Thursday, February 23, 2012

Flash Fiction: "Monkie's Bad Habit"

This is another recent revision of an older piece, probably written sometime during or recently after college. Admittedly, this is a darker story, but it is fiction – please don't forget that as you're reading it. I don't know where some of these bleak tales come from, but when I'm inspired I just have to go with it, for good or ill. I'd love to hear any feedback you're willing to give. Hope you enjoy reading it! ~ JH


Monkie isn't guilty, at least not like you and I are guilty. The way she sees it, guilt only exists if you want it to; it isn't necessary, and it most certainly isn't automatic. So, when Monkie does what only she does best, and you I turn a disapproving eye toward her, Monkie doesn't mind – after all, she isn't guilty, because she doesn't choose to be.

"The tenets of good and evil," says Monkie quite often, "are not written in stone by some fantastical creature which has deemed itself the Great Arbitrator. Good and evil are simply two sides of the same coin that we ourselves are flipping. No one is either wholly good or wholly evil."

"So I can choose to be good, or I can choose to be evil?" she asks, speaking through her Otherself, the side of Monkie that is always argumentative.

"Or you can choose to be neither," Monkie answers her Otherself.

I can't say that I quite agree with (or even understand) all of her philosophies, but Monkie's logic is definitely worth considering. I ponder the enigma that is Monkie every day, yet I still come up empty. I guess that's why I'm madly in love with her.

Monkie always seems to find reasons to be defiant about the most commonplace things, which I've never understood. For instance, she refuses to acknowledge that she was born with any name other than Monkie. I don't know if she thinks it gives her distinction or distance; but I think Priscilla Monk is a nice name, too.

Sometimes I sit and watch Monkie for hours, gnashing my teeth and biting my nails, while she tirelessly bashes her fists against the wall. Every time she cries out in pain, yet still she rears back her fist again and again to feed her habit.

"Why, Monkie?" I cry. "Why are you hurting yourself like this?"

"You don't understand," she tells me, "it's something I simply must do."

Why must you?" her Otherself chimes in. "You're not just hurting yourself. You're hurting me, too!"

"That I can deal with," replies Monkie. "I've never liked you much anyway."

"But what about me?" I, the only other person in the room, inquire. But Monkie ignores me, and continues her assault.

I've long since gotten used to the blood, though I'll never accept that what she is doing is for the best. Time and time again I've contacted professionals, people who could give her the help that she needs. But Monkie refuses to be helped, and won't even admit that she has a problem.

It's wrong, I tell her. Even if she does claim to gain a tiny bit of enlightenment from doing it, that's nothing compared to the pain and scars it leaves behind. But she won't listen to me. Curiously enough, in every other subject she seems to value my opinion. But on this point Monkie will not waver.

"Don't you even feel guilty about it?" I ask her, already knowing the answer.

"Of course I don't," she snaps back. "That word means nothing to me."

"It would mean something if you hurt some thing or someone else, wouldn't it?" her Otherself replies. Though she often discredits her Otherself as insensible and overly obvious, it is the only voice of reason within Monkie.

"On the contrary," retorts Monkie. "I hurt people and things all the time, and I couldn't be less concerned about that."

"You mean like you hurt me?" I ask.

"I most certainly do not hurt you," says Monkie, adding, "That's absurd!"

But Monkie does hurt me, and she must realize that. Every time I see her wipe away her desperate tears with bloodied fists, I hurt with her. Yet she continues.

I've often thought of ways to solve her problem for good. 

I could tie her hands together behind her back. But in doing so I would be taking away her freedom to gesticulate; and for someone like Monkie, gesticulation is terribly important.

I could tear down the walls, not only here in our home, but all walls everywhere. But in so doing I would be taking away her right to privacy – and, indeed, everyone else's right to privacy.

In the end, there's only one thing I can do which is best for both of us. I must kill my beloved Monkie. With death comes ultimate enlightenment, rest, and restitution. I know she would do the same for me.

We even talked about it once. It's a rather long story, so I'll summarize. She was mouthing off about something in a particularly loud and boisterous manner, all the while bashing away at the wall with her fists.

She suddenly stopped and said to me, "Stanley... " (Though it's not my name and she knows it, she prefers Stanley over my given name.) "Stanley, do be a dear and murder me."

I replied that I wouldn't do that, and she inquired as to why not. I told her that I could never do that to someone I loved.

I don't recall Monkie's exact words, but it sounded something like, "Do it because you love me." Then she added, "I can't very well do it myself."

She spoke the words thoughtfully, like she'd already tried to kill herself – besides the thing with the fists, I mean – and I felt sorry for her. Because it was in that moment that I realized that Monkie did have a problem that was bigger and tougher than she was able to handle.

Now I see, after months of the same tired discussions and nothing having changed, that ending her suffering is the only reasonable solution. And so my dear Monkie, devoid of some good but not entirely evil, has chosen her fate, and chosen me to be her honorable murderer.

I don't want to do it, but I want Monkie to finally be happy. She looks at me now, as if to say (even though I haven't expressed it in words) she approves of what I'm considering. As if to say that I should proceed with the utmost assurance and the least amount of guilt.

I have no doubt that I will be found out and punished for my actions. I have accepted that already. But this is the right thing to do. 

For the love of Monkie. For the banishment of Otherself. And once and for all, to help Monkie overcome her one bad habit.

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