Note from Joey: If you missed my short story, The Monkey, The Banana, & The Bamboo Cage, you may want to read it first to see where our story began.
[O]nce the monkey was plopped into the brown burlap sack by the owner of the banana plantation, he found himself in quite a conundrum. If you remember correctly, our little monkey wanted that banana in the small wooden box so bad that he grasped it tight and refused to let go. If he had had any monkey brains about him, he would have simply let go and freed himself from the cage that surrounded said banana. Now, imprisoned inside a scratchy burlap sack and all caddywompus upside-down, our monkey became quite angry. Infuriated was the word, though he could care less about word usage or proper English diction. He was an Indian monkey and not an English monkey. Not that any of this matters at this point. Read on…
Anyway, the monkey was pissed. Not only did he not get the tasty banana, but the itchy burlap was driving him crazy. He swung his fists. He beat the sides of the sack. He hurled monkey obscenities at the plantation owner, who simply strolled down the jungle trail with the sack slung over his shoulder and a big smile on his face.
Soon, the owner arrived at his plantation home. He walked into the backyard and stopped at a large black cage filled with several monkeys very similar to our little monkey. If you can visualize it, our monkey was now trying to calm himself inside the sack through a series of breathing exercises. Naturally, he was quite afraid at what lay ahead. The fear of the unknown was suffocating and as claustrophobic as the sack itself. Was the plantation owner sharpening his machete? Would he simply starve to death in the sack? Would he be shipped off to some foreign land? Would he become enslaved as ‘a pet’? Though our monkey was small, his fears loomed larger than he’d ever imagined. All he had wanted was that one banana. Now all of his fears screamed louder than a whole tree filled with screeching monkeys.
A thick hand reached into the sack and grabbed the monkey by the scruff of the neck. The plantation owner’s grip was strong. There was no use fighting, though our monkey did let out a good screech or two. He did still have a small measure of self-respect. At least by monkey standards.
The plantation owner tossed the monkey into the cage and slammed the door. The monkey found himself surrounded by several unfamiliar snickering monkeys. One was all black, the color of the Indian night. He smacked his hands, pursed his lips and mumbled some sort of unintelligible dialect. (Clearly not a welcome.) Another monkey huddled in a corner, a bit of an introvert who bared his teeth and wanted to be left alone. One monkey had a bad skin condition and scratched himself in the worst sort of way. Appears a flea was just out of reach. A fourth monkey, this one a bit taller, ambled up to our monkey and hissed at him. He tried to assert alpha-monkey troop-leader dominance over our monkey. But, our monkey got in his grill and screeched back. Told him to bugger off. The tall monkey retreated as directed, secretly bemoaning his lack of troop leader DNA.
Our little monkey took a long stare at each one of the monkeys. Bunch of pathetic losers. They had no business snickering at him. No right to judge. That’s right, they’d all been caught. Each one had gone after that banana. Each one had refused to let go. And yes, each monkey had endured that itchy burlap sack. Now that the monkey thought about it, he did feel a bit better. Even though he was in a large cage, at least he was no longer in that horrible sack. The monkey thought about that banana and the wooden box. He grinned for a second. Sneaky plantation owner. They’d all been caught with the same box. And now here they all were, locked up, a bunch of banana thieves. They’d all traded a whole jungle filled with food and freedom for a metal cage and a very uncertain future. All for a single banana.
Our monkey looked around at his new surroundings. The cage was surrounded with thick bars and black metal mesh. The monkey climbed up on a large platform and grabbed the steel bars above his head. So that’s why they call these ‘monkey bars,’ our monkey thought, for all his life he had been accustomed to swinging on branches and vines. He pulled himself up as high as he could and looked beyond the plantation owner’s home. Far away lay the vast expanse of green jungle.
Our monkey thought long and hard for a moment. He hoped none of his troop would get caught by that banana and wooden box. Nor did he want any of his monkey troop to see him in such pathetic conditions. Outright scandal.
One delicious banana was definitely not worth all the bars that surrounded him now.
(To be continued…)
Questions: What part of this story do you relate to the most? How do our “bananas” create more problems than they’re worth? How have you found freedom letting go of the thoughts, feelings or habits that imprison you?