Always the Bad Guy

Always the Bad Guy

Many years ago, I had a very large and diverse group of friends: a few jocks, more than a few burn outs, your standard garden variety baby gangsters, and a few which would be called eccentric to say the least.

One close friend in particular decided to stop dealing in things that, “fell off the truck,” stop drinking, drugging, gambling and go to church. I thought it was a bit much to attempt all at once, compounding the difficulty, like if one tried to stop smoking and go on a diet at the same time. When doing that much you could feasibly have a legitimate insanity defense if you committed any type of violent crime.

In short though, he’d had enough of living the way he presently was and wanted to lead a much more productive life than he had ever led. I actually was one of the few who commended him, as for the most part, each and every one of us was on our own personal kind of crash and burn mission. Then to up the ante he decided to buy a florist. He didn’t know how to water a plant, and I thought that was a horrendous idea.

Nevertheless it was his life, and also his not-so-hard-earned cash.. He purchased a fully stocked florist’s shop, and added all the floral bells and whistles he could think of. He started actually doing quite well. My dear friend worked diligently day and night until he learned the business and became popular in certain circles.

One day, I decided to visit. The second I walked into the place I heard what sounded like a monkey on television. Seconds later, I was greeted by my dear friend with a live infant monkey sitting on his shoulder. I instantly knew this was not a good idea. For starters monkeys climb trees, and since there were no trees the hundred or so hanging baskets would suffice nicely. Also, for those of you that have never seen one up close, monkeys – even small ones such as this – possess fangs any canine would be jealous of.

My friend introduced me to Sammy the Kap-o-Sino monkey like you would introduce someone to your infant. Since my friend was slightly illiterate with a heavy Brooklyn accent, I knew he was trying to say capuchin, but could not pronounce it correctly. The animal was actually quite tame. It was obviously still just a baby, but it paid close attention to my friend and listened to him as attentively as a child trying to please his mother.

He showed me if you threw a ball to him, Sammy would either catch it or, if he missed, retrieve it and throw it back to you. Impressive, and a trick no dog could ever master. In amazement I watched him patiently sit on a chair as my friend handed him a folded slice of pizza to eat. It was cut for his size like you would cut a child’s. Sammy drank soda out of a cup without spilling a drop. I was wholeheartedly impressed. The only thing the monkey did not do was excuse itself after it burped, but it looked as though it snickered after doing as much.

Several months passed by, and I sadly heard my friend was up to his old ways. I decided to go to his shop to see if this was true. I found him as well as Sammy –now fully grown – drinking homemade wine. The monkey was also eagerly eating the fermented peaches. Both of them were clearly shit-faced.

As sad as it was, I had to chuckle. Until you have seen a drunk having a conversation with an even drunker five-pound monkey, you’re missing something in life. All I could do was buy both of them something to eat, put Sammy back into his cage, and drive my friend home. My friend had obviously slipped off the wagon, which was a shame. I’d had high hopes for his sobriety and that he would succeed in his new life. Obviously his demons got the best of him with the help of his new enabler, Sammy.

Several months later, I spotted him in front of Off Track Betting. Obviously he was now drinking and gambling again. I inquired about Sammy and he bleakly informed me he had not been to work in days. He’d hired a high school kid to open and close his store and was basically going through the motions of running his new business into the ground. Since he was losing his shirt, I easily convinced him to go see Sammy, hoping to at the very least get him away from the old cigar smoking degenerates at OTB. Maybe getting him to his flower shop would respark his interest.

The place was a mess. There was trash everywhere you looked. The high school kid had transformed the once lush florist into their own personal social club. From the looks of it, Sammy was very stoned from someone blowing pot smoke in his face and in all likelihood inebriated. There was an empty Jack Daniels bottle lying at the bottom of his cage. So in addition to my friend the monkey also had both a drug and a serious alcohol problem.

