Hambone is dead. Sniper round through the head as he sat on his balcony last night.
The Green and Red Society contacted us first thing to let us know. We are not going home now – there will be a funeral tomorrow and we are being driven back to Kampong Cham City later tonight. I asked about police involvement and was told that the Society would take care of everything. They weren’t sure it was a good idea us going back but there was no way we weren’t going to so there will be bodyguards assigned to us.
We went back to the Central Market and got our guns back. The dealer had heard the news as well and seemed genuinely sorry.
The Monkey has gone very quiet…
We watched as Hambone burned.
There were quite a few people present. His girls wailed constantly in the background as Buddhist prayers were chanted and incense carried the prayers to heaven. Scanning the mourners there were quite a few veterans who, like Hambone, had never managed to make it home. Various Orientals paid their respects, many of them were probably from the Society. One figure attracted my attention and I realised that The Monkey had fixed on him as well. Black bomber jacket, sand coloured tactical trousers, wrap round Oakley sunglasses, his look screamed ‘operator’ and he didn’t seem to care who knew. The Mao-Shan sorcerer we had met in the jungle clearing led us away accompanied by our bodyguards before The Monkey’s staring match could turn into something more inappropriate for a funeral.
We asked him what had happened and all he could tell us was that Hambone had returned home and gone to sit on the balcony to eat dinner. When one of the girls had returned with his food she had found him hanging over the back of the chair with a massive hole in his head and one of the other less distraught girls had contacted a friend who had immediately called the Society. We asked him who the dick in the Oakley’s was and he said that it was the man who had visited Hambone the day before we had left. Was there any connection? The look the sorcerer gave us spoke volumes and I had to grip The Monkey’s shoulder to stop him turning round and going back. ‘There will be a reckoning’ I told him, and he glowered evilly towards the crowd.
The sorcerer has asked The Monkey if he would like to meet the monk who freed him from the research facility. This is a somewhat unexpected offer and I am wondering if it is an attempt to stop The Monkey going all angry god again. The sorcerer keeps saying that today is not the time for revenge and for the moment The Monkey is complying – it is quite scary how quiet and controlled he is being. It makes me more nervous than when he is angry.
So, a meeting is set for tomorrow with the monk and in the meantime we are the guests of the Society. I need a drink…
Didn’t meet the monk today but we did travel north for hours until we finally crossed the Thai border. We think that a large part of this has been a ruse to get us out of the way of snipers and to prevent The Monkey going nuclear in a built-up area. Apparently the monk is going to be at a nearby temple complex in the morning and The Monkey will get to see him then.
The Monkey wasn’t happy about leaving Kampong Cham City without having a ‘chat’ with our Oakley wearing friend but the sorcerer said that Mr Oakley would not be that far away while we were still in country. He thought it wise that the reunion should be somewhere a little more remote.
So now playing cards with our bodyguards and drinking Chang beer and something called Sang Som which is made from sugar cane. Both of us are caught up with thoughts of Hambone – this isn’t a pleasant drinking session…
The Monkey met the monk. They went and sat in one of the courtyards of a cavernous temple. I watched as they sat down opposite each other and just stared. Then the sorcerer led me away saying that it was The Monkey’s meeting not mine and that he wanted to talk to me.
We walked through the temple grounds and I asked him who these ‘Illuminati’ actually are. ‘You must understand that the world is not how you imagine it to be.’ he said. ‘Is this where you offer me the red or blue pill?’ I replied and immediately knew that my future as a comedian in Southeast Asia was dead. He stared at me with amusement and said, ‘Let me tell you about reality.’
‘This existence is but a dream. It is a dream that we have all agreed upon and therefore it is a dream with form. But we are not the dreamers of the dream, we are the dreamt acting out our roles in a story written before the Universe was born.’
‘Like the Green and Red Society the Illuminati have for centuries understood the nature of this cosmic dream, and although they are powerless to change it they can manipulate those who are as yet unaware. They pull the strings of finance, government, the military, major corporations, and organised religion. They would make themselves lords of the earth and have their descendants follow them for time immemorial. Your poet Milton said “It is better to reign in hell than to serve in heaven”, this is their goal.’
Okay, but where do the Green and Red fit into this, what’s their agenda?
‘We realised over a thousand years ago that the only hope for humanity was for them to awake within the dream, to became aware. As mankind wakes so the Universe becomes aware and the cycle can come to its end and then begin again but closer to its goal – stillness.’
