I thought I’d get a monkey soon after The Thing That Was Done To Me. It felt right, like I could prove I can be in charge of something. I called my mom and told her I was thinking of getting a pet.
“Okay Cass, let me go, I’ve got a hot pocket in the toaster oven.” I don’t know if she didn’t understand me, or she just didn’t care, or if there is a difference.
I don’t have a baby: I don’t want to be a mom. Or a cat: too selfish. Or a bird: too much singing and cheerfulness. Or a dog: too much walking and playing and training. A monkey though, small and humanlike, in a cage limiting evidence of its being to a finite area in my room. It would wait for me and I might come home and feed it right away or I might be late and it would be left hungry, in need, at the mercy of me.
I wasn’t sure how to get a monkey. Google said I could buy one if I lived in DC. I wasn’t opposed to moving – the family downstairs consists of eight hundred yelling children – but DC is kind of scary sounding. All those politics and so forth. But—and this was the bigger issue, if I’m honest—Google also said a monkey would cost four thousand dollars. Four. Thousand. Dollars. It would take me years to save that just to be able to stand over something small. The Man Responsible For The Thing That Was Done To Me didn’t have to wait.
But I haven’t given up on the idea of a monkey.
Originally from England, Jo now lives outside New York City. She is the assistant editor at X-R-A-Y Literary Magazine. Her short stories and creative nonfiction have recently appeared, or are forthcoming, in Okay Donkey, Ellipsis Zine, Pithead Chapel, The Coachella Review and others. Jo is a 2021 Pushcart Prize nominee, has been a writer in residence at L'Atelier Writers for two years, and is studying for her MFA. She can be found on twitter @jovarnish1. Image: Edward, Prince of Wales, with Monkey, Hans Holbein the Younger, 1541