Dung of Darkness – Redux

The journey to Bali in a stolen Indonesian ‘feral’ boat from Broome, Western Australia, took two days.  It was quickened toward the end of day one, when an Australian Navy ship under the guise of Operation Sovereign Borders towed me to the maritime border, unhooked my vessel and steamed back south.  Once the cries of “Tony Abbott says stay out!” subsided, I called back, from my slowly sinking boat: “Thank you!”  Little did they know I’d been tasked by their very own government, albeit confidentially through ASIO, to reach the tourist island off East Java and execute a mission which “had, did and would never exist”.  The mission was simple: an Australian national had set himself up in the Ubud Sacred Monkey Sanctuary as the leader, and in fact king, of a group of monkeys, one white tiger, a kidnapped drop bear and the attractive female host, known only as “Gina”, of failed reality TV show Big Monkey.  It was alleged by ASIO that the aforementioned were all serving as his bodyguards, while he set about recruiting as terrorist foot-soldiers Bali natives disenfranchised by drunken and drug-addled Australian tourists.  Well, I guess that part wasn’t simple.  But my mission was: to kill, with extreme prejudice, the Monkey King of Ubud – otherwise known as King Chewbacca.


While the sun set over the South Kuta peninsula and my all-but-submerged boat disrupted angry surfers riding swell pounding the beach off Nusa Dua, I realised I wasn’t sure exactly what I’d do when confronted with the strange man who had put himself in such an unlikely position.  To be sure, I wasn’t sure what he’d do, either.  I’d been briefed in Broome that a group of Aussie surfers would be waiting the morning after my arrival outside a Nusa Dua hovel of a hotel.  All six of them, tired but wired from earlier salt-water endeavours, were preparing for a day trip of monkey-business in Ubud courtesy of a north-bound bus.  Five of them went along with my cover story of being a fellow wave-rider keen to innocently tag along to the island’s interior.  Their leader, paid both to ensure the others’ cooperation and ask no questions, did just that.  I asked them about a rumoured Balinese monkey king.  A couple spoke in sweaty whispers of surfing primates in the line-up, who would drop in on foreign surfers and scratch or chuck shit at any who dared challenge them.  The leader simply sat with me up the front of the bus, throwing knowing glances to the driver and me while silently sipping his Bintang beer.  “Someone needs to take care of that guy,” said another of their number, who had thus far remained silent.  And whose face was covered in still bleeding and yellowing scratches and smelled of monkey faeces.

Their leader upended the dregs from the can into his mouth just before the JI. Raya Tebongkang Ubud Road became the JI. Raya Kangetan, and we turned right.  Minutes later and in the mid-afternoon, we arrived at the sanctuary’s entrance.  The surfers were unnerved by the screaming monkeys and lone, occasional tiger’s roar audible from outside the forest.  So they left me alone at its gates.  Their leader threw me a Bintang, which I swilled greedily before walking calmly under the leafy, cool canopy.  Almost immediately I could hear unnaturally wind-like sounds then heavy impacts of something moving from tree-to-tree above me.  “But he’s a great man,” the trees muttered.  And I knew it was Garrett, the displaced drop bear.

“He stole you from your family, your home, your country, Garrett,” I whispered to the leaves.

Whoosh, thud.

“But he has good taste in music.”

“He caused you to miss Australia Day 2014, Garrett.”

Whoosh, thud.

“But there are so many Australians in Bali, not least himself.  So I need not leave.”

“He made a mockery of the drop bear myth.  Garrett.”

Whoosh, thud.  The snap of a branch.  I whipped the knife from my waist and lingered it in his furry neck just as he landed, fangs bared, on mine.

“Dare you mock this!?” he rasped, drooling on my shirt.  The smell of imported eucalyptus leaves and stale beer almost had me reeling.

“And you, this?” I calmly pressed the knife further into his coat, drawing both blood and a stifled wince.  “Help me, Garrett, and I will remove you from this equatorial nightmare and back to your sub-tropical home.”

The pacified koala muttered Midnight Oil, Cold Chisel and even a little Ball Park Music (Rich People Are Stupid), while the forest sucked us further toward its heart.  And my designated, mysterious foe.  I had to brandish the knife again when he began a Killing Heidi number.  Which silenced him.  He was less startled when intermittent growls and flashes of white started coming from and appearing around us.  “Calm,” he urged as we loped through the undergrowth.  I kept the knife handy.  It seemed Garrett was already midflight, fangs bared, not to mention screaming “Thunderstruck!” (an AC/DC number) when ferns to our left suddenly disgorged an enormous white tiger.  I was still running while the vision of a snarling gray ball of fur attached in combat to a growling white behemoth stuck stubbornly in my mind like a heavy footprint in mud.  Distant dog-like howls and pained roars shook the jungle to my rear.  Sensing my prey was near (a heinous smell was growing stronger), I pressed on.

