I'm a 21 year old gamer from Canada who refuses to accept rational or logical explanations of all things. Armed with a large vocabulary and total disregard for morals and opinions, I fight for Justice. Or Destruction. Which ever gets me teh pwn.
Hey Destructoid, Tehmtnlion reporting in for duty after a month or so being MIA. For those who give 2 shits, I had a bout of Real Life pop up and I was forced to embrace it with all the energy I could muster.
Continuing on, I am still writing the Zombie Thesis and in my time off I had a few more experiences that I'm going to be writing about. But most importantly, I got to veg out for a lot this past month and rock some old favourites of mine. Namely, the first 3 Resident Evils. Ahhh my ps1, how I missed her. It was like having coffee with an old ex that you had dumped for her hotter, younger sister. The younger sister being the ps2, the slut.
Anyway, most of you will ignore this post and that's cool, Poppa Mtnlion loves you anyway. But for those who do care, I'll have some stories and the continuation of the thesis up this next week.
Stay sexy Destructoid. I do love this community. And Scrixx is still a dink-toucher.
[i](Ok, here's the beginning to the Thesis. I'll be posting them once a week, every Sunday afternoon until I've completed the Thesis. Keep in mind that this is being written for an internet audience that reads at leisure and this is not the formal draft that I will be submitting.)
Zombies are a fairly new addition to the long list of mythical beasts that plague the human imagination. From the beginning of man, we have feared these creatures of our psyche and have attributed much lore and superstition about them. Ghosts, demons, and monsters all have long stories in our history and even today with all our scientific evolution and understanding, our human nature still promotes the continuation of these lords of lore.
The Zombie concept is mostly attributed to the Haitian religion of Voodoo (aka Vodou).
According to legend, Zombies are the victims of sorcerers known as Bokor. What the myth tells us is that this shaman would find a living victim and somehow make them ingests a potion that would kill them. After the discovery of the body, the family would carry out their funeral rites and bury the body. Then, under the cover the darkness, the Bokor would unearth the corpse and reanimate the body. This body would now do the bidding of it’s master. However, this zombie was still alive. The Zombie would still need to eat, sleep and had very basic reasoning skills. Attributed to this myth are stories of victims that had been found by their families years later, with no recollection of the time passed.
Haitian art portraying a zombie
This a basic explanation of the Zombie lore.
Previous to this, other cultures have created similar creatures worthy of fear. The Norsemen (Vikings) believed in a creature called the “Draugr”. This beast was the mottled corpse of fallen Viking warriors and was feared for it’s superhuman strength and it’s ability to change forms. Although the word itself literally translates to “ghost”, the Draugr was known for eating the flesh of men that crossed it’s path. The Japanese also have a similar creature in their culture. The Jikininki were loathsome creatures that trolled graveyards eating the flesh of the dead. Although both of these myths are not exactly picturesque of our concept of zombies, it is important to realize the implications of these creatures creations. Man has always fear death and what lies beyond it. And apparently, our ancestors found the most terrifying beings to be demons that resembled living humans in appearance and had an unexplainable hunger for our flesh.
That’s fucking creepy.
Getting back to our modern monster, the underlying concept of Zombies should strike fear into any person. A dead ghoul that roams the realm of the living, always at the shadows edge, hungering for our flesh. It is an interesting evolution of fear. We have lost the fear of our forefathers of beasts and animals of great strength, but our fear of ourselves, the most powerful beings on the planet, has filled the void.
The first educational video of the Zombie Threat
In 1968, the concept of fear received a new recruit. A low budget film by a seemingly unknown director was shown across the world. You have undoubtedly already realized that the movie I am speaking of is none other than Night of the Living Dead, directed by his Holiness, George A. Romero. This film unleashed an evil upon the world that had never been thought of before. Although his idea was loosely based off the Voodoo Zombies, his re-invention of the Zombie (for the purpose of this line of articles, I will refer to the modern day concept of the zombie as the Romero Zombie) pushed us far past our level of comfort. A being that has died due to one reason or another and has come back from the dead as a soulless, unyielding demon that has only one goal, to feed on human flesh. It cannot be reasoned with. It is difficult to kill. It feels no pain, no remorse and no mercy. And the most terrifying of all, If you die, you will be sentenced to join their shuffling undead masses, swelling their ranks.
What was seen to be a flop or at the very least a B movie that would be ignored by the worlds youth and they made out in the seat of their cars in drive-ins around the globe has instead created a cult following of this idea and has influenced our culture to an unimaginable degree and this trend sees no end in sight. Since the creation of the Romero Zombie, countless numbers of films have popped up all over the globe portraying the horrors of a world being devoured by the dead. The lore of the Zombie has evolved over the years, with explanation of the cause being space radiation, nuclear waste, biological engineering, viruses and really, REALLY pissed off monkeys. But one thing has remained certain, the bite of a Zombie is a death sentence, one with no appeals, no remedies and no last minute cures.
