Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Attack of the flying monkeys
"It all happened back at the beginning of the century, and I was deployed in France at the time." The old timer said.
My brothers and I had stopped off at a gas station to stretch our legs, fuel up, and get some snacks on our trip to see mom and dad. Mark had gone in to pay to fill the tank, and Patrick had gone off in search of a bathroom.
Since I didn't have much going on, I spent my time wandering around the station, if you could call it that. It was a ramshackle rundown house that had been converted into a business too many years ago, with a couple of above ground holding tanks behind the building. The pump was one of those old jobs that from the era before credit card readers, and there wasn't even a canopy over the pump to keep the elements off of it.
What ever icons or brandings on the pump had long since bleached out to a pale, faded rusty white and half of the numbers on the rotary dial were faded out. I grunted slightly at the fact that the pump wasn't even digital, and that's when I saw the old man.
He had been sitting at the corner of the patio, just rocking back and forth in an old rocking chair that just screamed cliche. A feeling deep in my gut screamed at me that under no circumstance was I to talk to that man, but at the same time, I just had to, otherwise I would go crazy trying to convince myself I was not in a bad horror movie parody.
Walking over to the old man, I introduced myself.
He looked me over, slowly rocking back and forth in his chair, not saying a word. Right when I was getting ready to give up and walk away, he spoke in that creepy, old timer voice that always signified something horrible would eventually befall us.
"It all happened back at the beginning of the century, and I was deployed in France at the time." He said, looking me in the eye.
I found a chair, pulled it over, and sat down on it. "What happened?"
"The most amazing, yet horrifying attack I have ever seen" was his cryptic reply.
I rolled my eyes.
"There I was, with a cute little French honey on my arm... we were on the Eiffel Tower taking in the sights when they attacked. At first, we couldn't tell what it was that was coming at us, but as they got closer, we couldn't believe our eyes. My girl thought we had had a little too much wine, but for some reason, I knew what I was seeing was true, no matter how impossible it was. As we stood there staring at these things, the guy next to us was attacked! Before we could get out of there, the damn things had chewed his face off!" The old man was starting to get worked up.
I felt a tap on my shoulder and looked around. Mark and Patrick had shown up. "We're all gassed up and ready to go" Mark said, jerking his thumb back towards the car. I glanced back at the old man, then back to Mark, gesturing him to move closer.
"Listen" I whispered, "this guy is rambling about some crazy thing back when he was stationed in France. I figure we can humor him and then get the hell outta here." Patrick had found a couple of chairs and both he and Mark now sat down to listen to the old man.
"So, what was it that had attacked you?" I asked the old man, trying to get him to finish.
"We'll, I had the young lady run back into the stairwell to try and escape. I was right behind her. those things were at my back, screeching, clawing, throwing feces..." he trailed off, his face turning white.
"Feces?" Patrick asked, incredulously. "What the hell were they? Monkeys?"
The old man whipped around, his eyes wild. "Were you there?" Panic gripped his voice. Patrick jerked back in his chair, knocking off balance, and tipping over backwards.
"What?" Mark and I yelled at the same time. "Are you serious?" Mark cried. "Monkeys? You really are out of your mind!" I reached over and put my hand on Mark's arm to quiet him.
"Listen, he's an old man, he's a bit of a loon, just humor him" I whispered. "Humor him? He's off his nut!" Mark replied. "C'mon Jack, we've got to get outta here."
"Yeah" Patrick added as his stood up. "Mom's gonna kill us if we make her wait longer - it's been months since she's seen us."
I held up a hand quieting them. Looking at the old man, I prompted him to continue. "So what happened?"
"Those monkeys started attacking all sorts of people, often swarming them, knocking them to the ground, eating them... it was awful. They got my girl - finally, we managed to beat back the rush of monkeys - it took everything we had, but we did it, and we also managed to keep it out of the press."
I was completely flabbergasted by now, and decided enough was enough. I shook his hand. "Listen old timer, thanks for the story, but we need to get going now."
Several hours later, I was sleeping in the car as Mark drove. In my dreams we were being pursued by flying monkeys who were trying to eat us - finally, one of the monkeys had crashed through the windshield and was getting ready to eat me when I jerked awake.
"Oh good, you're awake" Mark said, glancing over. "Listen, a big, flying, carnivorous monkey appeared in front of the car. Patrick was freaked out, so I ran it over. Sounded like a bag of wet laundry going under."
Feeling weird, I closed my eyes and went back to sleep.