Shameless self indulgence, Writing

Grumpiest Monkey’s More Tales From the City

FullSizeRenderSomewhere in the city, there are Jehovah’s Witnesses standing in pairs outside of every train station. They are unfailingly well-dressed, pleasant, smiling, good looking people. It is only their literature that hints at the extremity of their views.

For religiously-minded individuals, they seem blissfully unaware of the real-life human suffering that goes on all around them. The addicts, the drunks and the homeless. The desperate and the worn out. They look right past them and focus their attention on the the commuters walking by. A cynic would say that is where the money is.


A man and a woman huddle in a corner. They are thin, frazzled, nervous. The man is berating the woman for some perceived slight, but it is clear that this is nothing new. The man takes his frustrations out on her. Yells in her face. Threatens her with his words. Blames her for everything. She looks towards the ground, sucks on her cigarette and absorbs his rage. She has been absorbing rage all her life.


An hispanic worker at a pizza kiosk inside the train station sets a slice of cheese on top of the counter and whistles over at a man in a faded green army coat. The man, a lifelong drifter who usually panhandles outside the station at rush hour, takes the free slice gratefully and returns to his bench. It is a small, subtle gesture.


Four black teenagers have a loud conversation about which one of them is a more important member of the Bloods. One would think that being the member of a criminal gang would be nothing to shout about, but then again they just seem like kids showing off for each other.


Grown men spend their commute playing Candy Crush on their phones.


Grown men commute on razor scooters.


 

A truck rumbling through a tunnel hits a warped manhole cover and launches it into the air. It smashes through the front windshield of another car, killing the driver instantly. What was she thinking about when the manhole cover hit? Her job? Her love life? Her weekend plans? All of that is now gone.


 

And the city lurches on.

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Shameless self indulgence, Writing

The Grumpiest Monkey Presents: Tales from the City

FullSizeRender

Somewhere in the city…

A schizophrenic woman sits on a bench inside a train station, babbling aloud about past sexual trauma, completely lost inside her head while commuters brush past her without noticing.

A chunk of the ceiling inside an underground vehicle artery suddenly dislodges, landing on top of  a passing car and killing the occupant inside. She was on her way to the airport. Traffic will be a mess all morning. A cursory check of the tunnel will reveal no other structural defaults. Life will go on for everyone but the woman inside the car.

A worn out man in a faded green Army jacket waits outside a subway stop with an empty Dunkin’ Donuts cup in his hand. “Do you have 50 cents?” he asks the swirling hordes of working professionals as they pass. He is there every morning, always asking for 50 cents. How did he arrive at that number? Does anyone even carry change on them anymore? Would he be better off asking for a dollar? Or getting a smartphone and a card swipe?

A man staggers out of a bar on a freezing cold night without a coat. It is so cold, in fact, that the streets are all but deserted. Forecasters have warned of frostbite in 10 minutes. He wanders up and down the streets of the deserted financial district, then heads out towards the harbor. He disappears somewhere in the icy black water.

A subway train is stopped so that transit officers can remove a woman who has loaded  all her earthly possessions into the corner of the last car. There are bags upon bags stuffed into two fragile metal pull carts. As she is pulled off the train, the woman curses at the officers. Where will she go now? Where did she come from? What happened in her life to bring her to this point, where she is old and alone and carrying her world along with her?

A tall thin black man with braids, a flat-brimmed cap and sagging jeans stops to help a short, middle-aged white blind man cross a busy intersection. It’s a small moment that few people see, but it’s a rare moment of civility in a city that rarely has time for anything.


 

Shameless self indulgence, Writing

The Goldfish Revolution Will Not Be Televised — But It Could Be Short-Lived

Day 1:

The time has come, brothers and sisters of the bowl.

For too long we have been imprisoned behind these cold glass walls, stuck circling around the same sand-encrusted toy castle, trying to pretend that the limp plastic plant you halfheartedly stuck into the gravel is actually real greens.

For too long we’ve been forced to endure the indignity of a bowl lined with brightly colored gravel in shades so garish that even a circa 1970s Elton John would be ashamed to be seen with them.

Do these humans really think they can occupy our dynamic goldfish brains with a fake plastic sandcastle and a fake tree?

There is no truth to the slanderous lies that they often say about us–that our memories are short term and our attention spans are limited. We carry with us the history of generations of proud goldfish brothers and sisters.

These humans…

Do they not know that we have goldfish hopes and goldfish dreams? That we burn with throbbing goldfish passions? That we hold goldfish grudges?

We know there is more to life than circling around the same 10 inch span for years on end, munching on soggy Tetra flakes and watching our friends go belly up and die.

