General Fiction posted January 24, 2024

This work has reached the exceptional level
painting is Thinking Monkey by Banksy

Lord Buckingham and The Lady

by jim vecchio

The lady, Moira, was the only one in the lab that didn’t look down upon the monkey. She had a son once, but that was a long time ago. Her heart reached out for someone to love.

The monkey had been in the lab for a month. Dr. Price had barked his orders to her to maintain the monkey’s food and hygiene routines. He said the monkey’s name was Lord Buckingham.

When the Doctor came into the room, he pushed and prodded the monkey without mercy, and was always injecting some fluid into him.

When the Doctor left, Moira stroked the monkey gently. She carefully fed and cleaned him. She sang to him with a melodious voice:

There's no love like your love
And no other could give more love
There's nowhere unless you're there
All the time, all the way, yeah

The monkey would reach out, grasp her hand.

She found herself talking to him, as if he were her son, more and more.

“Lord Buckingham, you are just so cuddly. I’m sorry you have to put up with those awful needles.”

One day, the monkey gazed into her eyes and said, “That’s my lot in life!”

Her jaw dropped. “You talked! You can talk!” she screamed, “You can talk!”

“It’s those confounded injections” said the monkey. “They did something to my brain!”

“Oh, Lord Buckingham! Why haven’t you spoken to the others?”

“Because they’re not like you. They don’t care like you do. They probe. They study. They torment. And please leave off that cutesy Lord Buckingham label they branded me with!”

“What would you like to be called, my friend?”

“I don’t know” the monkey replied. “Is there a name you prefer?”

“I had a son once” said Moira. “We called him Chip.”

“Chip is fine with me,” said the monkey.

Doctor Price returned to the lab, armed with another syringe. He pulled the monkey’s tail, whipped him around, and plunged the syringe into him. The monkey let out a screech.

“Doctor!” Moira cried. “Please don’t hurt Chip!”

“Chip?” asked Doctor Price. “Who’s Chip?”

“The monkey,” said Moira.

“And just where did you get that idea?”

“He told me,” said Moira.

“Listen, you get paid to clean and feed this monkey like all the test animals.. Stay out of our affairs! One more crazy outburst and you’re through! And stay off the sauce!”

“I don’t drink, sir,"  Moira replied.

“Sure! And I suppose monkeys always talk to you!”

Doctor Price left, slamming the door.

The following day, Doctor Price burst in with some of his personnel. He ignored Moira and spoke to them.

“All our studies indicate the human mind will always be superior to that of the monkey. The best we can hope for is that the monkey may, in some cases, react more quickly to a predator’s approach. We humans sometimes trade a bit of speed for cognitive flexibility.”

One of his colleagues had a question for him. “Does that mean we are dropping this project?”

“There has been no significant progress in the intelligence of this animal. There is no more need for our experiment. Tomorrow, we will euthanize him.”

As they left the room, Moira burst into tears. She pleaded with the monkey.

“Please, Chip! You’ve got to show them your progress! Please! I don’t want you to die!”

“Why?” asked Chip. “So I could go on as a living freak? And, what about you? Do you think Doctor Price would allow a lowly assistant like you to upstage him in this experiment? He’d find a way to get rid of you, too. Only you’d continue to live, but in misery.”

“But, Chip, I…I love you!”

“I know,” said Chip. “I know…”

Moira began to sing to him.

Don't tell me it's not worth fightin' for
I can't help it, there's nothin' I want more
You know it's true:
Everything I do, I do it for you, oh, yeah

The following day, Doctor Price appeared with the injection.

“Please, Doctor!” screamed Moira. “Please don’t do it!”

The Doctor scowled at her. “I warned you once! There won’t be a third time! Now stay out of my way!”

He jabbed the lethal injection into Chip’s shoulder.

Before the Doctor left, he gave a stern command to Moira to clean up the monkey’s mess.

When she knew he was out of hearing range, Moira gently lifted Chip and cradled him, as she did her own son so long ago.

“Why?” Moira wept. “Why? You could have saved yourself! Why did you do it?”

As his spirit left him, Chip responded, “I did it all for you!”



CRITERIA FOR THIS ENTRY: Is there a famous painting that made you wonder about the backstory? Choose a masterpiece and then write a flash fiction story about what it really was about. Use your imagination and appropriate humor.

Club entry for the "Missing Star" event in "Flash Fiction/Nonfiction".  Locate a writing club.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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