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Franklyn de Gashe – The Simian Entertainment

After several week of intensive work in my laboratories, I’d decided to take the afternoon off to imbibe sweet smoke and brandy. But after only an hour of dawdling in my drawing room I’d felt a need to have my buttocks more securely clasped and I adjourned to my club. Once there I swiftly re-seated myself in my favoured leather chair bounded by the great hearth on one side and the collected works of Alan Derriere on the other.

I was drifting into a pleasant insensibility when a hubbub ruffled the club‘s atmosphere. At best its members are a somnolent bunch and so anything breaching the murmur of private discourse sends a ripple through the smoky peace. I risked a peek. There was a clamour at the windows where the sunlight fluttered erratically, casting satanic shadows into the room. Engaged, despite my languor, I joined the group squawking by the window. I was halfway through a witty remark when the panes crashed inward, followed by black mass of panic.

And then the flying monkeys fell upon me. The air was filled with their angry whooping and fiendishly accurate faeces flinging. They were my greatest success and failure together in one terribly malformed hybridisation. I’d sought only to equip myself with the perfect manservant, companion and pet. I was surprised to find that once more, science had not done exactly as I asked.

Using my considerable powers of reasoning and mastery of the empirical method I had expended the majority of a local menagerie in my experiments. The only creatures that proved compatible were the humble barbary ape and the majestic goose. How my heart swelled as the brute barked, sneezed and immediately brewed a perfect cup of lemon tea. So flushed was I with triumph that I foresaw a brave new future of mankind and goose-ape ruling the earth hand in claw-wing.

After a short apprenticeship Mister Tribblings, for such I had be-monickered him, took to experimenting alone at night whilst I slept, supervised by the moon and the fitfully active medical waste I’d inserted into his expanded cranium. To my great sadness, the beast was afflicted with a melancholy whose bitterness he turned upon me, for reasons I struggle even now to grasp. For did not his fur and feathers almost grow together in a convivial manner? Even the wing grafts had eventually healed with a minimum of residual weeping and infection.

However, I was unaware of the animosity which grew every time I gently chucked him on his beaky chin or explained how all of his kin had died when I forgot to clean my knives. His nocturnal activities continued in secret until Mr Tribblings was ready to unleash the flapping horde which now plagued me.

The club members fought back with typical Britishness, tutting and brandishing a jumble-sale’s worth of weaponry at the squalling apes. For the most part this was unsuccessful. The gentlemen were soon overwhelmed by the superior wielding capacity of the winged monkeys. The intruders took advantage of their flight to equip both hands and feet with tools gleaned from the laboratory. The rate of damage to my priceless equipment was growing unacceptably, and the wall of leisurely fodder between the monkeys and me was shrinking alarmingly.

It was clear that I would be required to participate. With a view to such activity I finished my glass and extricated myself from beneath the bar-billiards table; immediately there came a howl of triumph, and Mr Tribblings himself flapped into view. I snatched up a cue, and offering a brief apology to the club’s sportsmaster – one Joshua Ballhugger (briefer still when I spotted his head gaping wordlessly on a futon), snapped it down across my knee. Realising my error, I unscrewed it instead. Favouring my bruised thigh, I stood with bipartite ball potter at the ready.

We duelled for a time, Mr Tribblings and I, as I batted away his brutish implements. The nail studded thighbone went first, followed by the footful of dermis penetrating needles. Using the ancient techniques taught to me by the monks of Alermo da Quim I battered the monkey into the baise, and used the shredded cues to fire the billiards rapidly at his skull, stunning the treacherous ape.

With a drooling-level impairment in place I mounted the brutish renegade and took a firm grip of his wings. Mr Tribblings lurched beneath me as I tried to control him with my thighs squeezed tightly about his chest. Somehow he lurched into drunken flight, careening off the bookshelves and light fittings. I managed to wrench one of his wings free of its sutures and the flight ended abruptly, as the halfwinged ape crashed into a gramophone, the winding handle puncturing his jaw.

At first I thought him dead, but his angry rambling continued, accompanied by the mournful yawing of a slow-turning gramophone record. The very action of his jaw was engaging the device’s machinery, and the more enraged his denunciations the faster the handle ground round and the more manic the tune. The rest of the hybrids were easily subdued once they’d finished savaging the more elderly club members.

Mr Tribbling’s evil plan had been foiled, and the club had a new attraction: the mono-winged ape was installed in a cage on the ground floor and wound up by passers-by to produce the unholy music and accompanying spasms which so entertained them. In time Mr Tribbling’s reluctant contribution to the club’s funds outweighed the damage his creatures had wrought. He died shortly afterward from a combination of sepsis and brass poisoning. His bones (with gramophone intact) now occupy a display case in the club’s museum. He was the monkey who ground his own organ.

Franklyn de Gashe

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