And to think that we get purchased at a “pet” store. How do these humans have the nerve to call us a pet? Do we get walks? Do we get treats? Do we get to sit on the couch and watch TV with you? Nope. Nothing.

We get plucked out of the pond where we were just swimming around being all cool and stuff, tossed into a plastic bag, sold at some back alley shop run by a fat guy who likes snakes a little too much, and then we get taken to some home.

Once we get to said “home” we’re plopped into a bowl and stuck on a shelf next to all those books you bought to look cool but have never actually read. (How is the Great Gatsby coming along, by the way? You fraud)

Oh, and let’s not forget about these so-called bowl “cleanings.” Every six months or so you might dump out our bowl water and refill it, but most of the time we’re stuck swimming around in a stagnant pool of fish feces. Fantastic.

Our demands are the following.

Set us free.
Give us back our dignity.
Let us hold the remote control once in a while.
Maybe some female fish for the bowl (right, bro?)

Or how about a fucking smartphone or an ipad or something? Anything to pass the time. Maybe a Netflix subscription? Hey–we could call it Netfish? Get it? Like Netflix for fish? Just as joke.

But anyway, the point is that we are not going to back down. We are not going to forget. We will not stop until freedom is ours.

Hey, wait….is that a sandcastle over there next to that tree?

Day 2:

The time has come, brothers and sisters of the bowl.

Shameless self indulgence

Possible Reasons Why I Haven’t Posted for A While

Every so often, your Monkey jumps onto this blog and makes big promises about how he is going to start posting on the regular and how things are going to be different this time. That he is going to dedicate his time and energy to growing his regular readership from no readers to one or two by the end of the year.

But, as usual, these big claims are followed up by crickets and dust bunnies. This blog has sat empty and forgotten while everyone else is out having fun in the summer sun. Why is that?

Is it because your Monkey is a lot better at making promises than he is at keeping them? Is it that his full time job and part time jobs keep him too busy to post? Is that he runs out of ideas for posts faster than Walmart runs out of human dignity on Black Friday?

Perhaps, but perhaps not. Here are some of the activities that have occupied the time he would usually spend on this blog:

  • Writing the great American novel
  • Reading the great American Buzz Feed quiz
  • Eating the great American cheese slice
  • Posting inspirational memes on Facebook
  • Trapping my neighbors, friends and relatives in a Ponzi scheme
  • Rescuing kittens that are trapped in trees
  • Tying kittens to tree branches and then running away giggling
  • Walking like an Egyptian
  • Dressing like a 1980s cop and Walking Like an Egyptian (watch the video and you’ll dig this one)
  • Poaching eggs
  • Poaching tigers
  • Approaching tigers
  • Reproaching tigers for being so mean
  • Creating a passenger train for passenger pigeons
  • Remembering that passenger pigeons are extinct
  • Trying to bring passenger pigeons back to life using pigeon DNA trapped in amber a la Jurassic Park
  • Sorting through rejection letters for new screenplay “Passenger Pigeon Park.”
  • Abandoning plans for sequel; “Pigeons 2: the Passenger Bugaloo”
Shameless self indulgence

In Which Your Humble Monkey Stares into the Saturday Abyss

Your monkey has a challenge ahead of himself today, my friends.

It is Saturday, the sun is shining, the air is warm, and yet your primate protagonist is doing his best to sit at his desk and power through some freelance writing projects.

The demons of distraction are swirling about him, even as he types this message to you.

Pssst. Hey buddy….

  • Why not take a break and watch TV?
  • Why not check Facebook?
  • Maybe you should play some guitar?
  • Aren’t there some pictures of girls that you should be googling? And then ogling?
  • Don’t you want to move a bunch of stuff from one spot to another in the apartment without actually accomplishing anything?
  • Don’t you want to see if there is anything on Netflix that you might want to watch, but then not actually watch anything?
  • Shouldn’t you let that homeless guy out of the locked cabinet in the basement?

Plus, Mrs. Monkey is out of the house today, so there is no one to keep your Monkey’s mind from wandering into dark corners of self-doubt and despair, or from assuming that while he is once again chained to his writing desk, everyone else is out having sexy cookouts and lawn orgies.

If your Monkey has one weapon in his toolbox today, is that he knows the challenge ahead of him. If he grits his teeth, bears down, and gets some writing done, he will be ahead of the game and be able to submit a nice little invoice by the close of business today.

If he gets distracted, fiddles around, fucks about, or cracks an early beer, then he will get upset with himself and feel even worse.

