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Delayed Appearance of the Monkey God

by Luc Reid

Here was how it was supposed to happen: every forty-nine years, we march down the Sacred Avenue from the temple to the Grove of the Holy Fools, then to the cliffs over the ocean, and we're supposed to walk on across the sky and into Paradise. But instead, the Monkey God sends a stampede of water buffalo across our path and we have to turn back. Then we go to our homes and eat the New Year's feast, and we have music, and all the unmarried girls dance the coin dance, and everyone has a wonderful time.

This year there was more mischief to be done than usual, and the monkey god was busy. The Americans were visiting, and the monkey god had to teach them humility. The university had started courses on atheist philosophy, and the monkey god had to teach them that even seemingly well-built university classrooms can be overrun with army ants sometimes. And there were all the perfect kisses to interrupt and haughty civil servants to bring low and all of the many things the monkey god normally does, and I suppose he just got busy and didn't notice the time. When he arrived, he was more than three hours late, and the only one left in the city was me, because I was too sick to be moved farther than the roof garden.

The Monkey God found me on the roof garden and stared at me as he wandered through, irritably eating flowers. Finally he spoke, which he doesn't like to do.

"And?" he said.

"You're too late," I said. "They went over the cliff."

"And what happened?"

"I couldn't see from here. You'll have to go look for yourself."

He said he didn't want to. Then his eyes went wide and he pointed past me to the Grand Square. "There they are!"

I looked, but nobody was there. There was a lurch, and I fell to the ground. When I looked back, the Monkey God was gone, and so was my bed.

I hope some of them decided not to try the cliff. It will be getting cold in a couple of hours.


Very nice ending, but cruel. I don't think MG went to look.

Posted by: david | January 22, 2008 1:16 PM

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