Stillness? Surely that is just stagnation and death?
‘Not stillness as you imagine it. Not emptiness as you imagine it. From out of the void all things are possible and into the void all things will return.’
So like the Big Bang?
‘Yes, like the Big Bang.’
Okay, this is making my head hurt. Can I ask about the monkey temple and the energy vortex thingy? What is it and what does it do and why is it connected to The Monkey?
‘Placed around the Earth are centres of power. Sometimes they exist naturally and sometimes they have been fashioned by humans, but they all have one thing in common – they are linked together. Like a series of corridors that pass-through matter, they allow for the movement of organic and inorganic material from one location to another. Once, there were those who knew how to open and focus the vortexes so that they could travel across the Earth at will, even beyond the Earth. But that is an ancient knowledge that has been lost, and in many cases, purposefully destroyed.’
So, is this like magic then?
‘To the primitive mind all science is magic.’ I think he noticed my indignation and moved quickly on, ‘The connection to the monkey god is a not entirely clear. From the mixture of myth that surrounds him it would appear that he may have arrived in this world via one of the vortexes and become an unofficial guardian of the energy force. After all, it is the well from which he draws his power.’
So how come we have a black hole, vortex thing in our spare bedroom?
‘It would seem that the monkey god has the ability to create his own portals, although from what we can tell, they are not that stable.’ I avoided saying – just like him – and went back to the Illuminati. So, it wouldn’t be a good thing if the Illuminati gained control of one of the gateways.
‘No, it would not. We believe, once the vortexes begin to become live again, that many ancient weapons that are hidden across the Earth will become active. They are not stupid, it would not take them long to work out how to trace the energy signatures, after all, they have immense wealth and technological resources at their disposal. All of the mythical objects that make up such large parts of human culture and storytelling are linked, they come from a single source, an ancient science, and they all draw their power, like the monkey god, from what you witnessed in the jungle temple.’
Then another thought occurred to me. Did he know of an Arno Whitaker? He turned his head slowly towards me and fixed me with those eyes made blacker by the white eyebrows. For the first time since meeting him I saw a flicker of uncertainty pass across his face.
‘Yes, we know of Arno Whitaker. We were wondering when he would make his presence felt to the monkey god.’ He stared straight into my eyes, as if he was searching for something, then he looked up at an ancient temple spire that poked through the all invading creepers. ‘He is an extremely dangerous adversary.’
I explained about being hacked, the photos we found with the notebook and the research that had placed an Arno Whitaker in the American Civil War, and someone who looks a lot like him in other historically important settings. Plus, his LinkedIn profile and association to the company Brightstorm. The sorcerer seemed amused by the LinkedIn profile, he nodded, ‘You know more about him than he would like you to.’
‘He was a Southern Baptist snake handler. A preacher turned Illuminati initiate and head of their dirty deed’s operations, with family connections from the time of the first American settlers that put him a long way up the Illuminati pecking order. And yes, it is the same Arno Whitaker in all of these scenarios.’ I made to object at the ridiculousness of that idea, but he held up his hand and said, ‘After everything you have witnessed so far you find that hard to believe?’ He had a point, so I shut up and let him continue.
‘When he was bitten by his snakes and passed through the death state he was changed forever, both physically and mentally. You will find that, for appearances sake, he disappears and reappears every few decades, each time with a variation of the snakebite story. We lost sight of him in the 1960’s for a while and then he reappeared after apparently having been in a coma for four years, after suffering massive poisoning from multiple rattlesnake bites to his face received during a Sunday church service.’ He went on to explain how his facial muscles were paralysed into a lunatic smile as a result of snake venom – like a real life ‘Joker’, the venom also caused serious tissue damage and scaring resulting in a sort of scorched look. That explains why he has a face like a burning clown looking in a fun house mirror…
‘Some questions were asked, and two investigative reporters died in unusual circumstances while following up the story. Then the story faded away amidst news of plane crashes and right-wing extremist shootings that conveniently occurred at the same time. He flaunts his deathlessness because he is aware that the rational world will pass over it because they choose not to believe and if anyone looks too deeply then they can always be silenced… Be wary of Arno Whitaker my friend, he has an ancient and all pervasive power behind him and now he knows that the monkey god has awoken he will stop at nothing to gain control over the power that that awakening brings and seduce the monkey god to the will of the Illuminati.’
