I'm obsessed with monkeys like I'm consumed with small children. It's conceivable that this is because of their likenesses. Their minuscule midget fingers and ears, their infinitesimal eyes... I just want to nuzzle them and mother-move them around. Nestling them under my arm. Like I imagine I would a baby giraffe if I were a giantess.
When hiking through a Himalayan hill town called Darjeeling, I discerned a monkey reclining in the midst of the street. I was as enthralled as if I had just been supplied with a medium-rare steak in this steak-forsaken country of India. When the monkey treaded towards the trees and I beheld a monkey baby, suddenly the medium-rare steak shifted to include garlic mashed potatoes. I was captivated.
I accomplished the only action I could conceive: I camera-chased them as if I were a paparazzi and they were Angelina Jolie and her daughter Shiloh. I shadowed Monkey-Mother and Baby as they scaled benches, palpitated through branches, and Baby blitzkrieged Mama by bounding on her back.
Unfortunately my camera has a range equidistant to my 20/400 eyesight. I crouched, monkey-camera-ready, as Darjeeling locals lumbered by. When the monkey's motion caused the camera to produce fuzzy photos, I collapsed to my knees and elbows to pocket a preferable picture. The locals, amused by my monkey-attraction, pointed and promptly spoke to each other. As the Indians were insensibly oblivious to the monkeys, I functioned as their animal attraction. I observed monkeys. They scrutinized me. I muttered to myself every time my camera delayed and chiefly crawled down the street, anticipating the perfect photo. I looked like a mentally handicapped lion stalking prey.
Except that instead of eating monkeys, I craved to cuddle them. And nourish them. For richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, from this day forward. This was my thought as abruptly Baby bound from Monkey Mother into the trees. Mother Monkey followed. I frisked to my feet with immaculate dexterity but couldn't eye-trace them. They had departed like my dignity. I leisurely erected myself, discharging dirt from my knees, bottom, hands, face and hair. I located and expelled some from my eyelashes as the locals examined me like I would a tyrannosaurus rex. From a distance.
I was as demoralized as if I had received a scratch lottery ticket from a friend, won $75,000, celebrated like I had conquered a $78 million victory, and then determined that it was a deception. Which has happened.
I schlepped, head sagging, camera cascading from my clutch, and advanced towards my hostel. The locals dispersed as if a circus act had been annihilated.
As I passed teeming tender trees I perceived mobility. I haltingly hoisted my head to behold branches of monkeys. Ancients, adults, teenagers, babies... an ambrosial assemblage of beings. I was as sublimated as if I had consumed shrooms. I skated towards them, arms outstretched, smile smothering my face.
I sensed some resistance from my leg but continued to my monkey kingdom. I gazed upon the monkey-populated luxurious emerald foliage ignoring leg pulsations. With the effort I would extend competing in a Spam-eating contest I extracted my focus from the felicity to detect an archaic male monkey clutching my pant leg like it was a rum-infused banana. My pants extended like a Stretch Armstrong toy. I moved my leg. Monkey contracted his clamp.
"Oh, come on!" I said, roundhouse-kicking my leg forward karate-style. Instead of a handful of pant material, Hannibal now had a leg-hold like my leg was a baseball bat. Which he was slowly strangling.
He screeched. I screamed, "Stop it!" simultaneously wondering if monkey competitors could have human managers in Dwarf Cage Fighting. Whatever he squawked must have communicated to the other monkeys that I was considering monkey-napping him for Dwarf Cage Fighting.
My awareness on Hannibal, I asked him to please let me go, as I loved he and his family. Four more monkeys either launched from the sky or the nearest monkey planet. Regardless, they surrounded me, barking like dogs.
"Oh, no no no," I said, backing up as if they were rabid. However, I spoke to them as if they were equals, humans, thinking they'd appreciate the sentiment.
"I really just wanted pictures. See? Camera. I just wanted to remember you. The Indian children like when I take pictures of them. Apparently you don't like when I take pictures of you. That's okay though, I'll just go," I reasoned. I stepped once down the path, eye-raping every passing Indian, pleading for assistance. Nobody acknowledged me. The monkeys must have a monopoly in this area. Hannibal still secure around my shin, the other monkeys roared, growling like lemurs.
They were two feet tall at full height. At 5'7" I felt like I should be the dominant beast in this situation. I stalked away, eyes forward. Maybe if I ignored them they would leave. Atilla didn't appreciate this and rocketed from the concrete to the trees. He hooked his little monkey-hand in my hair and heaved hair from my head as if my strands were plants he was uprooting to fashion a marijuana field.
"What the fuck?" I screamed as my head followed the wrenches from those tiny monkey-dictator hands.
Pol Pot, another monkey, sprung from the ground to a fence post and then hurdled onto my arm. These monkeys were acrobatic. As I wondered if, with time, they would behave enough to perform a monkey-act, Hannibal spread his scope north and trucked my pants from my waist.
In a hunchback-stance from Atilla's hair tyranny, with Pol Pot weighing down one arm, and my pants hugging my thighs - courtesy of Hannibal - the atmosphere mingled with human and monkey sounds, gorging with grunts, shrieks, and barks.
I labored to lift my legs and shut my eyes with the strain. This should be reality television and I should be receiving money. I hoped someone walking by was either a monkey whisperer or a reality TV producer. Then torturous yelps and tragic wails rent the air as I felt midget monkey fingers ripped from my skin and clothing. I opened my eyes to behold a hero. A furrowed face gazed at me eye-level. This was bewildering, as elderly Indians are as tall as my pockets. I then realized I was still hunched over. I straightened myself and rose above my savior like a monkey-attacked Shaq. I felt as authoritative as a disabled panda with a mouthful of peanut butter.
He said one word to me.