A poor lost soul
The Romero Zombie can be described as this. It is the reanimated corpse of a once living individual that has succumbed to the virus which has changed the laws of life. From being a person capable of reason, the person has been transformed into a almost unstoppable force, who’s physiology alone makes them the top of the food chain. Having no need for sleep, air, shelter, or anything that was once a necessity in it’s life, it is a creature with plenty of reason to fear. It’s sole motivation is to feed on the living, a instinct that cannot be supplemented in any other way. Once it sees a living human, it will pursue them to the ends of the earth, wanting only to sink it’s teeth into our warm, living flesh.
However, it does have one weakness. As we human cannot live without our brain, the undead cannot exist without theirs either. That, is our only way to survive. By destroying the brain in one way or another, we extinguish the threat that has harassed us. The running theory of the Romero Zombie is that, however the cause of it’s creation, the Brain must still be intact to give the creature movement. Unfortunately, their brain differs greatly from ours. It doesn’t need a flow of oxygen for it to function and most of it’s functions have ceased. The ability to reason and form cognitive memories is non-existent and other than the nervous systems control over the body, the pain receptors no longer carry that information to the brain. That means that the body, the most well engineered machine on the planet has no limitations. The body no longer feels pain, fatigue, exhaustion or need to let the body recuperate.
With this knowledge we are lead to only one conclusion. If we are to kill the thing, we gotta blow it’s fucking brains out before it eats ours.
I'm having a slow relaxing day today and I thought I'd break from my Zombie research to share a few laughs with you guys. Here's a story about something that happened to me while I was far away from home, with no one to bail me out. Enjoy!
The urge to travel is something we should all embrace. To get up from your usually routine and to journey to a new place is a fun and sometimes an enlightening experience. Travel, when we were younger as a species, was seen as a massive undertaking. With limited forms of transportation, travel was viewed as something out of necessity. As it stands now, travel is now a thing of leisure. Cars, buses, trains, boats, planes, we use each of these to travel efficiently across the globe in adventures for fun. Recently, I decided to use a less take path when it comes to travel. I decided to use my thumb and hitchhike around Ontario.
I started out from my house in Guelph and headed down to the border. From there, I went to Toronto, then to Ottawa and traveled along the Ontario-Quebec border and stopped in a few small villages along the way. I had had a few interesting encounters up til this point, but as I was riding towards a certain town sign, I had no idea that the most interesting event was yet to come. The town in question was a francophone community called Hearst.
We pulled into a gas station on the outskirts of this town and I thanked the truck driver for taking me this far. As I hopped out of the rig and started to walk away, he rolled down his window and called out to me.
"Should you need a place to stay," he began, "there's a place right downtown town that has rooms and serves meals. and you'll surely have some fun while your there." He winked, waved goodbye a second time and pulled out of the station.
I was kind of confused as to what he meant, but the sun was beginning to set and it was starting to get cold. I decided that this would be a good a place as any and started towards the center of town. A town of just over 5000 people, I was quickly noticed as not being from the area. As I walked past pedestrians, they all looked me over, but always met my eyes with a smile. I knew that I was getting close to this town's center, but I still had no idea where I was looking for. I stopped in at a convenience store to ask for directions. The clerk immediately knew what I was talking about. He gave me the directions and I bid him good bye. As I walked out I over heard him saying something like "young men are never change", but I didn't respond back.
10 minutes later I was standing in front of the place. It was a beautiful old building, the exterior was made from wood, the architecture was that of an old colonial home. Large ornate windows lines the front on both the first and second floors. Night had fallen and the windows glowed with a warm inviting light. I grabbed the handle of one of the double doors and stepped inside. The smell of delicious food greeted me. The place was packed. Tables were filled with patrons and the bar was crowded. I noticed that all of the women in the place where absolutely gorgeous. I made a mental note to buy a drink for that truck driver if I ever met him again. Taking my back pack off, I walked into the bar and got the bartenders attention and asked for a room.
Taking my key from the woman, I walked up the stairs and went into my room and dropped my bags at the foot of the bed. It was then when my stomach growled. I left the room and eagerly found a table back down in the dining room.
The rest of the night went by in a blur. The meal was delicious and the drinks were cheap. I quickly made friends at the bar and danced with some of the woman. The band that was on stage played mostly covers, but every once in a while, they played a french drinking song which every patron joined in on. I played cards, shot pool and threw darts as I continued to drink my face off. The crowd continued to grow as the night went on, and there didn't seem to be one ugly woman in sight and they all flirted with everyone. I knew that I would never forget this night.
