Conversations with a chilled monkey
I've got a face full of monkey fur, what have you got?
Sitting in Green Park, contemplating a change of career, the scrounging patterns of pigeons, and how cold my face was since i hacked off my beard. Green Park used to have no flowers growing in it, due to a decree by a Queen, but nowadays there's been a few patches of tulips, violets, lilies and the like grown here like blotches of rainbow. Some sort of pollyanna cheering up. I was thinking of picking them, attaching a little tag explaining the story, and selling them to gullible tourists until this park became properly just plain green again, when along strolled the Chilled Monkey, humming "don't laugh, but i've got a pair of coconuts". he tossed the crusty end of a hot dog bun to a grey squirrel, who stuffed it in its mouth in brief imitation of the Godfather before scampering gaily off, hopped up on mustard.
"Hey, C.M." I said.
"Yo, mr. gnarl," he grinned, plopping down on my bench, his tail wriggling through a slat. "What's up?"
"Just picked up our visas for Syria, now just chilling, literally."
"Same here, man. I'm off to Barbados soon, get my furry ass out of this freezing grey godforsaken city.
"You and the rest of us. At this rate there won't be any of the noding crew left."
"What do you mean?" the monkey asked, ears triangling in a bristle.
"Haven't you been paying attention lately? Dizzy's jumping ship, lording off to the states, getting married."
The Chilled Monkey fell off the bench, squawking. An empty crisp bag was winded off the path to settle on the muddy lawn like it was some shiny blossom.
"I need a drink. Now. A Real Drink." said the monkey, and stomped over to the Hotel Savoy. I followed until we were stopped by a doorman at the American Bar.
"Excuse me, but we have a dress code here." I looked at C.M., thinking in a pinch i could pretend he was my baby, or some sort of Michael Jackson and Bubbles thing. A dark brown tie with a small yellow duckie down at the base had appeared around his neck.
"He's with me, Artie, and i really need a drink right now," said C.M., pressing a note into the doorman's palm.
"Very well, sir... but please zip up, young scruffy man."
Walking past the bar, he called out "make me a Green Thing, Charlie. Please." We dumped ourselves far from the bright wintry sun-filled windows. The barman nodded, and there was a grinding, whirring blending. Shreds of celery, granny smith apples, peppers, okra, and parsley spattered the bar, then a massive clatter of glass, and then voila!, a giant mug of green froth surrounded by shots of tequila, Jaeger, midori, cointreau, whisky. Thinking of the situation, i ordered a Becks, and a brief dismissal of a squint later, I was sucking foam off, while C.M. sat back with a frosty moustache. Our table was covered in scattered shotglasses.
"OK, Why in Fern's name didn't I know about this?"
"Um, because you're so chilled out to pay attention to what's been going on? Rhesus Christ, C.M., he's only been going on about this for ages. And if you'd shown up before New Year's you'd have seen the two of them hanging off each other's lips like Stallone in a Renny Harlin Thriller."
"I talk to the guy like every day! I thought this was just, you know, an internet thing! And i was damn busy knocking the Dome down for New Year's."
"Ah, yeah, congrats on that, sorry i missed it, but i couldn't scrounge up the 50 smackeroos."
"Oh, I would have slipped you in, Buddy. I cleared over 50 grand on that... everyone wanted a piece of it."
"If you didn't spend all your time together with his face in your belly, maybe you'd have noticed he had one foot out of the door at the time."
"Hey, don't knock my belly 'til you've tried it."
"I've got cats, man, that's all i need when i'm in need of a face of fur... I'm telling you, C.M., he's going. Never mind that Michigan's the Abandoned Rusty Car Depository, or the new President's plan to personally brand every immigrant with "Grade A Beef"; he's going. He's shacking up; he's going."
"That little boy won't last three thursdays without me." he sighed, tie rippling on his chest. "it's the old ball and chain."
"Don't I know it... say, what about that sock monkey you were saving a dance for?"
He waved a paw, forlorn. "You know how it is, Clock strikes midnight and it's Curious George with a yellow hat full of roses and champagne sweeping her off her wooly toes."
"Oh, C.M., sorry, man. I wish i knew how he did that."
"Don't we all, don't we all, and i think that's the trick..."
The sunlight flickered from passing pigeons. Fat tourists from Wisconsin munched on pommes frites. An upturned shotglass dripped a bead of condensation. The Chilled monkey softly sang:
Spin me around,
Get me all giddy.
A merry go 'round.
I'm only happy when dizzy
Ride the carousel
So young in the city,
Call out all is well
I'm only happy when dizzy.
Grab the brass ring
Sing 'til you--
"Oh man, you're breaking my heart." I just had to interupt. "I'm going to miss him, too." We hugged close. I sqeezed his foam-filled frame, and his fluffy tail wrapped around my neck.
"Go ahead,"he musically murmured, "rub your face in my belly, like Dizzy did."
"C'mon." and by the gods I did, I did! I shook my head like I was saying no, but it felt like Yes! It was comfy, warm, soft. I felt clean, fresh, and in a place hidden from all the noise and glare of the modern world.
"All right! None of that monkey business around here!" snarled the doorman. The barman looked at us wistfully, but we were escorted out a side door and shoved out into a bin-filled alley. A startled flock of pigeons whirled up into the air. A bank of clouds hungrily approached the sun. My face still tingled.
And we silently headed to the next bar that would take us.