visitors and the passage of time


Sometimes, it's not too easy to be a monkey boy.  You get weird visitations from angels who make you worry about the specter of death.  Or you get grabbed by cricket-playing monks who throw you in a sack and beat you with sticks.  Or you get incarcerated and chained in creepy dungeon-like basements of monasteries.  Or forced to clean appallingly dirty bathrooms.  Or you get drugged to the point where you don't know your name and never ever wish to touch your needy willaker.

Other times, however, life can be much more pleasant to monkey boys.

Imagine Johnny's joy as he - for the seventeenth time - stopped to appreciate his new room, high up in the Tower of the Holy Ones.  There was a thick and deep shag rug in the room.  On a dais beside a big, big feather bed with white sheets was a shiny brass statue of a monk holding a cricket bat.  Real art!  There were long and narrow windows along the crisp plastered walls too through which he could see the vast and forested properties of the Clooney Monastery.  In the corner there was a silver foil-coated mannequin upon which sat a second set of his new monk robes that he could put on whenever he so wanted (and how he liked his new robes, with a fancy-looking big K sewn over the left breast in golden thread).  Hung over his bed was the photograph that had been in his old dungeon-like room of the bald and grinning Monk E holding up that piece of birthday cake (his only 'personal effect' which had been delivered up from his depressing damp dungeon room to his new holier room).  And in the corner of the room there was even a big-screen TV.

The big screen TV always seemed to be showing movies with George Clooney in it.  Or television shows in which George Clooney acts.  Or interviews with the famous actor on shows like Jay Leno.  And even some public service announcements with George Clooney in them.  The monkey boy was not able to find a remote control to change the programming, but he didn't care that much.  It was a pleasant change from the wind-swept damp and moldy room in the basements he had slept in before with only candles to look at.  Johnny smiled at the fancy big screen television as George Clooney came on and said "Remember kids - brush your teeth.  You don't want to end up looking like this fellow, do you?"  The monkey boy shivered as a photo of Dr. Weaselfoot - the man with the scary yellow teeth who had stuck a needle into Johnny's brain - was shown on the screen.  "No way you don't, little campers!" George said and the monkey boy shivered and thought the same thing.  "So, run along now, boys and girls and brush those teeth of yours so you don't end up looking like that sinister, disgusting and morally bankrupt man!"

"Wow!" Johnny thought.  Boy, did he ever not want to end up looking like Dr. Weaselfoot!  He made a point to himself to brush his teeth as soon as possible.  Maybe he'd have time to do it before his visitor arrived.

Johnny had been startled by the news that George Clooney himself was going to come and visit him.  But, he was getting used to having surprising things occur in his life.  "After seeing all those old monks stand up and sing to me and swing their legs like chorus girls, nothing will surprise me ever again!" Johnny thought to himself.

One of the monkey boy's many faults was not knowing himself that well at all.  For right after he thought that, there was a loud and unexpected knocking at the door.  "Ahk!" Johnny said, clutching onto his chest.  Yes - the monkey boy was still as susceptible to surprises as ever.

"Um.  Come in!" Johnny said after he regained his composure and his heart relaxed some.

At the doorway was a short and thin man with a face like a skull.  The man's eyebrows grew together in a streak of black, matted hair.  Other than that, he had no hair on his head at all.  The eyes underneath the big eyebrow looked cold and calculating.  "Mr. Clooney was unable to come," the man with the bushy eyebrow said.  "I'm his personal assistant, Calamity Burntwood.  And I will report back to Mr. Clooney on the nature of our dialogue."

"Oh, ok", Johnny said.  He was a little bit disappointed that he wasn't going to get to meet the star of Three Kings and From Dusk Til Dawn.

Burntwood walked into Johnny's new room.  He looked at Johnny intently.  "So.  Angels visit you, hm?  Astounding.  Astounding.  And very.... interesting.  Mr. Clooney was very pleased by this news.  He has never been fond of this - as he puts it - 'cold, depressing and godforsaken' monastery.  However, he is quite pleased at the notion that his risky investment in this venture may start to pay off."

"Ah", said the monkey boy.

"Tell me," said Burntwood peering at Johnny with his cold eyes, "have you ever heard of a person named Oprah Winfrey?"

"Have I ever!" Johnny exclaimed, remembering all the hours of happiness he'd had watching her fine, fine television show.

"Well good," Burntwood said, looking pleased that he didn't have to fill Johnny in.  "Be prepared to meet her on her show in three days.  She is going to, um, interview you on your holy nature.  Here are some lines you are to memorize."  Calamity Burntwood passed him a thick sheaf of papers in a folder that said Clooney Enterprises GmbH in big industrial letters at the top.  Then he paced around the room and continued talking to Johnny.  "In the, ah, interests of your security, we are placing some guards outside your door, Mr. Monk K.  They are there for your protection, given your, um, vital importance in the interests of Clooney Enterprises GmbH."  He stopped pacing and regarded the monkey boy.  "You are an asset, and we protect our assets well."

"Oh, ok," Johnny said.

"In three days, at exactly 6:30 in the morning, a limousine will arrive to escort you to the studios.  Please be ready.  And please ensure that your teeth are well-brushed!" Burntwood said sternly.

Johnny remembered the photo of Dr. Weaselfoot and shivered.  "Will I ever!" he promised.

Calamity Burntwood frowned at Johnny for a few moments, his eyebrow sinking in an impressive manner as he did so.  Then he adjusted his charcoal-colored lapels.  "Very well then," he said and walked to the door.  He stopped and looked back at the monkey boy.  "Good day, Mr. Monk K", he said, then walked through the door which closed behind him.

"Bye," the monkey boy said.

Johnny was so excited for the next few days, that he thought that they'd never pass.  What made it worse too, was that he didn't seem to be able to leave his room.  Sometimes his door would be locked, and other times when he tried to leave, the door would mysteriously just close right on him.  Johnny thought that that was odd, given that there was no one around at all that seemed to be closing the door.  He often found himself just staring at the door for long lengths of time, wondering at the world beyond it.

Food strangely appeared on a table by the door to his room from time to time.  He'd just look over and see a silver platter sitting there, covered in a big silver dome - like he was an important character in a movie.  "Wow!" he'd say whenever he looked over and saw that another meal had been delivered.  Johnny was getting big, big meals.  Much bigger and better than any food he had eaten in the cafeteria.  There were even big and fancy sprigs of parsley beside every meal that was placed there for him.  Johnny felt very lucky for the wonderful food and the grand new room, even though he thought that the three days would never ever pass and that time seemed to have slowed down so much that it barely moved by at all.

The monkey boy also often found himself at one of those long, thin windows, staring down at the monastery grounds.  "The time will never pass!" he'd think.  Or he'd think, "Will it ever be the day that I'm going to be on the Oprah show?"  And he'd stare out at the grounds, at the trees, at the doves flying free in the blue Summerland skies.

Johnny would also look over the many pages contained in the thick folder that had Clooney Enterprises GmbH on the front of it in industrial letters.  "Wow," he'd think to himself.  "There sure is a lot for me to memorize!"  And he'd look through them again and again, hoping that he'd be able to remember all of those things they wanted him to say when it was time.  Should the time ever come at all given how slow time seemed to be passing for the monkey boy.

But, remarkably, the time did pass, in a slow, slow, slow manner, and soon it was the night before Johnny the monkey boy was to go on the Oprah show.

"I can't even concentrate on this Batman movie!" Johnny thought to himself as he caught himself looking away from the big screen television for the umpteenth time.  On the screen, George Clooney was dressed in an impressive costume, and whispering, "I'm Batman!"  "Maybe I'll just go to bed!" Johnny thought.

And that's exactly what the monkey boy did.  And after a large amount of time had passed, the excited monkey boy was actually able to go to sleep.

The monkey boy had a very strange dream that night.

In his dream, the angel who had visited Johnny so many times before was visiting the monkey boy in his new tower room.  She looked the same as all the times before.  But perhaps a bit more angry.  And the psychic energy that always seemed to always be emanating from her hurt Johnny more than ever before.  The pain made him wonder if his eyeballs were going to pop right out of his head.  The angel peered down at him like a levitating vulture and her mouth was a mad line.

"So.  Are you a star-fucker, Johnny?" the angel asked irritably as she sunk down from up by the ceiling to hover right above him.  Her milky white and weirdly spiraling eyes were floating just above his own.  "Are you so hypnotized with fame that you are willing to whore yourself out to it?  What about your health?  What about Stella?  The letter from your grandmother?  Hell - I'd even prefer you just being your old mooning and whining self, writing pathetic diatribes about that old vice-principal of yours.  Um... Mr. Beat."

"Mr. Meat," Johnny said in a frightened whisper.

"Yes!" the angel said, "Thanks!"

"Anyway, here you are dying of bowel cancer, not knowing who your father is, and you're actually excited about being on the Oprah show?  You're unable to leave your room, Johnny!  Did you know that?  You are a prisoner here.  A stupid monkey prisoner!"  She looked very disgusted with the monkey boy.  "Outside your door are two X class monks.  And I know you don't know what those are, since you're so accepting of everything that's told to you and you question absolutely nothing given that you're a pathetic and apathetic and extraordinarily ridiculous monkey.  Now listen well."

"You are a K class monk.  You are thusly named because of so-called 'religious ascension.'  Have you ever wondered why the Security M class monks were M level monks at all?  Doesn't that seem a bit advanced for mere security guards when you are supposed to be so incredibly holy?"  The angel snorted.  "Or have you wondered at all about the hierarchy in which you've ensconced yourself, holy boy - or why Clooney Enterprises GmbH maintains this monastery at all?  I'm certain that you have not.  The 'holiness' by which you are measured is in truth merely a degree - a measurement - of your brainwashing.  Those higher in the hierarchy commit certain... deeds which are in the interests of Clooney Enterprises GmbH.  Have you ever wondered why you haven't seen any monk with a call letter higher than M?

"Um, no," the monkey boy said through teeth he was gritting in pain.

"I didn't think so, you silly monkey.  They are off doing the typically illicit bidding of Clooney Enterprises GmbH."

"And," the angel said, leaning in as if to share a horrible secret, "as you reach the highest letters, the less perceivable you are to regular human senses.  The corporate spies and taskforce which are the X class monks are completely invisible to human senses!  Those genetically engineered X class thugs outside your door are invisible, Johnny!  Invisible!"

The monkey boy shivered to think of invisible and genetically engineered thugs watching his every move.

"This is the system which you are a part of!" the angel yelled.  "You must escape, Johnny!  Do something with your pathetic monkey ass and escape!  Now!"

Then the angel disappeared in an angry-seeming explosion of golden fragments.

And Johnny woke up.

"Wow," he thought, "that was certainly a strange dream."  Then he thought to himself, "Wow, does my head ever hurt!"  Then he thought to himself, "Today is the day I go on the Oprah show!  I better get ready!"

Then the monkey boy remembered his dream.  Nervously, he walked to his door and opened it.  There was no one in the hall at all.  "That's weird," Johnny thought as he looked out to the empty marble-tiled halls.  "Calamity Burntwood told me that I was going to be guarded.  Oh well!"

And Johnny prepared for his important day.

He started by giving his teeth the best brushing he'd ever given them in his life.


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