Unfortunately for me, I didn't realize how correct I was.
Last call rang out at 2 and I was finishing the last of my pint singing the last few verses of an old French children's song Alouette, Gentille Alouette. As the band finished, a roar came from the crowd and we cheered them from the stage. I stumbled back to the bar, paid my tab and headed towards the stairs. I noticed that a lot of people were doing the same thing. Hmm, I thought to myself, there are a lot of people traveling through here tonight. Gripping the railing, I weaved up the steps and to my room.
I was so drunk that I stumbled into the door. It took me about 3 minutes to get the key into the lock, other patrons were entering their rooms the entire time, each of them taking one of the beautiful woman into the room with them. Lucky bastards, I thought. Finally, I turned the lock and stepped into my room.
Michelle, one of the women from downstairs, was waiting in the room for me and she was looking damn sexy. I drunkenly sauntered over to bed and sat down beside her. I thought a win was in the works.
We started to talk and I shamelessly flirted, to which she flirted back, equally shameless. I told her about my trek hitchhiking around Ontario and she was fully enthralled. I was about to attempt to seal the deal and get a little action, but she beat me to the punch.
I was unprepared for the delivery however.
"So," she cooed, "you must be feeling very tired and wanting to relax. I may be able to help you with that."
I grinned widely. The monkeys in my brain started to open champagne bottles. Fireworks went off in my head.
"Mon cheri," I slurred, "whatever did you have in mind?"
"I'll suck your cock for $100."
Somewhere, the playing arm of a record player was ripped off a record.
She repeated her statement, her voice hazily penetrating my muddled thoughts. Although the offer was tempting (and I mean REALLY tempting) I politely refused and offered a counter-proposal.
"Well how about I go down on you for free and we'll take it from there?"
She giggled and drew in close. She said that she'd blow my mind and such. The monkeys in my mind were going apeshit, as my moral high ground and my horny neather regions screamed at each other. However, I was not about to pay money for sex. I politely refuses a second time and asked her to leave. Gracefully, she got up and walked to the door, and blew me a kiss just before she close it. I hurried over to lock the door, in part to sleep securely and also to prevent myself from changing my mind and running after her. As I spun around and flopped on the bed, I heard a crash come from downstairs. I figured it was a bar fight.
I was so very wrong.
Moments later I heard a banging on my door and a voice announced, "OPEN UP!, POLICE!", and I knew I was in a world of shit. I opened the door and there stood 4 police officers before me. I asked them what the problem was. My answer was a pair of handcuffs and a rough trip to the back of the cop cruiser. All I could do was laugh to the cop shop.
The lot of us were taken to the station's small holding cells. As the booze started to burn off, I began to realize the scope of my situation. I was kilometers from home, in jail, with french police, facing the prospect of embarrassing myself and my family with a criminal record, and I was surround by 30 of the greasiest, semi-nude bastards you've ever seen. I claimed a corner of the cell and waited for my name to be called.
Sure enough, around 4 am, I was summoned. I snapped to and was escorted down this tiny hallway into this interrogation room. I walked in and sat down and looked at the mirror directly across from me. I burst into laughter at the sheer stupidity of the situation. Suddenly, the door burst open.
Enter Bad Cop.
This tall, bearded Frenchmen stormed into the room and slammed a file down on the table. Immediately, he unleashed a tirade of threats, how I was busted, how I was going to prison, How that I'm the scum of the earth and he would not stop until I had received the harshest penalty for my crime.
I was in tears of laughter.
Meanwhile, as Bad Cop was attempting to browbeat me to death, Good Cop had entered and was surveying the scene. When Bad Cop was finished berating me, Good Cop sat down across from me and reassured me that if I cooperated, I would be seen as willing to help and would get a reduced sentence.
I slammed the table with my fist. Tears streamed freely down my face as my laughter echoed off the walls. I gasped for air and muttered back an answer.
"Dude, this is the worst case of mistaken identity ever. Ask the bartender and the hooker in my room, all I did was get a meal and drink. And to be perfectly honest, I don't appreciate you assholes hauling me out like that."
Bad Cop did not approve.
Like a lightening bolt, Bad Cop streaked behind me and slammed his hands down on my shoulders. This new stimulosus, combined with nausea and lack of sleep, made a loud rumbling in my stomach and caused me to retch.
It was the Perfect Storm.
A torrent of vomit shot out of my mouth with such speed, Good Cop couldn't even move. With the sound of a spiral doorstop being pulled back and released, I coated Good Cop with the remains of a night of drinking and eating.
