Matthew Dexter


Woke up in the goddamn monkey cage again. Nothing ever changes, every Sunday is the same: sunlight streaming between rusty bars, my life with little meaning. Dreaming of the days before I bought a baby guerrilla from Craigslist for fourteen dollars.

“Is there something wrong with it?” I had asked.

“Oh no—of course not—heavens no,” the hippie said.

“But fourteen dollars?”

“Oh, we could sell them to the zoo for much more, but we’re not doing this for money.”

I contemplated the woman’s hair--compared it with the warm monkey fur: dirty dreadlocks; reeking of patchouli oil, marijuana, monkey feces. I wondered about the misspelling. There was a fluorescent mini-dictionary with withered pages and an open rubber cover on the wicker table of her front porch. Thought it a typo and didn’t want to be rude.

“Well, I’ve always wanted a baby gorilla.”

And I always had. Until he grew larger and murdered my husband. Ate his arm off when I was at Safeway. Couldn’t believe George’s curious screams as I opened the door and found him pinned to the wall by the beast.

“Zephyr—let him go! Oh baby, what have you done?”

The arm rested on the Das Kapital: Kritik der politischen Ökonomie book; bloody stump with clenched fingers; an appendage of a demented accident. I jumped on my monkey as he ate flesh from my husband’s neck. Kissed the guerrilla’s skull while he ripped the t-shirt with the Guerrillero Heroico iconic photo of “Che" Guevara from his hairy chest like the Incredible Hulk. Sang lullabies into his soft ears until he dropped George on the carpet—husband no more, monkey my only companion.

There was nothing I could do; George had no pulse. Zephyr locked himself in his cage after the accident and cried for days, covered his eyes with padded palms, refused to dine with me. So I buried the deceased in the backyard, cleaned up the mess.

George always warned me about “that goddamn guerrilla.” Thought I kept it in its cage all day, but every morning when he left for work Zephyr and I would jump in the shower, wash each other, then eat brunch. Once we began living alone—without George—we were free to come and go as we pleased. I rarely locked him in his cage.

We would drink two bottles of cabernet sauvignon, eat filet mignon with lobsters on Saturdays, read Soldier of Fortune. We would pray for George together on Sunday morning with the evangelicals on television. Zephyr showed remorse, often shed tears after praying.

But lately things have gotten crazy. Drinking five—sometimes six—bottles of merlot, we braid each other’s hair, smoke Cuban cigars, watch Sandra Bullock movies, documentaries about El Che. Get so wasted I pass out on the couch and the guerrilla carries me to his cage, locks me inside, and disappears into the master bedroom. There he sits in the massage chair from Sharper Image and masturbates into my body pillow and the tattered revolutionary remnants of the t-shirt from the massacre. He comes back with a guilty look on his face, unlocks me around noon.

I’ve learned my lesson. No more drinking. No more suspicions. Last night a home pregnancy test confirmed that we’re going to have a baby. So here I sit waiting for Zephyr. If you see him, please tell him I’m still here, not angry, but praying for George, waiting for brunch, a bottle of water, two Tylenols, a Cuban cigar.


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