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.


Medusa Returns


Titus Green

"We must all face the fact that our leaders are certifiably insane, or worse." (William S. Burroughs)

"And we've got to try and dig ourselves out of the hole we find ourselves in!" said Madelaine in the righteously passionate tone she was so adept at generating from lecterns to audiences prompted to applaud at specific points in her rhetoric. Her eyes glowed, and her business-like, senatorial smile remained propped up by the muscular hinges in her mouth.

Her stock speech expression, with the confident grin termed 'radiant' and 'effusive' by her media cheer-leaders, had been lampooned by cartoonists and satire specialists galore. "The way she looks at you with those smoky eyes…she's like a horny cougar realtor trying to tempt you with a little sales incentive", an 'edgy' Saturday Night Live comic had said to muted studio laughter a few years prior.

It was true: her smirk had a constant sensuality that dirtier minds could make lecherous, but it wasn't her smile that interested-or should I say concerned?-me. It was her eyes that were dangerous. Those ocular organs were her instruments of defence: it was these cold, glistening stones that could do the damage. They had caused her enemies in politics to falter, just as they were about to gain vital advantages. Eloquent senators lost their verbal balance the moment they made eye contact in the chamber, just as they were about to fire a volley of damaging questions at her.

"Her eyes are her secret weapons", said senator Lawrence Trent, recalling how Madelaine Kissinger's peepers had once blocked him during a special session of Congress as he tried to interrogate her over her alleged directorships of pharmaceutical firms supplying nerve agents to biological weapon manufacturers. "Everyone knows about her part-time jobs for the nasty guys. It's just that nobody can get any damn evidence that will stick", he told me once ruefully. "Anyway, I have been handed a dossier that I don't mind telling you contains information that makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I was gonna put that damn woman on the spot by naming one of the people augmenting her salary and demanding to know what business a US congresswoman had mixing with these jackals when my entire body just froze for a few seconds. When those eyes locked onto me, I couldn't move a muscle. Speechless and motionless I was. It was like when prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi's watch stopped when Charles Manson eyeballed him in court. Never forget the conceited look on her face afterwards either, and that bitch even had the audacity to wink at me too."

Who knows what dangerous power Madelaine's eyelids wielded? Lawrence died of a heart attack shortly after telling this anecdote, and so did my prospect of ever seeing the dossier.

"And nobody's going to do the digging for us. Only through a partnership with the American people can we achieve freedom, justice and equality!" Madelaine's acolytes and coached fans whooped at her regurgitated election spiel that she hadn't bothered to modify since announcing her candidacy for the White House. I shook my head as I watched her recent rhetorical offering on YouTube, depressed by the millions of thumbs up below it clearly approving of this democratic drek. Whenever her lips stretched into a photo op smile, her face transmitted a potent blend of seduction and danger and the curly strands of her hair looked serpentine.

Careful, cold-blooded Madelaine hid behind opaque discourse and struck with adroit reptilian cunning, and no pity. The lucky adversaries lived, like the ones she merely crushed with her innuendos hissed out on Twitter with righteous hashtags crying foul and appealing for the outraged consensus of cyberspace. She used Twitter like a machine gun, mowing down the credibility and support of her enemies without mercy. Then there were the 'investigated' ones dragged in front of congressional hearings like hopeless victims of the Spanish inquisition and humiliated by Madelaine's formidable army of righteous, belligerent neo-cons stooping behind bent microphones. She had the psychic edge never talked about by the ABC news outlets. It was occult power, and it was absolutely lethal.

Opponents who duelled with her took giant risks, and it wasn't just political adversaries who endangered themselves by challenging her either. Impertinent talk show hosts were not immune to old Madelaine's cardiac curse. Rusty Bollinger, a foghorn-mouthed porcine beast of a man whose meaty torso nearly tore the seams of his Armani uniform, made the fatal mistake of getting throwaway laugh mileage out of some ethically inglorious episodes from her exploits during the greedy, grasping nineties.

She had fraudulently made millions while her lecherous lawyer bull of a husband-a fat-necked Taurus called Steve- snorted at their victims and battered down the doors of Nebraska brothels with caviar grade cocaine oozing from his nostrils. They had marketed off-plan luxury Caribbean condominiums to dim, affluent marks plied with champagne in five star hotel conference centres. These credulous fools spat out their deposits cheerily like infants using money and then waited for their doomed fake investments to never appear.

"Gonna include any off-plan condos as incentives in the fund raiser coming up next month Madelaine?" jested Rusty foolishly. The risky gag whooshed through the studio, blowing Madelaine's folksy election campaign prime time mask away for a second to reveal the discoloured, grimacing visage of a gargoyle in mid snarl with flared nostrils. Then, before any camera had the chance to dwell on the creature beneath her layers of L'Oreal, the default, condescending smirk returned with a withering retort for Rusty that drew raucous cheers and a spurt of applause from the primed prime time studio audience.

A week later Rusty was found at the bottom of his Long Island duplex's swimming pool. He'd been there for days, his body a pale marble colour and more rigid than any kind of rigor mortis the coroner had seen before.


The lights in the subway carriage flickered like dying bulbs in suburban kitchens as our car squeezed its way through subterranean New York darkness. Youths with apathy stencilled onto their faces held digital communion with their smartphones, their headphones sealing their cubicles of sensation as the outside world returned the compliment with complete indifference. Madelaine glared down at us from multiple billboard vantage points, wearing her no-nonsense, let's-get-down-to-business face that looked pharaonic under the lighting. I'll Leave No Stone Unturned declared the latest of her campaign slogans under the picture. For a moment I swore I saw the slogan hover up to a speech balloon that had magically appeared next to her mouth. The re-worked slogan read I'll Turn You to Stone. I looked away for a second, and the poster was as it had been.

I was one of the few freelance journalists who was still alive and pestering Madelaine. Progressively, my colleagues in truth-seeking had been dying and disappearing suspiciously. Carl Penderton, a wrinkle-browed, tenacious investigative reporter who had exposed Blackwater brutality in Iraq in 2003 and made himself the target of people so rich and powerful that they collected congressmen, just vanished one day. He was en route to interview an ex Madelaine aide living in Wisconsin who had information about 'her mysterious ancestry in Africa'. His disappearance created, for one day only, a meagre seven line paragraph in the online and print editions of the Dallas daily which covered the community in which he lived, while the mainstream media found no space to announce his inexplicable disappearance amidst the HTML deluge of murder, celebs in rehab or fifteen paragraph analyses on the latest buttock tattoos of reality television 'stars'. The police response was a perfunctory search, and then a filing under missing persons. One theory floated on the alternative press forums was that he had been lured away by someone or something as he made his way to the Midwest.

Then there was Bruce Purge. Bruce had been blogging about Madelaine's alleged stakes in uranium mining companies in Africa and Asia where child slaves did the digging. At the time of his terrible death he had learned that Madelaine sat on the boards of private military contractors such as REGIME CHANGE INC., who were suspected of engineering numerous high profile assassinations, kidnappings and coups in resource rich countries. It boasted of being able to deliver revolutions and civil wars to deadlines, and offered full service project management for extra.

Bruce was found one day in his apartment with a long iron spike through his face. That's about as graphically as I'm willing to describe it. His apartment: ransacked. His laptop, flash drives, iPhone and landline phone were the only items of his personal property taken. Cash and credit cards were left behind and his passport and other personal documents-gold nuggets to the twenty-first century criminals greedy for identities to trade-were untouched. The usual ingredients for suspicion were provided by the police, who used their licence to insult the intelligence of anyone listening by ruling that Bruce had been murdered by opportunistic burglars. As for the media, I'm certain their ghoulish paymasters made sure Bruce's slaying stayed off the websites and infotainment conduits delivering non-stop dross to the sheeple.