A steaming pile of monkey shit landed beside me as I began my final approach to the promised royal tree house, adjacent the 14th century-built Holy Monkey Temples.  I glanced upward, only to see an angry cousin of my evolutionary family sitting in a tree, stroking a spear.  A baboon, which surely meant Rafiki the king’s head priest and part-time evil wizard.  Presently I saw the first of the surfers I’d accompanied on the journey from Nusa Dua, beside Rafiki.  Head removed from his body.  Attached to a spike.  Face contorted in a strange mixture of terror and humour.  Sploosh: more shit.  Another monkey: sitting spear stroking in a tree.  Mojo, the thief, royal footrest and, reportedly, dunce.  Horror: another head on a grisly spike.  Another three times this happened, much to my regret (as much due to the smell of the shit, as to the fear of the monkeys, as to the revulsion of the severed heads).  Jo-Jo, the King’s Paw; Timmy, the escaped mental patient; and Simeon, the stuffed monkey.  Until I came face-to face, albeit from ground to tree house-top, with the Monkey King – the severed head of the surfer group’s leader sitting prominently on a final bloody spike at his side.  “Word Journeyer,” he giggled, confident in his elevated position and surrounding of me by his minions.  “What took you so long?”  A rope ladder unfurled from above and landed at my feet.

The Monkey King lay sighing, much less commanding than at the moment I’d first sighted him, upon a hammock after I’d finally scaled the 50-foot ladder.  A woman, brunette, green-eyed and captivating, was sitting on a stool and stroking his head.  Meanwhile, a positively ugly monkey so disfigured by some kind of past attack that she had an extra nostril (whom I took to be Scar Face – the king’s obstinate suitor) jumped madly around the room while throwing her shit at Gina – who calmly ducked each acrimonious attack and maintained her attentions on the king’s throbbing forehead vein.  I was unprepared for such a scene.  “What’s the problem?” I asked.

“Oh, y’know, Word Journeyer,” he started.  “Too much power.  And too many crazy, beautiful, and crazy and not so beautiful, and completely insane and hideous women after me, as a result.”

Gina silently nodded, Scar Face threw another clumsily-aimed crap and I insincerely nodded empathetically.  It was then I noticed in a cobwebbed corner the computer he’d been using to organise his kingdom, recruit his anti-atavistic-Aussie-tourist terrorists, and blog about it.


“You’re a lucky man, Monkey King,” I said, which he responded to by looking wistfully up at Gina, then glancing warily at Scar Face, but ignoring me as I inched toward his outdated Compaq laptop.


“Yeah,” I moved closer.  “People either fear you, or want to be you.”

He nodded.

“But they don’t want to smell like you, sorry.”  Within striking distance.

“Ah, that’s ok.  The plumbing in this tree house isn’t. . . .

I plunged the knife repeatedly, viciously into the laptop’s screen and keyboard.  Damaging it beyond repair.  Chewbacca screamed and struggled in vain out of the hammock, Gina silently held her right hand over her mouth; Scar Face threw what was surely her last shit for a while at me.  I ducked, grabbed a vine hooked inside the window, and swung out of it into a blood-red tropical sunset barely penetrating the sacred forest.

Categories: Australia, Bali, BIg Monkey, Humor, love, Relationships, Romance, television shows, travel advice | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

(part 2) Six ways to reject an infatuated monkey

IN THE previous post I mentioned that a monkey called Scar-Face proposed to me, and is expecting me to give my answer this week. She has threatened me with physical abuse if I break her heart.


You know, this whole thing is absurd. I don’t want to marry her. Even though she is sort of nice. Look at her! But I also don’t want to get beaten up. So, I have six ways to tell a crazy monkey that I’m just not into her, with estimated percentages of success :

1)      It’s not you. It’s me!  44%

How you would probably go about it: “You’re a beautiful monkey, with a scar that has disfigured your face so that you have three nostrils, but it’s just not the right time for me! Even though my advisor wants me to get married, and even though I have no heirs… Please, stop stabbing me!”

