The Fear of Monkeys - The Best E-Zine on the Web for Politically Conscious WritingThe Dusky Leaf-Monkey - Issue Four
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The Dusky Leaf-monkey, photo from Christian Artuso

Dusky Leaf Monkey
The average body mass for an adult male dusky leaf-monkey is around 8.30 kilograms, and for the female it is around 6.5 kilograms. The dusky leaf-monkey lives in the countries of Burma, Malaysia and Thailand. They prefers to live in closed primary forests, but are also found in old-growth secondary forests, plantation forests, and urban forests. They spend most of their time in the upper canopy levels of the forest, where they consume leaves, although they will also consume fruit and flowers. Social play in the dusky leaf-monkey includes wrestling, sham-biting, jumping on or over, chasing, fleeing, and tail pulling.




A Cruel Trick


Sam Virzi

There was some kid sitting on a park bench, flicking a lighter on and off. It was a Bic lighter he could've bought at any grocery store or gas station in America for ninety nine cents, but he didn't have ninety nine cents, and he wasn't old enough for them to sell him one, anyways. He held the flame a little longer every time he lit it, until he started pushing past the thirty seconds they tell you it's safe to have one of those cheap jobs ignited. If it exploded in his hands, a lawyer would have a hard time sueing Bic, but that kid could afford neither a lawyer or the pocket change for a pay phone call to one.

      The park bench he sat on was right in front of the stairs down to a subway. Somebody asked him for a light again. He was amazed at how many people smoked out here. He wondered if that was what it was like to be old: to light a cigarette after walking out of a subway, where you can't smoke. And he wondered about the people he lit cigarettes for. Were they all failures, because they couldn't light theirs themselves? He would have to find out for himself one day.

      But those were golden dreams, for some infinite paradise he'd whittle out of the untold wealth of years he still had. All he had to do to get there was wait for the right guy to ask him for a light. He'd heard stories like that. The people who light the cigarettes, they succeed best in life. Just like people with good smiles succeed best in life, or women with good breasts. Women with good breasts, big smiles and cigarette lighters, now, there were forces of nature. With that in mind, he began to believe in love at first sight.

      He lit another few cigarettes, smiling profusely and even thanking this one asshole who didn't even thank him back. And the kid shouldn't have thanked him in the first place, what kind of spine did that show? He'd have to be an individual. Maybe that was why that one guy didn't say anything back. He was just a kid with a cigarette lighter, but he had to own himself, assert himself, say: "I would like to light your cigarette, sir." Christ, no, that would be pitiful. What was he thinking?

      How about: "Need a light?" That would be perfect. A friendly suggestion. That way, the other guy wouldn't get the idea that he was a stiff, or desperate. It was perfect. He wasn't desperate, he wouldn't beg. That was out of the question for him, begging. Weeping Jesus, what kind of an image was that? "Please, God, let me light your cigarette!"

      What scared him was that he could see himself doing that, begging on bent knees, given what he hoped to gain from it. But he was scared to think of what he'd lose from it.

      He got off his seat and walked down to the public bathrooms inside the subway station. He took a paper towel and cleaned off his teeth in the mirror. He didn't need a subway token for that.

      When he got to the top of the stairs, he saw there was a guy in a suit sitting on his park bench, reading one of those free newspapers that are never there. He must've seen the kid looking at him from behind his newspaper, or maybe the kid was just staring too loudly, because he put it down and said, "Can I help you?"

      The kid didn't know what to say. "Oh, no, sorry." He sat next to the guy, not knowing what else to do. He'd been sitting there before, he'd just gotten up to clean his teeth off. He started flicking his lighter on and off again, warming his hands this time.

      The other guy noticed and said, "Hey, how old are you?"

      The kid told him.

      "I was that age, you know what I did?"

      "No." The kid waited a beat too long and added, "What?"

      "I used to light shit on fire. You ever do any of that?"

      "No, I just light people's cigarettes." He looked at them walking out of the subway station. "When they get off the trains."

      "Valuable public service," the other guy said, and started reading his paper again.

      The kid looked at him, sitting on the bench with his free newspaper and suit. It looked nice. He didn't know if it was a nice suit, if the seams were in the right place to count it as nice, but it looked that way. Maybe this was the guy whose cigarette he'd been waiting to light all this time.

      He sat up a bit straighter, then slouched. What was the right way to sit, when gently suggesting yourself for, what, the throne? The business? The empire? To be his son? Who knew, maybe that would be the best damned cigarette that guy ever smoked. The world was full of miracles. Was he supposed to slouch, or not? Would he miss a miracle or two if his back wasn't straight?

      He decided to slouch a little bit, and say: "Need a light?"

      The guy looked down from his paper another time. "Yeah. Tell you what, will you trade me a cigarette for that lighter?"

      The kid wasn't sure what to say, so he said, "Sure." He gave away his lighter and got a cigarette with a half inch of mustard-colored filter on one end. You smoked out of there.

      "Thanks, kid," the guy said, pocketing the lighter. "You know, if you put out a hat, you could probably make some money doing that." A taxi pulled up on the street next to the station. He got up, waved at the driver, got in and left.

      The kid got off the park bench and looked at the cigarette, then smelled it, then tried breathing through it. It didn't taste like anything, but the air was a little less cold. He wondered what he'd do the next day, maybe try to trade it for another lighter, or maybe he'd find one in the open again.

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