Essays

Monkeys Are Always Funny

.. ed faith, because we don’t need to question or doubt anything. ‘Faith,’ he said, ‘is a last- ditch resort,’ and we don’t need that one bit, do we honey? She turned to her husband, who was getting a headache over his left eye. He winced, but it was perceived by his wife as a smile. Mr. Tweedy had taken a seat next to Mrs.

Drake, whom he had always thought had great legs. Lucy ran to get the phone, which was ringing in the Fellowship Hall. Any news? Mrs. Drake asked. No Ma’am, Mr. Tweedy replied, glancing down briefly at her size D breasts.

Still perky. And fourteen years after her child, he thought. I bet her little girl’s gonna be a real looker, too. He snapped out of it. There isn’t any news. He couldn’t have just disappeared, Mr.

Tweedy, Mr. Drake replied. That’s just crazy. That’s right, Mr. Drake, He couldn’t have just disappeared.

But there weren’t any accidents reported around town, his car is still in the garage, and Lou called all the area hospitals. It’s all too much. Lucy yelled for Mr. Tweedy to come to the phone. Lou, the only other policeman in town that was an active member of the Presbyterian church, needed to speak with him immediately. I hope it’s good news, Mrs.

Drake gasped. Dear Lord, let it be good news. Mrs. McLoone squeezed Mrs. Drake’s Hand. When Tweedy came back into the sanctuary, the congregation stood up.

Even Martha stood up, which was quite an effort, being as big as she was. It was nearly five, and across town, Killer, Darren and the Reverend’s nephew, Mark, were talking about how they wouldn’t mind having fifteen minutes with Martha, the pregnant girl, even though she was so very pregnant. Killer imagined that it might be kinda like doin’ it on a poh- goh ball They all laughed, and none of them thought about the Reverend’s absence. But in the chapel no one could forget. His absence was felt by his followers more than his presence ever was.

His words were being reviewed and mulled over with severity, and the church- goers were impressed with how much wisdom they had retained. They were delighted with the lessons they had learned, and giddy with the progress they had all made in their personal relationships with God. You know, Lucy, Mrs. McLoone chimed, before you worked for the Reverend, we had the lousiest woman working here; what was her name? No one could quite remember. But we were so nice to her, weren’t we? And we even collected money and sent her flowers when she was so sick in the hospital, right before she died. What did she die from? Some sort of cancer or something? No one could quite remember that either. Mr.

Tweedy, who had been standing in the doorway for several minutes, coughed and the congregation fell silent. That was Lou, and there might be some bad news. Wha.. what kind of bad news? Mrs. McLoone asked, her eyes widening.

Lou got a call from that seedy motel down by Olga’s, the Starlight Motel, and they’ve found a body. We would have sent one of the next town’s Sheriff’s out to take care of it, but the Oriental man that runs the place thinks it might be the Reverend. How would he know? Mrs. Drake asked, That little man can’t possibly know what the Reverend looks like. We’ve never had an Oriental in the church before. She turned to Mrs.

McLoone, You don’t remember seeing any Orientals in here, do you? Mrs. McLoone shook her head. Why would the Reverend be in that awful part of town anyway, in that motel where all the hookers do their business? She whispered the word hookers so God wouldn’t hear. That Sunday evening, Martha and her baby ran the Youth Group in order to preoccupy the children, but the four remaining members of the Popcorn Prayer group found themselves following Mr. Tweedy deep into the slums of Cary.

For the Drakes, it was their first time on the East side of 13th street. No one was happy to be there, especially Mrs. Drake, who could not understand why these people would not better themselves and their community. Mr. Tweedy and Lou, the youngest police man, entered room 14 of the Starlite Motel alone.

The Reverend Harris was found nesting in a dismantled bale of hay with a carrot jammed in his windpipe. He had suffocated to death. This is bizarre, Lou, Mr. Tweedy said. I just don’t understand this a bit.

Lou went over to the Reverend and lifted a note from his hands. There’s a note here, Mr. Tweedy. Mr. Tweedy was nervous and intrigued.