2)      We’re not the same species!  78% before Avatar came out, currently 34%

An obvious but popular favourite. The problem is, is that I’m king of the monkeys. I’ve sort of been adopted into the tribe, and I can’t use “I’m a different species” to escape the advances of suitors. Also, I complained to Abu that I couldn’t date a monkey. And he said; “Haven’t you seen Avatar? Where Sam Worthington becomes a big blue alien and gets to have a hot blue chick princess if he so wishes?”

Damn you Hollywood! You’ve made it socially acceptable to marry a monkey. Don’t you have any morals whatsoever?

3)      I’m scared of intimacy!  12%

Oh yeah? And what if she says, “I’m sorry  I’m so insensitive,” and cracks onto me even worse! The last thing anyone needs to see is a sleazy monkey in lingerie touching people in inappropriate places, like on the knee! No. NO! NOOOOOOO! I won’t even chance it.

4)      You deserve so much better! 65%

How you would probably go about it: “I don’t know your real name, so I call you “Scar Face.” So I think I’d make a bad husband. But I’ll still make a good king – ruling over hundreds of your fellow monkeys.”

5)      I’m just not attracted to you. 80%

How you would probably go about it: “You’re ugly. Really ugly. Your face looks like a Mr Potato Head. You have so much fur I don’t even know if you have a belly button. You need to lose weight. You need to be a lot taller. I’m pleased you wear make-up, but it’s the same lot dabbed on from that visit to the animal testing facility. I might get over these issues if you were from Texas. I’ve always wanted to go out with a girl from Texas.  Are you from Texas? Didn’t think so.”

6)      I’m saving myself for someone from Texas 0.5%

No offence.

What would YOU choose?

Categories: Humor, Romance | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Six ways to reject someone who is in love with you

So let me just write a few lines on here so that the “good stuff” isn’t shown on my Twitter and Facebook links. Blah blah blah.

Blah blah blah.

Okay, now I can tell you I sort of lied. This is titled Six Ways to Reject Someone Who Is In Love With You. And while that’s true, I’m talking specifically about a sleazy monkey I call Scar-Face.

Wait! Don’t go. The six ways can apply to humans too! Let me just pop on the music for the atmosphere.

See, I’m the Monkey King. I’m kinda a big deal in the monkey forest. Some monkey ladies are attracted to my glamour or title or charisma or whatever the hell this is.


Damn. Wrong picture. Disregard it.

This was the one I meant to post.

Monkey king animation pic

Now where was I? Oh yeah, monkey ladies.

See, the most aggressive monkey who competes for my affections is a monkey I call “Scar-Face.” She has probably been on steroids and resembles a Mr Potato Head. What you assume to be her eye is actually an ear.

Anyway, on Friday morning she arrived at my throne room, delivering 12 roses before she kissed my feet. “Happy Valentines Day, M’ Lord. Will you marry me?” she asked.

“I thought you were already married to Rafiki?” I said.

“You’re thinking of Rhonda. My sister. I still available though. Give answer next week. Rude to keep a lady waiting.”

So anyway,  I have to tell Scar Face she’s ugly without hurting her feelings. If I hurt her feelings in any way, she will kick me out the tree, tie me upside down from a power line, and whack me with sticks. Well, that’s what she told me she would do.

So I have six suggestions of how I can tell a crazy monkey lady that I’m just not into her, with an estimated percentage of success.

And that will be on the next post (sorry!).

Categories: Humor, Romance | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bitstrip War’s final battle: Even Monkey Kings can be losers

THERE’S this girl called Gina. She’s a TV presenter. She’s hot. I don’t think I’ve mentioned her before.

Regular viewers of my blog might be rolling their eyes right now saying “dude!”

Anyway, for a while she was disinterested and tried to ignore me as much as possible. And then we became…well…frenemies by insulting each other through Bitstrip photos. I liked to call the battles The Bitstrip Wars.

I was the happiest I had ever been in my life. Surrounded by the monkeys I cared for in the heart of Bali, and insulting the girl I had the hots for.

But then I got into huge trouble when I sent this photo:


After a few days of silence – making me sweat my body weight mind you – she sent through a Facebook message.

GINA: You’re right, that is horribly inappropriate! Are you crazy? My fiance checks my Facebook page. He doesn’t want us to be friends anymore. He thinks you like me.

MONKEY KING: Oh Boo hoo! That’s nothing if you snapchatted with me.

GINA: I don’t think I ever want to.

MONKEY KING: You’re a strong, fierce, independent woman. Be friends with whoever you want to be friends with.

GINA: Stop being a patronising jerk. And no more naked photos! Or that’s it.

MONKEY KING: Only if YOU stop sending me naked photos. Chompy finds them a little arousing.