Now there were two Bad Cops in the room.
As the screaming of "tabernac" began the door opened to a scene of several police officers in hysterics. The two bad cops were still screaming at me but I was taken out of the interrogation room by the others and returned to the holding cells. It was decided that I was too drunk to understand the situation fully and that I would be processed in the morning. True to their word, 5 hours later I was woken up and allowed to leave. While I was asleep, they had interviewed both the bartender and the hooker and found out I was telling the truth. I was issued a formal apology, given $20 for my inconvenience and was given a bus ticket to where ever I wanted to go. I chose Thunder Bay, but I would have taken anything that got me out of this little shithole. I bid them Adieu and took a cab to the Bus station. I hopped out, watched the taxi drive away and turned to face the bus schedule.
H'okay. As some as you may know, I have Kinemortophobia aka fear of zombies. It's literally something I think about every day and it effects almost everything I do. Since The age of 11 when I used to watch my sister's boyfriend at the time play Resident Evil, I've been fearing, learning and preparing for a zombie outbreak. For 11 years I've been wrapped up in the modern day, pop-culture icon of the Zombie. I've played as many zombie games that I have been able to get my hands on and I've seen almost every zombie movie in existance (yes even those garbage low-budget zombie flicks in the video store bargain bins. In my first year of university, I was required to right a paper for an anthropology class that was to be about any urban legend or myth.
Predictably, I chose zombies.
What started as a 6 paper essay quickly became a 75 page, single spaced, font 12, amalgamation of research and conjecture that I handed into my professor, causing him to give me 100% on the project. Since then, I've been expanding my knowledge of the Zombie, both in pop-culture and in real life beliefs. I'm now considering doing my graduate thesis on the Voodoo concept of zombies and the modern day conception of the zombie, a huge undertaking to bring more scope and detail to this creature of lore, in hopes of getting my writing some educational merit.
Here's where you come in. I'm going to be writing a multi-section segment on my research about zombies. I will be including as much information as I can, which as much data as i can muster, in hopes that this community can review it and add your own conceptions on this piece of North American culture as well as maybe even help me work out a few points I may not have thought of. I figure that my views on zombies in pop-culture would be best reviewed by like-minded individuals who salivate at the idea of gunning down zombies in pixellated form.
Areas of research will include:
-The Haitian religion of Voodoo and the understanding of the original zombie concept
-A look into the biochemical properties of the "zombie powder" used in voodoo
-A in depth look at the (possible) physical capabilities of zombies and their characteristics
-Pop-culture and the invention of the modern day zombie
-Zombie portrayal in film
-Zombie portrayal in video games
-Hypothesis of zombie creation
-Combat and protection
-Societal consequences of a zombie outbreak
-A detailed example of a zombie outbreak escape plan
As a warning, I will not be regurgitating passages from every "zombie survival" webpage on the interwebs. Although many points covered by these works will be explained and expanded upon, I will be providing a fresh look into the zombie canon. I will be posting parts every couple days and will be continuing my research while I undertake this. I hope you enjoy what I'm about to unleash on your mind!
Hey guys, I've had one fuck of a day and it's not even halfway through. I have to tell you about what just happened to me and hopefully it will make your day seem a little less shitty knowing that good things still happen to good people and hopefully, your break is coming along soon. So here it is in the only way I know how to tell it, with some good tunes along the way. Enjoy!
I am a believer in the fact that the Universe will always balance itself out. Karma, if you will, is a standard in my life. I try to fight on the side of justice whenever I can in the hopes that the universe will see fit to grant me some perks in case I run into a line of shitty luck. For instance, today is a day that I will forever remember and has further cemented my belief in this truth. This morning I decided to get some groceries. I've been putting it off and putting it off, but the matter forced itself upon this AM when I had Mr. Noodles and sesame sticks for breakfast.
Breakfast is my favourite fucking meal. When you have Breakfast, it should be a glorious fucking occasion. We're talking eggs, toast, bacon, home fries, fruit, coffee, orange juice capped with an ever delicious cigarette after. No foolin'. This is an atrocity I thought to myself. Time to rectify the situation.
So, finishing my pitiful breakfast, I went to get my coat and boots and found out that I broke the zipper on my jacket. Disgruntled, I put on another sweater to make up for the setback. Eventually, I had fully assembled myself to venture out into the cold and was ready to rock. I grabbed my messenger bag, slung it over my shoulder and grabbed my Ipod out of it and started out.
As James Brown sang his way into my soul through my headphones, I checked the mailbox to see an ominous red sheet of paper glaring up at me. It was a notice from the local watch in my community that a pedophile was moving into the neighborhood. Not that this affected me directly, but no one would be happy to read a note like that. Swearing under my breath, I turned to walk down my steps and found out that there was some freezing rain last night in the worse way possible. Barely keeping upright, I stumbled down the step and fell face first into a snowbank.
