Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Cover

Cover image by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld - Bibel in Bildern, Public Domain,

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Monkey And The Forbidden Banana

This is a first draft of an excerpt from the forthcoming experimental novel FRAYED which I may or may not subtitle "Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Embrace White Genocide."


Two men, well-dressed but comfortable, one older the other his novitiate, and at ease with each other both in silence and in expression, swirl and sip from tumblers of bourbon. A newly opened bottle lies between them. It is night and a day is done. The setting is a well-furnished study, lined with old books, or it is beside a fire at their campsite, or it is on a patio overlooking a beach. It is on the moon. It is all of these places. The setting changes as the men engage each other. One minute they are in robes in Ancient Greece and in another they are dressed as officers in Napoleon's army.

The elder man is named Cromwell. He is bespectacled and brown-haired with hints of grey at the temples. He is nattily attired. One could envision him smoking a pipe in a different era though he does not. He is trim and lean. A former athlete who has retained his vigor. His novitiate is two inches taller. He is leaner with a more angular face. He too is a handsome brunette, but youthful and callow. His name is Beauregard.

Cromwell speaks in a cultivated orotund voice, deep and deliberate, yet unaffected, with the slightest hint of the accent of a Mississippi gentleman. He pronounces a slight h sound before words that begin with w such that “white” becomes “huhwhite.” Beauregard speaks in silvery yet slightly adenoidal tones, suggesting roots in the American midwest. He regards his mentor with admiration and a slight sense of awe.

Cromwell: Let us consider the story of the monkeys and the forbidden banana for a moment.

Beauregard: I’m not familiar with this story.

Cromwell wets his lips with bourbon.

Cromwell: A scientist, conducting a study, put a group of seven monkeys in a cage. He fed and watered them normally, but he also put at the top of the cage a banana, and a rope leading to that banana, such that a monkey could climb that rope and retrieve the banana. So of course, immediately, one of the monkeys attempted this feat. He climbed the rope, but as soon as he touched the banana, all of the monkeys were sprayed with fire-hoses. This was repeated, until the monkeys learned their lesson and stopped trying to climb the rope. Pretty basic stuff right?

Beauregard: Sure. So all of the monkeys were sprayed, not just the one who touched the banana?

Beauregard touches the bourbon to his lips as does Cromwell.

Cromwell: Exactly. So the scientist removes one of the monkeys and replaces him with a new monkey. Of course, the first thing that monkey does is try to climb the rope. But the other monkeys see this monkey heading for the rope, and they just pummel him. They just absolutely beat the tar out of this poor monkey.

Cromwell grins slightly and wets his lips once more with bourbon.

Beauregard: Of course they do!

Cromwell: So the scientist replaces another monkey with another new monkey.

Beauregard: And he goes for the banana and the other monkeys beat the tar out of him.

Cromwell: Just so.

Beauregard: Including the other new monkey who has never been sprayed by the hose?

Cromwell: Yes.

Beauregard: Ok. Interesting.

Cromwell: So one by one, the scientist replaces all of the old monkeys with new monkeys who get the tar beaten out of them when they go for the banana. Eventually, there are seven new monkeys, none of whom were ever sprayed by that fire hose.

Beauregard: And none of them go for the banana.

Cromwell: Exactly! None of them go for the banana!

Beauregard: Wow. And none of them have any idea why?

Cromwell: But what does that tell us?

Beauregard: It’s social control… conformity.

Cromwell: There are those who will say that the moral of that story is that sometimes we do things without knowing the reason why, suggesting that there may not be a good reason.

Beauregard sips his bourbon contemplatively.

Beauregard: Sure I can see that.

Cromwell: But let’s take that story one step further. This is where it gets interesting.

Beauregard’s eyes sparkle. He sips his whiskey and nods quietly at his mentor. Excited by the stimulation of his intellect yet anticipating where further stimulation might go, his mind eager to be molded.

Cromwell: Let’s say that one of those monkeys, sitting in that cage, tempted by that forbidden banana decides to speak up. He says ‘hol up. Hol up. Whassup wit dat banana yall? Why cain I eat it if I won?”

Beauregard laughs.

Cromwell: So another monkey says ‘yeah goys. I’m like you goys. I don’t want to eat the banana but what’s it hurting if we let Tyrone here eat it. It aint hurting anyone is it? Why are you so hateful?’

Cromwell sips his bourbon. And Beauregard smiles waiting for the story to continue.

Cromwell: One of the monkeys, call him Adolf, says ‘No no no!. My father opposed eating that banana. My grandfather opposed eating that banana. God above has declared eating that banana an abomination. You will eat that banana over my dead body!”

Beauregard leans back and sips his bourbon. The bourbon has started to affect both men.

Cromwell: So the other monkey says “Gee goys. I think that letting Tyrone eat that banana is progress. Your ancestors were hateful. Your religion is silly. You’re on the wrong side of history goy. Can’t you see that monkeys that want to eat that banana are just like you and me goy? I think we should vote.”

Cromwell takes a big sip of his whiskey, and grins widely as he continues his tale.

Cromwell: So they actually have a vote and Tyrone and his friend Shlomo convince a third monkey, a female monkey to vote with them after they rebrand it “the banana of love.” But the other 4 monkeys still vote against the idea, and it fails.

Beauregard: So then what happens?

Cromwell: So Shlomo gets mad. He’s irate. He says “Sorry goys, but you don’t understand. Tyrone actually has the right to eat that banana if he wants. You don’t have the right to stop him. We are going to let Tyrone eat that banana anyway... Now Adolf is furious, but the other three monkeys that voted against eating the banana don’t care that much. Shlomo has been bribing them for weeks and they’ve grown fat, lazy and decadent. Shlomo actually convinces two of them that war will break out and history will remember them as bigots if they don’t restrain Adolf. Meanwhile, Shlomo, Tyrone, and the female monkey have a parade and celebrate, piously declaring that ‘love wins.”

Cromwell and Beauregard each gulp the remaining bourbon in their glasses. Beauregard reaches for the bottle to refill their tumblers as Cromwell continues the story.

Cromwell: So eventually the two monkeys restrain Adolf, while the third pleasures himself glassy-eyed in the corner. Shlomo and the female monkey watch with perverse delight as Tyrone climbs the rope. Finally, Tyrone reaches the top and just as he is about to touch the forbidden banana, what happens?

Beauregard: They all get sprayed by the firehoses.

Cromwell smirks and shrugs. “Maybe.”

Beauregard: Maybe?

Cromwell: We don’t know the answer because we don’t know the nature of the universe.

Beauregard: So… what do we do?

Cromwell: That very question has been asked since the very beginning. What I am now, you will someday be. What you are now, I once was, and so as you ask now. I once asked myself. I repeat verbatim what was once said to me and what you will one day repeat to another. A long time ago, with esoteric knowledge, we built a portal that connects worlds, and through this portal we queried the universe, and through the black void that connects our world with other worlds came an answer.

Cromwell paused, and sipped his whiskey.

Beauregard: What was the answer?

Cromwell: The answer that came back was a picture of a leering frog with 6 symbols underneath. We now understand those six symbols as letters of the modern English alphabet, which when this inscrutable message was received, had not yet been developed.

Beauregard: A six letter word? What was it?

Cromwell: The six letters were G-T-K-R-W-N.

Beauregard: GTKRWN? But what does that mean?