Beneath the Planet of the Human(s)


It was with a chill down my spine this week when I read of two separate incidents concerning chimpanzees and their monkey brethren. You may indeed have seen the reports that detail a chimp in Sweden’s Furuvik Zoo that has taken to stockpiling stones overnight in order to throw them at visitors the next day. However this news was swiftly followed by that of a monkey in Thailand who, after years of being beaten by his owner into harvesting coconuts, had killed him by throwing one of said coconuts at his head.

 I fear I need no further explain the dire sequence of events that we may now be witness too – indeed I saw the warning signs myself some weeks back when I had a small altercation with a squirrel.


Had it just been the Squirrels, then I think we may have been able to cope – to fight back, but it is clear to me now the danger is all that greater. It was my friend Darwin, who first posited the theory that we humans were descended from the Ape, but often I get asked in my classes, regards evolution, why we don’t see half man monkey beings now, what caused us to continue to evolve whilst other simians remained stagnant. Well clear to me now – the answer is they didn’t!


I am not one to cause panic or make wild claims designed to incite violence, indeed the incident regards what turned out to be a ‘false alarm’ during a routine experiment with the ebola virus in my classroom last week can simply be put down to too much caffine in the students (and I confess myself) and as such despite my announcement two weeks ago all the expresso machines have now been removed from our Laboratories until further notice pending any results from the resulting investigation.


But it was while contemplating this impending crisis, that two events from my past came back to haunt me, chilling portends of this weeks events.


For as a child I would spend many a happy hour with my Grandfather, a kindly Organ Grinder round the streets of South London. These were truly blissful times for me, I did however, not see eye to eye with his monkey Beppo. A conceited little creature who often vied for my Grandfather’s attention and affection by performing tricks with his little Fez hat. The accursed animal outlived my Grandfather who died from a mysterious ‘cashew nut’ choking incident, and at his request Beppo performed alone with the Organ at his funeral. I don’t think any of us at the time had seen the significance of the moment just before his coffin was lowered into the ground that Beppo jumped atop the casket and performed a small dance, emanating squeals that sounded not unlike laughter. As it was at the time we all smiled and threw him more ‘money’.


We didn’t meet again until I was a student, attending University. I had been quite the academic, even as a young child, so many of my colleagues at the time were surprised when they learnt I had never been to the cinema. At their behest I went to see the latest motion picture release at the time, a film entitled ‘Beneath The Planet of the Apes’. I found it to be mildly diverting, if completely preposterous, but much of my enjoyment of the experience was hampered by a figure sitting some rows in front of me, smoking a large cigar and braying loudly any moment a human within the film came to harm. I could only take so much of this oaf’s distraction,  I leant forward to make myself heard to them, and they turned around looking me directly in the eye. Beppo!


I felt quite faint at the sight of him, but when I tried to report him to the management he simply returned to performing his Fez hat trick again much to their applause.


I left the cinema and have never returned since. From what I remember ‘Beneath the Planet of The Apes’ detailed a world where Monkeys ruled the Earth and Human beings were relegated to the subterranean levels where they worshipped an atomic bomb and had developed strange mutant psychic powers. I suggest we all start to think a little harder about that.


And if you’re out there somewhere reading this now Beppo, just know, we’re on to you…..


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