At this point I was swearing with reckless abandon. Wrenching myself free from the icy prison, I wiped the snow from my face and looked out across the street to see my neighbors laughing at my folly, their cackling shooting past my ears, echoing in the snowy silence. With as much rage as I could muster, I fired back with two point-blank shots of my middle fingers and angrily walked in the direction of the grocery store.
(the bastard won't let me embed it, but you should listen to it anyway :P http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZLidy7pIQ8 )
The midmorning air was chilly, the temperature was around -9 C, and the skies were overcast. My Ipod switched to Fat Boy Slim's Weapon of Choice, my pace matching the beat. The grocery store was only 3 blocks away, so I didn't expect anymore shenanigans on my route.
I should have remembered that Shenanigans love an ambush.
The first intersection I came to disaster struck. While the last notes of Weapon of Choice played through, some asshole in an SUV came hurtling through the lights and flicked his cigarette butt out his window. In a one in a million shot, the butt arced through the air and the ember pegged me in the forehead. As the pain hit, my hand flew up to the source of the impact and smashed into my nose, missing its intended target. I started to drop F-bombs as I held my nose. Adding insult to injury, an old woman who was standing beside me told me I was an unmannered brat. Images of inflicting blunt force trauma on this aged woman crossed my mind, but I opted to cross the street instead.
Walking along the next block, I was starting to wonder if I should venture the next two blocks, but my rumbling stomach egged me on. Buffalo Springfield concurred by treating me to the song For What It's Worth, and I picked up my pace. The second block held yet another rude surprise for me. As I was walking under the branches of a tall maple tree, the wind picked up and a blanket of snow dropped on me, finding a path to my skin through the channels of my clothing. Stopping only to stand in disbelief of this event, I carried on to the next intersection and on to the final block to the store.
Steering clear of any thing that could further ruin my day, I carefully walked to the entrance of the store. Unzipping my sweater, I grabbed a basket and turned to walk through the second set of doors and into the store proper.
It was then when Shenanigans struck again.
My head was turned to look at the deals along the tops of displays, a large muscle-bound man was hell bent on getting to a display of vegetables before I was. In an instant, the fact that steel grocery carts > my testicles was traumatically reinforced in my mind. The cart smashed into my cojones and I hit the ground, reeling as I went. When I regained my focus, I was greeted by the sight of this large asshole pointing down at me and expressing his displeasure that the resistance of my rocks had made him drop a carton of eggs.
It’s amazing how vulnerable someones arteries look when you're mad.
Collecting myself from the ground, I went about the store and got my grocery list. The deals were really good and the store was fairly empty so I got my list quickly. As I emerged from the dairy aisle and turn toward the cashiers, I realized why the store was so empty. Everyone in the history of creation was currently in the check out lines. As I calculated the prison term for multiple homicides verging on mass genocide, I spotted something that calmed me.
The big bin of discounted video games.
I love these things. Although there's never anything epic to be found in them, such as new releases, you sometimes find good deals. In times past, I've managed to pick up, two Civ games, the Half-Life 1 Anthology, a couple Silent Hills and a few fps'. Not wanting to wait in line, I started to pour over the container.
It was endless crap after endless crap. However, with the lines showing no signs of movement, I continued to reach down into the bin, trying to unearth some form of modern-day buried treasure. Bobby Womack started to tell me about crossing 110th Street.
The first layer had mostly Wii, PS3 and 360 knock offs. Poker, racing, bugged fps', the usual. Under this, there was a layer of PC and PS2 games. I chuckled to myself as I considered modding a hunting game to have shoppers instead of deer. Still, I kept digging. It was then when I started to get excited.
With walls of perused video games building around me, I came across an interesting find. I had unearthed PS1 games! Grinning, I started to file through them. Crash Bandicoot, Tekken, Grand Turismo and various other games smiled back at me. I started to remember what it was like to be excited for these games and the joy they brought me when I was younger. I moved a copy of Ace Combat 2 and my heart skipped a beat. My eyes widened and my pupils dilated. Clutching the case in front of me, I raised it shakily to my face.
I had found a pre-greatest hits copy of Final Fantasy VII in mint condition.
Fittingly, BTO's Taking Care Of Business came on my Ipod.
