Bad Monkey

Danny was a sportscaster in Los Angeles.  He hated sports, he wanted nothing to do with them, but hey, it paid the bills.  Every night either the Rams or the Dodgers or the Lakers would win or lose and he'd have to tell them all about it on TV.  He was a good actor though; he did his job with relish, foaming at the mouth over every last detail, every long field goal, every nifty jump shot.  He was a good bullshitter, he fit right in there in LA.

Danny had a wife and kids, and a pretty nice house in the Hollywood Hills.  He didn't get along with his wife, not at all - they fought tooth and nail, every evening when he got home from work and then all weekend long.  The kids were used to it by now, they just ignored the two of them as much as possible.  Danny had a small circle of friends, mostly in the business, and he kept in touch with his family back east on a regular basis.  He called his Mom once a week, most of the time fairly reluctantly.  Life had been good to him, but still he wanted more.  He supposed it was the same for most other people - you took what you could get, a little more each day; they gave an inch, you tried to take a mile and then you met somewhere in the middle.

He was a loudmouth, with a pretty good sense of humor.  The sense of humor was what kept him out of trouble.  He'd always had a tendency to run his mouth, but it had gotten far worse after he'd moved to California - once again, it was an LA thing and he'd fit right in, as  happy as a pig in shit rubbing elbows with all the other blowhards, flapping their gums all day long and making all sorts of noise about nothing.  He had become something of a known quantity recently, a minor local celebrity; people stopped him on the street, asked him for a picture or his autograph and things like that.  It wasn't so bad most of the time, but sometimes it pissed him off and he'd have to go somewhere and hide away for awhile until he was ready to come out again.  Danny went to work and did his job, took his wife out to dinner, brought the car in for service when it needed it, and lived his fairly simple life in a fairly normal way.  Things were okay, for the most part.

Danny walked in the door and threw his suit jacket on the chair.

"What's for dinner?" he yelled into the kitchen, on the way up the stairs.

"You're late," his wife replied sharply.  "Again."

He ignored it and went into the bathroom to take a shower.  When he came back down, dinner was on the table already and getting cold.  Fish again.  The woman didn't know how to make fish, he'd told her this a million times but she kept making it anyway.

"How was school?" he asked Ricky, his twelve year old son.

"Fine," Ricky said distractedly, absorbed in a game on his smart phone, fingers flying and brain waves shorting.

"Ricky, put that down until you've eaten your meal," his wife said in matronly tones.

Danny tucked in.  "I talked to Alan again today," he said.  "Looks like I may be getting that raise after all."

"Oh yeah?" his wife said sardonically, chewing her cud.  "Believe it when I see it."

Danny continued to eat but was now irritated.  Everything was sarcasm, everything had to be some thinly veiled barb or complaint of some kind.  Why couldn't anyone just have a normal fuckin' conversation around here.

After dinner, Danny poured himself a Scotch, went into the den and turned on the TV.  The evening news was on, it looked like that little fucker was going to win the nomination after all.  And they'd been saying all along that he didn't have a chance.  Showed what they knew.  Sometimes he was relieved just to be doing sports, it kept him out of the way of all the heavy shit.

But the nomination was followed by a closely contested race, and then, against all odds, he won.  They were actually going to make this pile of shit President.  Just when you thought it couldn't get any stupider.  The most jaded cynic alive couldn't have foreseen it.  I mean, everything about this guy was wrong, both mentally and physically, absolutely everything.  He looked like a radioactive amoeba, and all he did was lie: he lied like he drew breath, the two were inseparable for him.  He was nothing but a sniveling coward, puffing himself up full of bombast, without a single original idea of his own, without a single solitary constructive thought in his head.  Everything about him was manipulation, falsity, a complete and utter lack of basic morality, on the most fundamental of levels possible.  He was the prince of narcissists, practically their patron saint; he'd murder his own mother for a nickel, set the world on fire in exchange for an extra round of golf.  Reality had no meaning - all was perception, all that mattered was getting one's way, all other concerns were secondary.

But it went beyond such high-minded matters, such delicate sensibilities.  There were lawsuits absolutely everywhere, he had lawsuits coming out of his ears.  Allegations of fraud, racketeering, rape, pedophilia, you name it - this guy was the Antichrist, he shouldn't have been allowed out in public, much less allowed to run for office, he should have been locked under the Earth by now, kept away from the human race.  He'd gone bankrupt about a thousand times and nothing ever seemed to happen to him, he wasn't even any good at what he professed to do.  But there he was, up there at the podium in his nice little blue suit, playing the politician, horns filed down, scales painted over, forked tongue flicking away.  All he knew how to do was lie, and to mock and threaten, just as he'd done his entire life long.  He attacked the blacks, he attacked the Mexicans, he attacked anything that moved.  The debates were a farce.  Every fact was met with deflection, every challenge by withering streams of abuse.  It was spectacle over sanity, it should have been laughed into oblivion, it should have been the mother of all landslides.  But somehow it went differently.  He'd gotten away with it, enough of the nitwits had fallen for the routine.  It didn't help that the other side had run a complete loser of their own; Mickey Mouse would have made a better choice.  But this wasn't Mickey Mouse vs. Donald Duck, this was Mickey Mouse vs. Genghis Khan.  But they couldn't see it for some reason.  And now Genghis had won.  This guy was actually going to be fucking President of the United States.  There was no new low this Murica of ours couldn't seek out and find.  Danny had always considered himself one of the cynics himself, a hard-nosed hardboiled realist, and even he felt distinctly nauseous.

He went downstairs the day it was announced.

"Do you believe it?" he asked his wife incredulously.  "He actually did it, he won."

"We're out of milk," she said.  "And pick up a loaf of bread while you're over there."

Danny lay in bed at night, thinking it over.  It just made no sense.  The monster had always been right there, lurking just below the surface, the great American Ego as All, God Guts 'N' Guns, militant ignorance on parade.  Maybe you could have seen it coming after all, who knew.  They saw themselves in him, that much was clear.  The idea that half the country could relate to this asshole was enough by itself to make you want to jump off a bridge, to just refuse to wake up in the morning.  But Danny still couldn't get his head round it.  Did it really work?  Could you just lie, cheat and steal your way into or out of anything?  I mean, look what just happened - you did it enough and they made you President.  Maybe that was the answer then, that was the whole story.  Maybe it had been there all along.




Scott Taylor hails from Raleigh, North Carolina.  He is a writer and a musician, and an avid world traveler.  His short stories and poetry have appeared in numerous print and online publications, including Ghost City Review, Snakeskin, Oddball, Angel Rust and Swifts and Slows.  His debut novel Chasing Your Tail has recently been released with Silver Bow Publishing, and his novellas 'Freak' and 'Ernie and the Golden Egg' are slated for inclusion in an upcoming anthology with Running Wild Press.  He graduated from Cornell University and was also a computer programmer in a past life.  Scott recommends the Humane Society.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Monday, June 3, 2024 - 21:00