Plastic Monkeys and Ham Monsters

“If I were a plastic monkey”, he said, “I’d be fantastic. I mean really amazing.”

“I’m not sure I understand,” I said.

“Well,” he said, “I have the advantage of having seen plastic monkeys from an objective position.  I’ve got a connoisseur’s sense of what’s good in the plastic monkey scene.  Plastic monkeys, they just don’t have this sense of self-awareness anymore. I’d be sensational.”

“You’d really change the game”, I said.


“You know what I’d like to be?” I asked.


“A ham monster”, I said.

“Ahh,” he replied.

What were ham monsters like, I wondered.  Kind of savory, a little salty. Never hungry though, monsters made of ready to eat food shouldn’t require it.  That could inspire high levels of cannibalism, which is rarely an evolutionary advantage for a species.  Even ham monsters.  No, I think ham monsters would require little feeding if any.  They would stand six feet tall and eighteen feet wide like giant sandwiches with small amounts of ham dangling deliciously from each of their sides.  I told my friend this.

“What if they’re into food, just not ham”, he said.  “Maybe they’re vegetarian.”

I spent the next few moments thinking about vegetarian ham monsters nibbling away at stray pieces of lettuce that dangle next to the ham excess on their sides.  Ham monster love handles.  And then I thought about my friend as a plastic monkey.  He was right of course, he would make a fantastic plastic monkey.  Just what variety plastic monkey he’d become, well, that’s tough to say.  When one changes gender, there are relatively few choices.  When one changes into a plastic monkey, there is a world of variety.  Think for a moment about every plastic monkey you’ve ever encountered in you’re life.  At first you might think, “What plastic monkeys? What are you talking about?”  After some thought, however, you start thinking about the little plastic monkey you saw the other day on somebody’s trinket shelf, the King-Kong toy you had as a child, suddenly your mind is awash in a sea of plastic monkeys.  Plastic monkeys you’ve never even thought of or seen before start creeping into your thoughts.  That’s the thing about plastic monkeys, just because a variety doesn’t exist doesn’t mean it can’t or won’t.  The possibilities are endless.  Your only limit to what type of plastic monkey you might become is your own ability to imagine a suitable plastic monkey type.  Those with poor imaginations should avoid life as plastic monkeys.

I thought next of a world in which plastic monkeys freely interacted with ham monsters.  They would start as friends.  Neighbors, even.  I see it unfolding like this: 

Efferstein Sandalam the ham monster wakes up in the morning, makes a pot of coffee, brings a cup to his lovely wife Janice Sandalam and walks out to get the paper.  While getting the paper he sees Ellerfonsi Yertanza, the plastic monkey.  Plastic monkeys being much less mobile than ham monsters Mr. Yertanza has been getting his paper for the last half hour. 

“Hey there Mr. Yertanza”, Sandalam says cordially, “Beautiful morning”.

Yertanza, consumed by the difficult task of animation and not being blessed with the power of speech – or a mouth – is only able to manage a slight plastic grunt.

“Those plastic monkeys are so rude”, Sandalam says to his wife later, “They never even say hello”. 

This event and others like it get under Sandalam’s skin and he begins to harbor a general distrust of plastic monkeys.  Then come the meetings.  Large collections of ham monsters get together in the basement of the local Disabled Veteran Ham Monster Association building.  There is coffee and stale doughnuts and talk of how to deal with this problem of plastic monkey hostility.

“They never even say hello”, Sandalam says. 

“Yeah!” Ted Johnson yells.

 “Right on!” Sam Patterson contributes.

They decide something must be done, but just what is unsure.  After the meeting, the rest of the ham monsters also discuss Efferstein Sandalam’s odd name. 

“I think he’s Pakistani”, one says.

 “No, I heard his mom was a corned beef on rye though”, another adds.

 “Jewish?” Several whisper at once.

 “I’m just telling you what I heard”.

Across town there’s another meeting, this one at the Boy Plastic Monkey Scouts of America building.  Only the plastic monkeys with voice boxes speak while the rest communicate with a complex system of foot shuffling developed in a think tank somewhere underneath Arizona.

Yertanza shuffles his feet and the lead translator says, “Mr. Yertanza wishes to point out the danger inherent in the growing hostility towards our people amongst the ham monsters”.  There is a mass shuffling of feet.

“Alright, alright!” the lead plastic monkey, Speaker Jeffery Konzi says, “Lets try to speak one at a time here”.

The plastic monkeys are frightened.  They have seen this anger growing in the ham monster community.  They consider the ham monsters brutish and unsophisticated and are very concerned that the ham monsters will soon become violent.  A consensus is reached that a preemptive strike against the ham monster community is necessary.

“We are at a supreme disadvantage physically against these monsters of ham”, Konzi says using the currently PC “monster first” language, “We must strike before they do or we will be wiped out”.

That night there is a string of explosions all over town.  Ham monster homes and businesses are engulfed in flames.  The ham monsters are devastated as the burned bodies of fallen ham monsters are pulled from the cinders in the following morning.  Predictably the plastic monkeys are nowhere to be found.  They have bunkered themselves in at their meeting site.  Angry and desperate the surviving ham monsters march towards the plastic monkey site burning every plastic monkey owned home and business they encounter along the way.  When they reach the Boy Plastic Monkey Scouts Building they start throwing malotov cocktails and bricks through the windows until the plastic monkeys inside are forced into the parking lot.  Carrying rifles, they exit the building shooting.  A life or death struggle ensues and when the dust settles only one ham monster and one plastic monkey are left.  Both badly injured Efferstein Sandalam and Ellerfonsi Yertanza exchange bewildered glances before finally engaging in hand to hand combat.                        

“I don’t think you should be a plastic monkey.” I said. “I don’t want to be a ham monster anymore either. It would be a shame to ruin such a nice friendship”.


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