home — part 1

Home, Johnny the monkey boy thought.  "Home."  The monkey boy tapped his fingers on the window ledge.  Then he stared out at the forested grounds of Clooney Monastery.  And he thought:  "Home home home home home."

He sighed.  Home.  Home.  Home.

Johnny's head hurt.  He sighed.  Home!

As you can see, some thoughts are heavy to poor little monkey boys whose lives get mixed up with Clooney Enterprises GmbH.

Johnny the monkey boy knew that it was time for him to go home.  It was just that his notions of what home was were rather confused.

Let us take a look at the monkey boy's situation and try to understand why Johnny was having difficulties with this.

Home.  What could the word possibly mean to a beleaguered little monkey boy who's been semi-brainwashed in some kind of mad corporate cult?  Does it mean that room up in the Tower of the Holy Ones which gives him such magnificent views of the forested properties of walled compound in which he has found himself a resident for so very long now?  Does it mean the limousine which may soon be arriving to take him hither and thither - another television set perhaps, to again tell to the world a fantastic story about angels (and, of course, share some compelling facts about the goodness of Clooney Enterprises GmbH)?  Does it mean that drippy old cold stone room where he was forced to sleep on moldy straw strewn over a stone slab in a dark monastic basement?  Or does it mean a completely different place?

Perhaps home means an apartment somewhere.  Perhaps even an apartment down on Pink Flamingo Street.

Ah, yes.  We are onto something here...

Perhaps home to the monkey boy is that apartment on 341 Pink Flamingo Street.

341 Pink Flamingo Street was different from the other houses on Pink Flamingo Street.  One of the ways it was different was that it was the only apartment on Pink Flamingo Street which had not yet had its damage repaired from the Great Earthquake of The New Millennium.  The building was kind-of dreary looking, and it had dangerous-looking cracks running along the length of its base.  Passers-by when looking at it sometimes thought "Hm.  That is one unsafe and unkempt-looking building.  I wonder if it will be torn down.  It certainly should be!"  Sometimes other pedestrians thought, "This eyesore is probably bringing down the value of my property.  I wonder if I should call someone to have the damned place torn down."  And other neighbourhood people would just think, "Creepy."

All of the neighbourhood critics were also quite aware of the other interesting way that 341 Pink Flamingo Street was different from the other houses on the street.

The other interesting way that 341 was different from other places on Pink Flamingo Street often made those frowning passers-by walk by as fast as they could or maybe even move all the way over to the other side of the street.  341 Pink Flamingo Street had, camped out on its front porch, three very mean-looking hired goons from Hyena Banks.  The goons had been there for a very long time.  The hired goons were all quite dirty from their long stay.  All three of them needed to shave and change their clothing.  And they did not look very happy at all.

The unhappy-looking Hyena Banks' goons had been camped out on the cramped front porch of 341 Pink Flamingo Street for months and months and months.  Since the unhappy goons had been there for so long, they had come up with ways to try to keep themselves from getting bored or too angry.  The dirty goons had occasional barbecues out on the little front porch to help pass the time.  Other times, they told each other jokes they had already told each other a whole bunch of times before.  They would always laugh politely however (even though laughter that was to them polite sounded really scary to nervous pedestrians maybe walking by).  And then settle in to wait some more.

One of the goons from Hyena Banks had helped pass the time by folding little pieces of paper so that they looked like birds or different types of animals.  His name was Mr. Saltpeter.  After Mr. Saltpeter finished making the birds or animals, he hung the little folded paper pieces of paper all over the patio from little strings.  There were so many of the paper creatures now that the little front porch looked like a weird floating zoo for paper animals.

The big collection of little paper animals and birds blew about mysteriously whenever the wind was blowing.  Occasionally they got all tangled together.  The hired goon who made them didn't mind when this happened though.  When they got tangled, Mr. Saltpeter would just go and patiently untangle them all.  Sometimes while telling a joke - like maybe the one about the man and the wish and the twelve inch tall pianist.  Mr. Saltpeter had told that joke to his goon friends forty-six times so far.  He tried to improvise little changes to the joke though to keep it fresh and new.

When he was not making little paper animals or birds, or telling jokes they all knew, Mr. Saltpeter sometimes thought about bowling.  Bowling was Mr. Saltpeter's favourite thing.  He liked the smell of the shoes.  Low, dim lights and really cheap draft beer.  Light glinting off of polished wood.  Mr.Saltpeter really looked forward to being able to bowl again.  The weight of the ball.  The physics to it.  The goon thought about bowling quite a lot.  He had once even tried to make a paper bowling ball, but the folded piece of paper just ended up looking like a strange turtle.  Mr.Saltpeter hung it up anyway.

Another one of the other hired goons was called Mr. Comedian, even though he never ever smiled.  And he rarely told jokes.  And when he did tell jokes they were crazy and weird.  The other goons would laugh at the weird jokes though because they were a little frightened of Mr. Comedian.