Final Fantasy VII is the REASON why I am a Gamer and not some other demographic. Memories of the game play flooded back with the force of a river breaking free from a dam. The storyline of Cloud and his battle to save the planet. His journey through the world, gaining friends and foes as he went. I remembered how I sat with amazement at the graphics when I first rented it the first time. How I stayed home from school to grind my character’s levels. How I didn't play the game for a week because I was so livid that Aeris had died (one for the reason that I was emotionally attached to the character and two she was my strongest one as well). Clutching it to my chest with paranoia, I looked around me for some imaginary thief that would take my treasure from me. Seeing that there was none, I grabbed my basket and rushed into line to pay, with Metallica's Master of Puppets accentuating the intensity of my situation.
After the entire song waiting in line, I reached the till. The game had been in that bin for so long, the barcode wouldn't scan. For a brief moment, I started to panic with the thought that they wouldn't let me buy it, due to some douchebag policy. The cashier called for the floor manager and rang through the rest of my groceries.
A man came out from the office to the left of the tills. Looking only to be about 25-26, He hurried over and asked what the problem was. The oblivious cashier pointed to the copy of FFVII, not realizing how important this find was to me. The man did a double take and gleefully picked up the case.
"Oh man!" he exclaimed, "Where did you find this?"
Fearing that he would take it for himself, I sullenly pointed over to the bin, the towers of video games that I had built teetering dangerously along the edges.
"I found it at the bottom of that bin." I admitted.
He looked me in the eyes and smiled.
"I guess it's your lucky day."
He slapped a "Reduced For Sale" sticker on it and scribbled a price on it. He handed it to me. I looked down at it.
Hey Destructoid! i took a little sabbatical and I've finally got to know my new housemates better and I'm completely moved in. Since It's been a while, and it's a Sunday, this is a longer story than usual. Here's a time that I once got something I wanted more than anything else in the world that week. Enjoy!
I am a creature of want. I often have very, very strong impulses that make me very susceptible to stupid ideas. As some of you have read my previous stories, you know that I often get caught up in the moment and I don’t always plan things through. However, there are times when I want something so bad, that I become the physical embodiment of Stealth. However, even though I have had many wins in my life, sometimes they are so unexpected that I have no end game. This is the story of a time where I became obsessed with getting what I wanted and stopped at nothing to achieve it.
My high school had many field trips. Even though it was a tiny one (500 students), there was ample opportunity to get out and experience something new. This was a benefit that I abused to no end. In my last year of high school, being on Students Council, I was able to get into pretty much any field trip I wanted. This week, one teacher was organizing a day trip to the Toronto Zoo. I had been there twice before and I immediately jumped at the offer. I walked into the geography office and sign up on the sheet.
It’s funny how fate works out. Just as I had signed, I looked up and saw a brochure for the Toronto Zoo tacked to the bulletin board. I saw something that I wanted immediately.
The feeling of WANT hit me so hard, my arms shot out and gripped either side of the board. My eyes went wide with energy. THAT MONKEY IS SO FUCKING COOL! It was then when I had an idea.
I would steal one of these monkeys on the field trip.
I set to the plan to steal this monkey immediately. Heading to the computer lab, I went on Wikipedia and researched my prey. They monkey in question was none other than the Cebus Capucinus, better known as the White-headed Capuchin monkey. Known for its ability to be taught basic commands and has thus been used for paraplegics, the blind and several other disabled individuals. I longed to enjoy the fruits of this monkey’s labours. I had to have this furry, monkey servant.
Preliminary research gave me the location of the monkey and it’s proximity to the nearest available exits. I then checked online for photos of the cage and the barriers that I would encounter. As it turned out the fence was constructed of glass panes and that the entire enclosure was sealed. Also, a three foot high concrete barrier was about a meter away from the glass with grass growing between it and the enclosure. So I was faced with two prospects. Get a rock and smash the glass, or dig down in hope that the enclosure didn’t extend too far down. Failure was not an option for me.
The monkey would be mine.
As the day of the trip grew closer, I grew more and more adamant that I would capture this primate and that we would live like kings. My friends grew tired of my ranting about my monkey plot and had started to avoid me. The night before the trip was one of very little sleep.
We left early in the morning, around seven, but I was already awake and alert. I was the first to board the bus, sprinting to the back and claiming my seat at the rear. My friends groggily filed on as I berated them for their slow pace. There was no time for monkeying around, only for monkey business.
The ride took a couple hours, the wait only building my anticipation. It was all I could think about. I had already printed a layout of the zoo and had estimated times from the monkey cage to the nearest exit. It would take me three minutes to get to the exit at an inconspicuous pace, three minutes to follow the throng out of the turnstiles, one minute to get to the bus and, as long as I took the monkey within 10 minutes of us leaving, 7-12 minutes for the bus to leave the zoo. I looked into my backpack to check the tools that I had brought for the task at hand. As bait, I had a bag of trail mix, a banana, and fruit salad. For concealment of the ape, I had brought a large sweater. Alongside of this, I had a hatchet, a small trowel and screwdriver. And just for shits and giggles, I brought a monkey wrench. I exhaled deeply as I zipped up my back pack and looked out the window, surveying the countryside.
