Wednesday, June 21, 2006


THE EGG OF ALL TIME


Some weeks ago, Echo bought a nice solid-ceramic egg that, according to the manufacturer, had a special chemicomystico-catalyticomatrix property by which it could render our refrigerator a truly magical space. The egg was rather expensive, as eggs not meant for eating often are. Echo purchased it never suspecting that one day it would find a place in the local biomythos; after all, it looked just like an egg: pure white, the size of a chicken egg. That's why, when Echo put the pristine objet d’art refrigeratique outside to air and dry in the sun as per the manufacturer's recommendation, it was stolen by a monkey.

Monkeys steal eggs all the time, no big deal, from crows, hawks, whatever wild eggs they can get their snatchy little paws on when they're not wrapped around my onions, so the monkey that found this bright white baby just sitting there shining in the sun with no one around, the biggest egg he ever saw, didn't pause to ponder right and wrong, wonder whether he should actually commit the greatest egg heist of his nasty, brutish and short life. That egg was history.

Seldom in the humdrum of the everyday are any of us afforded the kind of opportunity that fell into that monkey's paws, when fate laid before him the egg of a lifetime, the egg that would make him the most famous and revered monkey on this whole monkey planet, the Hope Diamond of eggs, that would make him the Monkey King, his name ringing from tree to tree throughout the mountain forests of his domain... He could see it all now as, with the precious object clutched tightly in his paw, he took off with a new and elite speed to climb a far tree unto the heights he now deserved, where he could be alone for a while with his treasure...

Then he would take it around and show it to the others - flaunt it, really; no fun being master of the universe if no one knows it - they would all want it and try to snatch it from him, but this was his baby, he'd enjoy it a while, casually; then, right in front of them all, he'd eat the greatest egg there ever was...

And so began that particular mountain forest legend, one that will live in monkey lore until the end of time, known by me as The Monkey Who Would Be King, a cautionary tale that ends something like: "...and so there he was, up on the high branch, about to lord it over all the other monkeys, when he bit proudly at the not-egg, and chewed, and chewed and bit, and gnawed and chomped and snarled and screeched and stomped, pounding the thing against the trunk of the tree while swearing like a trooper. He went on thus for hours, even through the night, and that was just the beginning of his madness. He never did let go of the not-egg, until finally he fell out of the tree, dead of the starving madness, when another monkey took the not-egg from him, and so the legend lives on..."

Maybe one day, when monkeys have refrigerators...

2 comments:

barbara said...

A wonderful family story for the ages. I love your ability/talent/skill for the big picture.

Joycelyn said...

The intersection of technology and wild animal is, so often, not so good for the animal. About 20 years ago a bear wandered into town (here in Alaska, they often do). People kept out of his way, and he wandered and meandered about enjoying the day and checking out the neighborhood. Obviously, this was not his first visit to the metropolis; he must have raided the occasional garbage can or bird feeder prior to this lovely day, since he came down about 14 blocks from the hillside and into the Foodland parking lot and from there. . . From there, he discovered paradise. He walked up to the doors, and they opened! Ah, the smells that came from inside. So, he followed those lovely smells, and all of the people moved calmly (well, some not so calmly) but rapidly out the other doors, leaving him to explore and enjoy. The produce section! The butcher counter! The deli! The dairy case! Oh, he just ate and ate and ate, from one side of the store to the other. And between bites, he knocked over a few hundred cans and broke a few hundred bottles and tore up toilet paper and kleenex. Yes, he had found paradise, he was never going to be hungry again!
And he never was, because you can't allow a bear to know about the automatic doors into the grocery store! When he finally waddled out to the parking lot, they shot him dead.