The Monkeys
Part 2
or
Primates of the Western World

Chapter 1

There was once a bunch of monkeys
who loved their lives.
The banana trees were plentiful,
they had lots of clean, refreshing water to drink,
and the temperature was always pleasant.

Then, one day, the skies grew dark,
and a freezing wind began to blow,
which frightened the monkeys.
The boldest monkeys beat on their chests,
and jumped up and down,
and howled at the top of their lungs.

Soon, the banana trees started to die,
and there was not enough to eat,
and the boldest monkeys howled even louder,
and beat on their chests even more ferociously,
and cursed at the sky and the cold and the wind.

The other monkeys said, “You are scaring us!
Here — take our bananas — take all the bananas!
Just please stop beating your chests and howling and cursing!”

And so they did, and calm was restored.
But the seed of a new idea had been planted
in the midst of the monkeys and their banana trees.

Chapter 2

Time passed in the monkeys’ world.
The skies were sunny again,
the temperature was once more pleasant,
and the banana trees were once again growing and bearing fruit.

But all was not well; something had changed.
The boldest of monkeys said to each other,
“Why should we share our bananas with everyone else?
We are the strongest and boldest and loudest of monkeys.
Surely, we deserve a much larger portion!”
And they all mumbled and muttered in agreement.

“How will we make the more timid monkeys,
who are clearly inferior and therefore undeserving,
give us their bananas?” asked one.
“We’ll just beat on our chests and howl and curse
like we did in the past,” answered another.
“That will scare them into compliance,
and if that doesn’t work, we’ll just beat them senseless
and take all their bananas! We are, after all,
the strongest and boldest and loudest of monkeys!”

Chapter 3

More time passed in the monkeys’ world.
The bold monkeys’ plan to hoard all of the bananas for themselves
had worked exceedingly well.
And each bold monkey had taken their share of the hoard,
and had moved to a different part of the forest,
and had declared that particular part of the forest to be their kingdom
and had crowned themselves as king.
Which was their right, because they were, after all,
the strongest and boldest and loudest of monkeys.

Yes, the bold monkey-kings knew it was their right to rule
whatever part of the forest they chose for their kingdom.
But some of the local monkeys in their new kingdoms said,
“Why should we listen to you? You’re no different than us! You’re not special!”
And they went about their business picking bananas
and making huts out of banana leaves
and baking banana cream pies.

The new monkey-kings gathered together to discuss this problem,
and they sat down in the middle of the forest to think
and they thought and thought and thought
about how to make the other monkeys bend to their will.
Then, after they had mulled it over for a good long time,
they each got up and went back to their new kingdoms,
and each one went to the center of the kingdom and stood on a box,
and when the local monkeys had gathered around,
the monkey-kings each gave a speech
in the loudest, boldest, most bombastic voice possible.

“There is a giant monkey who lives in the sky!” they declaimed.
“He is the maker of all things and the ruler of all things!
When the sky is full of thunder and lightning
it means the Great Monkey is angry at you!
When the cold winds blow
and the banana trees refuse to bear fruit,
it means the Great Monkey is punishing you!
The Great Monkey has appointed me your king and you must obey!
You do not want to anger the Great Monkey in the sky, do you?!”

The local monkeys mumbled and muttered amongst themselves,
and some of the simpler monkeys were frightened and said,
“Maybe we should let him be king.
After all, we don’t want to anger the Great Monkey in the sky!”

The new monkey-king then said,
“Those of you who recognize my right to be king
will be special in the eyes of the Great Monkey.
Not as special as me, of course,
but more special than those who refuse to acquiesce.”

The simpler monkeys, as well as the more gullible and naive monkeys,
mumbled and murmured amongst themselves.
“We do want to be special,” they said, “don’t we?”