As we got closer to our destination, my fervor grew and I began to see monkeys everywhere, on advertising billboards, children’s shirts and most likely, my own jaded mind. Adrenaline started to flow through my veins as I saw the Toronto zoo sign. As I had predicted, the bus parked in the tourist/large group section and parked a mere 30 meters from the entrance. It was all going according to plan.
Our group disembarked from the bus and entered the zoo. The zoo was crowded. Children ran amok in the mob of people, moving to and from exhibits crowds and shops. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining and there was a cool breeze that swept down into the horde of tourists. Excellent, I thought, there should be no problem mixing into the crowd. Now all I needed to do was to wait until it was close for us to leave. I decided to do some recon. I headed for the White-headed Capuchin’s lair.
I took a roundabout approach to my target, looking at all the animals that the zoo had to offer. My inner child began to exert itself, I smiled at the sight of snakes, grinned at the gorillas and heckled the hyenas. I even stopped to observe my childhood fear, the Mountain Lion. As I expected, there was only one, further cementing my believe in one all-powerful omnipotent Mountain Lion. I guess he just felt like making an appearance. Checking my watch, I was surprised that I had already wasted two hours. I had to stop the monkeying around. Even though I thought this pun, I still had a bad taste in my mouth. I hurried over to the monkey enclosures.
I crested the hill toward the place of my heist and stood underneath the sign. There before me was the greatest sight I have ever seen. Dozens of apes, squandering their day. Some lazily drooped off trees, other were energetic, spurred on by their human audience. It was then when I saw them, the White-headed Capuchin monkeys. I almost shat myself in excitement.
The rest of the day was spent shadowing the fence line. I checked and then double checked all the variables. My exit was open, the enclosure was just as I had planned for and the crowd was starting to dwindle, leaving me with a chance to liberate my ape comrade from the confines of its cage. Finally, with 40 minutes to go, I sauntered over to the cement banister, looked over my shoulder to see if I was alone, and hopped over, squatting down to view the fence.
I was in luck. Apparently, a section of the glass had been broken and the entire length was replaced with temporary metal lattice fencing. Along the bottom, the earth was loose due to the installation. Frantically, often checking over the banister to see if anyone was coming, I searched along the entire stretch to find my in. After 15 minutes, I couldn’t find anything of the sort and was just about to give up hope. I sat back on my legs, exhaled deeply and looked into the eyes of my prize.
It was then when on of the monkey’s came to investigate what I was up to.
The entire time, the whole group of them had been watching me. It must have been fascinating to them to see a human moving in a way similar to their own. As I was searching, I had been hunched down on all fours moving animatedly, my hands scuffing the dirt. The lone Capuchin that walked over to me was now standing on its hind legs. To an observer, the juxtaposition must have been one of the most ironic and funniest things to witness, the role reversal of all role reversals. It cocked it’s head to one side. I reached into my bag.
“Here you go little guy,” I lamented, “you might as well have it now seeming how there’s no way to get you out.”
I pulled out the banana I had brought with me and forced it through the fencing. Gingerly, the Capuchin grasped it with both hands and retreated into his domain.
Immediately, I learned the true meaning of what “going ape-shit” means.
Like a surging torrent, the other 14 Capuchin monkeys descended upon their kin. Shrieks rang out, tails whipped about and shit began to arc through the air. I fell back with surprise, witnessing the chaos that had erupted with the entrance of the banana. My little friend was robbed of his banana, and thrown out of the fray. Getting up, he looked over to the rest and saw his treat being ravaged with savagery. He looked back at me and scampered back to his previous resting place. I felt his pain. With renewed vigor, I began a final search to break my ape friend free.
It took seconds.
As I surveyed the fence line again, I noticed that on the right-hand side of the cage, there was a small hole dug out on the monkey side of the fence. Eyes wide, I leapt over to the corner and took a closer look. Something had been digging there! Frantically, I unzipped my backpack, grabbed the trowel and dug down two feet pausing every few seconds to check for any witnesses. To my disbelief, five minutes later I had broken through. I checked my watch.
I had nine minutes left until I had to be on the bus.
Turning my attention back to the capuchin, I tried to beckon him over with more food. He looked at it hungrily, but then noticed the watchful eyes of his tribe. He looked back and screeched softly. I shook the bag of trail mix to no avail.
Seven minutes left.
