“Mate ye cannae just say the Earth is Flat!” Ben was fucking furious at this point.
“Listen, am no saying the Earth is flat” – *takes hefty draw of joint* –
– “am just saying it has the possibility to be flat… like folk used to believe it was flat, and now they believe it’s not flat, what’s to stop them going back?”
Ben stared Kev clean in his eyes “Ah used to believe in Santa, doesnae mean am gonna wake up the morra and be pure rubbing mah hawnds the gither at the thought of a big hefty fella sneaking in mah house once a year”.
Kev didn’t really take much notice of this point, “it’s not really about the ying and yang of it tbh, it’s just like… dinnae shut yourself off to new ideas man.” The extension of Kev’s arm – out with the joint, as good a peace offering as there has ever been in history.
Ben takes a fairly minuscule draw, never one to over-do it. As his Granda would say, “Too much ae thur wacky backi isnae gid fur yer heid”.
The back path in the auld forest was much quieter than usual. A suitable ear numbing breeze, perpetually gathering traction, as the French would say “Je suis un baltic central belt Ecosse” – the sun only just still high enough to illuminate only just below what street lights would. Leafy green trees starting to take shape, branches having adapted permo middle fingers, as if nature is trying to play catch up with its nearest competition. Aggressive dusk by all accounts.
“There is definitely some Youtube videos worth watching, I’ll send ye a playlist I’ve ma-“…
“Whit the fuck is that?!”
Kev laughed with a question mark on the end of his lips.
“Is that a… a Monkey?”
Bemusement spills out over Ben’s forehead and eyebrows, the way jam spills out over a rapid made sandwich by a raging Maw.
“Whit?! Where?!? Dinnae be stupit”.
An outstretched E.T like finger emerges in front of Ben’s nose and uncurls up to a point between two complete chodes of trees. For the uninitiated, this means they have as much girth as they have length.
“Right up there, next to the branch that’s heavy flipping the bird, and just down from the one that is long as fuck”.
Ben, now squinting like Mr. Magoo trying to read a fortune cookie; “You are baked sannn, that’s no a monkey”.
Despite this statement, both boys had now frozen to the spot, a bio-mechanical response so as not to progress forward into any potential danger. This vantage point proving safe enough, for further discourse.
“Ah just seen it’s fucking tail move, that is a monkey, there is a monkey up in that tree! Nothing else could move like that!”
“How?” Said Ben, with a tactic that had seen his Father win every argument since 1987.
“I don’t know! Escaped from a zoo?! some mad basturt brought it back from the Bahamas?! some cunt made it in a lab?!”, “doesnae matter, we are looking at a monkey”.
“Nut”. Ben again channeling the infamous McGinty lineage of debate.
“This is what I mean, yer presented with a reasonable convo and yer wide as fuck, if I wasnae hear you’d be getting eaten by that rogue chimp” Kev was now adopting a very rare combative stance, the full realization that he might have to fight a monkey coming into play.
The air chills, not enough wind for things to move now without their own consciousness surely. Both boys squinting and turning their heads, a kin to trackie wearing meer cats.
A mad wee jack russell, comes proper bounding up, spring boarding off Ben’s leg.
“Everything awrite?!” Auld Jim knew the boys maws well enough to speak to them, but didn’t know them well enough to approach without caution, I mean weans nowadays are on all kinds of mad drugs.
“Toby gee it a rest”. The dog now creating a real, actual, in life GIF of springing up and down on Ben’s leg.
“Toby’s a fucking stupit name fur a dug”, Ben nearly said out loud.
Kev, unbeknownst to him, breaking the awkward tension, “pretty bonkers auld yin, but that right there, is a monkey”.
Auld Jim starts laughing and holding his side, rubs his eyes and takes out his absolutely honking spectacles. The 3 of them now standing in a row, like hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. Except it’s just, squint, squint, squint.
“Hah! Aye spose it kinda does!”, “but it cannae be… I mean it’ll be a… nah… too big to be a… “.
Auld Jim’s brain was in hyper-drive. Of all his time on this planet, nothing fitting into this current image more than, other than… a monkey.
Auld Jim’s eyes were now locked on, scanning for movement, millions of years of evolution, detecting predators, recognizing colours and patterns, fight or flight, testosterone filling the body, pupils alter…
“Maybe it’s a junkie”.
Normally the boys would’ve creased themselves, but not now.
Kev took the reins with no hint of humour; “It’s no a junkie, it’s a monkey”.
Kelly slowed her jog right down to a brisk walk, shame as well, she was killing it the night, but ye cannae be running full pelt into 3 strange men just standing about in a park.
