451. The Sordid Story of My Typewriter Monkeys

For nearly five years, I have run this blog with the reluctant help of a dozen typewriter monkeys. What exactly, you ask, is a typewriter monkey? It’s a monkey with a typewriter, of course. They aren’t the best assistants, but my monkeys were cheaper than hiring a secretary, so here we are.

Some time ago, one of my readers expressed interest in learning more about my monkeys. His comment made me realize how little I knew about them. In fact, all I knew for sure was that they liked setting stuff on fire. I was a bit nervous to dig any deeper.

Typewriter monkeys (1 of 2)

The monkey on the right looks a bit like Hunter S. Thompson, which is completely appropriate: “fear and loathing” is a phrase often used in describing my monkeys.

All the same, I feel I owe my readers some answers, so I recently did some research into my monkeys’ sordid past. What I found was… not surprising, actually. I found not solid facts, but a patchwork of dark hints and sinister rumors. How many are true? I don’t know, and I would rather not. I can sleep at night not knowing.

Here at last, dear reader, is the story of my typewriter monkeys. Here is the shameful tale of Sophia, Socrates, Plato, Hera, Penelope, Aristotle, Apollo, Euripides, Icarus, Athena, Phoebe, and Aquila. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Typewriter monkeys (2 of 2)

Here my monkeys are “fixing” a typewriter. May it rest in peace.

(In case anyone is interested, here’s the true story behind my typewriter monkeys. It isn’t nearly as interesting as the made-up one.)

I bought my typewriter monkeys on Amazon.com back in 2011 from a company called Press Paws, Inc. (It seemed like a good idea at the time.) It didn’t take me long to realize my mistake, but when I tried to contact the seller, it remained mysteriously out of reach. I didn’t pursue the matter any further at the time; I was too busy putting out fires and mopping up puddles of typewriter ink.

More recent attempts to locate Press Paws led me nowhere. However, after digging around some of the darker corners of the Internet, I stumbled upon a man who claimed to have known my monkeys before Press Paws acquired them.

This man requested anonymity, so I’ll call him Socrates. He claimed to have worked as a janitor for Tough Nut, a high-security wildlife refuge “somewhere in the Amazon.” (I assume he meant the geographical area, not the online store.) According to Socrates, Tough Nut is where conservationists send the wildlife too, um, wild to be kept anywhere else.

Of all the animals living in Tough Nut, none were tougher (or nuttier) than the twelve monkeys known as the Dirty Dozen. They came from all corners of the world. None of the staff at Tough Nut knew much about them, but there were plenty of rumors.

One of the monkeys was rumored to be el Bandido Peludo de Sonora, a legendary outlaw who terrorized tourists to Mexico’s Sonora state. He was notorious for never actually holstering his weapon, keeping a banana in the holster instead.

Another member of the Dirty Dozen had once belonged to Somali pirates. Another was once a pickpocket in Mumbai, and yet another had been the mascot of a dive bar in the Bronx. I wasn’t even slightly surprised to hear that one of them had been sentenced to Tough Nut for blowing up a deserted firework warehouse.

Boom, baby.

Of all these shameful reputations, the worst belonged to a monkey who had once worked for TMZ.

Surrounded by ominous rumors, the Dirty Dozen gained a fearsome reputation among the other animals in Tough Nut. Even the bears and tigers feared them. The Dirty Dozen committed such dreadful crimes as starting fires, inciting riots, and talking too loudly during movies.

In the end, the monkeys were so unmanageable that Tough Nut sold them to Press Paws for the equivalent of seventeen United States cents. Press Paws managed to sell the Dirty Dozen (for quite a bit more than seventeen cents) to an unsuspecting college student, before shutting down and apparently erasing all traces of its existence.

I was that college student, of course. I renamed my gang of monkeys the Typewriter Monkey Task Force, finished putting out the fires, and started a blogthis blog, in fact, which I named after my typewriter monkeys in an optimistic attempt to earn their respect. (It obviously didn’t work.)

This comic still makes me chuckle. Thanks, JK.

My typewriter monkeys have spent nearly half a decade working for me, and these years have been bright. I mean that literally—I can’t count how many times my monkeys have set stuff on fire. Fortunately, my monkeys set fires only when they’re sober, so I don’t have to worry on weekends and holidays. (Thanks to its fireworks, July Fourth is the exception to this rule. Wait, that’s in two weeks, isn’t it? Flipping heck.)

There you have it, dear reader: the sordid story of my typewriter monkeys. I hope to finish this blog before the year ends, and to send my monkeys packing. Where will they go? I don’t care, so long as it’s far from here.

I smell something burning. I had better end here.

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