I suddenly had an idea. Reaching into my pocket, I pulled out a Toonie and held it to reflect the sunlight toward the monkey. Immediately, he started over. Slowly, he approached the hole. With each step he took, my heart raced a bit faster. In what seemed to be an eternity, he was at the outside of the hole. Holding the Toonie, I bent over and tucked my arm into the hole, under the fence, and offered the shiny coin to the Capuchin. He went head first into the hole and I felt his leathery hand on my own fingers. Breathless, I pulled my arm back through, the monkey following with it. My arm emerged, monkey in tow, and I lead him right into my arms.
I had just accomplished the impossible. Grand Theft Monkey.
I sat there flabbergasted. I had actually done it! I had the monkey and he was all mine.
I checked my watch. Four minutes. I put on the sweater, handed the trail mix to the monkey, and tucked him under my hoodie.
If it were possible to add a soundtrack to the next few minutes of my life, it would probably go a little like this.
With some jazz flute pounding in my head and throwing caution into the wind, I bolted toward the exit. The Primate Section had been completely emptied which helped me shave off precious seconds, but the entire visiting mob was now trying to leave through the main exit. My footsteps matched pace to the beat, I ran into the crowd, dodging, weaving and evading them all. It was if I had been infused with the monkey’s agility. With great speed and grace, I had made it through the Americas Section and was on the path leading to the Australasia Pavilion. I groaned with the sight that greeted me. The path was swarming with tourists. I paused momentarily to catch my breath. It was here that disaster struck.
My Capuchin friend popped his head up out of my sweater and screeched, as if perturbed by the holdup. This caught the attention of everyone in the crowd. Including the Toronto Zoo security. As they looked over to the sound, we met eyes. I stood still for only a second longer and then proceeded to run full tilt into the crowd. The guards followed suit.
What had started as an epic foolproof plan was now dissolving into a shit storm. I ran as fast as I could through the crowd, pushing and shoving as I went. I didn’t dare look back. I finally caught a break, however. I had crested the head of the mob and there was nothing but a few scattered tourists between me and the exit. I laughed and started running again to the exit, the monkey content in my sweater with the trail mix.
But with any good heist, there is always one last obstacle before the great escape.
As I closed the gap between myself and the exit, five security guards burst out from booths along the turnstiles and where looking through the crowd for the thief. I quickly stopped and hid behind on of the vending booths. Out of breath, I unzipped my hoodie, hoisted the Capuchin out and set him on the bench beside me. He was still stuffing his face with trail mix.
“Well, little buddy,” I said, “we were so close to starting our new glorious life together, but I think it’s over.”
The following experience has changed my life forever. In an astounding moment of connection between man and ape, the Capuchin looked at me, scurried over to the edge of the booth to look at the guards and came back to me, face to face. Holding the trail mix in its paws, it looked down at the bounty I had given it and looked back up at me. It then swallowed the rest of the trail mix and leapt out into the forum just as they had arrived. I peeked from behind the booth to see what was about to transpire.
The Capuchin had run to one of the sign posts and climbed up to the top. After looking around for a brief moment, it then reared up and screeched loudly. Heads snapped to the sound and silence dropped over the crowd.
I then witnessed the greatest thing in the world.
The Capuchin squatted down, shat into its hand, threw it then flung itself into the crowd.
The resulting chaos was glorious. Another school field trip was just leaving the grounds at the Capuchin released its anal fury unto the crowd and had thrown itself into the middle of this group. However, this group consisted of primary school students all shrieked and began to flee to the exits, terrified of this feral monkey. As with any mob, this sense of panic spread like wild fire and the whole throng surged toward the exits, screaming the entire way.
The Capuchin had just given me my escape. Not wanting to waste a moment, I bolted into the carnage and hurried to the exit. Within seconds I had made it through the turnstiles and was out. I flung myself toward my bus and was relieved to see that I wasn’t the only one who was late. As I ran up to the bus, my teacher was watching the scene unfold and asked me what the hell happened.
“No clue,” I wheezed, “I just heard screaming and was pushed toward the exit.”
She beckoned me to board and I started back to my seat. My friends all laughed as I walked back, not knowing how close I was, but were quick to judge my failure. I sat down beside my friend Scott. He berated me slightly, but moved onto a new topic just as quickly.
“Hey Luke, do you still have that bag of trail mix?”
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”
I sat with my head hung in silence, but that silence was quickly interrupted.
“Hey!” Someone yelled. “Is that a monkey with a bag of trail mix on the entrance sign?”
The bus wobbled with the sudden movement to the windows. Gasps echoed out and my friends all looked to me in disbelief.
It was all I could do but to sit back and grin.
“When it comes to what I want, I don’t monkey around.”
I ducked down laughing as hands flew out to slap me in the back of the head.