TWO MONKEYS, A PITCHFORK,
AND A MASHED POTATO
You want to know how I got these scars? What? You don’t? Well, too bad, we’re both trapped here, and might I remind you it was your idea to drag me here in the first place. None of us are getting out of this. So you troublesome youngest, it started twenty years ago when I was a wee lad of some unspecified age. I’d rather not get into the details of my age right now. Or was it thirty years ago? Maybe forty. Yes, I know, I’m older than rust. No need to remind me! Hell, I don’t know. It was a long time ago. Just remember that. Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes. So, let me tell you a story.
Our tale of yore begins years ago when we kids had to walk fifteen miles uphill through rain, snow, sleet, fire, and tarantulas. At least I believe someone threw a tarantula at me. I can’t really recall, but it was some sort of moving fuzzy thing. As for you, well, I doubt you have the slightest clue of what I’m yammering on about. Sometimes I don’t, either.
On one of those bright sunny days of yore, a few friends and I walked back from school, avoiding those darn spiders, cars, and all manner of codswallop. I swear I once dodged a cow that pranced through like it owned the place. Darn thing would have made a better cheeseburger if you ask me, but you didn’t. Instead, it mooed and carried on its merry way as if a cow waltzing across a street was an ordinary occurrence. Or maybe such world traversing cows was a common spectacle. I believe I grew up in a farm town. Then again, I don’t even recall what I had for last morning’s tea. At least I remember there being farms, cows, and horses, and the odd smell of strawberries.
Now, don’t ask me specifics, you know my memory is more rotten than your grandmother’s teeth. Or perhaps I meant my grandmother’s teeth. Anyway, we came back from school one day and heard all manner of hooting and hollering. I assumed it to be nothing but the neighborhood hooligans until I remembered I was one of those pesky worthless hooligans. Whatever had been making that darn sound, my friends and I went to investigate. No ordinary investigation, mind you. Otherwise, I imagine more folks wearing fancy badges and blue shirts would have been there. Nope, just me, my friends, and I.
We crossed Old Town Road south toward Seventieth. I remember seeing little Amber May waving at me as she often did on my return from school. Cutest girl ever, I tell you, just don’t tell my wife. I wonder what happened to her. But I fear I digress. Now, no more interruptions, please. I swear these dusty rooms jumble my mind worse than an old station wagon rumbling on low gas. At least I believe that’s the right metaphor. Well, if it’s wrong, you let me know.
Back to the story. We crossed over the weed-covered hill where that grumpy old shit would try to chase us off his lawn and even throw the occasional cigarette butt at us. Benny was too slow one day and got smacked upside the head by a cane. But this time, it was quiet, well, his hill and old beat-up pickup truck were quiet, mind you. The strange noises grew louder and louder to the point Benny pissed himself. I swear even now I’d still be able to hear that cacophony of sheer nonsense despite how deaf I’ve become. We rounded the hill, and you know what we saw? A couple gosh darned monkeys had escaped the zoo. I’m not kidding you. There were two of them, maybe three, perhaps five. Or maybe one of them had two tails and a second head. I’ll give you the details later.
My friends and I, the idiot teenagers that we were, trampled down the hill to investigate, thinking that we’d have a grand old time. I swear to you, every monkey turned on us like the bad guys from those cartoons you whippersnappers watch so much. Clasped in their hands, each monkey held a potato the size of your head. Okay, maybe not that large, but they were the biggest darned potatoes I’ve ever seen. The next thing we know, the monkeys had my buddies, and me surrounded. Then, they pelted us with those enormous potatoes grown from God’s own garden. Now Lamar, no, not him, he was the only smart one of us. Anyway, someone snatched up the potato and threw the thing right back at the shrieking long-tailed monkey responsible for tossing the thing.
Its arm like a whip, the monkey snatched the thing from the sky, bared its teeth, and rounded on us with its large, horrific, narrowed eyes. I shit you not. As if it reached into the depths of hell itself, the monkey pulled a pitchfork from the ground, stuck the potato on the central spike, and slashed it through the air as if preparing for the ape uprising. My buddies and I screamed, but the monkeys already attacked. Despite me not being the one to throw the potato ... what? Do you think I took part in such antics? Well, I wasn’t, and stop looking at me with that scowl of yours. Damn kids these days have no respect for their gosh-darned elders. Not that we did back in my day, but that’s not the point, mind you. I may be many things, but I ain’t no darn potato thrower.
Before you interrupted me with your narrowed eyes and exasperation, the monkey had me pinned against the ground. The rest of its pack or troop or whatnot chased off my buddies, leaving me alone and abandoned. From atop the pitchfork, the monkey removed the potato and smeared it across my face and chest. I yelped or tried to anyway when it twirled the pitchfork in its hands and pointed it at my throat. I tell you what. The monkey gave a maniacal laugh as if it meant to impale me and rip out my heart.
The damned monkey smacked me upside the head and plunged the spike deep into my stomach. I cried, and the monkey hooted and laughed before scampering down the road to follow its escaped zoo miscreants until the authorities came and put an end to the primate rampage. I don’t remember the details, but I imagine the monkey chased my school friends until the police or some brave heroes tracked down the monkey and its primate accomplices. To this day, I come to the zoo and tap on their enclosure, waving a potato like a madman. Someone has to put them in their place, else they’ll return and impose their tyranny on us all.
That, officer, is the story of how two monkeys, a pitchfork, and a mashed potato near ended my life. I know you may think I’ve gone crazy, and maybe I have, but I cannot think of a better reason for sneaking into a zoo at two in the morning and showing those animals who are in charge.
— Zach Kuhl