THE DAY THE APES LEARNED TO FEAR MAN

So one last thing about the forgotten magnificence that was Congo, and then I’ll shut up about the movie forever. That was obviously a lie; let’s neither of us pretend to believe it. Anyway, I wrote some fan fiction – not about the movie itself, but about the moment the climactic scene was written. If you don’t know the scene, by god, correct that error now, before it’s too late.

John Patrick Shanley did not have time to wipe the sweat from his brow. He let it drip onto the keyboard, lubricating the words as his fingers — swollen with genius; leaking majesty like a cooking sausage leaks sausage-juice — wrestled the climax of Congo from the immaterial realm and pinned it to reality.

‘APES EVERYWHERE,’ he sausaged, madly. ‘APES COMING OUT OF THE WALLS.’

John Patrick Shanley felt his skin flush. His heart beat an unhealthy, yet familiar rhythm. In the distant and isolated part of his brain still concerned with reality, he knew he should be seeking medical attention. But brilliance is as much a disease as it is a gift.

‘LAURA LINNEY SPRINGS INTO ACTION,’ he typed, furious at the ineptness of human language. ‘SHE GRABS THE DIAMOND FROM BRUCE CAMPBELL’S CORPSE AND PLUGS IT INTO THE SPACE LASER.’

John Patrick Shanley is standing now. He has shifted into the present tense. The past no longer concerns him. He doesn’t remember abandoning the chair. He types with the manic velocity of a virtuoso. That hackneyed image of a frenzied Mozart, hunched painfully over the keys, beating at the piano like it is no longer an instrument, but a reticent bully, which refuses to give him the music he requires.

THE APES APPROACH BUT ZOOM-

“Zoom?” He thinks. “Is that the right word? Can there be a wrong word now, at this intersection of inspiration and madness?”

‘BUT ZOOM,’ he continues. ‘LAURA LINNEY FIRES THE LASER, SLICING OFF THE HAND OF THE LEAD APE.’

His heartbeat. It forms a song. He knows that now, but cannot place the melody.

‘CONSUMED WITH BLOODLUST, LAURA LINNEY LASERS DOWN APE AFTER APE-’

His fingers, zealots of some angry and demanding god, pound on, though he pleads with them to stop.

‘APE AFTER APE AFTER APE’

His nails peel off between the keys. Blood flowing into the cracks between letters.

‘AFTER APE AFTER APE’

John Patrick Shanley finds that he is no longer just typing, but screaming the words.

‘AFTER APE AFTER APE FALL TO LINNEY’S LASER LIKE – WELL LET’S JUST BE REAL HERE, LIKE APES BEFORE A LASER. THERE IS NO COMPARITIVE ANALOGY.’

And now John Patrick Shanley is no longer typing at all. He is standing, erect in every possible sense of the word, with one foot planted firmly on earth and the other in the war halls of Valhalla. The keyboard does not need him anymore. It clacks away like a player piano, the words guided inexorably toward their destiny. There is no escape anymore; not for them, not for John Patrick Shanley, not for anybody.

‘LASERS AND APES AND APES AND LASERS,’ the words continue, as John Patrick Shanley furiously thrusts his pelvis into the open air, into the universe itself.

‘SINGED FUR AND APE HANDS FLYING EVERYWHERE, UNTIL THE APES MUST CONCEDE VICTORY TO THE CRUEL HAND OF LINNEY-‘

John Patrick Shanley is climaxing, but spills no seed. The cosmos accepts it from him; secrets it off into the ether, to swirl amongst the stars.

‘HOOTING IN DESPAIR, THE APES TURN TO FLEE ONLY TO FIND AN ERUPTING VOLCANO. WHAT? A VOLCANO! WHERE DID THAT COME FROM? THESE QUESTIONS ARE FOR MAN TO ASK AND GOD TO KNOW.’

John Patrick Shanley knows the song now. The cardiac beat thundering away inside his chest. It is called Eye of The Tiger. It is by the band Survivor. The pounding is not confined to his body; the thrum of his blood resonates against the floor of the cosmos. In his distant home in New York, Survivor lead singer Dave Bickler awakens, screaming.

‘APES ALWAYS KNOW WHEN THEY ARE BEATEN. ONE BY ONE THEY HURL THEMSELVES INTO THE LAVA — BOTH AS AN ACT OF ATTRITION FOR THEIR FAILURE, AND A SACRIFICE TO THEIR NEW GOD, SCIENCE, WHO HAS SO MERCILESSLY BLESSED THEM.’

John Patrick Shanley weeps. He weeps and roars and cums and bleeds.

‘THE FINAL APE EXECUTES A PERFECT FRONT FLIP, CANNONBALLING INTO THE MOLTEN ROCK AS A LAST ACT OF DEFIANCE. TRULY, HE WAS THE GREATEST APE. TRULY, IT WAS NOT ENOUGH.’

The keyboard, overloaded with energy never meant to be channeled by a mere machine, explodes. The night sky becomes as day for a moment. But the illumination, as it always does, fades. It fades from the air. It fades from John Patrick Shanley.

Colorful sparks drift slowly, fireflies on a breeze. If you stood atop a tall building in New York City that fateful night and looked west, toward the heart of our great nation, you would have seen it. Just for a second. So quick, you would always question its nature. Was it a dream, a hallucination, a trick of the light?

You would have seen the embers form a mammoth pointillist image of the American flag, tiny lights plucked out of the darkness, each of its fifty stars the heartbroken visage of a dead gorilla.

2 thoughts on “THE DAY THE APES LEARNED TO FEAR MAN

  1. Roberta

    I accidentally read this under the influence. All air of any coolness I was trying to exude for my partner in life dissolved into a fit of giggles so loud he stopped killing the enemy through his headphones and paused to ask if I was alright. I haven’t laughed like this in a very long while…thank you!

    Reply
    1. Robert Brockway Post author

      That must have been a rough one to try to explain.

      “It’s a guy writing fanfiction about the writing of the final act of the script from that movie Congo and…” you shrug. You give up.

      Reply

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