As so many of us have witnessed (or gone through personally) these diseases are progressive. The monkey being in a constant incoherent state proved it had struck again. Thankfully Sammy couldn’t read the racing forms or he could have been addicted to the big three. I can just picture someone taking him to a meeting.

The following day, I wanted to check up on both of them and went to the florist shop. Before I could even walk through the door, I clearly heard the high school girl screaming at the top of her lungs. Sammy was furiously humping a paper towel on the counter next to the register. He was doing what I can only imagine as some type of mating ritual; raising his eyebrows in rapid succession like one of the Marx brothers.

I knew these animals have the tendency to be vicious but I’d never seen a monkey on the nature channel dry humping anything in a threatening manner while staring at someone. I guess only the drunk urban ones do this. The high school girl ran out the door past me, and now the little Trilogy of Terror creature was eyeballing me. I calmly and slowly walked to the back of the place. He followed me from overhead, jumping from one hanging plant to the other.

When I reached the back of the shop, I found my friend stupefied in his office with no chance of waking up, yet I started getting the creeps from something. I turned slowly and noticed the monkey was only feet away, standing eye level on a file cabinet. That little bastard was in stealth mode, and I had no idea he was there until I turned around. I saw a bag of chips sitting on the desk and figured maybe he was just looking for food. God knows when the last time was anyone thought to feed the poor thing. Maybe he’d finished with the paper towel and along with the weed, just wanted a snack before napping. I reached over my very drunken friend for the bag of chips and in an instant Sammy was biting right through my index finger.

For a split second I tried talking to it, figuring it would release its grip. However, I realizing quickly it was trying to eat my finger as a kid would a chicken Mcnugget. So I wrapped my outstretched hand around it as you would grab a baseball and threw the little bastard as hard as I could. The five-pound creature hit a wall and bounced head first into a refrigerator where he slid to a stop.

Sammy being drunk, drugged, and therefore feeling no pain, quickly proceeded to shake it off. He flew at me and bit through my pants into my leg! In sheer desperation I reached for a pistol my friend kept in his desk drawer, knocking him off his chair in the process. As I ran to the front of the shop with a furious monkey attached firmly to my leg I fired my first shot. I was trying desperately to run, unattach the drunken simian from my leg, and not shoot myself in the foot, (not an easy feat.) Hearing the gun shot must have startled Sammy because he reluctantly released his grip. However, as I tried to quickly exit the premises he continued to chase me.

I ran for my life with Sammy directly above me jumping from hanging basket to hanging basket. I started indiscriminately shooting at him in an attempt to kill him as I cowardly ran for my life. In the few short feet to the door I managed to miss my target miserably but escaped without getting bit again. This must have been a sight to see. I was standing there bleeding, holding a gun in my hand, while Sammy tried his best to push the door open to finish me off. Now,  I was worried someone had heard the shots, so I threw the pistol in the sewer just as my friend stumbled out of the door. Sammy, now as calm as could be and sitting on his shoulder. My belligerent friend demanded to know why I stole his gun and just shot up his florist. Without uttering a single word, I left to drive myself to the hospital where I needed several stitches.

After I filled out the mountain of forms, the first question the emergency room doctor asked was how I got cut. I reluctantly told him I’d been attacked by a monkey. The doctor proceeded to ask several more questions. His last was if I was drinking. I shot him a look, letting him know if I still had a gun in my possession he was getting it.

That night, several of my friends came to my house to inquire why I shot the flower shop up. They let me know the extent of the damages were as follows: two blown away wandering Jew hanging baskets, one potted yucca tree, bullet ridden cash register, holes into the ceiling right through the now leaking roof, and for my final shot, a fire sprinkler spitting out what looked like old black goo.

Since the masses assumed the only explanation could be that I must have been using drugs as I did this, I was asked to pay a grand total in damages close to $5,000. Also, since I was using drugs which could negatively influence my friend staying sober, he and I would call it a day no longer speak nor socialize.

The moral of the story is… well there really is no moral to it. But, If you ever try to help a friend in need, never try to shoot a drunken monkey.