Friday, 27 February 2009


When I came round again the "bun" was still staring at me in that eerie but strangely kind way of hers .That was the only constant though. The rest of the world that I now found myself in was totally alien, and not a little frightening

For starters I was strapped down on what seemed to be a hospital bed covered in a crisp white sheet and wearing a dinky little crisp white cap. In fact the room was white in its entirety and filled with a blinding light that emanated from powerful overhead lamps. At first I found the light more uncomfortable than the straps that restrained me. When you spend most of your days in an equatorial jungle you are just not equipped to cope with that level of illumination.

To carry on with the white theme, the "bun", who was dressed in it from head to toe was standing on one side of my bed talking across it to a man with a very deep ponderous voice on the other side who was similarly attired - all in white. They talked on and on under their surgical masks in very serious tones and, apart from the occasional smile from the "bun", they completely ignored me.

I, meanwhile, struggled to follow their conversation. Since I was the sole subject of it and I did not yet know what their intentions were I thought my curiousity was entirely justified so my eyeballs flicked nervously from left to right and back again while I carefully monitored their facial expressions as well as listening to what they were saying.

After a good twenty minutes the dreaded V word (vivisection) had still not cropped up so I started to breathe a little more easily.

From the continuing conversation I learnt that a) they meant me no harm at all - quite the reverse b) they were part of some nosy parker charity with a special interest in my fellow primates( how ironic I thought as I lay strapped to a bed against my will) and c) they were so stricken with guilt that their little experiment had gone wrong that it looked like I was going to be the happy recipient of some spectacular 5 star treatment until I was well enough to be deposited back on my home turf.

Immediately I sensed an opportunity to milk this situation for all that it was worth. These two guilt stricken, politically correct ninnies wold be watching me like a hawk for the forseable future and any sign of unhappiness on my part would prick their consciences anew and their first impulse would be to comfort me and this comfort would almost certainly take the form of food. I had it made. Perhaps there was something to be said for captivity after all.

To put this theory to the test I looked up at the " bun" and gave her the full saucer eyed treatment while letting my lower lip go all a tremble but all she did was make that annoying cooing sound while patting me on the bonce again.

Oh well, I thought, the bananas will show up sooner or later!

How does that old saying go? - every silver lining has a cloud. No sooner had I been returned to rude health than they had me roped into helping them with their tests.

Tests? Tests my *%#**. Most of these so called tests were an insult to my intelligence. They mostly involved putting square shapes into square holes and round ones into round holes - that sort of thing. The only thing that made up for the tedium was the fact that they gave me a handful of jellybeans every time I got the answer right -and I always got the answer right.

Jelly beans!!!!!!!!! What can I say about jellybeans that would do them anything like justice? Exquisite things. One bite and all that sweetness flooding the mouth. My introduction to these small objects containing that indescribable pleasure was the first small hint I had that there might, just might, be hope for your world yet. Jelly beans!!!!!!!!!!! I will return to the subject again for there is much to be said in praise of jellybeans!

Day followed day. Test followed test. Each one was more bizarre and pointless than the last. Some of them, in retrospect,were nothing less than invasions of my privace and personal dignity. So much for respect for wildlife. I have since been advised I might have a case in law.

Respect? That'll be right. Its only the kind of respect that the powers that be choose to give you - not the kind that would do you any practical good. Worse still, they had stopped doling out the jellybeans. They seemed to have some idea in their heads that I should jump through their confounded hoops just for the sheer joy of it. Fat chance!

I don't know about you, but I have one cast iron rule and I budge for no-one. My rule is: no reward no effort so I "downed tools" and every time one of the self important fools came anywhere near me I shook my head vigorously, folded my arms and stared unblinkingly at the ceiling.

It drove them - forgive me - bananas. I was put on a close watch. My blood pressure and heartbeat were tested at regular intervals throughout the day. My reflexes were tested almost as often. Lights were shone in my ears and up my nose. I felt like the centre of the Universe and to tell the truth I was enjoying the attention, not to mention the greatly improved grub.

All of that would have been highly acceptable if it had just stopped there but, unfortunately, the "bun" who by this time, had taken quite a shine to me, took to visiting me after hours to comfort me in my "despair". The thing is she had the exact opposite effect. Two minutes of "coo cooing" and "there thereing" and she was on to her favourite subject - herself!

I have never met a more miserable individual in your world, or mine in all of my puff. If she wasn't moaning about "Ratty" who turned out to be her "significant other" - if you can call a creature like that significant - she was worrying about the state of the planet.

She worried about the ozone layer. She worried about the glaciers. She worried about the whales. I caught myself idly wondering what the whales had ever done for her that she should care so much about them. Forgive me my cynicism dear reader, but this woman would have made the arrival of "Typhoid Mary" seem like a cause for celebration.

Bless her little Gallic Heart but, more than all of the above, she worried about the "leedle monkeys" all alone in the big jungle and that is why, at the tender age of 16, she decided she wanted to work for some French mob whose name, loosely translated, meant Mercy for the Monkeys of the World. I ask you!

Well here was one "leedle monkey" who had been bowling along quite nicely, thank you very much, until she had placed her size nine jungle boots slap bang in the middle of his life. I didn't need her mercy and had never asked for it.