“And furthermore,” continued the new monkey-king,
“Each of my special monkeys will get a larger portion of bananas!
Not as large as mine, of course,
but larger than the rest of these common, everyday, run-of-the-mill monkeys!”
And the simpler monkeys, as well as the more gullible and naive,
and the maladjusted and antisocial as well,
said “Who wants to be a common, everyday, run-of-the-mill monkey anyway!”
and they cheered and hooted
and yelled “Huzzah! Hooray for the new king!”

“And,” the monkey-king continued, “to sweeten the pot even more,
each of you, my special monkeys,
will be given a deadly weapon of force
which only you are allowed to use,
so that if the common monkeys refuse to give up their bananas,
you can threaten them and beat them up
and they will all be really scared of you!”
And the simple, naive, gullible, maladjusted, and antisocial monkeys shouted
“Huzzah! Long live the king!”
and lined up to get their special deadly weapons of force
and begin their new special lives.

Chapter 4

More and more time passed
and the children of the children of the children of the first monkey-kings
now ruled vast empires and commanded mighty armies.
These newest monkey-kings declared war on each other quite often,
and vast oceans of monkey-soldiers swept endlessly back and forth
over the land, destroying everything in their wake;
all in an attempt to claim for their king the title of ‘Monkey With The Most Bananas.’
And, as a result, there was great suffering amongst the common, everyday, run-of-the-mill monkeys,
but the monkey-kings and their special monkey-clubs and armies
did not care one whit, jot or iota —and why should they?
For they were, after all, the best, most special, and most uncommon of monkeys.

Sitting amidst these vast empires, like a mouse surrounded by stampeding elephants,
was a very small kingdom who, by chance or design, remained small
while the vast monkey-empires rose and fell around them.
Every time a new empire rumbled through the forest, the small kingdom
found itself conquered and occupied and stripped of it’s bananas.
This made the monkeys of the small kingdom very sad and very angry
and they often pondered their predicament.

One day, a clever monkey spoke up and said,
“Do not despair my fellow monkeys!
We may be a small kingdom.
We may not have vast territories and mighty armies,
But we have something better!
We are the favorites of the Great Monkey in the sky!
We are his chosen ones and are therefore the most special of all!”
And all the monkeys chittered and chattered in enthusiastic agreement.

Then, a cheeky monkey in the crowd called out,
“How do you know we are the Great monkey’s favorites?”
“I know because he told me so!” said the clever monkey with great conviction.
And because he was the cleverest of all the clever monkeys,
all the other monkeys chittered and chattered in enthusiastic agreement
and no more questions were asked.
And they all felt better about themselves and their tiny, vulnerable kingdom,
and overall felt very, very special indeed!

Chapter 5

The monkeys in the small kingdom were happy for a time.
No matter what kind of trouble and turmoil they faced,
they were content knowing that they were the Great Monkey’s chosen ones.
Then, one day, a new and different empire rolled into town.
The soldiers of this new empire set up camp
and gave no indication that they were ever going to leave.
They were crueler and more imperious and arrogant than any previous occupiers
and the monkeys of the kingdom were now no longer satisfied
with the belief that they were the Great Monkey’s favorites.
They wanted the cruel soldiers out of their land,
but every day brought ever-increasing hordes of conquerors,
and the small kingdom began to despair once again.

Then, one day, a zealous and earnest monkey declared,
“Do not despair, my fellow monkeys!
I have spoken to the Great Monkey in the sky
and he has assured me that we are still his favorites!
And not only that; he has also informed me
that I have been chosen by him to be your savior
and lead you to victory against the evil empire
and drive them out of our land!”
And all the monkeys cheered and yelled “Huzzah! Hooray for the savior!”

Then, a skeptical monkey in the crowd called out,
“How do we know you’re the savior?”
And all the other monkeys said, “Shut up!
If he says he’s the savior, he’s the savior!
Someone has to take charge!”
And no more questions were asked.

Unfortunately, the uprising failed
and the monkey who would be savior was executed.

