posted by KatGrafix on monday, feb 7, 2011 Get a California Address a strange tale Funny, with a twist, of anti-clamatica © 2011
Life is all about the decisions you make...
Do I really have to cut the monkey’s head off? This is the question I kept asking myself as I sat in the backseat of a taxi on my way home..
Ok, I’ve got a short space to tell you all about the time I had but 10 days to live.
See, I had just rented a room in this busy household in Monrovia with Nadia, her 2 year old son Alexander, Sonja the orphan, Ahmed, the cook, Lucy the nanny and, of course, the monkey. Every evening after work, I would sit on the balcony, watching the beauty of the West African sun set. Now, that sould have been a very peaceful time, except for those painful, tortured sounds that came out of a wooden box with quarter size holes, lodged in one far corner of that roomy balcony.
That’s how I became aware of the monkey. He would sigh, he would whimper, he would cry. You could hear him shifting positions in that cramped, tight, dark little space. My heart went out for the plight of this poor animal. Hard to believe, 3 days later, I would be the one beating this animal mercilessly over the head.
That’s the day I came home from work, to find Sonja, Alexander, and 10 other children on the balcony, all eating orange halves that the nanny had cut. As I got out the taxi and headed up the stairs I could see that the two top stairs were lined with toddlers. When I reached them, I placed my foot carefully between them, so as not to disturb their delicate perch.
Looking down, I immediately found myself staring into the large gray eyes of a chimpanzee, innocuously sitting in the midst of the smallest children. He serenely gazed into my eyes while munching on his orange, and for a brief moment I was deliriously happy. This was the “monkey” that was held captive in the box at the end of the balcony! He was now FREE! He looked so innocent, not unlike the children that surrounded him. With his head tilted up towards my face and without the slightest hint of hostility, he gently put his orange half, turned inside out, down, next to him, and wrapped both hands around my extended calf.
Then he looked down at my leg which I had placed next to him, the one he was cradling in his hands. With amazement I saw his lips recede, to expose long sharp teeth , and in HORROR I helplessly watched him BITE into my leg!
I screamed like a starlet in a B-movie. The little children started screaming. The bigger kids on the balcony started anxiously jumping up and down. In a flash everything had turned chaotic. I used my handbag to slam that beast on his head. Sonja grabbed his chain and started pummeling him in the back with it.
Just as suddenly, he released my leg, delicately picked up his orange, and with those large innocent gray eyes staring into my face again, began nibbling on it...
I hobbled up to the balcony, sat in the nearest chair and examined my leg. All the children gathered around to see. My leg didn't actually hurt that much . However, the large red and bright purple bruise, with teeth marks and broken skin, was quite scary looking. In the midst of all the pandemonium, I couldn't help noticing that it looked amazingly like the passion marks that suddenly appeared on the necks of some women at various times. Only this mark was way down on my calf.
It was getting late now, and that big orange West African sun was starting to color the sky. In a panic, I dashed back down the steps to catch another taxi to my doctor's office before he closed for the day.
“Doctor," I sobbed, "a monkey bit my leg!” The doctor took a look, then went in his cupboard and pulled out this LONG set of needles. LONG: the tip was about the thickness if a ball point pen. Needles in hand, he turned to approach me. In his very best clinical voice,he purred:
”We will start the series of Rabies vaccine to your spine now!
RABIES!! I shuddered. This once fine day had shifted from alarm to high drama, fast. “Isn't’ that painful?" I pleaded, "Don’t I have a choice?"
“ Well yes, it can be painful,” he said stoically, “but If we don’t get started on this series of vaccines, you will be DEAD in 10 days!"
Then he said something that shot me a bright ray of hope:" But, you do have a choice!" Then he dashed the hope: "Bring me the head of the monkey! Or tomorrow you must start this series of shots!" I left the doctor's office with Dread in my heart.
Life is all about the decisions you make. Was I concerned with notifying my beloved parents across the ocean of the imminent death of their only daughter? NO. Was I concerned about dying? NO. I had already considered suicide, several times, I was certainly not afraid to die.
Little did anyone know, this doctor had managed to tap my deepest fear. I had 2 options with him: cut off the monkey's head OR undergo a painful series of rabies shots. It was THE FEAR OF THE THOUGHT OF THE ANTICIPATION OF RECEIVING PAIN OR INFLICTING PAIN that scared me like nothing else life had offered, so far, in my 22 odd years on the planet. I was oblivious to the crazy taxi driver who careened recklessly through narrow back roads of unpaved streets in the capitol city.
HOW WOULD I DO SUCH A THING , ANYWAY!!! and then, where would I go live after I had done this act? I had sought expert advice, and it had left me between a rock and a very hard place. My future looked bleak. I went to bed that night, my mind in a turmoil. Morning came, I woke up, went to work, came home again, and told NO one my thoughts.
Now, I’m sitting on the balcony, it’s sunset , almost the end of DAY 2, and I’m still here, thinking. So far, I have not returned to the doctor's office. Also, I have not chopped off the head of my gracious host’s pet. I was so deep in thought I haven't even noticed that same chimpanzee, in my line of sight, directly across from the balcony where I sat. He was playing on top of a cinder block pile, towering 9 ft high: building material for somebody’s house.
Attached to the collar around his neck, was a long chain,the other end of it wedged under the cinder blocks, so the animal could move about, but not escape. I studied the animal closely. He appeared very happy, very curious, not sick , not foaming at the mouth.
Down on the ground , tangetal to the cinder block pile was a foot path, where all the neighbors walked, before it veered out to the road. A young man walking on that path approached the cinder blocks. The chimp studied him from above. He was dressed in a suit, and by the way he walked you could tell he was going someplace important. The man did not see the ape overhead, as he walked below.
Just as the man headed towards the road, the animal suddenly leaped on his back. With his tail high in the air, he grabbed him by the waist and bit him on the butt. Then, just as quickly, he leapt back on top the cinder blocks , to safety. That young man was so upset! He turned quickly, cursing, and grabbed at the creature, but the animal was very agile, and jumped out of reach. You could almost see steam coming from that man’s head, he was so angry. He tried climbing the cinder blocks. Then he paused, looked back at the road, and even tho he was quite annoyed, he turned back to the path, walking away. Then he stopped,picked up a rock,turned, and threw it at the chimp, missed, then turned again, still cursing, and headed for the road. He turned back once more and shook his fist at the creature.. .... The little chimpanzee laughed.
I laughed , too... I realized, this animal bit everybody, except perhaps the children. Relief poured into my soul, because I felt that now, I would not die if I didn’t take the rabies shots, and although the chimp might still loose his head, it would not be by my hands.....
Now I knew.....Nobody would have to call my family overseas and advise them of my early demise in the next 10 days... That big orange sun was setting on another beautiful day in West Africa. Laughter echoed in the smile that lingered on my lips as I slipped into dreamland that night. A coup d’etat,brewing overnight in a neighboring country, would color my tomorrow with so much intrigue, it would be years before these events would surface in my mind.