We had talked for a couple of hours, and to be honest, I lost track of time. We found ourselves sitting on the side of a hill amongst trees and looking out towards a modern city in the far distance as the sun was beginning to set. He looked at me with those black eyes and said, ‘The monkey god has returned. In our pride we believed we would be able to control him, but he is a mixture of east and west that we never could have imagined. And it is good. He should be under the control of no man – but you have more sway over him than any human could ever have. You must help him control his power because if he loses control completely he could tear the world apart.’
I thought you said that we are all just bit part players in some drama written billions of years ago. How can The Monkey affect that?
‘Because he is the essence of chaos, the one unpredictable thread in the whole story. He could even choose to side with the Illuminati and then all the visions of hell on earth would be realised.’
Did the Illuminati have anything to do with Hambone’s death?
Then there’s no way The Monkey is going to get matey with them.
‘Shall we go back now? You have a busy day tomorrow – you have vengeance to take.’
For chilled out philosopher types these Mao-Shan are dead pragmatic when it comes to taking life, I asked him how come? ‘When it is a man’s time it is his time.’ was his answer. Glad we got that one sorted!
As we approached the courtyard where The Monkey waited for us, the Mao Shan sorcerer put a slim, long fingered hand on my arm, He looked at me with a strange intensity and said, ‘You must not let the night fall on the future.’, and then he turned his head again and entered the courtyard. No pressure then!
We collected The Monkey and left the temple. The monk watched us go but The Monkey never looked back. He was quiet on the way back to the hotel but when we got there he lit up a big old cigar, gave me a shit eating grin and said ‘Let’s have a drink ‘cuz tomorrow I am going to kill that fucker who was at the funeral.’ My head is spinning from all the stuff I have been told but I am up for a drink. I seem to know that it was Hambone’s time to die and I can live with that, and I also know that it is going to be good to slot that shit head in the Oakleys…
So, this is how it happened…
Our Mr Sorcerer had managed to get word out that we would be at a disused factory site on the edge of the nearby city at around midday. He had made sure that Mr Sunglasses would have every chance to hear this rumour and, he said, the rest was up to us.
So early this morning we headed for the factory with its derelict buildings and rusting storage tanks and made our way through the rubble into the darkened loading bay. We would have no idea from which way he would approach so we would try and force him into a kill zone when he entered the factory – at least that was the plan. Turns out Mr Sunglasses was particularly good at his job and he got into the factory complex without us knowing. But he had no clue where we were either so it was a surprise for all concerned when I literally bumped into him as I rounded the corner of a corridor between sections of the building.
He body slammed me backwards into the wall. I did some JKD and Thai boxing when I was younger and wasn’t bad but I knew just by looking at this fucker that he was going to snap me like a twig, so I went for my Glock. He responded by grabbing my right wrist with both of his hands and smashing his shoulder into my chest so that for the second time in as many seconds I was crushed against the wall. As part of the kit I got for his little adventure I bought two knives, the big old K-Bar combat blade in the back sheath that I would never be able to reach, and a small knife hanging on a chain around my neck. With a burst of sheer desperation, I grabbed the small blade with my left hand, dragged it from its kidex sheath and continued the motion downwards in a slash across Oakley Boy’s shoulder and upper back. He didn’t really make much noise, but he responded immediately by jumping back and throwing out his right arm to block the follow up thrust of the blade to his kidney that he was anticipating. Think he was a bit bemused when he realised that the thrust wasn’t coming because I was obviously an amateur. But he was hurt. As he went for his gun he used his left hand to support his right wrist. Hurt or not he was still damn quick and as the gun began to come out of the holster I could see the void opening up before me. Then The Monkey hit him with all fours right in the chest and sent him crashing backwards. I had caught the movement out of the corner of my eye as The Monkey sort of parkoured off the wall beside me and rebounded into the bastard’s chest and then landed on his feet in front of me. Gun and Oakleys went flying but he rolled and was back on his feet immediately a combat blade in his hand. We saw his eyes for the first time – cold, hard, grey blue.