The monkey-savior’s closest friends and allies were very sad and very angry.
“He will come back to us,” they told each other.
“How is that possible? He’s dead!” said a pragmatic monkey.
“He was the special chosen one of the Great Monkey!
The Great Monkey can do anything,
and therefore, his special chosen one can do anything.
Therefore, the savior will come back to us
and lead us to victory!” exclaimed a credulous monkey.
And all the other monkeys murmured and mumbled and muttered in agreement.

Chapter 6

The savior’s friends and allies were so certain
that the savior was coming back
that they began a special savior-club
for any monkey who wanted to wait for his return.

Time passed and the club grew larger and larger,
and the founders grew older and older,
but still the savior failed to reappear.

Eventually the savior-club got so big
that the founders started to worry.
They said to themselves,
“We were the savior’s closest friends and allies.
That makes us the most special monkeys in the savior-club.
But how will everyone else in the kingdom know how special we are
if the club lets any old common, everyday, run-of-the-mill monkey join?”
And all the monkeys murmured and mumbled and muttered in agreement.

“We need to make it harder to get in,” said a pious monkey.
“I know! Let’s make up a bunch of ridiculous, arbitrary rules for membership
that are almost impossible to follow.
That way, we’ll get only the most obedient, malleable, sheeplike neophytes
who will look at us with awe and reverence and continually tell us how special we are!”
And all the monkeys mumbled and giggled and bubbled in mirthful agreement,
and the savior-club became more exclusive and difficult to join.

One day, a crazed and capricious monkey applied for membership.
“I don’t want to follow any of these rules,” he said.
“I shouldn’t have to. I’m just as special as all of you, if not more so!”
“How can that be?” asked the founders in disbelief. “After all,
we knew the savior when you were still clinging to your mother’s fur!”
“That may be so,” replied the crazed, capricious monkey,
“but the savior appeared to me in a vision.
Therefore, I am just as important to the savior as you.
In fact, it makes me even more important!”
“Preposterous!” huffed the founders. “You’re not joining our club!”
“Well then — I’m going to start my own club!” snapped the wild-eyed, manic monkey
and he turned to exit, exposing his red-hued rump to the outraged oligarchs in defiance.

Chapter 7

The manic monkey, whose name was Jeremy, was as good as his word.
He started a savior-club, but due to his abrasive, volatile personality
he had little success attracting members.
“There are too many rules,” Jeremy thought to himself,
“I’ll have to make some changes if I want my club to be popular.”
And so Jeremy sat down in the middle of the road to think.
And he thought and thought and thought
about how to get all the monkeys to join his new club.
Then, after he had mulled it over for a good long time,
Jeremy got up and went to the middle of the town square
in the middle of the biggest city
in the middle of the tiny kingdom.
He stood on a box and when a crowd had gathered, he shouted,
“Join my club! Join my club! It’s the newest and best savior-club around!”

“What makes your savior-club so special?”
a dubious monkey in the crowd called out.
“Well — for one thing, there aren’t a million rules
like in that other stupid savior-club,
which, by the way, isn’t even a real savior-club!” said Jeremy emphatically.
“It’s fake! A fake savior-club! My savior-club is the real savior-club!
And all you have to do to be in my club is to believe!”
“Believe what?” asked the dubious monkey.
“Believe that my club is the best club!” said Jeremy.
“In fact, it’s the only club!
And if you join, then you will be special!
You will be more special than any other monkey!
In fact, we will all be the most special of the special!”
“Where do I sign up?” asked the now not-so-dubious monkey.
And all the other monkeys shouted “Huzzah! We’re special!
We’re all so very very special! Huzzah!”

Epilogue

Unfortunately, as time went on,
there came to be even more ridiculous, non-sensical rules in Jeremy’s club
than there were in the original savior-club.
And as the club grew, it’s very special members
slowly turned into the very same brutal conquistadors
that the savior-monkey had promised to free them from in the first place.
But that’s a story for another time.

David Aronson
May 2024