese fish was introduced into a lake in Maryland. propelling itself across the road to other lakes on sturdy fins. And then some frightened boy drops his bag of peanuts and the squirrel is on it faster than anyone can blink. tiny peanut shells. then climbing onto a municipal waste can. but then she got better. this will be controlled. so he dumped it into the water. this creature could have wiped out all other ani1 It was believed a man had bought it to treat his ailing wife. or so I am told. The large moose herds of Nova Scotia have stripped whole mountaintops on Cape Breton.156 Walt M a g u i r e glass corridors of the Garment District. When more of the fish were caught. knocking fishermen out of their boats. where they make the traffic lights out of chocolate Kisses. ripping into the tiny. then nibbling. Recently there has been a problem in the Great Lakes. At first it might seem a handy solution to the garbage problem. Eventually. it could walk on land. of various ages and both sexes. it had two rows of teeth.1 This fish had two unbeatable properties: one. and two. but a well-fed squirrel is a reproducing squirrel. was introduced into the waters. imagine what a single giant squirrel would do to the town of Hershey. he changed his story. Pennsylvania. Giant “leaping carp.” a Chinese fish species. It was a rare fish. known in China for its folk-medicine healing properties. Left unchecked. crushing it beyond recognition just because there might have been a faint odor of soft pretzel in there.
and then populated every waterway in Maryland. The point is. In a sense.MONKEY SEE 157 mal life in its pond. seven stories high. And what if these fish had learned to talk? What if they had acquired their own dynamite? What about those robot pets the Japanese are always working on? Japan is very close to China. . This is why exercise is important. What if they were the same size as us? Could a human defeat a squirrel in hand-to-hand combat? There is no easy answer to these questions. The threat could come from anywhere. will we be ready when this does happen? Just because mankind kills off thirty species per decade does not mean new species will not arise. chimpanzees do not talk. . where the weird fish come from. What really happens is bad enough. of course. perhaps mankind performs . . The health benefits of running instead of strenuous walking may seem questionable until you consider the need to escape from something huge. Are we any more prepared for this than we were for the Uprising of the Automated Toasters? I think not. State officials solved the problem by blowing up the lake. Some would argue that squirrels are not. What if the robot cats are all secretly programmed to spit up robot hairballs on a preselected date? And what if the Chinese have even weirder fish—maybe that’s why they’ve been building that giant dam on the Yangtze. killing them all. actually. Yet. and gorillas are not tall enough to swat airplanes out of the sky. because it has consequences. We can always imagine worse things than what actually happens. Or perhaps it won’t.
heartier species to develop. We must prepare ourselves. that certainly is quite a lot of sevenstory-tall killers. planning a dinner party for talking-ape neighbors will seem like a piece of cake.158 Walt M a g u i r e the same function as the meteors did millions of years ago. If even one-third of all the squirrels suddenly became seven-storytall killers. Those space chunks changed the climate. they are going to be nesting in the eaves of my house. or deserve to be here. . killing off the dominant species. after you’ve fought a giant squirrel on your front lawn. perhaps that is what mankind is doing through sloppy environmental regulations. and at that size there will be no stopping them. Pest control won’t come over for anything above sixty-five pounds. On the other hand. This is not to say these strange new creatures are better than humans. the point is that they will be big and strong and we will be damn lucky to survive if our parks are suddenly filled with giant squirrels. Even if they have no interest in eating mankind. allowing newer.
EPILOGUE and kept switching between D and A as the song demanded. He couldn’t see much beyond the stage lights. After a fifteenminute country and western set. It was just after two in the morning. Between songs. Either way. and then a fifteenminute Miley Cyrus tribute set. it made Ed more anonymous. it was back to the dressing room for a half hour. the audience either cheered or gaped at a fortyyear-old male singer in a long blond wig pretending to be a teen pop star. and the drinkers swayed too as the ferry pitched in the stormy waters between Portland and Yarmouth. but he never understood how so many humans could work day jobs all week and then stay up on the overnight crossing to gamble. he could plainly hear the numb bells from the slot machines as they absorbed cash and ED SAT BEHIND THE KEYBOARD . where he hoped for applause. The dancers swayed to the music. He liked that set. He wore a purple cowboy hat and a western shirt with a steel-tipped collar. nodding his head in time as the lead singer ran through his Billy Ray Cyrus tribute. which it didn’t very much.
such children were still awake on the nightly trip. This was the last season of the old ferry. there are always children who don’t know they’re growing up wrong. He looked her in the eyes. she slowed. but then he was aware she was looking at him. He knew that wouldn’t be enough. He was waiting to hear on a job on the Portsmouth to Bilbao route. Ed no longer wondered why. long. and thought. then stopped. Next summer. She watched him. . stringy dark hair and eyes that would look tired under any circumstances. She was perhaps eight. He hoped someone was looking for her.160 Walt M a g u i r e turned it into taunting pictures of fruit. He looked down at his hands to change chords. squinting to see after exposing his eyes to the bright spotlight. She carried a Minnie Mouse that looked as though it spent half its time in her hands and the other half in the mouth of a hunting dog. A little girl walked past the stage. there’d be a hydrofoil catamaran making the trip in four hours instead of nine. or how. quickly. not shy about passing in front of the lights and the bouncing crooner. she was gone back into the shadows of the windowless lounge and the faint pink stars of electric light. and when he looked up again. At first Ed thought she was trying to keep her balance on the pitching deck. As she passed.
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