One night, after one of her visits, I was lying in the dark and trying not to cry while I took stock of my situation. The way I saw it, I had so far been assaulted, kidnapped and humiliated by this gang of do gooding hypocrites. They had been responsible for depressing me to within an inch of my life and they had also managed to saddle me with an adfdiction - jellybeans since you ask - and, I thought, things could only get worse. I came to a decision. I would have to escape.

I wiped my eyes with the back of my hand and put my "thinking cap" on.

Monday, 9 February 2009

circus monkey's mirror

Every week Marcel, the reluctant circus monkey, will hold up his metaphorical mirror to this crazy society of ours and give us his considered views on human relationships, the credit crisis, celebrity culture, the media, war and peace - the whole caboodle.
In these straightened times don't take life too seriously,
just make every Monday "Circus Monkey Monday" - You know it makes a sort of sense !

Anyway, to begin at the beginning...............It was a Thursday afternoon just before the season of the heavy rains and my extended family (or tribe, if you prefer) had just come to the end of one of our regular gatherings where we make decisions about how things are run - you would probably call it a Community Council Meeting, although not a Town Council Meeting - we are a bit more civilized than that. Everything at the meeting had been settled amicably as we are a peaceable lot in the main, unlike those screeching, backside waving hooligans on the other side of the river. That lot are not fit to be described as human beings, let alone monkeys.

The other members of my little community had wandered back to our camp to take up their various tasks but I was ahead with all of mine and had some free time due to me, so I had decided to linger in the clearing for a while and bask in the sun that was streaming through the forest canopy. With the rainy season due any day I wasn't sure how long it would be before I'd get a chance to do a little basking again.

I was just on the point of nodding off when I had that eerie feeling, with which I am sure you are all familiar, of being watched by someone near to you but out of sight. I opened my eyes and had a surreptitious look around just to be on the safe side as it were.

Sure enough!" There they were. Two of them. Hiding behind a tree just at the edge of the clearing: a buxom blonde human of the female persuasion with her hair tied so tightly in a bun behind her head that it had the effect of giving her eyes a permanently wide open, startled expression. The other one, a ratty looking little man approaching his middle years was fiddling about on the ground with some contraption that I could not see.

In their confounded arrogance they obviously believed that I was completely oblivious to their presence. It never ceases to amaze and irritate me how human beings underrate the Simian world. I continued to observe them out of the corner of my eye with mounting interest but, at that stage, no panic whatever.

Then the buxom woman held up what looked to me like a copper bangle for her colleague's inspection and I "twigged" right away - the jungle grapevine isn't there for no reason. The human beings were "at it" again, doing what human beings do best, which is to say, sticking their big beaks into other species' business

This was another of those exercises where they slap a metal collar on some poor chap and follow his every move on one of their infernally "clever" machines. Talk about a police state! That David Attenborough has a great deal to answer for. It's not even as if my life is particularly interesting: up one jungle path, down the other, a visit to the river bank, the occassional (very occassional) attempt at mating and that just about sums it up. It's even more boring than Big Brother, although, I must say a good deal more civilized.

I digress. You can be sure that I was still keeping on these two interlopers and getting more nervous by the minute. It was the thing that "ratty" was fiddling with on the ground that most concerned me. A terrible thought hit me like a hammer blow. Perhaps their expedition was more culinary than scientific. For all I knew a certain fast food chain was running out of cows to stuff into their burgers and was diversifying into Mc Monkeys.

Just then "ratty" caught his hand in whatever contraption he had been fiddling with and let out an involuntary yell. The "bun" yelled at him and, at that very moment, they both realised that I had been alerted to their presence.

Enough was enough. Whatever their reasons for being here, be it scientific, culinary or social, I was off. I turned to flee just as the little man got himself organised and pulled a trigger which sent a net flying in my direction. It missed me by just short of a foot, my left foot actually, and I would have made a clean get away if I hadn't tripped over a large box full of camera equipment left lying about by a natural history cameraman who had, all the while been filming away a few yards behind me. Well I don't have eyes in the back of my head!
So there I was rolling backwards and forwards in absolute agony and competing with the Howler Monkeys to see who could make the most noise but even worse than the pain was the fact that no-one, and I mean, no-one seemed to want to save me from these interlopers.
And don't talk to me about our friendly local tribesmen. Hopeless. Absolutely hopeless. I could sense that they were somewhere near at hand but there was not so much as a cheep out of them. In hindsight, they were probably sitting around in their little circle drinking that stuff that gives them visions (no need for a T.V. licence in my part of the jungle). Pity. A quick round of poisoned arrows and I would still be at large and the Discovery Channel would have rather a large hole in their schedules to fill.
No such luck for your correspondent. The "bun" was bearing down on me wearing a very determined look and carrying a very large needle. Before I could say "Bingo, bango bongo I don't want to leave the Congo she had stuck it in.............well lets just say that the exact location was not a million miles from where the proverbial monkey stuck its proverbial nuts. To add insult to injury she had the colossal nerve, not to mention hypocrisy, to stroke my head and smile at me.
I rolled onto my back, head swimming, and stared into her face. Before I lost consciousness, I remember seeing a pair of startled eyes reflected in her permanently startled eyes. It was a split second before I realised they were mine!
Next week: I wake up in your world Am made to work for my keep And come to a decision.