Rick, Wally and The Monkey, A Poem by Chris Russell

The empathy experiment was working, but things were breaking all over the place. The government’s attempt to teach empathy in a controlled environment was having some unexpected effects. There was a monkey in the hallway at work. I wasn’t sure how it got in. I grabbed one of the waste barrels and held it in front of me. “Rick, what are you doing?” Wally said. “You see that monkey down there?” I said. “There’s no monkey down there, Rick,” he said. I picked up a broom. “You’re probably just overworked,” he said. “You’re probably right,” I said. “You’re probably just losing it a little,” he said. “It’s probably true,” I said. “But then again, who am I to presume?”  He said. “True,” I said. “You weren’t going to tell me how you really feel?” He said. “No, I guess I wasn’t,” I said. “Has anybody ever called you a coward before?” He said. “Not to my face,” I said. The monkey was bad enough. But now Wally was beginning to worry me. I tried getting around him, but he blocked my way. “If that monkey was yours, you could sick it on me right now,” he said. I ran past him and out the front door. I ran down the street and stopped at a fountain to catch my breath, because my asthma was being a prick. They came around the corner. “If only those lungs of yours were your old lungs,” he said. The monkey looked at me and did a little dance. I speared at Wally with the broom. The monkey jumped on top of the fountain and started doing monkey things. “Finally, we’re not a coward anymore,” Wally said. But I’d had a taste. I ripped an antenna off a car and swung at him with it. I tried to put it back on. But it wouldn’t go back.

%d bloggers like this: