"Don't Hurt the Primate!"

Once upon a time in the peaceful village of Gutwrench, NC, there lived an ape. This ape was indeed loved by all the villagers. They fed the ape goodies like bananas, apples, corn, pomergranites, real granite, toothpaste, shoe-polish, mucus, blood, fish, fishhooks, hemlock, cyanide and leftovers from the Rocky flats cafe. The ape loved it all - actually, that isn't quite true. The villagers had the ape tied down at the foot of the local landfill and groups of people who would have otherwise died from terminal ennui would stop by for a chat and maybe, if it was sunny, stuff a dead poodle into the ape's maw. This required propping the ape's jaw open with crowbars, which were manned by Jim Dungshank and Marty Headfester, paid employees of the county.

This is a love story about Dungshank, Headfester and the Ape, whose name has been withheld to protect the innocent.

Chapter 1

A light summer breeze drifted slowly through the trees, caressing the morning dew on the leaves. A butterfly flitted from flower to flower living its life completely oblivious to the bat swooping down for a midnight snack before its bedtime.

"Whoo! Didya see that there bat et that butterfly? Hot damn that wuz quick!" said Dungshank to Headfester. Headfester simply nodded in reply and leaned a little farther back on his broken down chair.

"Shore Did." belched Headfester.

"Ya know, sometimes it gets real lonely out here, with no-one to talk to but you." said Dungshank, "I feel like I could use a little uh, companionship to pass the time."

"I know what ya mean, urp!" said Headfester. "That darned ape sure has a purty figure, too, if ya look at it roght." The men looked down at the ape, spread-eagled and tied down to four stakes. Its eyes rolled up and looked at them. The men stared at the ape with glazed eyes while the sun passed from the east, overhead, and then down in the west. Dungshank and Headfester went their separate ways home, each thinking "Boy, those rolls of fat on that ape shore don't stick out very far."

Chapter 2

The next morning, both men were resumed their staring at the ape. The feeble attempts at conversation that they had uttered everyday for that past 15 years were not uttered this day. Feelings of lust and jealousy overcame the feelings of friendship and civility that otherwise pervaded the two men's relationship. This speechlessnext went on for months - each man wishing the other man would call in sick so that he would have a moment along with the ape. But, because both men were jealous that the other might jump at this sort of chance, each came to work even when they were sick.

Chapter 3

As it was bound to happen, one of the men became incapacitated on the job. A crowbar slipped from the Ape's mouth and speared Headfester in the foot. The infection was instantanious. Dungshank took Headfester to the hospital two hours away, and then came back. At last he was alone with the ape. He grinned and began rubbing his.... palms together. Suddenly, a crowd appeared over the hill, marching with banners and signs saying "Don't hurt the Primate." Dungshank watched dumbfounded as the leader of the group strolled up to him and handed him a card:

Don P. Winky

Animal Rights, Inc.

The group freed the ape and strolled back over the hill. Dungshank realized that not only was he now lacking in the possibility for "companionship", he had also just lost his job. A hospital courier arrived and announced that Headfester had died shortly after his arrival to the hospital. Turned out he had malignant cancer in his brain, and the foot injury just happened to be too much for him.

As for the Ape, he began dating a cute banana salesman in New Jersey and they lived happily ever after.