I cried about Bruce, and cried privately since expressing feelings publicly was now ruled unlawful by the Mayor of New York, Jimmy Bullhead. Bullhead was a confidant of Madelaine Kissinger and frequent guest at her secretive Long Island mansion parties where incredible behaviour reported via the URLs and hyperlinks of internet hearsay was reputed to take place.

Don't Lose Your Cool: Getting Angry will be Costly ran the bright orange copy underneath a large photograph of Bullhead giving the commuter the what-for with the steely grimace of an earnest man with wavy grey hair in a bespoke suit who wasn't remotely convincing. He was sandwiched between yet another Vogue style Madelaine presidential election poster-her anonymous donors had a bottomless advertising budget-and a seductive looking young woman in a black veil underneath copy that read Extremely Brilliant Way to Plan Your Funeral. The often defective language of advertising made me wince and now was no exception. Funeral plans amidst the marketing for the most venal and vicious policy pimps vying for control of the country I had ever known in my forty five years of journalism was an ominous thing indeed.

Bullhead had somehow gotten away with introducing a law that allowed police officers to fine citizens for getting angry. Even raising your voice could make you one hundred dollars poorer. Crying and screaming and other expressions of 'negative emotions' in public were also punishable. Well fuck Bullhead-Dickhead I thought as I exited the train. I'll cry for Bruce wherever and whenever I feel like it, I thought with furious defiance. Bruce was a treasure of the old-school warrior journalist breed. Married four times. Arrested and harassed by authority many times more. He'd worked for Rolling Stone in the seventies and coasted with Hunter S Thompson when the author of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was at the summit of his loathing for Nixon and preparing The Great Shark Hunt. Where were the fearless journalistic mavericks now? We had never needed them more.

I got off the train at Kings Highway Station, and trudged up the steps to the exit. I was depressed, but what could I possibly do to prevent the moral eclipse looming in the horoscope of not only America, but the entire world? All politicians were whores: lousy gophers of the corporate leviathans. However, Kissinger was by far the worst manifestation of slick, photogenic, talk-show friendly evil I had ever encountered. My career had taken in hundreds of off-the-record, lounge bar interviews with sociopaths, perverts, crooks, sadists and sex offenders all holding political office, but not one of them could hold a dripping candle to the sulphurous malignancy of Madelaine Kissinger.

The sun was shining when I emerged from the subway and a cosmopolitan mix of people filled the street going about their Saturday afternoon business. The walk to Phil's apartment was a half dozen blocks, and people slouched past me either with grimaces on their faces or their eyes locked onto the screens of their smartphones with lattes fixed into their free hands as they gaped in expectation and waited for apps to make their decisions.

Phil was a writer for an online magazine affiliated with the American Free Press called Revelation and a fellow Madelaine watcher. He'd recently run some pieces on Madelaine's regular visits to palatial mansions in Central America owned by men suspected of top level involvement in cartel narcotics production. These exposés had the habit of making his magazine's website crash repeatedly, and be victim to constant hacking and denial of service attacks from rogue programmers who never communicated, or demanded ransoms, but were clearly determined to smother at all costs.

I liked Phil, despite his neurotic, excitable, and high-maintenance personality. He lived in a second floor apartment above a coffee shop near a busy intersection. He couldn't sleep without earplugs, he said, but had to on account of the fear of somebody breaking into his apartment at night and snuffing him out with secret service stealth. He said he was determined not to become another 'bachelor dying with undetectable assistance'.

Phil had called me with worrying urgency earlier that morning. "They're onto us Ben. Big time. God help us. You need to see what's happening", he said. "Can you come over to my place? Straight away!"

I wearily mouthed consent to his proposal. It was 7:00 am. I'd slept atrociously and not yet ingested coffee.

"Make sure you're not being followed", he said with surprising naivety. If you carried a smartphone, the intelligence services could monitor your movements on flashy state of the art surveillance software on a giant screen watched by people with much blander personalities than their Hollywood counterparts. Didn't he know this?

"OK, I'll do my best," I told him as I tapped the red end call icon. His summons had made me anxious, but even by the justified high levels of paranoia exhibited in the investigative journalism community Phil was exceptional.

As I made progress towards Phil's accommodation, my unease grew. Journalists writing about Madelaine, her financiers and her circus of grotesque cheerleaders were either meeting catastrophe or disappearing. Madelaine was becoming a synonym for danger, like a human Bermuda Triangle. Don't come too close. Don't enter my energy field. Don't ask any questions!

Along the street, Madelaine's ubiquitous eyes followed me. On the five meter by five billboard advertisements across the road she was beaming with lustre in her executive shoulder-pads in front of the American flag. She was the woman of energy, vision and hey-ho-let's-go who was going to deliver those visions we'd all been so badly deprived of, for the mere price of our vote.

I Have the Means to Make Your Dreams ran the drivel underneath. It was a slogan fit for a prostitute's business card wedged into a grimy telephone kiosk of the past. A copywriting crime even by the low linguistic abilities of modern corporate communicators, but who was even paying attention to the words anymore?

Just seeing her and her dismal script sent spasms of disgust through me and I tried not to look across at her, but it was impossible to escape her omnipresence. Slightly further ahead she appeared on yet another campaign poster alongside Debora Doggystyle, a reality television success story who had gained her boarding pass to A-list celebrity class by starring in a number of home produced and shrewdly distributed sodomy tapes that had made her viral in minutes, infamous in hours and ultra-rich in weeks. Let's meet the celebrity who's taken capitalizing on sex tapes to the next level was a frequent intro used by the hosts of tabloid talk-shows bringing her on for her circus turn. Now here she was endorsing the Teflon candidate's run for the White House and being offered an American Youth Ambassador post and unlimited branding opportunities in return.

As I reached the intersection that made Phil an insomniac, I saw the worst of the posters. Madelaine and Steve adorned it in the supposedly wholesome married couple pose designed to manipulate the sentiments of the conservative voter. They were not even attempting to hide the ravenous greed and sickness for power energizing Madelaine's charge towards high office. I glanced away from their nauseating grins as I negotiated the traffic lights, and when I foolishly looked back, Steve was flipping me the bird while Madelaine's eyes were glowing red, a forked tongue was snaking out of her mouth, and the index finger of her right hand was pointing directly at me while a speech balloon with you are living on borrowed time appeared next to her mouth.


"Bruce and Carl are just the tip of the iceberg you realize", said Phil staring at me with panicked eyes and taking deep puffs of his cigarette at five second intervals.

"Yeah. I heard about Roy Mullins crashing into the East River", I said.

"Fucking unbelievable. The way his Satnav told him to take a sharp right in darkness causing him to go through the barrier and into the water. Like that scene out of Capricorn One."

"Miracle he survived", I replied. Phil was referring to the conspiracy theory seventies thriller where the transmission of persistent reporter Eliot Gould's car is magically tampered with and his brakes cease to work. He eventually survives only by guiding his car over a bridge that is being raised.

"The bastards are trying to kill us digitally Ben. Medusa's people aren't giving us any more warnings", said Phil. I raised an eyebrow quizzically to this.

"Remember Timothy Berenger? The guy who did those pieces for the American Free Press on that bitch's buddies in the United Nations implicated in human trafficking and worse?"

I nodded. The pieces had been shocking, and even treated with scepticism by some in the alternative news community. However, Timothy was adamant that his well-placed whistle-blowers were on the level.

"Well, you know those latest iPhone apps that legally override the programs on treadmills and jogging machines in fitness clubs to choose optimum programs according to your current body mass index and all that bullshit?"

I nodded. The dependency on our digital friends would soon reach the point where we'd be asking the damned things for advice about going to the toilet.

"The gadget increased the speed of the treadmill so much it had him running at 30km an hour for fifteen minutes. He couldn't hit the stop button. He eventually came crashing off the treadmill, cracked his skull and went into cardiac arrest because his heart rate had gone through the roof."

I responded with some choice expletives, and asked what state Timothy was in.

"Coma. Practically brain dead."

I absorbed this extremely grim information, and then asked what Apple had had to say for itself regarding its role in this tragedy.

"Oh, well naturally it passed all responsibility onto the app company. Claimed it was immune from liability through the mouth of its shithead lawyers", growled Phil, before adding: "And take a flying guess at the name of the app company why don't you?"

"Try me", I replied, already sensing something with mythically cruel irony was about to drop from the cracked lips of Phil's mouth.

"Gorgon Software Enterprises", he said with deadpan disgust.

"God, they even have a grim sense of humour", I stated.

"Well, the shadow government observers have been telling us for years how these bastards have been giving us signs through symbols about their evil future intentions. This is an example." Phil squashed his cigarette butt into a graveyard of filters in his ashtray. "And that's not all", he said as he booted up his laptop.

For the next hour, Phil showed me examples of some experiences of writers churning out pieces on the concealed biography of Madelaine that would undermine her crusade for the White House should they ever make it into mainstream news domains. One had been poisoned after a diabetes medication app told him to take a treble dose of insulin. Another had been magically bankrupted by hackers who emptied his bank account, while another found a kilogram of cocaine magically appear in his suitcase while clearing US customs after returning from an overseas research trip.

Others found their websites crashing, their blog content being mysteriously erased and the backed-up files inexplicably vanishing while the internet service providers pleaded complete ignorance. Even more troubling was how some of them were being terrorised by lucid dreams of Hydra headed hissing ladies.

When I shared my recent experiences of possibly skewed perception with him, his eyes widened and his mouth cracked open in dismay.

"Christ! She's onto you now as well. I had a feeling it wouldn't be long."

"So you've seen 'moving pictures' with her face as well, and the campaign copy morphing into threats?"

He nodded. "There's no fucking with the matrix of control, Ben. She, no they will destroy us", he said shaking his head fatalistically. "And meanwhile, Joe Public? She's got him fully hypnotized. His dumbass brain is comprehensively owned. They are inhaling her slogans like Satanic farts. Seen how complimentary the media is about her damn eyes? She'll win by a landslide, and god won't lift a damned finger to help the human race thereafter."

Phil was right. The most frightening presidency in American history was coming.

"Oh, and I've saved the worst till last", said Phil ruefully as he picked up his smartphone. He opened the browser, went to his e-mail and showed me a terrifying image of the dreaded snake headed woman of Greek mythology that was composed in such viscerally horrifying authenticity that it seemed only medieval artists could achieve.

"I can't delete the damned thing. Unknown file type from an untraceable IP and it's embedded itself in the phone's operating system", he said, before sending me one of those intense, piercing looks used to preface grave announcements.

"No more truth crusading for me Ben. I know when I've received a final warning."


"And when you get ahead, America gets ahead!" There she was, the focus of all my fear, distrust and loathing, standing behind a wooden lectern not forty yards in front of me smugly electioneering away. She had just chaired a 'town hall meeting' where she had turned on the slick sincerity for a couple of hours and feigned interest in the gun violence fatality statistics in the state of Michigan, and sworn to push for amendments to firearms control in the state while the incongruity of her directorships of numerous arms companies remained invisible beneath the deep, murky waters of her act and stayed unchallenged by reporters.

Whoops and cheers from the two hundred or so vetted attendees. She tells us there will time for a few questions soon, as the surly looking faces of her immaculately groomed bodyguards observe us warily from behind their Ray-Bans.

I got into this meeting with false media credentials, and am determined to confront her. However, fear courses through my limbic system. I am terrified of this woman, and know my physical proximity to her exponentially increases the possibility of my death.