The other two hired goons didn't know it, but Mr. Comedian was going a little bit crazy from all the waiting.  "This is driving me nuts," he had thought to himself many, many times.  But he kept his new craziness to himself.  And he clenched his jaw a lot.  And he laughed sometimes, but when he did this, he didn't smile, and it made the other goons nervous.  Mr. Comedian didn't like to make the other goons nervous or show he was crazy and different.  So he tried not to do anything at all.  Except maybe think about what he was going to do to the person who owed Hyena Banks all that cash if he showed up without the money.  And clench his fists.  And grit his teeth.  And laugh on the inside.  And wonder about monkey boys.

The other hired goon was quiet a lot.  His name was Mr. Kurtz.  Mr. Kurtz sometimes thought about home, and his little baby daughter who - certainly - was a lot bigger now than she had been when he left for this job.  He was sad to think she probably didn't know the word "daddy."  Mr. Kurtz wondered if she had taken her first steps yet.  He sometimes whistled sad songs.

All of the goons wanted this job to end.  They couldn't wait.  They liked the barbecues and the jokes, but they wanted to collect the money and be far far away from 341 Flamingo Street.

And far far away from 341 Flamingo Street, in the walled properties of the Clooney Monastery, Johnny the monkey boy was thinking about home.

Johnny was looking out his tower window, remembering 341 Flamingo Street.  The monkey boy thought of the television he had spent so much time sitting in front of.  He thought of his comfortable armchair.  Then he thought of his old computer set up on a little table in the corner of his room.  He wondered if he had any new email.  Then he wondered what his grandmother said in that letter she had sent him that the angel had told him about.  The monkey boy thought to himself "I bet dust is covering everything, and it's really creepy in there!"

Then Johnny remembered his bed that he had missed so much when the monks made him sleep in the dungeon-like cold, damp and miserable basement of Clooney Monastery.  Johnny's new bed in the Holy Tower was really nice though.  It was really fluffy and comfortable.  He bet that it was a whole lot nicer than his bed on 341 Pink Flamingo Street.  "At least no ceiling chunk has fallen down in this place and smooshed my skull!" the monkey boy thought.

"Home," the monkey boy thought.  Then he sighed.

"Home.  Home.  Home.  Home.  Home.  Home.  Home."

The angel had told Johnny it was important for him to go home.  The angel had also pointedly told the monkey boy a couple times before about the hired goons who were waiting for him, but whenever the monkey boy thought about home, he always forgot to add them into the picture.  Probably because he had not yet met them.  Maybe after the monkey boy had met them, he would be quite able to remember them.

"Is it time to go home?" the strained monkey boy asked himself.  Johnny thought of 341 Pink Flamingo Street and his armchair and his tv and his computer and all of his stuff.  Then he sighed.  Then the monkey boy walked into the bathroom and washed his hands.  Then Johnny looked at himself in a mirror.  As he looked tried not to notice the grey cast to his complexion though.  The monkey boy also tried not to see the dark, dark circles under his glassy eyes.

Tomorrow Johnny was going to be interviewed on The Bathus Zogar Breakfast Show.  After the Oprah show experience, the monkey boy knew that it would be easy.  All he had to do is say his words.  And that was very easy for the monkey boy to do because the words were right there in his brain, just waiting for him to say them.  And there would be the cameras.  The lights.  The attention.  The screaming monkey girls.  The cries of "Monk K!  Monk K!"

The excitement.  That heavy, heavy, sweet excitement.

"No way!" the monkey boy said to himself as he felt the excitement grow within him.  He tried to focus on 341 Pink Flamingo Street.  But then Johnny remembered the Oprah Show.  And the bright lights and the applause and the whirr of the robotic cameras.  "It isn't right!" he thought.  Even though being a media superstar was exciting as can be, Johnny knew he had to do something to change the way his life was going.  He knew deep down that he had to go home.  "This life of being so important isn't my life at all!" the monkey boy told himself.  The monkey boy sighed, and remembered the words the angel had told him.  He touched his lips.  Then he thought again, "No.  This isn't my life."

Behind the monkey boy, on the videoscreen, George Clooney was in his impressive costume again, flying through the night.  His cape flapped behind him and made weird whipping sounds.  "I'll save you!" George Clooney was saying to another character.  "I have no choice," he said in a terse whisper.  "I'm.... Batman."

The monkey boy turned and stared at the screen.  The words made him think.  Was it possible that George Clooney was actually saving the monkey boy's life?  Was his life not a lot better now than it had been before?  The monkey boy stared at the bronze art on the dais beside his bed.  He stared at the television's shapes reflecting weirdly over the statue of the cricket-playing monk.  Patterns of black and grey moved weirdly over the statue.  "Home, home, home," he mumbled as he stared at the statue.  Looking at the weird patterns reflecting on the art was making the monkey boy feel a bit dizzy.

Johnny's head had been feeling dizzy and weird a lot lately.  Calamity Burntwood had told him earlier that day that they were not putting drugs in his food anymore.  The monkey boy felt very odd.  "Maybe things were better with the drugs" the monkey boy thought.  "What if they were actually making my life better?  What if I'm just feeling sick and weird because my body wants drugs and the drugs are good?"  The monkey boy's head throbbed.  "Maybe I can ask Mr. Burntwood to put the drugs back in my food!" Johnny thought and he clenched his hands into little balls.  Then, after a few moments the monkey boy then thought, "Wow, that's a bone headed thing to want.  I'm retarded!"

