The Fear of Monkeys - The Best E-Zine on the Web for Politically Conscious WritingThe Maroon Leaf Monkey - Issue Twenty-Five
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The Maroon Leaf Monkey: photo from Christian ArtusoThe Maroon Leaf Monkey is found on the southeast Asian island of Borneo and the nearby smaller Karimata. They mostly live in forests at altitudes below 2,000 m. They feed on leaves, seeds and fruits and are equipped with a large, chambered stomach like a cow, which allows them to digest their fibrous food. They avoid sweet, ripe fruit because the sugars disrupt the delicate balance of their complex stomachs. They live in bands of 2 to 13 individuals, led by a dominant male, and spend nearly all their time in the trees. They have broad, dark-colored faces with wide, expressive eyes and average between 6.2 to 6.3 kilograms. They are highly territorial and will challenge any intruders within their home range. Males emit a loud call to demarcate their territory and warn rivals. This species is under some pressure from hunting and habitat loss, but they are still quite common throughout their range. They are protected by law throughout Malaysian Borneo.


Buy the Noise


Rick Edelstein

I had just graduated intending to continue on for my Masters when my father, an undercover officer in the Narcotics squad, was killed during a bust. He was a powerful, opinionated, aggressive man who inspired some, frightened others and, as his son, I found him difficult. Yet his murder so affected me that I spontaneously joined the force, which was, I suspect, my somewhat distorted expression of love, a mutually undeclared emotion for each of us.

During the 12 years on the force I earned promotions to Detective-first-class while simultaneously continuing my education (night and day depending on assignments), achieving a Masters and subsequently a PhD as a psychologist specializing in trauma/stress behavior. The department recognized and used my training appropriately, including-at-my-insistence counseling troubled youth and their family which were often more troubled and, yes, troubling than the teen.

It was 6:30 pm, dinner with my wife, Adrian, and our twelve year old daughter, Charlene who insisted on being called Charlee (two "ee's" per her demand.) The food was good, I still find my wife beautiful, funny and weird enough to keep me interested and my Charlene, oops my bad, Charlee, a combination of exceedingly smart, good athlete, plays piano too well without practicing enough, funny, too cynical for her age, which irks me as it isn't an earned cynicism (a person has to have substantial experience to wear that coat of armor, sez me) and I love the hell out of her.

My recently purchased "smart" cell emitted a someone's-calling-cacophonic-sound (I was too lazy to change it.) Charlee groaned, "And you insist I don't have my cell at the dinner table, Dad, but at least let me load in a decent song!" Adrian sighed as I checked and saw it was important. I stepped away and connected with Captain Whitelaw who "asked" (yes, in quotes as when the Captain "asks" it is rhetorical), he "asked" if I would come down to the precinct.

"Hochberg busted a dude parked illegally in a very sensitive location..."

He paused waiting for me to ask the obligatory, "Sensitive location, where, Captain?"

I could hear him smile. The Captain often talks without obvious punctuation, "Outside Amazon headquarters, to be specific, the Exec Parking lot which may or may not be relevant but he was driving, well, not at the moment as he was parked in what we assume to be his car still checking into it with out-of-date plates and a matching ID. His expired driver's license doesn't sound all that much but he brought him in just the same, as Hochberg, you know Hochberg, if he smells something it is to be respected, right?" The Captain didn't wait for affirmation. "Hochberg said something's weird about the perp and after talking with him, asking questions to which he received, well, let's just say unsatisfactory responses, and I asked a few myself and it surely will not surprise you that I agree with Hochberg something, something is off the point, Julius..." He lapsed into a cued silence.

The Captain waited for me to jump in but since I didn't pick up on the prompt he interrupted the dead air, "When we questioned him he asked what our favorite book is. What's our favorite book!? Excuse me! And then the perp said 'Complete the sentence,' and started with something about suffering and then ranting on about the lies of the Bible passed on to believers who perpetrate malfeasance. That's what he said, 'malfeasance,' that's our word, a departmental legal specificity which will hold up in any court of the land but that's the word the civilian used. Malfeasance, you know what that means of course, and in our line of work, illegal yes, but I'm not sure that's what he meant. I tell you something something is more than catches the eye if you get my drift."

