and marmalade toast


Johnny the monkey boy was lying on his stone slab bed, dreaming.  He didn't know he was dreaming though.  As far as the monkey boy was concerned, the dream was as real as can be.

Ralph Nader was glaring at Johnny.  "Gr," Ralph said.  Then he slapped a ruler right across Johnny's knuckles.

"Ouch," the monkey boy said.

"Fuck!" Ralph Nader shouted.  He shouted so loudly and so strongly that spit flew through the air.

"Huh?" the confused and hurting monkey boy said.

"Shut up, you fuck!" Ralph Nader hollered.

"Ouch.  My ears," Johnny replied.


Then Johnny abruptly woke up.  "Erp," he said.  Then, in a moment, he realized what had woken him up.  A loud, loud bell was ringing somewhere.  The ringing sound echoed down the damp stone corridors of the monastery.  It was the time in the morning that the monks got up.

Johnny was glad to be awake.  His dreams over the past couple weeks had not been pleasant at all.  In one dream, Winona Ryder had shot him with an old musket.  In another, Amphetamine Laguna had run him over in a shiny silver SUV.  In yet another, a giant Sylvester Stalone had pinned him to a velvet box with giant pins like he was a butterfly and then put the monkey boy in a little wooden display box.  And there was last night's dream with Ralph Nader not being nice to the monkey boy at all.

Johnny thought his dreams were stressful.  He preferred being awake.  Specially now that he was able to walk again (although only with the aid of one of those walkers that very old people - or maybe people who are hit by cars and need to learn how to walk again - use) and an angry Monk B wasn't banging him into hard walls or statues anymore.  The monks were being nicer to Johnny now too, and some even smiled at him and said "Hi, Monk E!" when they saw him.  The big monk who had ordered the other monks to grab Johnny back in the park was still mostly mean to the monkey boy though.  The big monk made Johnny do all kinds of unpleasant things like clean toilets and mop the muddy floors after the monks came back from playing soccer.  "That'll teach you to be a pansy-ass deserting monk, Jesus-forgive-my-sinning-tongue!" the monk would often say.  But one time recently, even the big monk smiled at Johnny and said, "Hi Monk E!"  The big monk had then winked and said, "Way to clean those toilets!"

The monkey boy had been to the doctor with the scary teeth a couple times too.  The doctor said that Johnny would soon be "as right as rain," and that he wouldn't need to send him off to the scientists (even though, the doctor said, he could really use some new gauze and a good sharp scalpel).

"Get out of bed, you stupid monk!" a tinny voice said somewhere up in the gloom above Johnny's bed.

"Oh yeah," the monkey boy thought.  That tinny voice said the same thing every morning at the same time.  He wondered if the voice said the same thing in the other cells.  Then he wondered if maybe there was a little speaker somewhere up in the gloom high up by the ceiling of his room.  It was hard to see up there because the light in his room was so dim.  Then he wondered if maybe the voice was just inside his head.

"Creepy," the monkey boy said.

Johnny got out of his bed and kneeled at the side of the straw-strewn cold slab to pray.  Johnny knew that that's what monks are supposed to do in the morning.  He didn't know what to pray about though because the monkey boy had very scattered theological notions at the best of times.  So Johnny just stared at the wall.

After a while, he got bored of looking at the damp stones that made up the wall, so he looked at the candles and the pile of wax drippings that surrounded the base.  There were a lot of weird shapes in all those drippings.  He saw a shape that looked like a dog.  Another shape looked like a rooster.  Another shape looked like the specter of death.  And another shape looked like a jelly bean on fire.  Johnny sighed.  The monkey boy was getting bored of looking at the wax drippings too.

Then he stared at the photograph on the stone shelf.  The big man holding the piece of cake in his big hand smiled out at Johnny.  The monkey boy thought it was really weird that everyone thought that the man in the picture was Johnny.  Monk E was big, big, big.  He was maybe even five times the size of the monkey boy.  And the man in the picture didn't have any hair. And his eyes were different colours. And his teeth were all crooked and strange.

"Who knows, though," Johnny thought as he stared at the picture and stared.  He stared a long, long time.  He stared until he realized his eyes were feeling dry because he hadn't blinked in a very long time.  "Maybe I've lost some weight."

Johnny was spaced out a lot these days.  Time had a weird, slippery quality to it in the Clooney Monastery, and Johnny often didn't know if it was day or night.  Or the afternoon or the morning.  He sometimes didn't even know if he was awake or dreaming.  Sometimes he'd feel very clear-headed, and he'd look down at his monk robes and wonder what was going on with his life.  Other times though, he'd just not think anything.  Except about finishing cleaning the toilet.  And wondering when lunch would be.

Johnny the monkey boy wasn't sure if he was Johnny the monkey boy sometimes.  He didn't know who he was at all.  Maybe he was a monk.  "I am Johnny the Monk E boy," he thought to himself as he stared at the photograph of the smiling monk with the piece of cake.  "Monk E, Monk E," he thought.

Then he thought, "I'm hungry."

Much to Johnny's delight, the breakfast bell went off right then.  "Hooray!" the monkey boy thought.  Johnny slowly and painfully sat up and reached for the walker.  It hurt him to move, but he could get around if he was slow and careful.  Soon he was tap-tap-tapping his way down the hallway to get some food.

The monkey boy had noticed in the past that sometimes his head felt extra woozy right after he ate food with the other monks.  "Maybe they are putting drugs into my food so I never ever think about escaping," the monkey boy thought as he tapped down the hallway with his walker.  He couldn't wait to get to the cafeteria and get some food because it sure smelled delicious.

Soon he was in the cafeteria.  "Hooray!" Johnny thought as he saw the food being served.  "Bacon, eggs and marmalade toast!  My favourite!"  He got a plate and sat down with the other monks and wolfed down every single last crumb on his plate.

After all, all that work scrubbing toilets and mopping floors makes a Monk E boy as hungry as can be.

"Maybe I'll be big again like I used to be," Johnny thought dreamily after eating.

"Monk E, get your pansy deserting ass to the shit house and get the fuck to it, Jesus-forgive-my-sinning-tongue!" the big monk yelled at him from across the cafeteria.

"Oh, ok," the monkey boy said.


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