Suggested Audio Jukebox:
 Skindred “Bruises”
 Michael Jackson ft. Paul McCartney “The Girl Is Mine”
 The Beatles “Run For Your Life”
 Nicki Minaj “Anaconda”
 At The Drive-In “Enfilade”
 Baltimora “Tarzan Boy”
Have you ever picked a fight and instantly realized that your teeth are about to abdicate your face for the basket your adversary is hard at work weaving? It’s a fretful moment, and painfully protracted to boot, as the blood drains from your upper torso and your sphincter commences gaping in peril while your overbearing opponent tosses up between head and gut shot for entrée. With no umpire on-site, we suddenly find ourselves praying for a denouement where the emphasis is on both swift and merciful, but the eyes they tell no lies and a fight can be won long before the first fist is even clenched.
Damage limitation is the key word here as, should we cower convincingly enough, then perhaps they’ll decide only to relinquish us of our dignity and go and torment some other hapless bastard instead. I spent my entire adolescence ducking from skirmish but it’s hard to remain inconspicuous in a pair of size twenty-six clown shoes. If there’s one thing about ruffians that you can act as guarantor for then a complete lack of GSOH is it, closely followed by their ability to repeatedly punch a single designated spot until it blackens. For the record, it turns out that running in a pair of garish viking longboats ain’t no cinch either.
My first sound clobbering arrived at around the midpoint of my secondary scholarship and I sure as dung dumplings picked myself a doozy to baptize my lower abdomen. Known by us mere mortals by the not nearly fearsome enough mantle “Pelican”, this bothersome browbeater was known for his ability to wow an audience through the art of public pummeling and the done thing was to keep your head low and push those weaker than you into his path of destruction each time you made that doom-laden dash for next period. Reassuringly I was just another face in the crowd to line up for a future flattening and managed to make it three years without tantalizing him with my bright red hooter. However, there was nothing heartening about the day when I finally clusterfucked my way to the front of the queue and onto his radar’s bullseye.
Note to self: honking the udders of the top dog’s fair lady during an art lecture isn’t the most polite way to ask for trouble. I’d pulled some stunts before and even earned myself the nickname “Sparky” after introducing a paper clip to voltage when I should have been brushing up on my elements. But rarely had my awareness been so woefully lacking as I’d failed to do my homework before attempting to milk the bullock’s mistress. Damn that lackadaisical grapevine for not informing me sooner and damn my hands for not cradling those fun bags for longer.
You see, the very instant that my palms pinched polyester, my cruiser was pre-set to bruising. The least I could have done was to turn a snapshot into a gif so to speak and latch on like Rosemary’s twins but, instead, I scuffed my moment and suddenly the grapevine began to earn its upkeep once more. Within minutes of my wayward foible, the “Pelican” had been made aware, and the dreaded countdown commenced. Naturally I figured that the school gates were to provide my final resting place and was already hard at work planning my ingenious rear getaway the very second the church bell chimed. However, regardless of any lack of malice on my part, groping the school bully’s cherished trophy was considered punishable by instant trial and it didn’t bode well that the jury comprised his very own flock of hopeful hellraisers.
The school canteen suddenly took on a far more overcast appearance as I lined up for my daily slop and found myself cornered by menacing meatbags. My crimes hadn’t warranted a fair fight (and I hear he actually wasn’t all that without his cronies), so six-man restraint wasn’t deemed excessive while he prepared his little opening speech and clenched all ten of ’em.
To his credit, at least he had the courtesy to inform me of my blunder beforehand, and this allowed me a second or two of quiet reflection before being kneaded like the offal that I was. Did I take my beating like a man? Indeed I did, a sorry whimpering little man with all the backbone of a pipe cleaner. That said, I can’t help feeling that he missed a trick or two, as the kidneys have a way of taking any punishment dished out without swelling to Merrick status. I wouldn’t have blamed him had he moulded my features into his own balloon animal as I did possess the kind of facial coordinates that simply begged for a thumping.
Yet I walked away of my own accord having relinquished merely a gram of public prestige and three ounces of dignity, gaining half-measure of internal bleeding as a trade-off. In my estimation, that made it something of a Neo-esque bullet dodge, and there was indeed a spring in my limp as I scurried to my freshly ordained colony and any fellow lepers. I recall my thoughts being something along the lines of “well that’s one off the bucket list” and later that night I spanked my monkey as one final distant parting taunt to my pound-foolish aggressor.