He paused for effect. Then in a soft almost seductive tone, actually closer to a whine, "I mean with your training, Julius, advanced degrees qualifying you to be called doctor, right, Ph.D., and some in the precinct think you have ESP, well, Julius..."

Over the years most of our conversations, well actually monologues with me on the receiving end, he called me Bowman, my last name, but whenever he used my first name I felt indebted and he knew it.

"...if you could come down and just dig in a little, prove me wrong, maybe he's just a normal crazy fuckup but Hochberg and me say no. There's something, something that is waiting to be revealed if you know what I'm saying."

Actually I do respect the Captain. It has been proven on too many busts that when Hochberg sensed there was more than what was presented as definitive information on many questionable cases, after substantial digging, even when it appeared to be unwarranted and stretching boundaries of appropriate or even legally justified, Hochberg's and the Captain's instincts were often confirmed.

"We can only keep him 72 hours without a formal charge so... well, it would be a favor to the department. What do you say, Julius?"

I shrugged at his use of my first name too often and a "favor to the department" metaphor, both of which obviously were a soft-soap order from my boss. I glanced through the hallway seeing my wife's smart hazel eyes knowing I was out the door.

Hochberg was built like a fire hydrant. He was known as "the glue" in the department. When Hochberg made a bust, it stuck. When asked to cover someone else's assignment he did it as if it was his initial choice. He never plays politics and after fourteen years on the force, no signs of burnout. His voice is like scraped bark when he put down the file in front of me. "Here's the file on Everett Martinsky." Then he snorted, "Some file. One page. Semi-invisible. No priors of any kind. Only infraction was expiration both plates, driver's license and parked in a red zone. I had to bring him in."

"Why," I asked. "You could have just ticketed the dude?"

"He was parked across from the Exec gated parking lot of Amazon. The guard--they're very careful over there--said he was there for half of the day."

"Did Martinsky say why?"

He snorted again, "'Why,' the perp said, 'I'll tell you why. I am waiting.' For what, did I have to ask? And he said, 'Not what, who. And it isn't Godot.' Who the fuck is Godot, I thought, but I Googled it. Some play by a Becket guy. I was about to ticket the dude when I said 'after I tag you, move on.' And then he looked at me as if I was long past my expiration date and he just turned away to stare at the gate across the street."

"That's it?"

"Exactly. Had to bring him in. Car's in the lot."

"Toss it? Find anything?

"Can't without justifiable cause. Nowadays we can't be too careful lest a judge negates all our work because we didn't follow the letter of the law. It's one of those old, they used to call them station wagons before S-U-Vs...all kindsa junk and I think a pillow and sleeping bag and a bag of chips. But like I said, until a judge gives me the up I don't dig in. Which means, Doc, until that happens maybe you can get some data that a judge will nod and we'll check out the perp's car for everything including the smell. We got him for 72 and well, Doc, you're the man. This dude got something going beyond weird, if you know what I'm saying."

"I'll check him out."

"When you do, give me the four one one."

"You got it."

Everett Martinsky was substantially taller than me, by at least six inches. As a basketball addict whenever I see someone that tall I always assume they played the game. Otherwise why waste the height, but then again that was obviously a personal grievance due to the fact that I never reached more than six feet, actually five eleven, all right ten, which limited my athletic aspirations. But his walk into the room, guided by Hochberg, revealed an ungainly stride not graceful or coordinated enough to be considered an athlete despite his height. I stood and offered my hand, "Julius Bowman." He didn't take my hand. I nodded and indicated a chair opposite mine. I sat. He remained standing.

Hochberg looked at me, shrugged with an apparent disdain, not bothering to say, "See what I'm talking about!"

Everett Martinsky remained standing, his body rigidly erect which made him look even taller, thin rimmed glasses revealing dark severe eyes barely covering a strange shade of aggression. His voice was a thin reedy tenor as he assertively threw out his demanding belligerent goad. "Who is your favorite author?"