At this point The Monkey burst into flames. The cold, hard, grey blue eyes went wide – it was as if he was finally seeing The Monkey for the first time. I had missed his party trick at the temple, so I too stood there stupidly staring as he physically grew and the flames licked over his fur and seemed to form into glowing, burning armour. Then, as if time had slowed to a crawl I watched as The Monkey punched his fist into Mr Sunglasses chest with a sound like someone whacking a raw Christmas turkey with a cricket bat, and I watched as the hole he made flared with fire and blackened. Then as Mr Sunglasses face contorted with fear and pain the creature that The Monkey had become ripped out blackened lungs and heart from the crater in the chest and stared into the now pleading cold, hard, grey eyes as the life went out of them…
We are now in Bangkok. We are going to fly from here to Kuala Lumpur tomorrow to pick up our flight home. The Society have taken care of the flight and our guns, and they would have taken care of the body except that The Monkey reduced it to ash with his fire. Fierce shit…
Remarkably I survived my hand to hand combat session without the wound in my side opening so now we have a chance to party in one of the craziest cities on earth. One night in Bangkok – what could possibly go wrong…?
Woke up skydiving on the hotel bed wearing someone else’s trousers. The Monkey was asleep upright in a swivel chair with sick all down his front.
After quick showers we poured ourselves into a taxi and headed for the airport. We had said our goodbyes to the sorcerer and the other Society members yesterday, so it was just me and The Monkey again. In the taxi he looked at me with bloodshot eyes and said that he didn’t think all those girls were girls last night – I really, really, really don’t want to know…
At the airport we headed for the baggage drop and this guy comes walking towards us. We saw him from quite a way off and there was something about the way he moved through the crowd like no one wanted to touch him. He had this big, praise Jesus grin on his scared, twisted face and he looked like the Mormons who come knocking at your door, if the Mormons were all slightly out of focus. I wanted to punch him in the face the moment I saw him. He stopped right in front of us and something about his watery green eyes was just creepy as fuck. He opened his gash of a mouth and this soft, southern states of America drawl came out. ‘Well, it’s nice to meet you at last. Snakebite has missed our web chats.’ he seemed to grin even harder at his own cleverness, ‘And I’ve been hearing so much about you this past week.’ He held out his hand and we both just looked at it and then back at his creepy face. The hand stayed there for a moment longer before being lowered but the smile remained unchanged. ‘It seems Sergeant Maguire underestimated you. I take it you have killed him?’ It was more a statement of fact than a question. ‘So, he was your man then?’ I asked. ‘They are all ours in the end whether they know it or not,’ the sickly smile seemed to grow larger and more sickly, ‘you will be too – you just don’t know it yet.’ The Monkey moved ever so slightly forward and growled, and I quickly pointed out that there were too many people and too much airport security with guns. This was quite obviously why Arno Whitaker had decided to introduce himself to us here. ‘Why don’t you go fuck yourself.’ I said very politely. He stared straight into my eyes and it felt as if he was trying crawl into my head. It was as if my brain was itching and I could almost imagine spiders running around inside my skull. The Monkey put his finger on the thin, suit jacketed chest and said ‘Stop.’ Eye contact was broken, and the smile intensified even more. ‘You will join us, it is only a matter of time now that we are aware of you. You have no real choice.’ I looked at The Monkey and said that we should go and check our bags, and then I looked at the man and thanked him for his creepy offer but that my mum had told me not to talk to weird cunts at airports, and then I swung my bag round and onto my shoulder making sure to hit him in the balls as I did so. He doubled up and dropped to his knees, the smile sliding slightly off his face. I made lots of ‘Oh, terribly sorry. How awful, I do apologise’ noises as we moved away from him and towards the airline desk. I could hear strangled curses and threats, but they were drowned out by The Monkey laughing…
That was this morning and we now have quite a few hours wait here at Kuala Lumpur airport before the long haul back home. The Society upgraded us to first class, and we have use of the executive lounge and its complimentary bar, we suspect that the Society may also have some of their men stationed around for our safety. If these Illuminati dudes don’t get us, then I suspect I will die of liver failure…
Man, I’m knackered.
At Leigh Delamere services on the M4. We stopped for a break because we were so tired and have now checked into the Travelodge because I don’t think it’s going to be safe to drive the rest of the way home tonight. Flight got delayed a couple of hours and then I found out that I had lost the sleeping pills so had a mostly awake 20-hour flight.
The Monkey is passed out on the sofa bed and every now and then a glow passes over him like he is just about to ignite. He has been making grunting noises and he has just rolled over and shouted, ‘Not the ripe ones!’ I have no idea what that is about but I am trying not to piss myself laughing.
God, I need sleep…