Three years passed before my next hiding and there were vague echoes of Nipple-Gate as it all boiled down to my appalling selection process with the ladies. To be fair, I was the innocent party in a love triangle I had no idea even existed at the time. Thrilled just to have a girlfriend that didn’t require a foot pump to operate, my opposite number was less enthused as she had punted his sorry ass to the curb like street trash just a few moons prior. You wanna know what street trash looks like? Here, knock yourself out and I wouldn’t even bother with bleaching the pan afterwards as I’m reasonably assured this doesn’t fall into the 99.9% of domestic germs that would fear for their lives.
Needless to say he considered me personally responsible and this was desperate news as the tale of the tape didn’t make for encouraging reading. Five years my senior and as many inches taller, he had also recently been dismissed from police academy for crooked conduct and was pretty much angry with the world by this point. Throw in some jumped up little pube stealing his trophy girl from right under his tattered wing and it was time to start looking over my shoulder rather anxiously. I was fully aware there would be repercussions but that didn’t stop me from placing myself directly in the firing line by attending a house party to celebrate my new girlfriend’s birthday.
It wasn’t long before I spotted him in the singles corner slathering his gums suggestively and round-up my friends to make a swift exit before the fan started flossing away that feces. Alas, we made it all of twenty yards without incident and it was duly deemed time for a formal introduction. Even more distressingly, my entourage instantly denied any knowledge of my existence and offered their collective blessing for his goons to do their worst, leaving me frightfully exposed and outnumbered by three to one.
And do their worst they did. After cornering little old me and explaining my misdemeanor, the fists began flying and I had no choice but soak them up like an overworked tampon amidst heavy flow. That said, while my penalty was severe, assuming the position of a hermit crab worked small wonders, as did my pathetic snivelling. Eventually the blows ceased raining down and I was left feeling like one of life’s lotto winners as a couple of bruised ribs and some faint surface scratches seemed scant remuneration for securing myself an alley cat. Of course, she had dumped my ass within a week and I’m fairly sure they hooked up again straight afterwards, but not before I committed her fur and whiskers to perpetual memory. Indeed, it saw me through The Great Sexual Drought of 1990 and, for that, I will forever be grateful.
I’d also learned a thing or two about punching above my weight and was beginning to get a handle on the identity of suchlike angry baboons. Seeing them coming ain’t so hard as long as you know what to look out for. You’d think it would be in the eyes but would be mistaken as the real penny dropper is packed into those glowing red rumps of theirs. Should you never before have witnessed the blushing back beacon of one such banana head, then please allow me to supply a quick and wholesome refresher. Tell you what, I promise it will constitute as a pair of your daily five, how’s that?
Notice how our subject prowls us with its eyes. Wait one cotton picking minute, that’s the wrong slide dagnabbit! That said, when in Rome, may as well get yourself a Cornetto Enigma right? Only the other day, I was pondering what has happened to Mariah Carey recently and, it turns out, she has decided to take advantage of Ms. Kardashian’s alimentary canal to lay down tracks for her upcoming umpteenth studio album. Apparantly the acoustics in there are on par with The Kennedy Center and Kim Kardashian is the only woman alive who can fart an entire power ballad on command so what’s a butterfly like Mariah to do?
Should she spot the opportunity to fleece Joe public, then Getting All Up In A Kardashian has a rather salable ring to it don’t ‘cha think? They could get a good couple of series out of it before her posterior erupts like Etna and takes out three-quarters of the population of Bel-Air. Fuck offering Kayne West my commiserations, it’s Jazzy Jeff I feel sorry for. Fret not for the wellbeing of Nicolas Cage as he planned for this eventuality months ago and I hear he has constructed his very own panic ‘boon.
You see, it’s all in the selection. Choose with prudence and your safekeeping becomes their safekeeping. Select yourself a wrong ‘un, on the other hand, and angry baboons are likely to be fucking you before brunch and you’ll have a far better idea of why Punch & Judy stopped touring back in the eighties. Alienate a primate and it’s all about those knuckles which, when you consider the fact that they spend most of their time dragging along tarmac accumulating callases, makes for a rather discomfiting one-sided transaction. Monkey don’t just say, monkey do also, and nobody puts monkey in the corner.
That’s no place for a primate, they should be swinging the vines without a care in the world, not cooped up in captivity with irritants such as I attempting not to fall about laughing out of unbridled hilarity. I’ve tried not finding them downright uproarious but it’s a pursuit as futile as it is ill-fated. Here, attempt not raising so much as a smile and you’re a better person than Keeper if you come through my cunningly placed acid test without cracking like Kim Kardashian’s rectal thermometer mid twerk.