Years of training and experience as a psychologist covered my surprise as I remembered the Captain's, "...he asked what our favorite book is." I responded as if the question was a logical part of our conversation. "Gabriel Garcia Marquez."

"One Hundred Years of Solitude his best, your favorite of course."


His eyes shifted slightly. Perhaps seeing me for the first time as a human rather than the assumed antagonist. "It is the ultimate, perhaps of all literature." He repeated the title in a reverential tone, almost as a personal homage, "One Hundred Years of Solitude yes."

In the face of his accusative energy disagreeing might encounter charges of blasphemy, or in another culture he would denounce me as an heretic to be burned at the stake. Nevertheless, I took the hook. "My favorite is Love in the Time of Cholera. "

In a how-dare-you spirited response, "Why?"

"Brilliantly written and in a startling yet subtle technique making a child-molester a simpatico character, almost understandable and empathic for a man committing such a heinous act."

Martinsky looked hard at me trying to determine whether to respect or dismiss me. His glare changed to a cognition that he was talking to someone of worth. He sat.

I turned to Hochberg. "We're fine, Nate."

Hochberg shrugged and looked at me with a "Are you sure?" I nodded. He left.

On my part the silence was intentional. Usually a perp or a troubled client will feel the oppressive quiet and talk without prompting. Did not work with him. I subsequently asked, "Why were you parked across from Amazon headquarters? Particularly the Executive Parking Lot." He was silent but his anger was tangible. I intentionally repeated "Why was Everett Martinsky parked outside the executive parking lot of Amazon headquarters?" to prod him into a responsive answer or an emotional evasion would tell me something more about his psychological condition.

Martinsky hurled a heated laser trajectory intending to draw blood. "Why, why, why!"

Quietly I repeated, "Yes, Everett, may I call you Everett, yes, why were you parked at that particular junction?"

On the edge of eruption he hurled, "Why? You want an answer to why?"

My silence was a sufficient acquiescence to his rhetorical question. His rage was pervasive. A heated missile with me as the target. I questioned whether I was wise to let Hochberg leave.

"I'll tell you why if you tell me why, why did an all knowing God install Adam and Eve in a situation where they would surely disobey. Why was eating fruit from the tree of knowledge a sin? Knowledge a sin! Do you hear me! Why? Do not just hear me but listen. Knowledge a sin! Of course to the posing thaumaturgies who claimed miraculous powers, the priests, the rabbis with their effulgent auras which of course only the pure could see, they had to protect their bailiwick, their locus, their possessions, their ubiquitous power which would crumble if faced with knowledge as knowledge would destroy their dissembling facades. Why? Why? Why does a purportedly all-powerful-deity permit, not just eons passed but now, do you hear me sir, now, as you inhale exhale now in our present lack of culture, why does your God perpetuate knowledge as sin depriving the hungry needful masses of educative stimulating intellectual manna, food for the soul, for the mind, for the well being in a sick world which denies life support in today's garden where the tree is amputated transmogrifying Eden into a pit of ignorant devices lacking the essence of intended form which of course deprives us of the body warmth of content? Why, Julius Bowman, why?"

I was surprised that he got my name. He wasn't so much waiting for a response but rather in his stiff-backed posture and glaring dark eyes of someone having nothing left to lose he dared me, almost defied me, slamming shut any possibility of a discourse as his breathing was audibly gasping for air until his lungs were full.

I sat quietly processing his rant for clues to better identify Everett Martinsky and tangible source(s) of his disturbance. His vocabulary revealed a literate, educated man. His rant on the Bible indicated an atheist but I intuited more of a lapsed believer in gross disenchantment from perhaps an authority figure from his church and/or failed religious edicts which were meant more as symbols than symptoms. His comments about ignorant devices depriving us of...did he say something about the warmth of content? Was "devices" a figurative reference or literal? He was a man in obvious pain masquerading as a furtive victim of...of what?