He imagined his heroic moments captured on local TV. He would definitely make the evening news. He might even get to meet Robert Stack. Yes, he would get to meet Robert Stack and be on Unsolved Mysteries. He couldn’t help envisioning the re- enactments.

The door to the room was closed, and Lou was taking pictures with the Polaroid camera he had received in the mail three years ago from his older sister who went to college in Denver. It had been a birthday present. He planned to visit her, but couldn’t seem to find the time. Outside, the congregation brewed their own personal storms. Was the Reverend in there? What had happened? The women sat in the mini van, leather cases of Mace in hand. Two young black boys rode their bicycles around the parking lot, trying to get a look at the situation.

Those black people just don’t know any barriers, Mrs. Drake snapped. They just let their children run around like this? It’s almost dark out, and why would those children want to see what’s going on here anyway? What sick, sick people. Sick, sick, sick, she said, and when her mind gathered too much momentum, about to explode, she would bark the word sick and shake her head. Mrs.

McLoone stared at her, blinking. The two men were standing outside the motel room with their ears to the door. Mr. McLoone mentioned that he had always known that Reverend Harris was a little off his rocker, and that he wouldn’t doubt if he was killed by a prostitute. After all, the man had never been with a woman, and he lived with that wacky nephew that was just no good, no sir, no good at all.

Mr. Drake didn’t pay him any attention. He had started to question Mr. McLoone’s sanity last Easter, when he was seen placing a five hundred dollar Monopoly bill in the collection plate, snickering to himself. Finally the door opened, and Room 14 of the Starlight motel was exposed. Both Lou and Mr.

Tweedy looked very, very confused. Mr. Tweedy had the note in his right hand, but had crushed it in dizzy excitement. The ladies came out of the mini van, and they could tell by the look on Mr. Tweedy’s face that the Reverend was dead.

What are we going to do? Mrs. McLoone screamed. Just what are we to do? Oh, Christ! Curses! Well, we’ll never find another preacher. Do you remember what Blessed Heart of Mary went through to get a Priest out here? And those Catholics will send their priests anywhere. They’ve got some sort of Priest reserve, but we’re not so lucky, being Presbyterians.

It could be years until we get another preacher. We’re screwed. Positively screwed! ranted Mrs. Drake. Her husband didn’t say anything. He was studying Mr. Tweedy’s posture.

But Mr. McLoone had plenty to say. Bet a hooker got him, he chuckled. Yes sir, a hooker- man or woman? God only knows, but I bet it was a hooker or some sort of drug deal going down in there. Can you blame the man? Can you just blame the man? Christ. Mr.

McLoone fell silent. He realized that Mr. Tweedy held all the answers to their questions about the Reverend’s disappearance. Suddenly, Mr. Tweedy was the most important man in town.

What would Mr. Tweedy do? He thought about putting the note in his mouth, chewing it up, and swallowing it. He had that power. He could rip it into tiny pieces. He could keep it and have people pay to read it, he thought, swear them to secrecy. Mr. Tweedy felt like the hottest, sexiest man in town, despite his extra 40 pounds and liver spots.

He was a hero. On impulse, he moved to put the note in his mouth, but was frozen with horror when Lou blurted out, That weirdo choked on a carrot and died in a pile of hay. Can you believe that *censored*? With the fist that held the note, Mr. Tweedy clocked Lou in the jaw, sending him to the floor. The jaw was clearly broken, visibly unhinged.

The women screamed and clung to one each other, and the men stared, frightened, at Mr. Tweedy who was now stretched out on the concrete, holding Lou’s head. Dreams and bones shattered, both men were sobbing. The note, which had fallen from Mr. Tweedy’s hand, landed right inside room 14 of the Starlite Motel. Mr. McLoone stepped inside, sat down on the hay, patted the Reverend on the head, and straightened out the note, which he read aloud: Dear Lord, when you send me back down to earth, please let me be as a Bunny Rabbit, for they are the dearest messengers of your word. Amen.

THAT’S it. General crap: I’m 21, and go to UF, and I play in a band, and blah blah. The end. I have a cat named Coltrane that talks a lot and beats things up. He’s tougher than you.