Okay so we’ve ascertained that over ninety percent of you are better people than Keeper. Guess you’re feeling pretty smug with yourselves right now ain’t ‘cha? Well I’m sure the other sides of your faces would have themselves a grand chuckle if those angry baboons could see your smart-alecky behavior right now. And don’t think they can’t as, at last tally, they hang out in posses of around 90,000, and there’s invariably a smattering of whistle blowers among their ranks. Remain statue-like in their presence and you may still see sunlight but tweak a solitary tendon and you may still hear the following words ringing through your sorry ears as you wind down that conclusive death rattle.
“Get him fellas!”
This will then be followed by approximately 180,000 dry slaps to the cheek in fiery unison and the angry baboons will have claimed yet another victim. I’m just trying to save you the hardship here as there have been other run-ins with fear most primal and I can count myself damn fortunate for living to tell the tale. It turns out that there a few things that will embitter a gibbon more than attempting to teach them sign language when they’re in mid canter.
Picture the scene, I’m trundling back from work after a long grind in the trenches, and it has been a particularly trying day. So when an impatient fellow motorist discovered that none shall pass, I wasn’t about to be made out the bad guy. As the bottleneck widened, so the convoy became double-berth, and this provided us with the opportunity to break bread alongside one another. Now my music was cranked up way too high to discern his actual words but, judging by his animated posturing, I gathered that they weren’t “well-played sir”.
The thing is, when you’re encased in alloy armor, and shifting at a significant enough rate of knots, there’s a tendency to feel all invincible. So what did I do? I mouthed the words “fuuuck youuu!” while sliding my imaginary hand along a similarly mythological mutton jousting pugil for his sole purpose. Suck it Shakma.
The following three hundred yards were delightful as I felt like KFM’s one-millionth caller and celebrated my triumph accordingly to the wonderfully raucous tones of At The Drive-In at their pitch-perfect pinnacle no less. However, fate was not my mistress that day, and the pitiless pioneering of a static red light no less than a dozen monkey swings ahead promptly pinned the tail directly in the gulp zone of this deluded pack donkey.
I knew it was bad as I ground to a halt in thick automotive soup but hadn’t entertained entirely how desperate things were about to become before the ashen asphalt could settle into my treads. As my opposite number ejected himself from his capsule, my first consideration was to whether or not he was the tallest living organism ever conceived.
We are, of course, talking “Brobdingnagian” and I only ever bust out those five syllables on special occasions and bi-monthly Bar Mithvazs as the top table chow down on their brisket. Granted, the male mind has a canny way of conjoining length to an inch or two of their own, but I swear blind this dude could straddle an out-house. Not only did this flaming inferno tower over me but he also appeared to be the equivalent in girth and possessed biceps you could crack a pterodactyl between.
Don’t be fooled for a second by the smile and I request instead that you focus on the fresh blood bunching up in his chin dimple and amphibious anvil he’s wielding with intent most harsh. The way I viewed things, there were two available options, one of which entailed suffering a self-enforced stroke and didn’t feel like such a stretch at this precise moment.
The other involved winding up my driver’s side window more rigorously than Tippi Hedren on safari, securing all locking mechanisms, and attempting not to recall Any Which Way You Can as I was flung headlong into the eye of this techy twister. Had I mentioned that he was a cyclops? My bad, must have slipped my mind in all this blind terror.
And still the bastard smiles. This was surely the end for me, my existence smudged out like the right hand column of a teenager’s report card and all courtesy of the road rage that was all in vogue at the time. To my tremendous relief, I was only asked to surrender one wing mirror and a brace of bronzed bakewells from my bottom, and the near-sighted panic in my peepers was deemed sufficient enough bargaining tool for my continuation. Since that day I have never once honked my horn in frustration and flat refuse to ride shotgun on a rickshaw. You see, angry baboons will fuck you, I just chanced upon one who preferred foreplay.
The thing about survivors is that they are duty-bound to share their close shaves with a captive audience, just to ensure that a similar fate doesn’t befall them. Piss off a marmoset and the very worst you’ll receive is a nipple pinch and twist combo, infuriate a mandrill and you can add three badly bruised ribs to the roster, outrage an orangutan and the likeliness is that you’ll draw back a bloody stump. However, make a baboon angry and there’s a high probability that it will fuck you. And that prickly midsummer heat won’t be your friend either.
Take it from me, having felt death’s spindly digit pressed against my prostate on a trio of separate occasions and still bearing the emotional scar tissue, I’d say I’m the closest you have to a trained expert right now. Leave them well alone Grueheads and we’ll all make love the old-fashioned way instead. Now I wonder whether that monkey nut you’re grasping will slide down my urethra?