This is the first time that I notice she is constantly surrounded by human statues. They are background constants in her election broadcasts and public speeches. They sometimes even appear behind her in the print posters, and even accompany her onto the studio sets where she doles out her sound bites for prime time as the prompted monkeys clap in time. How on earth did this go unnoticed? Why wasn't it ever picked up on by the media? Why hasn't she ever been asked about it? And what about the logistics involved in lifting and transporting them around the country? Some of them look Grecian, but some of them also look horribly familiar.

After she has fielded a predictable flurry of utterly bland softball questions from the sponsored reporters in attendance, I finally get my chance and raise my arm which she deigns to nominate.

"Ben Faulkner. Independent Press. Tell us about the statues Madelaine. What do they stand for, and why are they always around you?"

For an instant, her face assumes the same nightmare mask that it did on that fateful edition of the Rusty Bollinger show. Before she can respond, members of her security detail are on top of me and pummelling my face. Instantly, I am in a choke hold and being dragged towards one of the exits by her animals. They throw me out into the lobby, take my phone and smash it into pieces.


Phil had not been returning my calls or e-mails for weeks, and the sense that something very bad had happened was strong. After enquiries with his friends and associates revealed no explanation for his silence, we agreed that I would pay him a visit and I found the courage to board the subway to Kings Highway station.

When I reached the apartment, there was no reply when I pressed the entry intercom button. I had to wait until another resident of the building arrived, and they recognised me and offered no objection to my entrance.

I knocked on his door and called his name to no avail. I could hear the murmur of the television through the door and tensed when I recognised the peeved invocation of Madelaine's speech delivery. I grasped the handle, and was surprised when the unlocked mechanism of the mortise lock allowed me to open the door and enter.

The philosopher Foucalt said: "Madness is thus beyond imagination, and yet it is profoundly rooted in it; for it consists merely in allowing the image a spontaneous value, total and absolute truth." The sight that confronted me when I entered Phil's lounge belonged in a paranormal movie, and was so far removed from my schema of reality that it simply suspended my reasoning. There had been a convergence of fantasy and reality in this poky little square metre space of New York.

Phil was watching one of Madelaine's recent Getting the Nation Back on Track campaign speeches that was monopolizing the infotainment channels. He was sitting on the sofa, wearing his familiar Mets baseball cap. He seemed relaxed, and much more serene than normal. The only problem was that he had turned into concrete. His entire body was an ashen grey, and shadows occupied the creases of his shirt and the recesses of his face. He reminded me of a 1:1 scale version of the moulded plastic model figures I used to paint as a kid.

Unlike in Hollywood scenes like this, I was not overcome by the urge to scream or shout but was simply filled with tremendous despair and pity for my former colleague.

"What the hell has she done to you?" I asked.

Instinctively, I took out my new phone to call 911 before thinking properly about the implications of telling the police that somebody I knew had been murdered in a way not known in modern pathology. Officer my friend has been turned into a statue.

Suddenly furious, I looked at Madelaine hypnotising the hopeless millions with her subliminal spiel and called her a despicable, loathsome witch. She then stopped in mid-sentence, turned her head and looked directly into the camera and into my face.

"You stupid little man", she hissed contemptuously. "You have no idea who you are dealing with."

I was immersed in a terror so icy cold that I felt my muscles begin to stiffen.

"Perseus was just a cover story. Just another piece of false history and ancient media propaganda." I gasped when I saw her open her mouth and poke out a purple forked tongue.

Her eyes began to glow a radiant, dazzling orange and then bright yellow then into blinding white. It was as though the light of the rising sun was being concentrated through her eye sockets. I turned and ran.

Titus Green lives and works in China as an English language teacher. Propaganda and geopolitical crimes are currently major foci in his writing. His fiction has appeared in Sediments Literary Arts, Empty Sink Publishing and Beyond Imagination. His influences are numerous, and include Joseph Conrad, Edgar Allen Poe, Louis Ferdinand Celine, Johnathan Swift, Juvenal and Jorge Luis Borges. His published work can be viewed at
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