After perhaps minutes of silence he spoke as if in the middle of a conversation. No challenge, no heat, just a quiet, gentle voice, "Suffering introduces you to yourself and reminds you that you are not..." He paused, nodded and waited for me.

I fulfilled his expectations, "Reminds you that you are not the person you thought you were." Paul Tillich.

He smiled. Actually more of a grimace as a sign of acknowledgment deeming me adequate.

I asked in an equally placid tone, "Is that what happened with you? You are not the person you thought you were?"

"Why do you say that?"

"Just seeking clarity."

He dismissed me with, "Clarity. A harbinger for ugly decisions rationalized. How can a sane person seek clarity in a transparently insane domain."

He took a deep breath, closed his eyes, then opened them with an inexorable melancholy that was devastating. "The cost of being an honest man in this corrupt biosphere is unbearable."

I took a beat to detach from my responsive emotional empathy and neutralized. "That is very dire. I imagine that you find it difficult to live an honest fulfilling life with such a calamitous point of view."

"The season of madness is upon us."

The Captain, "So?"

"I agree with you and Hochberg. Martinsky is an accident looking for a place to happen."

"Not enough for a judge to keep him beyond 72 and counting."

"I'm not comfortable with him being in circulation."

"Give me something more definitive, Bowman. Comfort and accident looking to happen will not convince a judge to give us a merited booking."

"I want to see where he lives. Walk around in his place, find more than he's willing to reveal."

"Write it up using your psyche vocabulary and I'll get a judge to give you a permit to at least check out his place. Hochberg must have his address from the driver's license."

Driving slowly and then stopping. "This can't be it," I said to Hochberg.

"1427, number's right there."

"That's the address from his driver's license?"

"1427 Arlington."

"But it's a Peets Coffee joint."

"At least we can get a cuppa'." He parked the car.

It was large, many tables, long ledge by the window with stools, and of course the counter with displays of bagels, croissants when the, what do you call them, barista I think, approached. He was surprisingly eager.

"What'll it be gentlemen?"

Hochberg didn't miss a beat, "Coffee black, to the rim."

"Easy enough. It's those complicated orders that I'm not used to yet, you know, a latte, half full with espresso with a touch of ad infinitum ad nauseam."

Another surprise. I didn't expect a coffee-slinger to do the ad routine. "Obviously serving coffee is not your life's ambition."

"Whatever pays the rent while I write the great American novel."

"I get that you're new here."

"Everybody's new. Only been open three weeks and two days. Construction took forever but I was paid even before to stock the place with Manny, so I'm not complaining, you know what I'm saying."

"Do you have a back room, an apartment or..."

"All we have is the store room and it's a mess but don't tell the boss. He's on our case to organize everything but we're still catching our breath if you know what I mean."

"No, I don't know what you mean."

"Like I said we're still doing our test cruise smoothing out the kinks."

"Ah, got it. I'd like to see the store room."

"Employees only, sorry."

Hochberg flashed his badge. "Give me the coffee and the key."

The barista was flustered, "Hey man, I didn't do anything. I mean, yeah I smoked a joint before coming to work but that was in the confines of my domicile if you know what I'm saying. Besides I got the beginnings of what may be a cataract so it's legal almost."

I eased his concern, "We're not here to bust anyone. Just want to see the store-room. Key?"

"Don't need a key. The manager's in there trying to take inventory, such as it is, and organize shit if you know what I mean."

"Still waiting for my coffee."

" said black to the rim, right?"

He prepped the coffee, gave it to Hochberg, "On the house," and pointed to the distant corner, "Knock before you enter because Manny may be stacking stuff by the door."

Hochberg sipped, "Hmmm good."

We walked to the corner, knocked...

"Don't come in."

I opened the door slowly and flashed my badge, "We're in." It was almost as large as the main room and filled with stacked supplies including a long table with a notated pad and a few chairs.

The manager looked at us as if we were aliens landing on his plantation. "Are you guys for real?"

Hochberg, "Would you like to call the precinct?"

"No, no, I just...who expects some cops to..."

"I'm Detective Bowman and this is Detective Hochberg. Your name?"

