An Open Letter to That Rhesus Monkey

Yesterday you and I crossed paths. Do you remember?

I was the blonde woman, from a different land where there aren’t crazed primates running around. I sat on the bench, bathing in the rich afternoon sun, as you so arrogantly entered the scene.

I watched as you swooped down from above – from a tree? From the side of the building? From inside a worm hole where all the other thief monkeys come from, traveling space and time to harass the innocent humans of Earth? I can’t ever know. But you came, and you came on a mission.

It all happened so fast – one minute I’m sitting there writing in my journal, the next second you’re there and the people around are shrieking and yelling at you. And you just lope around like King Kong, your long, hairy monkey face the epitome of detached sociopath, and then you disappear as quickly as you arrived.

Except, you didn’t leave empty handed.

You left with that woman’s chapati.

Chapati -- unleavened Indian flat bread. Monkeys apparently love it.

Chapatti — unleavened Indian flat bread. Monkeys apparently love it. [Photo Credit:]

I think this is really rude, okay? This lady works here, at this ashram, and puts in long hours cleaning up after people who stay in the place. I’ve seen her sweeping the steps with a wicker broom; I’ve seen her lugging piles of sheets around.

And then when I saw you, she was just sitting out in the sun, in the garden, enjoying her damn lunch. Relaxing. Resting. Gearing up for the second half of her day.

In the Human world, it is extremely mean-spirited to walk up to a stranger and take their food without asking. In some areas, people would call the police, so you’re really lucky there isn’t a faction of Monkey Police designed to kidnap street creeps like you.

I really thought you might know this by now. After, you know, sharing living space with humans for so long. After spying on us for so long from high-up places. After being our literal ancestors.

But no. You didn’t even ask her — you just ran off with her fucking chapati. You bitch.

When things had calmed down, and the woman had resumed eating – probably thinking the worst of it was over now that you had staked your claim — you returned.

And this time, you moved brazenly in front of me and my friend, closer to me than any monkey has come before without the protective shield of  a glass wall or wire cage. I could have reached out and touched you, if that could ever be considered a good idea. You even walked over my friend’s new shawl, the iridescent one she had just bought earlier that day, with your creepy monkey paws.

I see you and your cousins scrounging in the trash. I see you guys stealing scraps left for the hindu god statues. I know what you do.

Dry cleaning isn’t cheap around here, you know. These statues don’t feed themselves, you know.

Point is, you came back. And this time, the woman just threw the rest of the chapati at you, a desperate offer in hopes that she might avoid further harassment – because you’re a bully, monkey.

You’re just a bully.

You absconded yet again with your steal. And I, unwilling to witness anymore of this type of behavior, stood and I left.

Because if you will steal a piece of chapati from the hands of an innocent, resting worker, what else are you capable of?

I’ve been here long enough to glimpse your true character, monkey.

Rhesus Macaque

Sure, your babies are cute. Sure, your asses are red and weird and sort of a novelty. Sure, you’re just monkeys.

But the other morning when I saw your friend/cousin/brother perched high above the street, shaking a street sign for all it was worth as he shrieked into the still morning air…I had to ask myself, What are you getting at, monkey?

I’m beginning to see, not much at all.



Disappointed in Rishikesh


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