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Boon of the Monkey God

by Daniel Braum

The road to the shore winds down the mountainside, a narrow snake covered by lush green canopy, alive with birds and butterflies. A troop of monkeys swings above paying us no mind. Our little hotel room offers nothing but a ceiling fan as respite from the midday Costa Rican heat. So we trek to the beach, a bag with left over fruit for the monkeys that live there.

A resonant howler cry joins the song of the lazy afternoon.

“Make a wish,” Connie says. “They don’t do that during the day!”


“So?” she asks.

“I’m saving it.”

She smacks me, playfully.

We’re just about at the bottom when a four hundred horsepower roar decimates the tranquil buzz of animal sounds and gently breaking waves.

A candy-apple red sports car speeds down the hill, convertible top up. The tinted passenger side window rolls down revealing the innocent face of a pretty Costa Rican teen. She’s done up in god-awful make up and wearing a whore’s dress. A man in a dress shirt and tie leans over.

“How the hell do I get to the beach?”

“You can’t,” Connie says.

“Come on. She wants to see the beach.”

This ass makes me ashamed to be an American.

“No vehicle access,” I say. “Cars aren’t allowed.”

We leave him to spin his wheels, literally, and go for our swim. We move farther and farther up the beach but we can’t escape his shouting and revving engine.

“That arrogance must serve him well in his life, but its not going to do him any good here,” Connie says.

Not yet. I think, afraid of what the future might bring.

We take another dip then trudge to our room. A breeze from the waves below blows the thin drapes. I turn the ceiling fan on. Its lazy spin accelerates and then it is rocking in its loose anchoring. We lay on the bed. Kiss. Take off our clothes. Soon we are matching the fan’s rhythm.

As sleep takes us, I hear the sports car on the road. A monkey howls. This time I make my wish.

Connie is still asleep when I wake. I go outside to the communal kitchen to find ice crackling in glasses on the patio bar, but no patrons. Our host is gone from her eternal post, lip-sticked cigarette still burning. I glance down the mountain to the shore, not a human in the waves or the beach. A boat, unguided, crashes into the rocks.

A howler jumps from the canopy to the table and joyfully smashes an empty glass. His eyes full of acknowledgement of my selfish wish.

I walk back to the room, with a mischievous smile.

“Hun, want to go for a swim?” I call.

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