"Manny...Manny Rodriguez."

"You're the manager."

"Yeah. So? I mean I'm just inventorying this mess for what we got and what we have to order and the last thing we need is some trouble with the law. We check every employee the best we can but nowadays sometimes best is not good enough. Who did what and when?"

"Not our concern."

"I'm almost relieved. Why are you cops, detectives here?"

"I understand you've only been open a few weeks."

"Is that a crime?"

Hochberg, "Back off Manny and just answer the questions." He backed off. Most people do when Hochberg does his you-don't-wanna-mess-with-me persona.

"Okay, no harm, no foul, what can I do for you, officers?"

"How long did construction take?" I asked.

"Longer than expected. Mr. Aoki, who owned the property, took forever to pack the books, I mean maybe five or six hundred more or less but who's counting. And then the architects were in conflict with the franchise's master plan...we opened a month later than intended. What's this about?"

Hochberg, "Packing books? From where?"

"From here."

Hochberg, "What was here before Peets?"

"A bookstore."

I asked, "Did Mr. Aoki manage the bookstore?"

"Aoki's just the property owner as far as I know some other dude lost his shirt and apparently the books too, blues."

"What's his name?"


"The man who ran the bookstore?"

"The only name I got is Aoki. Hey, I'm just a manager of a coffee house. I'm telling you what a connect in the front office told me and don't reveal my source 'cause I'll deny it."

"Doesn't sound like anything incriminating unless you're not sharing all that you know."

"About what? Hey, man, I'm trying to get this place up to par and you're making me paranoid."

Hochberg, "You sure you do not know the name of the previous owner...of the bookstore?"

"Don't know, don't care."

I turned to Hochberg, "Public record. Finish with your coffee, Nate, and let's ride."

Mr. Aoki was a wizened older man who spoke as if he was apologizing for some undefined transgression. "It was not a pleasant occasion, no, not at all. After so many years to end this way was...was not a pleasant occasion, no."

Hochberg was not a patient man, "We need details, when, where, what, you know, specifics, Mr. Aoki."

"Such as what perhaps?"

I softened Hochberg's blunt, "How many years was Mr. Martinsky..."

"Sixteen years and seven months. Four months unpaid which broke the lease but I did not want to do what had to be done."

Hochberg broke in again, "What had to be done? And when?"

Mr. Aoki winced at Hochberg's irascible assault. "When the first thirty days lease payment was not forthcoming I spoke with Mr. Martinsky. He insisted that within fifteen days he will remit the required amount. He did not."

"And then?" Hochberg nudged.

"And then...oh my goodness, there were so many, too many 'and thens'."

"Meaning what exactly?"

"He could not fulfill the financial obligations of the lease. He, Mr. Martinsky, pleaded, that sales of his books were in severe decline, his words, he even laid off his two helpers, he asked for more time, which I gave him. After two months of no funds forthcoming, I told him he would have to find a way to fulfill the lease's financial obligation was so terrible, so sad. I did not want to do this but I had many, three offers for this property..."

"Including Peets?"

"Yes. Ultimately my lawyer served papers requiring full payment of delinquent funds for three months, actually it became four plus interest...I was more than patient. My attorney insisted I had no further obligation other than to execute termination of the lease with Mr. Martinsky. It was very sad."

I empathized. "When the papers were served what was Mr. Martinsky's response?"

"He came to see me. My attorney said I should not meet with him without his presence but after sixteen and a half years Mr. Martinsky deserved the consideration. It was a terrible meeting. I told him I had no choice and suggested he hold a sale on his inventory of books discounting the prices, perhaps many hundreds. I was trying to be helpful when I recommended that he slash the prices to sell which in these times are difficult as books are not selling all that well from what Martinsky tells me. I suppose I should not have said that because his reaction was, well, extreme."

"In what way?"

"He screamed, he cried, he demanded that I apologize, 'how dare you,'" he said, 'How dare you tell me what to do with my books. They are my children, you...I will always remember the words as if they are etched on my arm,' he said, 'you malodorous miscreant, you're nothing more than pitiful pedant. Alliterations intended,' he yelled and stormed out slamming my office door, so hard, the top part of the glass shattered. I did not report such."

