Tales From Earth:peta
Twat. One solitary, gratuitous word. I think I was worth more than that. But, when I woke up this morning, as is usual for most mornings, and made my way down to my unfitted de rigeur butcher-block-work-surfaced butler-sinked Aga-warmed scullery to find that note, that was its sum content. I think she’s left me.
I was explaining this to one of my colleagues in my lab earlier. She was a woman. She’d understand why Sophie would leave me, as for the life of me I can’t think of a logically sound reason myself. My colleague smiled thinly, politely, adopted an expression that spoke of her heartfelt sorrow riven with an undertone of what a sad fuck I was, and shuffled out respectfully.
Then he spoke. “I hope you don’t mind my intruding on this point, Liam, but I couldn’t help overhearing that you are having difficulties with an errant female?”
Now, as an intensely personal person, I was unsurprisingly annoyed and taken aback by this sudden display of rudeness. So I snapped.
“Okay. I see what kind of morning this is going to be. Firstly I get left by my girlfriend, who thinks I am a twat. Then I get abused temporally on the way to work by a phalanx of chuggers, who stole three days from my childhood and have left me with a horrific temporal scar so that my left leg is fifteen minutes ahead of my right, and now it seems that I’m to be offered agony advice by a Chimp.”
He grinned a toothy yellow grin at me through his cage, nonchantly unconcerned at his faux-pas. “Well, firstly”, he continued undaunted, “I’m not a Chimp. Do I look like a thieving Chimp to you? I tell you what, when I was a kid, my mother made it clear that she’d never even have scum like that in the house. If she heard you talking like that about me, she’d rip your intestines out with her bare feet".
The cunning bastard had put me on the defensive, with unsubtle accusations of racism. Again. He always does this. I offered insincerely, “My apologies to you and your mother.”
“Apology accepted. Now, Liam, if you’re having difficulty with your female, that’s something I can help you with".
I stared at him doubtfully.
“No, really”, he reassured, “what you need some form of proper conclusion to the doomed former relationship. Your woman has made off, and has given you four letters as a the sum or her assessment. You’re obviously a crap boyfriend, but what you need is to know exactly why you’re so wretched.”
I glared at him hurtfully.
“But that’s not going to happen, is it?” I pointed out.
“Well, it could do.”
“How?” I asked.
“We could try a little role-play.” He explained at length his idea, the upshot of which is that he would pretend to be Sophie, and ’she’ would tell me what she thought of me, as if dictating the letter she meant to write, rather than the four-letter postcard that she delivered. At the end, I would thank her for her letter, and we would part ways.
Now, this scheme has a number of flaws, not least that Sophie wasn’t a monkey, and this was basically an opportunity for him to insult me without interruption. But lacking a better idea, or any desire to work, I let him.
“Go ahead.”, I encouraged.
“You must not interrupt!” He looked deadly earnest.
He smiled, that same, yellowed grin, dripping with simian foetor.
“It comes, as we always suspected it would, to this.”, he began. “I’ve never outwardly shown my ambivalence toward you, but inwardly I have been a delicate vichyssoise of self-doubt and disgust.”
“You are a sweet, and slightly silly man. You were the least convincing, and yet paradoxically the most regarded of all my male boyfriends, and exude a homoerotic malignance and a certain animimalian charm.”
I looked at him and grinned. The monkey was being nice to me.
He resumed, “But enough of this praise. I started writing this letter for a reason. You must make allowances, Liam, reading this; I’m trying to focus my mind through a miasma of economy delicious vodka style drink, but reality has slapped my brain like the scrut against flap in the latter stages of Dutch porn.
He said nothing, and then, “I’m leaving you.” The evil monkey paused for joyous effect for several seconds.
“And, Liam, frankly I wouldn’t blame me. It would be all too easy to lay the blame at my recent incident with the Rugby Team, but as well you know, that was nothing more sinister than good sporting High Jinks. There have also been, as you also don’t need to be reminded, virtually countless numbers of times you have come home to find a local builder buried balls-deep in my rusty ditch while his best mate goes dairy over my pert breasts. But as I explained numerous times, these were nothing more than a sensible way to keep costs down in DIY.”
I scowled at him, and he could see I was becoming agitated. He stared at me to remind me I had promised not to interrupt, and held his hairy finger to his protruding lips.
“No, Liam.”, he continued, “Our relationship has failed due to your inability to measure up, not mine. You are a rubbish boyfriend.”
I squeaked in protest, but I didn’t speak.
He continued his tirade with obvious aplomb, “If I know you, Liam, you’re probably making spastic girly noises of protest at this point, like the tawdry little spork that you are. ‘Well’, you’re probably squawking pathetically, wretchedly, dismally, weakly through your feeble little larynx, ‘that’s not true, surely? I have a PhD in biochemistry, and I earn three times the national average salary squirting oleaginous toxins into the eyes of innocent mammals, and you get as many unsafe-by-EU-law prototype cosmetics as you can lay your eyes on. And in addition to which, I have a demonstrably above average penile profligacy, and have induced statistically more orgasms in you than any of your previous boyfriends. I have even proven this fact to you with a chart. Surely I am an ideal boyfriend?’”
I said nothing as I moved to the other side of my lab, and opened a cupboard. Inside were a number of oily phials, full of thixotropic unguents. I read through the clipboard laid underneath the phials, and selected sample 4.
The monkey continued, raising his voice slightly so I could hear, “But of course, we never had a satisfying sex life. You might think our relationship had a perfectly well-adjusted carnal element, but when the only way you could get it up was when I would dress up as my dad, and you as my mum, and we’d pretend to conceive me, we’ve got a problem. You claimed it was rather therapeutic and bathetic being present at the moment of my own conception. A nihilistic referential integrity. I say it merely proves that you are a twat.”
He stopped, clearly finished and looked at me, with an air of satisfaction, awaiting my response.
“Now you say ‘thank you’,” he reminded.
I moved round to the front of his cage, removed the cap from the phial in my hand, and squirted the contents into his left eye.