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My Troubles With Monkeys    

By Ken Silver About Asia
2401 Views | 0 Comments | 6/14/2010 2:42:21 AM

Phnom Penn, Cambodia... off of Sisowath Quay... a quiet tree lined street lit by light bulbs and filled with darkness. I'm in a stately three story French architecture town house... my hand slowly drifts down to the beer mug... the women around me are backing slowly away... I squint into the trees beyond our open balcony... time stands still... the crackling branches part...

The monkey and I lock eyes.

I've tried outwitting monkeys.. Really I have. I admit I don't have much of a handle on that, but I'm trying. I've tried eating more bananas than they can at one sitting. So-so results. I've tried scratching my ass like they scratch their assess. Got a knack for that! I've tried sitting like a monkey, dreaming like a monkey, reading and then eating newspapers like I've seen monkeys do. Monkey see, monkey do. If I could see like a monkey, then maybe I could do like a monkey. Then maybe I could beat the monkey.

The mind, you know, is like a monkey. Always moving around, changing directions, always swinging through the trees of memory, thoughts and fantasies. Once I saw a monkey grab a woman's passport and leap from her open window into the trees and cliffs of the Phi-Phi Islands. She spent the next five hours trying to coax the monkey down. I've seen monkeys grab cameras, Ipods, cash filled wallets.

I've seen them try to go where no God-fearing monkey should go.

In the magnificent natural Hindu temples of the Bantu caves of Malaysia I've had a sneering monkey drop an empty soda can on my head. On a suspension bridge over the sacred Ganges in the holy India town of Rishikesh I had a god damned monkey steal my sacred popcorn.

But, you know, I kinda like them, even so. The most they have ever stolen from me was a large tube of sun tan lotion. Hell, every airport guard checking my carry on luggage does that. Besides, that monkey thief smeared the lotion all over his body - monkey see, monkey do! - and for all I know now slides off of every tree he tries to climb. Serves him right!

Be careful about monkeys. Dogs and cats are bad enough in third world countries . They carry fleas, parasites, are dirty, lick their own butts, and can deliver a nasty infected bite or scratch. Or a fatal one, if the virus they pass to you is Rabies. Dogs and cats... wait till you get back to Grandmas' house before you pet them.

But monkeys can be worse. They are truly wild, recklessly aggressive, and They Want Your Food! They don't use internet dating services! In fact, if they steal your laptop - and they will - they will drop it from a high, high, tree as you watch.

That night in Phnom Penn - I was drinking that beer when in the shadows something large and dark scurried towards me... towards our open balcony where I was charming the girls. My mind scanned a database of Cambodian mythology ...what demon was charging me?... God damn, it's no demon, it's a monkey!

I admit it - I froze, trapped between the balcony edge and the crowd of ladies. A quick thinking honey grabbed her beer glass and threw the liquid contents on my furry attacker. I unfroze and did the same thing with the beer in my glass. The monkey retreated to the trees, where it licked its fur all night.

Monkey see, monkey do., Later on, I sort of did the same thing.

The End


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