So then she sent me another Bitstrip photo. Except this photo was different. Before, it was harmless sexual innuendo, pen dropping and teasing.

Bitstrip with Gina9

MONKEY KING: Wow, just a little hurtful, Gina.

GINA: What? That’s hurtful?

MONKEY KING: Yes, I’m…hurt…Gina. I thought we had something going.

GINA: Oh shut up.

MONKEY KING: Ooh, getting angry, are you Gina?

GINA: You really piss me off. Die, you creepy jungle sleaze!

So…ignoring the danger signs that suggested the subtle danger signs had gone from “Irritated” to “Anger” to “Hate”, I posted another Bitstrip to ease the tension.

As you do.

Bitstrip with Gina10

GINA: Ha ha ha. Comparing me to Jack Nicholson? Oh honey. Is that the best you’ve got?

Bitstrip with Gina11

You would be surprised how many people have called me “crazy” or a stoner  or “heavily medicated” or like Brad Pitt’s character in 12 Monkeys (love that movie!!!).

After a while you get weary of the judgement. I know I was being a bit sensitive, and was letting Gina wind me up too easily.

So I got a bit carried away, trying to make a joke.

It’s a defence mechanism.

Bitstrip with Gina12.2

And it’s been half a week, and there was no sign of what she thought of my “proposal” until this morning, when I noticed she unfriended me on Facebook.

The Bitstrip Wars were over. And I was left with a sour taste and a broken phone (because I threw it at the ground), realising an important lesson: that maybe in war, there are no winners.

Even Monkey Kings can be losers.

Categories: Humor, Romance | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Bitstrip war with my crush (round 2)

I HAVE fought so much temptation since I found my smart phone near the creek. I have not posted stupid Bitstrip photos to Gina, the girl I have a crush on. It’s stupid and immature. I know that now.

Last week we flirted a little using Bitstrip. Though she might say otherwise. She sent the last Bitstrip photo and I meant to send another one, but Jo-Jo threw the phone away so I wouldn’t retaliate.

Anyway, she sent me another Bitstrip photo this morning!


Okay, so maybe it is true. Maybe I have visited her office a lot lately with a retinue of monkey bodyguards (with the excuse that I have a few hot scoops for her). And sure, maybe there might have been a few pens that were dropped. And sure, maybe she might have seen my arse the seven or eight times I bent down in my skinny black jeans.

But she has just brought on ROUND TWO!

So I sent her a nice photo.


To which she replied:

Gina: Ha Ha Ha. You have made a powerful enemy, my friend.

Monkey King: Ooh, who?

Gina: Didn’t anybody tell you not to annoy a TV presenter?


That’s when I probably took it way too far. She never replied to my next one.


Categories: Animation, Humor, Romance | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Making out at Bridges

I kissed Luce, and before I could break apart she put a bit of her tongue in my mouth. Just a light flutter; the buzz of a bumblebee wing. Her eyes were closed and she kept them that way until our lips broke away. She put her hand lightly on my chest, almost as if to keep me from kissing again.

Other writers sat beside us – one of them I eventually recognised as a well established crime novelist; Joey Valandana. He looked like a short haired Jim Morrison. “This is amazing!” he said, ignoring what was at that point the greatest moment of my life. “I can’t believe I’m here with Paul Kelly, and some of the greatest writers and musicians alive!” He pointed at an austere looking man with moon shaped glasses, who was talking to an unidentified woman with an afro.  “That’s one of those most influential political journalists in China.”

He followed Luce and I across the balcony. She was stopped by a much older woman, who engaged her in conversation about night time photography.

“And I can’t believe I’m talking to Luce,” Joey whispered as he asked for a vodka. He picked up a stray frangipani from the bar and put it behind his ear. “You know she was one of the most highest paid models in Europe, a couple of years back? Did you read her memoir that came out a few months ago? About her depression and self-harm and why she gave up fashion? You should have heard her interview two days ago.” He gave a lazy sort of smile as he chewed a vitamin C tablet. “Guess a little like us all.” He paused after another mouthful. “So what do you do anyway?”

“I study law,” I said, and he lifted his glass with a moronic smile, and said “cool man. Good for you.” But I’ve never seen someone look so unimpressed with my chosen profession.

I had Luce’s attention again. She waved me back to the corner of the balcony where there was a set of stairs. We followed them down into the darkness. We were at the edge of the ravine. I stumbled on a rock.

“Careful,” she grabbed my hand. We explored underneath the balcony, and another set of stairs going even further down the cliff. We stood at the edge seeing if we could do down closer to the river.