"And then?" Hochberg pressed.

"The papers were served. I made a legal arrangement with a Bookstore chain to take the lot after 90 days at a ridiculous price and my attorney insisted to use those funds against the amount Mr. Martinsky owes which will still be far from sufficient."

"Did you see Mr. Martinsky subsequently?"

"No. Frankly, I preferred not."

"Because he insulted you?" Hochberg asked.

"I forgive him for that but no...because, he is a man in such pain. I have great caring for, well, my great grand-father was humiliated, he was a college professor and put into internment camps, no I would rather not..." he trailed off.

"Why 90 days?"

"Attorney says a legal requirement. I have no idea what he is doing or how to get in touch as he lived in the back which was not part of the lease but I am not a man to impose the letter of the law and if he makes no claim within 90 days the entire inventory will go to the chain. A sad, very sad end." He paused then as if seeking repentance, "I looked up alliteration."

"Will Aoki be willing to testify?"

"About his legal termination of the lease, Captain? That's already in record."

"Besides that...I mean the mental, the psychological status of Martinsky."

"He is hardly qualified."

"Okay, but you are, Doctor Bowman, right?" He emphasized 'doctor' for a judge's review.

"Yes...and from what Aoki told me, and our last session, Martinsky may be ready to implode."

"Or explode. Use the Inter-room and record it."

"Will do."

"And Jules..." using my first name again, here it comes. "If we get nothing we have to release him tomorrow. Turn up the heat. The perp shouldn't be in population. I can feel it, so can Hochberg."

"Add me to the holy trinity."

"Would you like something, coffee, soda, water?"

Martinsky just stared at me.

"All right, for your edification, that camera up there is recording us. Do you understand?"

"Recording us to do what?" he aggressively challenged.

"Our conversation. Do you want an attorney present?"

He grinned a mask of indifference, "I had a regular. Duberstein. Didn't like fiction, only biographies and history. Once a month he would tell me joke. 'What is brown and looks good on an attorney? A Doberman pinscher.'"

I did not laugh.

"Duberstein came in and apologized without a joke but with a reason for no longer purchasing a hard-cover biography. Even Duberstein."

"Do you want an attorney present?"

He looked at the camera above and simply said, "No, just you and I will do."

"All right...then let's talk about your bookstore."

His eyes darkened as if he was a prisoner on his day of execution.

"I understand that because of faltering sales you could not meet the lease's financial requirement."

His eyes moved from corner to corner as if seeking a way out lest he implode.

"After sixteen years and seven months I imagine that had to be very painful."

He exploded. "Painful! Painful? Suffering cannot be escaped and must be faced. Fuck the Buddhists. Which holy book stipulates that a girl who does not bleed on her wedding night should be stoned to death? I asked you a question, sir, and I demand an answer."

He was glaring, a blatant insistence that I reply. His challenge manifested in his gritted teeth and short breaths. I thought it would be a good idea if Hochberg was present but alas...

He screamed, "The Old Testament." He was standing and his thin reedy body was like a tensile threat.

"If you don't settle down, Everett, I will ask Detective Hochberg's presence to assist."

He looked at me as if I committed an odious crime. I sat there attempting a neutral overt persona which was not matched by my inner less-than-calm concerns. It was obvious Martinsky was not in control and a man out of control is dangerous. I reached for my cell, "Shall I call Detective Hochberg or will you sit down? Now."

He sat. The silence was tangible.

"We can talk about the bookstore and perhaps you'll explain why you were parked outside Amazon's Executive Parking Lot."

He whispered, no not a whisper but more of a viper's hissing thrust, "The Koran says 'repel the evil deed with one which is better.'"

"And you were planning to commit some 'better evil deed' on an executive of Amazon?"

He talked in a surprising dispassionate tone as if he was lecturing students, "I find it interesting how when faced with seeming contradictions we compartmentalize our experiences to support irrational choices and they are only contradictions because we adhere to the zenith of a belief system which was never valid from start."

