A Radioactive Monkey

by Chuck Wendig

“Just drink it,” she said.

Slow night. Snow and sleet came down like slushy piss. The bar was empty but for him and her. But this is where Jonny Stoops found himself, night after night, no matter the weather.

It wasn’t for the drinks. It was for her.

“It’s on the house,” Miranda said.

She slid a highball glass toward him. The liquid within was brown, but not the amber-brown of a good scotch. This was mud brown. Grossly turbid. Like stirred-up pondwater.

Though, it did smell sweet.

“That doesn’t look so good,” he said.

She giggled. “Jon –“

“Jonny.”

“Jonny, listen, you come in here every night, all by your little lonesome, and you sit across the bar and you talk to me. If I’m off pouring drinks, you watch me. I’ve been here for three months, and I’ve seen you here every night. You like me. I know you like me.”

“No, c’mon, I’m just a drunk –“

“You’re not a drunk. You barely touch your drinks.”

She was right, but what was he supposed to say? He couldn’t tell her that he was just passing by outside, saw her inside pouring beer from the tap, when something clicked inside of him. His heart thumped like jungle drums, his blood shrieked in his ears, a wild sound. He had to come inside, had to talk to her, had to be near her.

“You’re a sweet guy,” she said. “I like sweet guys. There’s something between us. Something animal.”

“I do like you.”

“So drink the drink, do me that favor. Maybe if you drink it, I’ll give you a little kiss.”

“A little one?”

“Just drink it.”

He narrowed his eyes to slits, imagined kissing her.

His mouth was wet. His pulse stuttered.

“What’s in it?” he asked. It smelled like bananas and something else.

“Not telling. I call it a Radioactive Monkey.”

“Cute.”

“I know.”

Hand curled around the glass, he pictured her naked. Feeding him the drink. Licking his ear. Hot breath. Rough tongue.

He shuddered, then slugged back the drink.

It tasted like cold, runny dogshit mixed with a mouthful of blood.

With a hint of banana.

She reached in and kissed him on his forehead (the lips, the lips! some small part of him shrieked), and then–

•••

He awoke, tied to a bed that was not his own. He was naked, a tangle of sheets cast haphazardly across his thighs.

His erection stood strong and sore. It throbbed; a hammer-struck thumb.

He couldn’t remember a thing.

In the half-darkness, he saw Miranda sitting in the corner on a rocking chair. He heard something move off to his right, but his neck and head hurt. What felt like a hangover hung from his brain like a swaying boat anchor.

Miranda was stroking her belly.

“Your seed took,” she said. She sounded… satisfied.

“Okay,” he said, his voice groggy and slurred. He tried to concentrate, tried to remember, but things just weren’t coming together.

“I’m going to have your baby.”

“I’m not ready to be a father,” was the only thing he could think to say. Did her arms look different? Darker? Her breasts, too, seemed cast in the same shadow. A shadow with lines, with texture.

“No worries, I don’t need you. They don’t need you.”

“Good.” His head was swimming.

“But my other babies do.”

Babies?

Something shuffled, off to his left.

She cooed: “My little monkey babies.”

Shapes began moving, converging at the foot of the bed. At first he saw only two, but more moved out of the periphery and into sight.

Children.

No—his mind railed. Chimpanzees. Or something like them. Chimpanzees weren’t monkeys, were they?

He couldn’t believe he was thinking about this.

Primates, he thought. They’re all primates.

They came into the meager light.

One’s eye hung from the socket on a glistening tendon.

Another had a long tongue, forked; it flicked the air beneath a piggish, thuggish nose and a pair of human eyes.

One climbed onto the bed, using the rope around his foot as a hand-hold. He saw its teeth, sharp and pointed. Lips curled back over yellow fangs.

“They’re hungry,” she said, just as the toothy one clamped its mouth on the inside of Jonny’s thigh. He felt little pain, only numbness, but could feel the warm splash of blood running down and wetting the sheets.

More clambered atop him. Broken monkeys: wild eyes and many limbs.

One bit off his ear.

Then some fingers.

A third–or fifth, or seventh–took a mouthful of his pectoral, sucking the man-breast into its mouth like a whole scoop of ice-cream, the nipple as the cherry.

“Feed, my little radioactive monkeys,” Miranda hissed from across the room. “Feed.

And as she moved closer, he saw her chest and arms were covered with a dense hair. She grunted something, and in her eyes he saw something wild, something primitive. Something animal.

Then they ate his eyes, and that was the end of that.

© Chuck Wendig 2009

 
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