Monkey by Bader A. Shehab

I wondered what could be more beautiful, the sun’s eclipse evading the edge of my atmospheric-pressurized cabin glass pane or bananas dangling basking in the warm tropical wind ripening awaiting my taste buds to blend into their flesh. Food is all I thought about aboard this spacecraft, some American assholes thought it was a good idea to capture my tribe and I for a series of experiments that were supposed to test our knowledge. Then “space orbit, capsules and launches” came up in their talks, I was one of a few candidates alongside my other cousins who were picked for this space launch mission, I remembered my cousin Jacob who protested “These humans are fucking nuts! They wanna send us thousands of miles above Earth where there are no bananas! In atmospheric orbital capsules and crash us back into the ocean as landing?! Fuck no dude; I’m not doing those stupid tests!”

Then it was four year old Charlie, “Dude! I miss Madagascar and checking out them baboon girls’ butts, hmmm…”

“Shut up Charlie, that’s all you care about! Besides, you’re just four what do you know about baboon girls, stupid kid!” replied Jacob, then from one of the shadowy corners of our congested quarters, out comes the tribe elder, Godfrey, chewing on crayons and toilet paper.

“Quite! All of you, stop whining like Orangutans. We’re all on the same boat and at the end of this forced journey one of us has to go!” he spoke with wisdom which grasped everyone’s attention, “I say we must elect one of us as guinea chimp for humans and their space thingy…”
“And how do we do that? Nobody is willing to go…” Jacob fired back disrespectfully, but I interrupted the serious silence, “I’ll do it, no need for election, I’ll go up there” in nervous hesitation I couldn’t stand straight and for a full minute there was dead silence, followed by cheers and chants of my name.

“Ham, Ham, Ham!” They all sounded under one voice, but for the humans it was a nuisance to their ears. A plan was devised by the tribe elder, Godfrey, for me to be first picked by the humans, simple and straightforward; everyone was to play dumb as shit in the human tests, fix puzzles wrongly, throw banana peels at humans, headstand on a chair instead of sit and, my personal favorite, urinate all over their equipment and science props. Jacob one time actually took a shit all over the leather furniture at one of their test rooms. It was an all-out frenzy and, needless to say, I was immediately picked among the final candidates for the space mission. For some odd reason humans think these exercises they give us are ‘difficult’, but really they’re not. Who are they kidding? I mean, if we only spoke the same language we could’ve been living and working side by side, but oh well. This last experiment was rather childish, then I overheard my name being called out multiple times behind the glass windows and in the next twenty-four hours I was the final candidate handpicked for the space launch.

I was strapped in tight into a life-sized capsule-pod thingy, with a metallic solid around my head strapped to my chin in a loose belt. I was not comfortable to say the least, but not nervous at the same time. I knew it was launch hour as the hatch closed and I could hear the roar of the rockets heating and the smell of liquid Nitrogen leaking, suddenly I felt my heart beats speed up and my butt was itching, but I couldn’t reach it because of the seatbelt. Before I knew it, the countdown was descending to zero and thousands of tons of pressure forced me into my seat, dug in and all of sudden I’m upside down while the rocket pushed the capsule at a rate of hundreds of feet per second. Earth looked much smaller, okay, a lot smaller I could fit it between my fingertips. I felt the rockets disembark and it was only myself and the capsule at the mercy of space, we were being sucked into Earth’s gravity, and the orbiting commenced, “I’m the first animal in space” I remember thinking, eyeing once more the majestic beauty of the sun’s rays penetrating this thick glass window pane or the Earth’s white, blue, green and land’s browns dancing in a never ending symphony to its tilt, its oval beautiful tilt. If it was one moment I pictured in this whole journey, it was that sight of Africa, something of the continent’s shape and outline that captured my eyes the most; I knew my home was down there, but where exactly? I didn’t know. I wished I could have steered this capsule into its direction but it was pre-programmed to crash into the Pacific as I overheard them humans say in pre-launch briefing. Tears washed my eyes as I passed this beautiful piece of land once more, once our orbit was over the capsule expectedly descended and deployed atmospheric chutes over the pacific, immediately I was met by the United States Navy; there were boats, helicopters and even press aboard the ship, I became instantly famous and somewhat of a celebrity, but, it was all at the cost of my dear Madagascar.

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