The Monkey And The Thing by Shifani Reffai

Once upon a time, there was a monkey who lived in a giant marshmallow. It was of a nice pale pink colour – the marshmallow obviously, not the monkey, because who ever heard of a pale pink monkey? That would be ridiculous. Anyway, this monkey loved his giant marshmallow house and he spent all day bouncing off the insides of its squishy walls and dusting his squishy furniture and having a real hoot in general.

But his bliss was fated to be short-lived, as one day, when the monkey was outside playing on the squishy swing in his marshmallow garden, he heard a shrill scream rip the air. The flamingo who lived next door came squawking towards him, his short wings flailing awkwardly against his sides, ‘Monkey! Come quick! Something horrible has happened!’ and without breaking his stride, the flamingo turned on his heel and ran back in the direction he came from, squawking away. The monkey sighed. Flamingos, in his experience, were always so dramatic and vague about things. Why, just last month, his neighbor had come bumbling into his garden in the same flustered manner and had declared that ‘the enemy was invading!’ and flailed away; upon investigation, the monkey discovered that the flamingo had only been referring to the three elephants who had just moved into the house down their lane. Elephants made flamingos very nervous.

But let us get back to our story.

The monkey got off his swing and strolled to the flamingo’s house, looking this way and that for what could possibly be this ‘horrible’ thing that had happened. Nothing could have prepared him, however, for what he saw there, standing in his neighbor’s driveway.

It was a giant Thing, several times larger than the monkey’s house, and its body was covered all over by a flat, smooth, sickly looking rubbery surface. It had some hair on its very top and it had a hideous looking stupid face. It seemed to be wearing some ridiculous colourful contraptions all over its body and feet that, later upon discussion, the monkey and the others discovered were called ‘clothes’. ‘Kill it with fire! Kill it with fire!’ squawked the flamingo as it flapped its tiny wings and ran around in a circle. There was tension in the air, as the monkey, the flamingo, the elephants, the zebra, the platypus, and the rest of the neighborhood stood around this giant Thing and wondered what to do about it.

It looked down at them with its stupid looking face, and the weird giant worm-like things that protruded from its feet (there were five of them on each foot), wiggled. This was too much for the flamingo and he started swooning. The platypus put her arm around the flamingo and took him back inside, whispering comforting words and reassurances as platypuses are known best to do. Suddenly one of the elephants piped up, ‘I have read about these creatures! They live in lands far away, where everything is giant!’ A fresh ripple of murmurs filled the afternoon air.

The monkey was skeptical, but then elephants were usually very wise and travelled all over the universe – everybody knew that. So he implored that the elephant spoke more of what he knew. The elephant obliged. ‘Well, in this giant-land far, far away, these Things are the supreme rulers-‘ At this point the zebra hawed loudly, ‘I find that hard to believe! Look at how ignorant its silly face looks! I highly doubt there is anything intelligent going on inside its gigantic head…’ The crowd laughed appreciatively at this observation, but the elephant continued as though the zebra had not interrupted, mostly because he was quite used to being interrupted by zebras for zebras were famous for interrupting people in the middle of their talks. ‘And even in this giant-land, there are elephants, monkeys and zebras!’

There were several exclamations following this revelation. ‘But are there flamingos as well?’ questioned the monkey. ‘Yes! And in that land, all of us are giants too, almost as big if not bigger than the Thing!’ said the elephant. This was most extraordinary, everyone was intensely fascinated, even the flamingo had returned to the driveway and had reconciled with the wiggling of the foot-worms of the Thing, save for the occasional shriek. But one thing puzzled the monkey greatly: ‘But you said the Things are the supreme rulers in this giant-land – then where do the rest of us come in?’ The elephant responded, ‘Well the Things don’t usually consider us their equals in giant-land-‘ (the zebra interjected here – ‘I wouldn’t suppose they might! Look at that oaf, I would never associate his kind with the likes of mine!’) ‘-in fact, in giant-land, they often consider us… inferior, and occasionally even use some of us for their own transport and amusement!’

The monkey burst into laughter, and he was not the only one. ‘That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard!’ said the monkey, ‘Why, next you’ll be telling me that that they have their own houses and a proper sewage system!’ This really got everyone in fits of laughter, the platypus chuckled so hard that her sides ached. ‘All that is very well…’ began the flamingo, his little eyes darting nervously between the Thing and the elephant, ‘but how the hell did it get HERE?’ The elephant shrugged. ‘It must have wandered out too far… the Things are fond of wandering around and poking around where they shouldn’t,’ suggested the other elephant. Suddenly, there was a rumble in the air, like thunder – except this time, it sounded utterly ominous, mostly because it seemed to have come from the Thing! The flamingo started flailing in a circle again. The elephant’s eyes widened suddenly as it looked up at the Thing, and its trunk quivered in fear, as though something terrible were about to happen… ‘What is it?’ exclaimed the monkey, his gaze darting between the horrified elephant and the rumbling Thing. The elephant stammered, ‘I think… I think it’s hungry! And… and…’

‘It’s going to eat us! EAT US ALL!’ squawked the flamingo. ‘What does it eat? Tell us, quick!’ urged the monkey, as the platypus and the zebra and a few others started rushing back into their homes. The elephant began, ‘It likes to eat-‘

And before he could finish his sentence, the giant Thing reached down and picked up the monkey’s marshmallow house and promptly put it in its mouth.

About the Author

Shifani Reffai

Shifani is a 23 year old undergrad who has a penchant for sticking her fingers in a lot of pies: architecture, photography, journalism, illustration, literature, film, and lately, playing the tabla. Clearly this is because she has the attention span of a goldfish. The love of her life is however, writing. She is inspired by travel and everyday incidents.

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