Just a story I wrote, once upon a time. Feel free to ignore. Peace, love and soul, all that jazz. -V (+W)
THE MONKEYS WHO BUILT THE WORLD
by Kevin Reid
Humans have, over the course of their existence as a species, built a great many things on this Earth. They have built homes for themselves and their loved ones. They have built temples and places of worship, pyramids and statues of marble and stone. They have built mini-malls and megaplexes, skyscrapers and substations, baseball diamonds and geodesic domes. They have built weather tracking stations in the dead cold of the Arctic, and emergency fallout shelters in the stone hearts of mountains. Oil drilling platforms treading the crashing ocean waves, towers of glass and steel that touch the clouds, telescopic observatories that reveal the secrets of distant stars, and power generating plants whose unleashed fury could rend the ground asunder. They have even begun building in the airless skies above the world, all the while continuing nonstop with their efforts on the surface below.
Humans are indeed a species with a passion for building, and there is a reason for this. It begins long, long ago, in the days before the world was made. It begins with God, the great creator, and his plans for this wondrous Earth. And perhaps most importantly, it begins with monkeys.
You see, in the beginning there was nothing. Except God, of course, who said ‘Let there be light’, and so there was light. Then he created the heavens, and the Earth, only that last part wasn’t so easy. ‘To help him with this monumental task, God first created the monkeys.
The monkeys were very smart little mortal creatures, with hands, and feet, and long nimble tails. To the monkeys God gave the glorious honour of building his Earth, which would be their home. Earth would be home to many other animals as well, but none of them besides the monkeys were involved in the actual construction. The monkeys worked many long years, building the great planet from the core up, to the crust and mantle, then covering that with rock, soil and lots and lots of water. Then they added other things, like trees and volcanoes, islands, geysers, whirlpools, coral reefs, icebergs, pretty much everything you could think of. The monkeys were hard little workers, and God was very pleased with their diligence.
Now, the monkeys weren’t performing all this grand labour out of simple goodwill. No, they had undertaken this project, with its centuries upon centuries of backbreak and sweat, on the specific understanding that, upon completion of this place called Earth, the monkeys would be rewarded with a very special place in the scheme of things there. They would become the dominant species, a singular prize they were clever enough to secure beforehand by forging a lengthy contract with God, ensuring their supremacy in this new land. Safe in this knowledge, the monkeys built God’s green Earth, and prepared to settle into their new roles and rest after their long labours, nestled contentedly at the top of the food chain.
But clever though the monkeys were, contracts were not their speciality. And in their legal short-sightedness, they very unfortunately missed something extremely important buried in line 314 of their divine agreement: the evolution clause.
It was using this finely worded loophole that, shortly before the final finishing touches were put upon the last blades of grass, and the Sun’s batteries were almost fully charged and ready to shine bright for several thousand millennia, that God unveiled his latest creation. He called them Humanity.
These new animals, these Humans were amazing creatures, superior to the monkeys in almost every measurable sense (although no good explanation for a lack of a prehensile tail has ever been offered). And as the new Earth was born, God revealed the truth to the monkeys that the Humans, not they, would rule there.
The monkeys were, naturally, devastated. Feeling slighted and betrayed, they banded together to contemplate how they might revenge themselves for this grand snubbing. After much deliberation, their course of action was agreed upon:
‘We built this Earth,’, the monkeys declared, ‘Now, we shall UN-build it.’
Thus began the monkeys daring scheme as they set about the task of unravelling this world they had laboured so long to create. They started taking the leaves off the trees, they tore off the bark, uprooted the stumps. Coral was yanked from the reefs and banks, hydrogen was violently pulled out of the water and it hissed away into the ether. Mountains became hills, rolling valleys turned to pastures, oceans became lakes. The work was slow, but it was steady. The Earth was in danger.
God saw this trouble below, and fretted. Though he was angry, he also understood the reasons behind the monkeys terrorism, and could not bring himself to destroy them. Instead, he hit upon a subtler solution. As he deposited his new, human race onto the Earth, he bestowed unto them one final gift: a deep-rooted desire to build. This way, He reasoned, the humans would unknowingly fix the damage done by the monkeys, and he was right. For as fast as the monkeys unbuilt, their replacements could always build that much faster. Before long their sabotage was not only erased, but had been so built over you could scarcely tell they had even tried. They worked for a time at stepping up their efforts, but the humans were simply too prolific, their construction too expansive to counter. Eventually the monkeys just gave up, reluctantly accepting their demotion and skulking away to the trees, as far away from the ever-building man as they could manage.
Today, the building continues. Humanity still rules the Earth, but the monkeys are no longer quite so bitter as they once were about it. For as they watch the humans from their treetop homes or jungle habitats, or even from zoos and cages that the humans have built for them, the monkeys have noticed something quite interesting.
You see, without the monkeys and their unbuilding efforts to counter them, the obsessive building of the humans has started to become somewhat of a problem. No longer held in any check, the new dominant species has managed to cause significant damage to the world the monkeys built. Oceans are befouled, lands poisoned, the very glory of the world itself paved over, and then built over that, and so on, and so on. And while God watches all of this unending building with a terrible, growing worry, the monkeys merely watch and laugh.
‘Perhaps,’ the monkeys chuckle to themselves from their homes in the trees, ‘…we shall have our revenge after all.’
I like your irreverent twist on the creation (and perhaps inevitable destruction) of humankind!
Thank you, lady Nadine. I seem to remember writing this right after the birth of my first niece….I guess it’s my idea of a children’s story.