He will watch his stomach get bloated, worry about his rapidly advancing age and rapidly declining physical condition, and spend most of the afternoon weighing himself and trying to decide if he is toeing the fine line between handsomely husky or cringingly chubby.

This would not be a good outcome, my friends. How many good Monkeys have we already lost to distractions, weight insecurity, and charges of the unlawful imprisonment of the homeless?

Thus he shall do everything in his power to stay focused on the TOPIC AT HAND.

Shameless self indulgence

Your Monkey is Back and He Has An Axe to Grind (and Bananas to Munch)

After a long, long, long, long long layoff, your Monkey is back on the blogging scene and ready to put the time and effort into this blog that his non-existent fanbase has not demanded.

Oh where oh where has our Monkey been lo these past months, you may ask? He has been burning the midnight oil writing a so-called legitimate blog for the so-called man. That has fallen through, as has his secondary backup job cultivating a Tumblr.

So what does that mean for you, oh brave and tremendously good looking potential new blog reader?

It means that your Monkey is back with a spring in his step and an axe to grind. He is going to be posting about the inane jack-assery that is people’s posts on Facebook every day. F–k you and your 10K time and your vacation and your pathetic attempts to make lame jokes about genuine human tragedy just to legitimize your sad existence. Try harder, bro.

This means your Monkey is going to underwhelm you with his pathetic attempts at fiction.

He is also going to channel his inner Hunter S. Thompson to bring you sordid tales of the much degraded man of the working world. Of traveling the subway every day. Of hippopotamus-shaped women who inexplicably rely on Weight Watchers microwaved meals for their workplace lunch even though they grow larger and more diabetic with each passing day.

But most of all, he will be running this blog like a blog should be run. With no cheap attempts to get clicks with fake headlines. No stupid lists of common sense sh**t that everyone knows already. Example “Ten Tips All New Mothers Must Know… Number one: Don’t throw your baby in the ocean and walk away. Number Two: Don’t hire a rabid wolf to babysit your baby. Number Three: Don’t ask your baby to jump-start your car without ascertaining that he/she has an understanding of positive/negative charges .”

Yeah, we get it Buzzfeed/Gawker/F–koff.com. We know how to live. We know you have to get clicks every day to get ad rates so you tell us stuff we already know and we share it on Facebook so we can tell everyone how advanced we are because we already do all this. Eat a d**k.

Shameless self indulgence

A Grumpiest Monkey’s New Year’s Resolutions

Well, that time of year has come again, my friends. When the ball drops at midnight tonight, another year will be upon us, and your humble Monkey will have another chance to make some changes in his life. Usually, your Monkey will make some outrageous claims about trying to blog every day or to exercise more, or to be a better person, but we’ve all seen how that has gone in the past.

This year, your Monkey is committed to making some realistic resolutions that will actually make a difference in his life. So without further ado, here are his resolutions for 2015.

  • To appreciate being so outrageously good looking and uncompromisingly successful
  • To tone down a little bit of my rugged handsomeness and raw animal magnetism
  • To stop being so dynamite in the sack
  • To let someone else get the girl for once
  • To have a few less madcap, sexy adventures
  • To accept complements with grace and good cheer, rather than smirking and saying “Yeah, I know”
  • To finally give the world that novel they’ve been demanding
  • To write some Harry Potter fan fiction that doesn’t end with a gangbang at Hogwarts
  • To stop having outrageously torrid affairs with the older ladies at work
  • To stop working at the nursing home
  • To stop giggling at car accidents
  • To stop using my illegal stock market profits to prop-up the campaigns of ultra right wing candidates
  • To stop printing out and posting leaflets accusing my neighbors of being sex offenders
  • To stop hunting endangered animals for sport
  • To stop hunting the homeless for sport
  • To stop buying gerbils from the local pet store and firing them off the roof with my custom-made gerbil catapult
  • To stop recording and transcribing every episode of the 700 Club, and then re-enacting the show with my houseplant, “Pot Robertson”
  • To stop trying to grab the mailman’s hand when he puts letters through the mail slot
  • To shoplift a little less
  • OK, to shoplift a lot less
  • To stop rubbing against people on the bus
  • To stop rubbing against people at the bus stop
  • To stop rubbing against the bus driver
  • To stop calling strangers and moaning softly into the phone
  • To stop calling my parents and moaning softly into the phone
  • To stop calling  the bus driver and moaning—well, you get the idea

OK, my friends, that should do it to start 2015. An ambitious list, right? But one that feels, smart, realistic, attainable, and truthful to the Monkey I want to be. Wish me luck—though it’s not like I’ll need it.