Let me tell you about the day the monkeys took over.
Just regular little monkeys with long tails they can swing from, the kind with spidery long legs and grasping paws, the kind of cute little animals they used to have for organ grinders and whatnot.
The kind you’d never suspect of being capable of something like this.
It was summer. Mid-July. Hot as hell, so hot we had all the windows open with fans in them and were still sweltering. The doors were open, too, flimsy screen doors hooked against intruders, but the secret is, the intruder would have to give a shit about getting in trouble.
Like they say, locks are made for honest people.
Well, as you probably know by now, monkeys are neither honest nor people, so they busted in the screens while we were eating lunch and suddenly they were on us, flashing white sharp teeth and clawed fingers, biting and screeching and ripping at us.
My baby went down first, the kindergartener. The monkeys took her down easy and bit off her nose, and while she lay screaming on the floor, they went for the knives, pulled them out of the knife block and tore her apart right in front of us.
We wanted to help her, really we did, but there were so many of them and it was already too late.
Where the fuck did they all come from?
They took the dog out next, and swarmed my wife, slashing her throat while I watched in horror, only running when I realized I was next.
Where’d they all come from?
No one knows.
It was nothing for them to disable our emergency systems, to baffle the cops and cripple the paramedics and generally just screw us all.
I met the others in an old factory. There were five of them, and they were as ragged and shocked as I was, but you couldn’t afford to freak out or lose your head, and we were all pretty much the same kind of cool-headed people who got away.
Dennis was the first guy, and at first he wouldn’t open the door, but then he realized I was human, scared and alone.
“Where are they, man?” he asked, yanking me inside by the collar. “Were you followed?”
“No. They have enough to do right now.”
A teenaged girl who sat nearby with her back braced against the wall started crying, but the rest of them all nodded.
“Who’d they get?” Dennis asked me, his voice growing gentle, his arm sinking down around my shoulders.
“Everybody. My wife, my kid, my dog. Everybody.”
“They’re organized, the little bastards,” said an old man, climbing to his feet. “You gotta give ’em that.”
“Yeah, they are,” I nodded. “So we’ll have to be even more organized than they are.”
“How are we going to do that?” asked one lady, jumping up and collaring me. “We didn’t even know they were coming, so how can we guard against them? They can climb and grab and jump. Everything. How can we guard against something like that? How? Tell me.”
She was hysterical, shaking me like I had any more answers than she did.
“I don’t know,” I said, slapping her hands away. “We just have to, is all.”
This nerdy young guy in glasses stepped forward.
“I’ve got an idea.”
“Poison. Rat poison. Fucking poison them like the rodents they are.”
“How? They’re pretty smart, those monkeys. Won’t they know?”
“No,” he told me. “We’ll crush it up and put it in some fruit.”
“Which we don’t have.”
“Yeah. There’s that. I mean, the poison’s here somewhere. I saw dead rats when I got here, but what else do they eat? Do any of you have anything?”
“I have my lunch,” said the girl, “but I’m not giving away our only food to a bunch of goddamn monkeys.”
She put her head back down like she was taking a siesta, but all she was really doing is crying some more.
“I have a couple of candy bars.”
This from an old woman I hadn’t noticed before. The way she was dressed, with those slip-on shoes and a housecoat, it’s a miracle she got so far.
“Do monkeys even eat candy?” asked the teenager.
“Yeah, listen,” said the old guy. “I was stationed overseas, and those little pricks’ll eat anything. They’ll mug you for food and steal purses or bags or anything they can get their hands on. I say she’s right. We make a little slit in the candy and shove a few rat pellets inside. It ain’t gonna kill many of them. Hell, it might not even kill any of them, but maybe it’ll make them sick. Sick enough so we can go pick us some of them figs across the street and make more. Plus, sometimes they’ll eat another monkey, so we get to spread the love.”
When the old man said they’ll eat anything, he was right. We flung a bunch of those candy bar pieces out there, and they were on them in minutes. Some picked them up, then other monkeys rushed forward to fight with them over them. Big monkeys killed small monkeys. their horrible white teeth flashing and gnashing without a care.
It was horrible, watching them tear each other apart.
The ones who ate the candy laid out there on the blacktop, kicking around, but all we had to do is remember what they done to our families, our wives and kids, and all our sympathy for them dried up. They screamed and foamed at the mouth and threw up, then they laid down and writhed around until they stopped moving at all. Me and Dennis and the science guy ran out to the far end of the parking lot and picked as many figs as we could before the second wave of monkeys showed up.
Wasn’t too much different with the figs. Those little bastards can really be mean. They fought again, same result, but this time there was more to be fought over, and some of them ran off with the spoils.
“That’s right, you little fuckers,” I said, peering out the dusty windows. “Take those monkey-bombs and keep on running. Share that shit with the other little fuckers.”
We didn’t count on how smart they really are. We didn’t take into account how they might want revenge.
They got suspicious after a while. They saw all their fellows lying there in puddles of puke, and I guess they figured it out.
We’ve been under siege for eight days now. The teenager’s gone half-crazy and the old lady’s in a coma from missing her meds.
No hope for them.
No hope for any of us.
You ask me, we ain’t never gonna get out of here alive.
“Son?” the old man asked me. “You ever seen Butch Cassidy?”
“So I say to hell with it. I say we go out in a blaze of glory and take a few of those little bastards out with us.”
So we gathered up a bunch of old mop and broom handles and sharpened them up into spears, and here we are sitting in a circle together listening to the girl rave.
“She ain’t gonna do us a damn bit of good,” the old man told us. “We can’t take her with us. She’d be tore up in a minute.”
And we draw straws.
Shortest straw goes and puts a spike through her heart. The only humane thing to do.
The nerdy kid got that one, but we all knew he wasn’t up to it, so I jumped her from behind and choked her out, then I stuck her.
She went out easy.
“Thanks, dude,” the kid told me.
“No problem. But you fail us out there, I’ll spike your knees and leave you bleeding.”
“I know. I won’t.”
“Let’s go, then,” I said, readying my spear. “All this sitting around here waiting to die is giving me the shits.”
I throw the door open and begin.