The Fear of Monkeys - The Best E-Zine on the Web for Politically Conscious WritingDelacour's Langur - Issue Twenty-Eight
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Delacour's Langur Delacour's Langur The Delacour's langur is a critically endangered species of lutung endemic to northern Vietnam. They inhabit open forest up to elevations of 328 m in terrain dominated by limestone karst and are folivorous, with about 78% of their diet consisting of foliage, although they also eat fruit, seeds, and flowers. Their fur is predominantly black, with white markings on the face and distinctive creamy-white fur over the rump and the outer thighs, while females also have a patch of pale fur in the pubic area. Like other closely related lutungs, they also have a crest of long, upright, hair over the forehead and crown. They typically measure from 57 to 62 cm in length, with a tail 82 to 88 mm long. Males weigh between 7.5 and 10.5 kg while the females are slightly smaller, weighing between 6.2 and 9.2 kg. They are diurnal, often spending the day sleeping in limestone caves, although they sleep on bare rocky surfaces if no caves are available. Despite living in forested habitats, Delacour's langurs are primarily terrestrial, only occasionally venturing into the trees. They swing by their hands when travelling through trees, and use their tails for balance when scrambling over steep rocky terrain. They live in troops of up to 30 individuals, often including a mix of males and females, although in more recent years, the typical group size seems to be much smaller, with only about 4 to 16 members each. Males defend the troop's territory from outsiders by standing watch on rocky outcrops; when potential rivals are spotted, the males in a troop initially try to intimidate them with loud hoots and visual displays, and only resort to chasing and fighting if this fails. Within the group, social bonds are maintained by grooming and play. Females give birth to a single young after a gestation period of 170 to 200 days. The young are born orange, with open eyes and strong arms. The fur begins to turn black at around four months, and the young are probably weaned at 19 to 21 months, when the mother is likely ready to breed again. Females reach sexual maturity at four years, and males at five years; the total life expectancy is around 20 years. Considered to be one of the world's most endangered primate species, they have declined in population rapidly in recent years. As of 2006, only 19 populations were known, following a dramatic decline in the total population of approximately 20% between 1999 and 2004. Since that time, we have lost two of those populations, and only those in the Van Long Nature Reserve may have enough members to remain viable. As of 2010, less than 250 animals were believed to remain in the wild, with nineteen in captivity. Classified as critically endangered by the IUCN, the primary threat to the species is hunting for traditional medicine, and loss of forest habitat through logging, unsustainable agricultural practices, and local development that is meant to serve the tourist trade.


Tickets and Contracts


Jeff Nazzaro

Four of them fucks came on that day, two men and two women. They worked in mixed pairs, one pair starting in the front, the other in the back. The men were deputies, they had sidearms. The women were security; they didn't have guns. It was one of the women shouting though: "TAP cards out! Get your TAP cards out!"

"Get Yer fucking Ya-Ya's Out!" I said under my breath. I was still a newb then and hated the forceful intrusions. But really it didn't matter to me. I had a Metrolink monthly pass. You can ride the Metro for free with one. You're still supposed to TAP, but no money comes off like with a TAP card. Plus, they're harder to scan with the smartphone scanners they use. Sometimes they just say okay and pass me by, wave me by if they're guarding turnstiles or stairs. They almost always guard the stairs at Willowbrook/Rosa Parks.

They nailed three different riders in just that car that morning, going south. It was the same each time: "You loaded it, but you forgot to TAP." There were prerecorded announcements over and over on those trains: "And don't forget to TAP." There was even a tapping sound effect in the Spanish version, I guess because TAP is an acronym and they don't translate it.

I knew enough to know that you could legitimately forget to TAP. Or you could be in a rush. Sometimes you bounce up the stairs at 7th St./Metro and there's that train waiting for you and you need to make it because you never know when the next one is coming or how close your next connection is going to be or a thousand other things. You just want to make it, anyway, and it's all out or nothing and no time to TAP. But mostly it isn't like that and "forget" is a euphemistic out for all involved. TAPping costs you money. Forgetting saves you some. Unless you get a ticket. Then it costs you. Those Metrofuck accountants must have figured out there's more money in writing tickets than in manning every station, every turnstile.

"Let me see some ID," they said.

ID. Apparently you must carry ID at all times. At least if you want to ride a train in Los Angeles.

"Your papers, Fräulein."

No one really said that.

The first two culprits whipped out their IDs, signed and took their tickets. But the woman huddled, bundled in a quilt in the back corner single seat started pulling papers out of her bag, envelopes, bills, muttering about how she didn't have no driver's license, didn't have no ID. The deputy working the back snatched a tri-folded sheet of paper from her trembling fingers and said, "This will work, this will work." He filled out a citation, handed it to her to sign.

"Don't sign that!" The voice came from right behind me. "Don't sign it, it's a contract once you sign it." The man who spoke had handed over his ID. If you didn't have ID, I guess they arrested you there and then. He handed his over for failure to remember to TAP. He was waiting for his citation to be filled out. But he wasn't going to sign it.

The woman working the back finished filling out the man's citation and handed it to him: "Sign, please," she said.

"I'm not signing that," he said. "It's a contract." He again told the woman huddled in the back corner not to sign hers. She'd already signed it.

The woman who'd written the man's ticket said to the man in the back, "He refuses to sign."

"It's a contract," the man said. "Don't sign it." He said it loudly, as if to us all.

The deputy said, "If he doesn't sign, it goes to warrant." He said it in a matter-of-fact voice. He said it as if he didn't give a shit, but to the extent that it would fuck up that fucker's life, it made him happy.

The train reached Firestone Station. The first pair was already off the second car and onto the first car. The doors were closing. The second pair, the ones who'd started in the back, which was really the front, where the woman still sat huddled under her quilt with her bagful of papers and her fresh citation, hurried out onto the platform and moved quickly for the first car. The doors closed in their faces. They looked back. All the doors were closed. They stood on the platform of Firestone Station and watched the train pull out south. They froze and turned to each other.

How looks the face of one who has just missed the train, the face on which the doors have just closed, the face in front of which the train has just left the station? Some plaster nonplused pusses, noses in the air, bodies walking as if they'd meant for things to happen exactly as they had. Others press to Plexiglas, fingers tapping, maybe banging, doors like the extremities of the last ones out of the zombie zone, pleading to those safely inside, helpless legs kicking the air, helpless tongues cursing. Some of those SOL faces whip out security-blanket smartphones for remedy, excuse, solace. Some turn away out of shame, disgust, denial. Some look bewildered, incredulous, bemused. But these two faces, vomiting out of their green uniforms, with their weapons and their thick pads of tickets yet written, their stashes of contracts signed and unsigned--just turned up to the South LA sky and laughed.

Jeff Nazzaro commutes three hours each way via public transportation from his home in Riverside to his teaching job at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. He mostly loves it. It gives him time to write and sometimes material. Other commute-inspired work has appeared in Aberration Labyrinth, Utica, A Story in 100 Words, and Talking Soup.


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