The Incredible True Story of a Man's Love for His Monkey
Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" This beautiful early autumn weather brings with it cool evenings of high school football. At least once a year, I like to amble over to see Snobville High play with the pigskin. I like to do this in the company of my friend the Monkey Man, and last night he was available, along with his bulldog Butchie and his ever-present monkey.
Someone snapped this photo of the Monkey Man. It really captures him, and his bad monkey. Honestly, reader. Wouldn't you love to have this guy as a friend?
Anyway, prior to the game, the Monkey Man nibbled a few slices of pizza with me, Mr. J and The Spare. And he entertained us with the latest misadventures of his monkey.
It seems that the Monkey Man took his bike on the El from Camden, where he lives near the waterfront, to Philadelphia. His monkey was riding in a basket on the front of the bike. When the Monkey Man returned to the El, he put his bike in a doorway (like you're supposed to do). But then it happened. At the next stop, the door opened on the side where the bike was! The bike lurched, and the monkey fell from the basket onto the third rail.
The Monkey Man jumped off the train with his bike, but in the darkness he couldn't see his monkey. So the Monkey Man took his bike back upstairs and went in search of a store that sells flashlights. He found a hardware store that not only had LED flashlights but also a grabber. Trouble was, the flashlight was five bucks and the grabber $35. No can do on Monkey Man budget. MM bought the flashlight and found a dry cleaning store that had wire hangers. He took the wire hangers and the flashlight and paid again to get onto the El.
I suppose I should mention that our El runs sometimes above ground and sometimes below. In Philly it's a subway.
So... back to the dark tracks goes the Monkey Man. He uses the flashlight and locates his monkey, inches from the electrified third rail. Monkey Man fashions a grabber from the wire hangers.
It's rush hour. The platform is full of working stiffs waiting to get back to good ol' New Jersey. Also, the trains are running at max schedule. With the roar of an oncoming El train in his ears, the Monkey Man reaches down with his wire hangers and hooks his monkey ...
With seconds to spare, he hauls the monkey to safety and then celebrates in his characteristic way as the astonished commuters looked on.
This monkey has had some adventures. At times he has gone missing for months and months at a time, when he's been stolen. Once the Monkey Man was mugged and beaten up pretty bad (yeah, gotta love Camden), and the monkey was found floating in the Delaware River. Somehow this little monkey always finds his way back to his Man.
The monkey went with us to the football game but mostly stayed secure inside the Monkey Man's little backpack. Football games are the province of Butchie the bulldog, since Snobville's mascot is a bulldog.
(I keep typing bullgod. It would be cool to have Mithras as a high school mascot, don't you think?)
Wow, I have been friends with the Monkey Man for a long time. I don't see nearly as much of him as I would like.
As we walked home from the football game, we passed right under the windows of the house where the Monkey Man grew up. He's a Snobville native, and as luck would have it, his old home is right behind mine. Coincidence. I didn't know that until I met him. His family sold it in the 1960s.
Monkey Man looked through the window into the kitchen. The cabinets his father built are still in the house. MM got a little wistful, I think.
There's not much I can say that's good about living in New Jersey, but we do have the Monkey Man, and he did inspire me to start memorizing Walt Whitman poems. I already knew how to act crazy. That's why he and I make such good companions. Nothing that monkey does surprises me, and I enjoy conversing with the little guy. He does talk, of course, in a kind of high-pitched Monkey Man voice. and he's very good at saying, "oo oo oo AH AH AH!"
O blessed thinning of the veil! All hail Monkey Man's dad, who built kitchen cabinets that have lasted more than half a century!