"What, specifically, Everett, was the evil deed you intended to inflict on whom?"

His body became rigid as if he was strapped to the chair. He ranted on in a droning hypnotic rhythm, "Responsibility must be taken. What we do, what we do not do, we must own. And those who betray the ubiquitous ethic must be made cognizant in one form or another."

"And who did not fulfill their responsibility?"

He continued his feverish drone, "Jesus tells his apostles, Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I come not to send peace but with a sword. In the Brazilian favela, you buy the noise. Do you know what that means?"

I just looked at him, holding quietly as it was apparent that he was close to an important revelation.

"Buy the noise. Take justice in your own hands."

"You intend to 'buy the noise,' execute justice from your hands?" He was loudly silent. "And to whom, specifically, Everett, which Executive did not take responsibility," I pushed him quietly, "...and for what act are they liable?"

"Jesus said if any man come to me and hate not his father and mother and wife and children and brethren and sister he cannot be my disciple. Do you think I am making this up, Bowman?"

In my silence I remembered a tutor who said that silence is sometimes more truthful than words.

He shouted, "Luke 14:26. And your celebrated St. Paul decreed, and I am quoting, that it is good for man not to touch a woman and I wish that all men were even as I myself, celibate. Unquote. Those were your Saint's words, hah," he shouted, "The obvious sub-text is advocating homosexuality so how can the church be against it, I ask you Bowman and I expect a reply."

Quietly I said, "Why, Everett, why were you parked outside the executive parking lot at Amazon?"

"Sumos quod sumos."

"We are what we are. Why, Everett?"

"The worst form of corruption is the acceptance of corruption."

"Why parked outside of Amazon, Everett?"

He hissed, "Bookstores are out of business. Newspapers, magazines, print will be a quaint artifact, populations will cease to participate, will no longer hold a book, a precious valued sensory experience denied for ever and ever and responsibility must be assumed."

Finally it seemed so sadly obvious. "Amazon, I believe, created the Kindle and Kindle Fire and Tablets where books are read. That is what you're referring to, am I correct?"

He looked at me as if I was a co-conspirator. "Jeff Bezos," he snarled, "A founder of Amazon gave birth to all those bastard children polluting our planet with electronic devices depriving the world of the value of the written word intended to be read on paper, not a silly inane small screen as if it is a video game. I have his photograph etched in my brain. It is time for him to cognize the historic acts of horror by depriving humanity of the life-giving function of...of a book."

"I want to be very clear, Mr. Martinsky, it is important you understand what I am asking because it will incriminate you intend to do harm to Jeff Bezos?"

"It is time for Mister Bezos to...what is that pedestrian saying, oh yes, face the music, which in this particular case is discordant and cacophonic. Either he, Mister Bezos, totally embraces the responsibility for his rapacious greed doing harm to the world..." he trailed off into silence.

"And if he does not do as you wish?"

"D.H. Lawrence," he whispered. "'The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted.'"

"And your intention with Mister Bezos?"

"We can not relinquish responsibility for human behavior."

"Were you planning to do harm to Mister Bezos?"

"Methods of enforced responsibility may be barbaric but thoroughly deserved."

Rick Edelstein was born and ill-bred on the streets of the Bronx. His initial writing was stage plays off-Broadway in NYC. When he moved to the golden marshmallow (Hollywood) he cut his teeth writing and directing multi-TV episodes of Starsky & Hutch, Charlie’s Angels, Chicago, Alfred Hitchcock et al. He also written screenplays, including one with Richard Pryor, The M’Butu Affair and a book for a London musical, Fernando’s Folly. His latest evolution has been prose with many published short stories and novellas, including, “Bodega,” “Manchester Arms,” “America Speaks,” “Women Go on,” “This is Only Dangerous,” “Aggressive Ignorance,” “Buy the Noise,” and “The Morning After the Night.” “Victor Veranda Session.” He writes every day as he is imbued with the Judeo-Christian ethic, “A man has to earn his day.” Writing atones.
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