Excerpts from Banging the Monkey


“Everything started off smoothly enough, as everything usually does before going horribly wrong. Disasters typically come without warning. Earthquakes toss children from their beds in the dark of night. Airplanes plummet from clear blue skies. Tsunamis level entire coastlines. Buildings collapse, banks fold, economies fail, empires crumble.”

“Madu was just another torrid backwater frequented by surfers, sex tourists and spiritual adventurers. But that sounded pretty good from where I was sitting, alone in my room, with a view across an alley to a brick wall.”

“It was the Crap that had driven me out—the Crap on TV, the Crap that crept though the mail slot and spewed from the radio, the infotainment Crap that passed for news. Americans were simply mad about the stuff. Billboards bombarded you. The president was full of it. The sky over every freeway exit glowed with corporate logos promising the dizzying array of Crap on offer there. It was relentless. ”

“When science falters, religion thrives. Clerics were quick to capitalize on the fears of the faithful. Believers, their faces taut with worry, flocked to their places of worship. The chanting of priests and the throb of drums rang long into the night.”

“The blade swayed cobra-like before her eyes as she worked herself into a state of self-hypnosis. Gone was the demure woman who came daily to my room. In her place was a being animated by fierce carnal spirits. Wulan whirled clockwise and counterclockwise, gyrating her hips, whipping the sword about her. It stirred something in me, something lusty and uncontrollable.”

“The monsoon had finally come, blowing all rational thought asunder. It was a living thing—a monster from a child’s nightmare, a seething black mountain range of cumulonimbus crawling with giant electric spiders, a dark and angry spirit snorting fire. I stood naked in the deluge, drinking in the cool darkness until the darkness overtook me.”

“Whatever my future held, I was certain it wouldn’t be borne on the bitter wind that blew along Broadway. It was waiting in a place where lime-green leaves burst forth from soil the color of night, where flowers bloomed under skies on fire, where pariah dogs fucked in the streets and wild monkeys called in the twilight—a place where women smiled and the moon smiled with them.”