by Allison Spector
They say enough monkeys with enough typewriters will recreate the works of Shakespeare. But that’s not why I’m here. I ain’t that kind of primate. The pay in the writer racket is terrible—and fuck it anyhow, I’ll leave the humanities to the humans.
The reason why I’m cooped up in this filthy safe house with nothing to drink but bottom shelf vodka is cause I’m a cheeky little monkey, and more curious than George. That curiosity and an uncommon high IQ earned me a gig as a cosmonaut back in the early ’90s. I was the last furry bastard to take a trip into the black. I was also the only one to improve upon the orbital maneuvering system and take a joyride while I was up there. After the USSR’s collapse, I was passed around like a cheap cigar from one defunct official to the next, though they mostly saw me as a mascot—a fuzzy souvenir. They never understood what a glorious little motherfucker I really was.
What scares the shit out of me is that these guys do.
“Vesta! What the fuck you doing?” the fat man with the sweaty, red face asks as he ripples towards me. “We got you a goddamned Hermes 3000 typewriter—a classic—to give us something worth what we paid for you. And all you type is ‘more vodka.’ You think this is Club Med or something?”
I raise my bottle of Kulov in my left paw and a furry middle finger to go along with it. Boris Badass replies with a punch that lands so hard I’m launched into space all over again—but only for a moment.
“We ain’t playing, you little shit-thrower,” my pal continues, in Russian this time. “You’ve been around some of the premier scientists, spooks, engineers and ex-pats in the Old Country. We know it was you that took the Aleksandra for a joyride. We know you have an IQ higher than most of the eggheads you worked with. You gotta have something we can use to get ahead. I’m not expecting a nuclear bomb, but a good rocket fuel recipe might keep us from sending you to a cosmetics lab.”
Rocket fuel recipe. These guys are pure bloody amateurs.
I raise my hand to my face and a sliver of blood rubs off on the back of my paw. My head hurts like a motherfucker, and for once it isn’t from the Kulov. I stare at the Hermes 3000 and take a swig of my Russian mother’s milk. I should hate this bastard, but for some reason I can’t. Maybe it’s the Stockholm Syndrome, or the booze, or the desire to show off, but I feel the hubris rising in my chest—the desire to impress—the desire to be loved.
“Nuclear is child’s play, Comrade” I type on the shiny vintage keyboard, “I also got Granny Stalin’s finest meth recipe and a dozen launch codes.” I offer a quick spec sheet on a dirty bomb, my furry little fingers flying at breakneck pace.
Then I type the punchline. Five magic words. “But what’s in it for me?”
Boris’s face takes on a strange expression. “What’s in it for you? You ask me what’s in it for you?” He reaches a meaty hand around my neck, and for a moment I think I’m done for. Instead he slaps me approvingly on the shoulder and pats my cheek. “You got real balls, Vesta. I like that. We’re just humble businessmen, little fella, but one day we’ll be kings. When that happens, you’ll be King of the Motherfucking Monkeys.”
“Queen,” I type in reply.
“I’m a girl monkey.”
“Oh,” Boris says blankly. “Shouldn’t have punched a girl. Sorry about that.”
I shrug. “Being queen might help me forget,” I type, “but I’ll expect to be paid cash money for my contribution. And I want my own mooks.”
“Eh, why the fuck not,” Boris decides, extending his hand to shake. “You give us half that shit you just mentioned and you got yourself a deal.”
They say enough monkeys with typewriters will recreate the works of Shakespeare. Me? I’m about to rule the motherfucking world.