She took out her head phones, the minuscule wale of Eminem’s “The way I am” blaring big time. (some running tune by the way).
Kelly’s thinking, maybe try a wee clap of the dog to ease the tension… nut, Toby is now locked on with Jim’s vision, slight growl, and tail down. The two in sync like Torvil n fucking Dean.
“Emmmmmmm, what are ye’s looking at?” Kelly has maintained a solid 5 to 6 yards of distance.
“Dinnae panic hen, but there appears to be some sort of primate, definitely ready to scrap up in those trees”. Jim’s voice breaking through 30 years of roll ups and big man pints.
“Whit dinnae be daf-“
“He’s no lying pal, up there…” Kev extends his E.T pointer finger once again in an instant duplicate of the last time. Ben nods along in accordance.
“Oh FUCK.” – Kelly sees the perfect silhouette, arms clinging to a branch, legs muscular and firm, tail curling?!
“ehhhhh whit the actual fuck.”
A faint rustling begins & a wee voice starts to yell, “Just so ye’s know, I’ve watched ye’s the whole time, I don’t know whit ye’s are up to but ah’ve phoned the polis and they are oan their way”.
“Yer gonna need more than the polis hen, fucking King Kong oer here”, Ben turns to face the woman, maybe the same distance away as the monkey but in the opposite direction.
Definitely an auld boot, definitely a Monkey. Definitely surrounded.
As if by magic, the sirens come blaring up the hill. A rare moment of clarity and action as Kev launches a scabby burnt down joint into the nearest jaggy bush.
Two officers spring out the car, pretty much just Laurel and Hardy but in ill fitting police uniforms, as if they’d swapped for a laugh.
Hardy immediately takes control, pointing up at the tree, waving his arms and dare I say it, looking almost flustered.
Laurel shimmies over to the tree, ye can see him shaking from a mile away.
Hardy starts marching up to our intrepid primate enthusiasts.
“Here mate, I’m actually quite excited! Might get to actually see a monkey eat a guy”, Ben says, blinking for the first time in 10 minutes.
“There they are officer, up to nae gid from the minute they stepped on the path” – The auld woman doing absolutely heehaw to hide her true agenda.
“Right everybody calm down!” – Stated Hardy aggressively, to a group of people who have never been more still in their whole lives.
Auld Jim, Kelly, Ben and Kev all watching Laurel surely climb to his death.
Savage death by big pelters aff a monkey. Totally brutal.
The silhouette on the branch starting to move, a real energy to its flails. Laurel’s actions in the tree, informing it’s every reaction.
Closer and closer he edges, the group frozen in place, a slight glimmer in the air like an old VHS tape frozen on frame. Inch by inch he shimmies along, the monkey in full riot mode, standing its ground.
A scuffle ensues, rolling, twisting, entanglements, Laurel lets out a “Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh ya basturt!” A Death spiral begins from the branch to the ground – gravity getting involved, the way a hook gets involved with a fish’s mouth.
JAWS ARE ON THE DECK.
The group take up a sprint down, all against their better judgement.
Even the auld woman, once convinced she was watching a ritualistic knife fight about to begin, was now charging down with the team.
They approach the landing site. Hairs on the back of their neck standing on edge, prepared for imminent monkey attack. Even Toby is tucked in between Jim’s legs. No sign of Laurel, Hardy gripped by fear like any other civilian would be.
– “I’m tired of all you, I don’t mean to be mean
But that’s all I can be, it’s just me”.
Kelly has accidentally pressed play on her tunes. The once quiet headphone sized sound fills the air. Immediately Hardy pipes up, “turn that shite aff!!!” Normally Kelly would jump to Slim’s defence but she clambers for the stop button, almost as in hope, that it’s going to stop this whole moment.
The tension is palpable. A fear like that as if the glass at the zoo broke suddenly or the cage lifted clean into the air. A sudden confrontation of nature. A quick reminder of mortality. Life always fickle, always in balance with death. A rumble in the bushes, close to where Laurel must’ve landed. Ben looks at Kev, Kev looks at Ben. In tandem they think, “at least am going out wae a bang, wae mah pal, high as fuck”.
The rustling grows in strength and terror, tribal drums have replaced everyone’s heart beats, their brains synced to ominous death, they circle in tighter, an instinctive man-oeuvre not unlike that of Zebras. The predator downwind, close, claws sharpened, ready for blood, ready to pounce. Ready. To. Kill.
– Laurel’s wrecked voice breaks through the bush.
“Here, it’s just a bin bag”.