Mr. Burntwood had said that the drugs were bad news.  So they must be.  And Johnny knew it was best to stay away from drugs.  Everyone knows drugs are bad bad bad.  It was just that Johnny had been feeling so very odd lately...  He knew though that Mr. Burntwood would only want what is best for him.

Calamity Burntwood's visit with Johnny earlier in the afternoon had been very interesting.  Johnny had never seen the man look that happy.

Mr. Burntwood had been so incredibly happy that his big matted eyebrow shivered like an agitated caterpillar.

"George Clooney was delighted!" Mr. Burntwood said excitedly as he pranced around the monkey boy's tower room.  "And he said that the Oprah show was 'brilliant!'  Brilliant, Monk K!  Isn't that wonderful?  And stocks in CEGX have risen!  Never mind that there was an unrelated rally in NASDAQ index today and many companies rose in value," he said, dismissing the thought of it with a vast frown and a wave of his bony hand.  "And that plug on Clooney Pharmaceuticals!  You have no idea, my good monk, what that did - it seems that the stock value in one day rose enough to save the company from doom.  Because - Jesus - um, forgive me, holy one, but wow!  That company was red lining.  And that company is oh so incredibly important.  Yes. So very many of our plans for the future are hinged upon it!  Way to go, Monk K!"  And then Calamity Burntwood outlined their itinerary for the next couple weeks.  The angel-seeing monk was going to have appearances on the Late Show, on Trixie's Stories of Real Real Life, and on The Balthus Zogar Breakfast Show.  As well, he was going to do some important commercials for Clooney Enterprises GmbH.  "The state's governor, Governor Bentrod, has also expressed interest in meeting you.  It'll be a press-event, of course - lot's of cameras to catch him shaking the Holy Hand and so on.  But," Mr. Burntwood said, his beady eyes narrowing, "he could be a formidable ally.  Yes.  The future plans.  The future plans."

Then the man smiled and patted Johnny's monkey boy head.  The monkey boy had found it hard to keep up with all the exciting plans.  Johnny coughed and shivered a bit and fought some dizziness.  Then he said, "Ok, Mr. Burntwood."

Calamity looked at him appraisingly and maybe with a bit of concern.  Then he smiled a big friendly smile.  "You, know what else, Monk K?  To reward you for your dedication to the Clooney Monastery - and to the vision which our dear liege lord holds - how about some, ah, healthy changes?  No more drugs, Monk K!  You don't need em!  And fresh air.  You're going to get some.  Yes, my little monk friend - tomorrow (and I'm sure this will excite you to no end) you're going to go down to a monastic cricket match!  Yes, you take it in, Monk K, and maybe we'll even get you playing soon.  You're looking, um, unhealthy!  In fact, let's book an appointment with Dr. Weaslefoot for you in, say, two days."  Then Calamity Burntwood carefully prodded his palm pilot with a plastic stick as he added the new information to Johnny's busy future.  "Yes, Monk K, we'll get you feeling wonderful as can be in no time at all!" Mr Burntwood said.

"Ok," Johnny said.

Then Calamity Burntwood looked up at the monkey boy and smiled mischievously.  "Know what else, Monk K?  We're going to get some beauticians in too to give you a pedicure and a manicure, and groom you up nicely."  Then he winked at the monkey boy and added, "And maybe we'll get you a massage or two, eh?"  His eyebrow lifted suggestively and the man barked laughter.

And now, hours later, Johnny was staring at an artistic statue, and remembering Calamity Burntwood's visit.  Then he thought about massages.  Then the monkey boy wondered nervously if the M Class monks knew somehow when his willaker got excited.  Then he thought about home.  Then he thought about home some more.  The monkey boy sighed.

"Home," he intoned.  "Home, home on the range," he muttered sleepily.  When Johnny spoke it was really quiet, but perhaps just loud enough that if there were any hidden microphones in his room that any microphones would have been able to pick up his sleepy voice.  Especially if a microphone (and maybe some cameras for good measure) were concealed in the arty bronze statue.

The monkey boy yawned.

All this thinking and remembering had made the monkey boy quite tired.  "I'm tired," Johnny thought.  "Maybe tomorrow I will come to terms with my notion of 'home' and try to find a way to escape the Clooney Monastery," he thought.  Then he yawned.  And then the monkey boy thought, "Maybe I'll go to bed."

Johnny was soon sprawled out on his bed.  "Home," he thought to himself.  "What does it mean?  What does it mean?  What does it mean?"

The monkey boy yawned a big yawn.  And then, without another thought crossing his mind, Johnny was asleep.

On the TV screen in the other room a man in an impressive cape was fluttering through the air.  "I'll save you," George Clooney said in a terse voice.  Then George Clooney whispered to the sleeping monkey boy, "I'm Batman."

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