Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: The Writer’s Skill/Craft (04/22/10)
- TITLE: Monkey Business
By Gregory Kane
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Done. My friend Sophie has completed her day's output: an entire page filled with gibberish, mostly featuring the letter S. Gleefully she pulls the paper out of her manual typewriter and carries it across the room to the naked she-ape who throws it on a pile of manuscripts. Sophie is rewarded with a ripe banana and by having her ears scratched vigorously.
The white-haired ape has moved to stand just behind me. He's trying to read over my shoulder, something that always drives me nuts. I can feel my hackles rising and in my irritation I mis-hit the keys. Look at that: THPU. What sort of word is thpu? The old fool should leave me alone to finish in peace.
Six months ago my compositions were just as meaningless as Sophie's. Every day we trooped into the writing room, banged away on the typewriters, and proudly handed in our smudged pages. At first our hosts muttered incoherent phrases like "Not exactly Shakespeare, is it?" or "What a waste of time." After a while they barely looked at what we produced. But then I met Samantha and everything changed.
One lazy Saturday afternoon I was exploring the ventilation ducts when I discovered that with a bit of effort I could squeeze inside. I got myself completely lost that first day and ended up losing my balance and landing on top of very surprised Samantha. Both of us recovered quickly from the shock and our friendship never looked back. Samantha is an ugly child as all naked apes are, but she's chimpanzee-sized and the way she bounces around on her bed I reckon there must be some chimp blood flowing through those veins.
It was on my third visit that Samantha began to teach me my letters. One week later I typed out A to Z in order on the typewriter and you should have seen the consternation my masterpiece caused. The white-haired ape pranced around the room, his knuckles banging against his knees, in what could only be described as a primate mating dance. Not that anyone was in the slightest bit interested, mind. All that bare skin, yuck!
From then on I was the star of the show. I was perusing Samantha's bookshelf one day when I stumbled across that odd-sounding word, Shakespeare. My ever-so-ugly friend read Hamlet to me and I was hooked. The following day, I typed out, TO BE OR NOT TO BE THAT IS THE QUESTION. Old white-hair launched into a frenzied dance like someone who's been stuffing his face on fermented bananas. Two days later I treated them to an extract from Macbeth followed by a soliloquy from Julius Caesar.
Samantha thinks it's hysterical. I haven't followed all of her explanation, but she's told me that we're helping the naked apes with some kind of experiment. Apparently some learned fellow made a disparaging comment about chimpanzees saying that if you put enough chimps in a room, one of us would eventually tap just the right keys and end up reproducing the works of William Shakespeare. What a ridiculous notion. It just goes to show how unbelievably idiotic these naked apes are. I guess that Samantha's teaching me my letters has thrown their trial into total confusion.
Yesterday I did something a bit different. I typed out THAT WHICH WE CALL A MANGO
BY ANY OTHER WORD WOULD SMELL AS SWEET. Our friendly she-ape seemed rather amused by my alteration. The original line contained the word rose, but I have no idea why anyone would want to smell a flower. It's not as if you can eat them or anything. Mango somehow seemed more appropriate.
This afternoon I'm working on the Merchant of Venice. I've had to change some of the characters so that the play makes more sense. I don't know what a Jew is, but Shylock is better now as a baboon. And I've got rid of all that gold and lead and filled Portia's caskets with wild fruit. I'm hoping that my hosts will like it but one never knows with hairless animals.
I have an idea but it's rather daring. I'm getting bored with Shakespeare. So I've been thinking that maybe tomorrow I'll start work on a novel of my own. It's about this sweet, intelligent chimp who's been captured by savages. After a heroic struggle she escapes, only to return with an army and free her siblings, whilst locking the heartless villains in their empty cages...
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