The Very Sad Plight of Flying Monkeys
Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," two-weeks-until-school-starts edition!
Oh my, Decibel. One night under her home roof, she has bitten open all her wounds. Now I fear I must make a shameless plea for financial aid. If you're rolling in it and want to help with bird bills (the monetary, not the beak kind), please email me.
But hey. I know how tough it is out there. How few of you are rolling, or even breaking even. The "Tonight Show" laid off 20 workers. And Jay took a pay cut.
Basically we are all fucked.
Take, for example, the sad plight of the flying monkeys.
When I was a kid, the flying monkeys scared the living daylights out of me. I also detested those soldiers that chanted. It was great to see how happy they were when the wicked witch died.
Over the course of my life I have had very little reason to hire a flying monkey or a group of them. It's just not how I roll. But this summer, one came to me. He had been hired to turn me into a wicked witch.
Fat chance of that! Within 15 minutes of his arrival, I had explained to him that
1. The vast majority of witches are not wicked, and those that are would meet with disapproval from the rank and file.
2. I do not choose to be turned into a wicked witch. I would puke before I terrorized a cute little girl and a Cairn terrier.
3. I love to swim, ergo I would not like to evaporate the minute I step into the surf at Ventnor. (Step is the operative word here. The surf there is so rough I cringe to go beyond my kneecaps.)
4. One wicked witch in a 1939 film was enough for two centuries.
It was surprising how quickly he aborted his mission. I soon found out why.
The poor soul was severely emaciated. He said he hadn't had a decent banana in years. I promptly gave him every one we had in the house. He vowed to serve me forever, was there anyone I wanted to terrorize? A dog snatched? A scarecrow pummeled?
None of the above for me.
Then he told me how things have gone for the flying monkeys.
His tale of woe did not surprise me, but it might surprise you.
The Wicked Witch of the West was apparently a motivated employer who bargained amiably with the flying monkeys' union. Under her control, the flying monkeys were well paid. They had a good health care plan (most operations were performed by the witch herself) and generous vacation time. They were given higher wages for learning safer and more efficient ways to fly. And they didn't have to buy their bananas at some company store -- they had a nice, modern supermarket filled to the brim with fresh fruit.
Since the death of the Wicked Witch of the West, the flying monkeys have had trouble finding employment, even among some of the worst supervillains. Magneto offered them a pay cut and then laid off half the monkey force on the day before Christmas. Galactus said he had no need of flying monkeys when he could get Daleks for a fraction of the cost and a fraction of the food bill. The Tea Party will use them only surreptitiously, as contract employees -- and then the check just never arrives in the mail, even after multiple invoices.
It's hard out there for a flying monkey.
Most of them have maxed out their unemployment and exhausted their retirement savings.
At some times in my life, I would have considered this story a dodge or a hoax. Let me tell you, readers: I believed this poor flying monkey. He opened up a little sack in his tattered vest and showed me what he'd been paid to turn me into a wicked witch. Ten bucks up front, $30 more with proof of success.
With The Spare beginning college this week and Decibel apparently headed back to the
I rooted around my abundant supply of thrift store costumes, looking for wicked witch gear. Couldn't find any. I always have hated the Nittany Lions, so I didn't have any Penn State shirts. In desperation we went to the local ice cream store. I promised a kid two cones if the monkey could photograph me snatching one of them and making the kid cry.
Thin broth. I have a bad feeling that the flying monkey will not collect his meager fee. I did give him a nice sack of fruit, though. Everything's ripe this time of year in New Jersey.