Out of Place
He watches while the other monkeys run and leap and play. He does not join them, because he does not fit in. They know each other, know how they sound and how they act, what to expect from each other, and he knows he is strange to them. Today the sky is blue and the little trees inside the cage are bright and leafy. There is food and water. He has what he needs, but there is still something wrong inside. The cage is small. He has been there a long time. It is hard to count how long, even though he knows he used to be able to do that better. The other monkeys seem like they are in a good mood, but he stays away. He stays by himself most days.
The humans outside the cage look inside all the time. Their skin is soft and pink and hairless. Sometimes they put pieces of food inside the cage and laugh when the monkeys grab the food. Sometimes the little ones stick their little pink hands through the bars with pieces of food on top of their open hands, and the parents make angry noises and pull the hands back. They say the monkeys are dangerous. It is hard to remember, but he knows that he used to be like the humans until he changed. He looks like the other monkeys in the cage now, but he does not feel like them.
He is something in between.
"Look at that one, mother! Is it the daddy monkey?"
"What do I look like? Some kind of monkey expert?"
He hears the humans talk to each other. Sometimes he knows a word, sometimes a few words, and even when he does not know all the words he can sometimes tell what they mean by the way they move and sound. It is still very hard to understand them. Their words bother him, like maybe if he thought really hard they would make sense. But every time he tries to think hard, nothing happens. The humans are happy to see the monkeys. He wonders why they are so happy, and inside his head there are thoughts and pictures from a long time ago. He remembers when he was like the humans, and he was outside of the cage looking in at the monkeys and smiling. Why did he like the monkeys so much?
It was a long time ago, and it is very confusing to him.
"Look at the stupid face that one's making!"
One of the humans points and laughs. There are some other humans standing next to him and they also laugh. They are bigger than the children, but smaller than the adults.
"He looks like he's constipated or something. How come he's not with the other ones?"
"Probably a bit queer, I'd bet. Just like you, Max!"
He watches as some of the humans laugh at the one they call Max. The one called Max looks down and a red color comes on his face. They get bored of looking in the cage and they walk away to other cages. He watches them go. He cannot join them. This is his cage, and he wonders if he will ever be outside of it again.
It is hot. He goes to the pool of water to get a drink of water because he is thirsty. The other monkeys around the pool go away when they see him, because he bothers them. They do not have to go away long. He takes his drink and goes back to his corner by his favorite tree in the shade. He waits quietly. There is nothing to do. He tries to think about things. He tries to hold things in his mind, but they fly away like the birds in the air before he can make sense of them. He remembers he used to think about a lot more a long time ago, when he was different. He gives up thinking. All he wants now is a banana.
"Oi! I got your grub right 'ere!"
A man opens a door in the building that is right next to the cage. He holds a bucket in his hand that is filled with bananas. The man comes into the cage every day and gives the monkeys food. Even though he is bigger than the other monkeys, he waits because the man does not like him very much. He does not like the man very much either. Today the man throws a banana at him so he does not have to come over, and he picks the banana from the ground and opens its skin to eat the inside. Taking the skin from the banana is the happiest part of his day.
"That's the one," says the man to a lady who is next to him. "We call 'im Fisky."
He does not know the lady. She is new. He does know the name that the man calls him. He knows that it is his name, just like how the humans outside the cage earlier called the other human Matt. Or Max. Or Mandy. He is starting to have trouble remembering the name they called the human with the red color on his face. He does not care. His own name reminds him of how he used to be human, and he feels like he has lost something, but he does not know what. He has the banana, and that is enough for now.
He does not know what the man with the banana bucket and the woman mean when they talk to each other, but he can tell they are talking about him. They look at him a lot, just like the humans outside the cage. Sometimes he feels like he is wrong, because the humans and the other monkeys look at him all the time. The other monkeys are like him, they are in the cage so the humans can look at them, but that does not make them like him anymore. He is still not like them.
He remembers two hairless pink humans from a long time ago. His parents. A sad feeling is in him now, and he does not understand why. He thinks his parents are laughing at him. He can almost hear them. He remembers they did not like the monkeys in the cages, and if they saw him in the cage looking like the other monkeys they would say something to him about it. For a moment, his father's face comes in his mind and talks to him, telling him he is bad for looking at the monkeys.
But they are not here. They are only in the pictures in his head.
"I said come over this way, Fisky!"
The man with the bucket is shaking his hand at him, and the woman is still standing next to him in the open door on the building. The other monkeys look at him and then look at the two humans. He decides to come closer and see why the man wants him to come, because the man does not like him most days. The woman is bigger than the man, and she has black hair, darker than his fur. She laughs when he comes close and looks very happy. It is different than when the humans outside the cage are happy. He is closer now, and he starts to wonder if he does know the woman after all.
"Oooh, it's you, my little munkey-wunkey! It took forever to track you down, but Amy's here for you now!"
The woman picks him up, and for a second he wonders if he should bite her or scratch her because he is not used to humans picking him up. He remembers her now. She is a human he has seen before, when he was different. But right now, when she holds him and rocks him in her arms, it is warm and soft. She takes him out of the cage and into the building next to the cage, and the man shuts the door behind them. Outside the building there is a car. He remembers that humans use them instead of their arms and legs to move around most of the time. She opens a door in the car and puts him inside and puts something over his body to hold him down.
"I don't think I'll be able to change you back, Monty," she says when she gets in the other side of the car. "I've looked and looked and I think it's permanent. Something about that pesky monkey power just makes it impossible to reverse the spell, and I'm no magician, Monty. Amy's all about science! But this isn't so bad, is it? You're like a real live Cuddle Buddy! And you won't try to run away anymore – now we can be together forever!"
He does not know what she means. Some of her words make sense but when they are put together it is too hard to understand. But she is happy, and he liked it when she held her, and she is taking him away from the cage. That is good. He was in the cage for a long time and started to hate when the humans and the other monkeys looked at him all the time. He is not a human and not a monkey, and he is not like her. But when she looks at him, it is not like the way the others look at him.
When he looks at her and she smiles, it is almost as good as eating a banana.
Notes - That's the end of the story. Hope you guys liked it. I'm interested in knowing what you guys thought of this last chapter, since it's fairly different than my usual style.
I wanted to try to convey what it might be like from Monkey Fist's monkeyfied perspective. I thought writing in third person present tense might make it seem like he's more "in the moment", and I avoided using his name to sort of dilute his past identity and emphasize how he's different now, and tried to use a different sentence structure that was sort of more matter-of-fact and repetitive. I like how it turned out, but maybe that's just my ego talking and it's actually awful, so second opinions are welcome, hehe. :-p And I was a little undecided on having Amy pop up at the end, but I felt like leaving Monkey Fist in his cage like that was just too sad for my tastes.
I'm working on a new story that will be fairly long, centered on Drakken and his immediate family, although Kim and Ron will be secondary characters. I might start posting that next, although I don't know when. Possibly Monday if I can get some more done over the weekend.