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"Explaining The Monkey"

I recently wrote a little story titled “The Monkey in the Corner”.
* For reference, I am placing it at the bottom of this page.
Like life itself,
the tale lacks a good ending
and has hardly any plot.
This goes against the rules of good fiction.
In our ignorance,
Misty and I got some good laughs out of it,
before we realized it was flawed.
The bulk of the trouble was caused by the appearance of a monkey
in what was meant to be a serious commentary on psychiatry.
I’m sorry about it,
and, by way of atonement, I will admit this:
It wasn’t my fault.
That monkey had no business in this story,
and I’m not sure how he got there.
He does seem familiar.
I think he’s from a monkey story I wrote some time back.
I let him stay in because he didn’t have any lines,
but I won’t make that mistake again.
Then again...
sometimes in life
we just need a monkey.
Jack Blanchard

The patient, Mr. Blanchard,
droned on from the psychiatrists couch:
“...the voice in my mind keeps repeating
It’s very annoying... and sometimes it
gets on a song...
always a song I hate...It just...”
Doctor Barney popped out of his semi doze:
“You hear voices in your head?”
“Oh, not schizophrenic voices”, said the
“Just my normal internal monologue.”
“Yeah, right. Normal”, thought the shrink,
in his own thought voice,
which was being sarcastic.
That’s when the good doctor saw the monkey
in the corner.
At first it looked like a shadow from the
potted palmetto,
but then he saw that it was clearly a
and it was looking back at him.
Mr. Blanchard was still rambling away in
that whiny monotone
that made psychiatrists demand the big
but Dr. Barney’s attention was on the
new wildlife
that had somehow gotten into his office.
His own inner voice was busy:
“Could I be hallucinating?
Do doctors do that?
Should I call Animal Control
or check myself into the squirrel college?”
The monkey rolled back his lips
and tossed the doctor a grotesque grin.
The doctor said to the patient,
“Mr. Blanchard, I want you to sit up now.
That’s it. Sit straight up and look around
the room.
Now, tell me what you see”
“Well,” said the patient,
“I see a nice, well-decorated office,
and a beautiful sunny day through the
I get it! You’re absolutely right!
I should be happy! I can CHOOSE to be
I can turn my back on petty annoyances,
hold my head up high,
and take my rightful place in society!
Thank you, doc. You’re a genius!
I guess I won’t be coming back.”
And he left, closing the door behind him.
Dr. Barney and the monkey both looked
at the door.
Mrs. Finch, the receptionist,
noting that the patient was leaving before
the hour was up said,
“Is everything all right, Mr. Blanchard?”
He said:
“I didn’t mention the monkey.”
She said:
“Thank you.”

Copyright © March 16, 2005, Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission.


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