I woke up in a strange place

By Marc Heiden, since 1997.
See also: a novel about a monkey.

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February 25, 2002

As a result of gifts received during this most recent birthday, I have a large gorilla in my bedroom, and he is cradling a real explosive device in his hand, a long red industrial fuse. He is called Amigo. I say this so you will understand that when I refer to a monkey with an explosive device in the corner of my bedroom, it is not a metaphor for me, but is, in fact, an actual monkey.

I have long resisted decorating my cubicle. I don't want to dignify the abstract notion of the cubicle as a residence for a human being by personalizing it, and the rabbi is always yammering on about the numerous horror movie-themed items in the cubicle behind mine, so I could bring in flyers from indie rock shows or plays I did, but then I'd have to sit through the rabbi's stand-up routine about them every week or two, and it would be more of a pain than it was worth. The rabbi can get kind of obnoxious like that. Recently, though, my mother gave me a picture frame that has space for three wallet-sized photos of family members, and since I don't really have any family members to put in there, I decided to fill it with some of the monkey photos that people like to give me. After due consideration, the three that were chosen, from left to right:

  • Sad baboon in black-and-white with caption, "Zoo animals suffered at hands of Taliban";
  • Suave gorilla in color that came with Telemundo, a stuffed monkey that I got for Christmas;
  • Happy chimpanzee wearing eye-glasses in black and white, clipped from newspaper ad.

    The thing about me is, I engage in dadaist acts of aggression because I am too lazy to communicate with other people. I figured that the monkeys would pose a devastating critique to work-place iconography, and anyway, I could look at the monkeys while I was on the phone and try to make faces like them. Shortly after arriving at work, the curious rabbi noticed the pictures and conspired to get me away from my cubicle so he could figure out what this new addition to my desk was. From afar, I heard him enlisting the horror fan's help in figuring out why I had a bunch of monkey pictures in my cubicle. I yelled at him, and the rabbi beat a hasty retreat. Later in the afternoon, he came out of his office and asked me to explain the monkeys for him. Improvising, I said that the baboon was a reminder of injustice and suffering, that the chimp was a symbol of the joy of learning, of study, of rigorous pursuit of knowledge, and fortunately I didn't have to come up with anything for the suave gorilla, because everyone was laughing except the bewildered rabbi, who told me that I was strange and again beat a hasty retreat.

    An INTERVIEWER enters, with a notepad, to speak to the CHARACTER.

    INTERVIEWER: Tell me about your project.
    CHARACTER: Well, I bought this video game, FIFA Soccer, for my video game system. Soccer is a popular sport. They call it football in other countries, because the players use their feet to play the game, for the most part.
    INTERVIEWER: Go on...
    CHARACTER: And what I'm selling are called "All-American Memory Cards". See, you need a memory card to save your game. It's this thing you buy and you put it into a slot in the video game system and then it remembers what games you've played and what teams you've beat. Well, they have a lot of teams in the FIFA, and it was really bothering me that the teams from the Axis of Evil, you know, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, they like soccer too, and their teams are good, and I think it's anti-American, because your American team might lose to the Axis of Evil team.
    INTERVIEWER: So, what you're selling...
    CHARACTER: What I do is I beat all of the Axis of Evil teams, and then I save it on the memory card, and then I sell it to you, so your memory card is pro-America, instead of being blank and potentially anti-America.
    INTERVIEWER: I hate you.
    CHARACTER: I make a lot of money.
    INTERVIEWER: I hate you a lot.
    CHARACTER: Axis-of-Evil-loving motherfucker.

    They move to opposite ends of the stage, which is revealed to be an All-You-Can-Eat buffet.

    I have a mad lust to live in, to inhabit hundreds of different places without ever touching down completely.

  • I woke up in a strange place is the work of Marc Heiden, born in 1978, author of two books (Chicago, Hiroshima) and some plays, and an occasional photographer.

    Often discussed:

    Antarctica, Beelzetron, Books, Chicago, College, Communism, Food, Internet, Japan, Manute Bol, Monkeys and Apes, North Korea, Oregon Trail, Outer Space, Panda Porn, Politics, RabbiTech, Shakespeare, Sports, Texas.


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    Written by Marc Heiden, 1997-2011.