“I guess we’re at the end of this path.” She squeezed into my body. We made out somewhere underneath that balcony, the conversations above eventually quietening as the night became morning. I could see nothing but the reflection of lights above. I smelt frangipanis and perfume. I heard our lips and tongues click, crickets and frogs, the waterfall, and the light scuffling of each other’s clothing as we pawed at the bony and fleshy shapes they protected.  Hip and butt and breast and stomach.

Eventually someone called down to us, “Is someone there? The place is closing now!” I followed Luce to the front where the late leavers gathered for opportunistic taxi drivers to take them home.

“Can we see each other before you go to America?” I asked, and she led me to a moped at the side of the building.

Then she said, “the night doesn’t have to end just yet!” She shouted at Joey and a couple of her other friends. “We’ll see you back at the villa!” and she put her helmet on. “Let’s go and have a few more drinks.”

“Are you able to drive?” I asked, and she said she had not had that much alcohol. That was good enough for me. I climbed on behind on and grabbed her waist.

“Tighter, you sexy man!” she yelled over the engine as she revved past the other writers, and I did what I was told. I should have been more frightened than I was, it was bloody dangerous being driven on a moped at night by a drunk girl, without even wearing a helmet, but I had never been more excited.

Categories: How I Met a Woman, Romance, Ubud Writers Festival | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How I met Luce at the Ubud Writers Festival

I know I have taken a while to get to telling you (the patient reader) about the beautiful woman who changed my life. The woman who made me realise I was but a scared little boy surrounded by sex-crazed men in a materialistic world where everything – including the warmth of another– has currency.

Her name is Luce. And she is a former Lacoste model turned internationally renowned photographer.

Two years ago I was in the Bali Buddha – relaxing with a book and eating fish and chips. A woman clutching a motorbike helmet walked up the stairs and joined a couple at the table beside me. I had gathered by their conversation that they were writers and photographers who were speaking at the festival.

“Excuse me,” she said, after noticing their table was one seat short. She had red hair cut to just above her shoulders, a nose ring, and despite the heat wore a khaki military style sort of jacket, and ragged jeans. I remember thinking this was strange. And a little bad-ass.

I ignored her, until I learnt she was speaking to me. She waved. I smiled back. “You want the seat? It’s all yours!” I said.

My eagerness must have been taken the wrong way. I was just happy to talk to another person. I was lonely.

“You were at the bar last night, performing that poem,” She said. I stared up at her eyes, trying not to check her breasts, which stuck out under the low cut top between the unbuttoned jacket. They were perky.  Ripe for attention. But when I weakened, and I glimpsed down, I saw she had a tag given to all the workers at the festival.

“Writer”, it said.

“Yeah, that’s me,” I said, laughing with embarrassment. “I wrote it yesterday afternoon. I know it was a bit crap, but…”

Picture of Luce: as crap as my poem.

Picture of Luce: as crap as my poem.

“I thought it was beautiful,” she said. The other two behind her smiled at me as well, but their lips were shaped differently. I assumed they were pretentious, fake, and forcing themselves to engage with me.

I was not one of them.

“Thank you,” I said, as she dragged the seat across to the other two. I disguised my eavesdropping by staring down at my book. But really I was hoping to break into that conversation, to listen to her speak to me in that French accent.

But the truth is sometimes you cannot force something to happen no matter how much you want it to. But though we kissed the next night on a balcony underneath a frangipani tree, surrounded by the most respected writers and artists for thousands of kilometres (and much more!) I tried to shrug her memory away when I saw her follow the couple down the stairs.

She didn’t glance back at the awkward, shaggy haired (it wasn’t as long then) loner finishing his crumbed fish.



Categories: How I Met a Woman, Romance | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Meet Gina: What the monkeys discovered

Who needs Facebook to stalk someone, when you’ve got monkeys at your beck and call?

I mentioned a few posts ago that I asked a group of monkeys to follow Gina, the local TV anchor, and report back to me on what they had learnt. It took them a while – but that’s because they did NOT cross any moral boundaries retrieving the information.

Gina: TV anchor; disinterested beauty. Help me.

Gina: TV anchor; disinterested beauty. Help me.

These are 10 things they learned about her:

1)      Gina has a boyfriend. His “English” name is Andrew. He is a banker and lives in Jakarta. He has a degree in finance and economy.

2)      Gina grew up in Surabaya, the second largest city in Indonesia.

3)      She is 5 ft 9 and weighs 128 Lbs (62 kilograms).  The monkeys discovered this without breaking any moral codes. All they did was put a video camera in her bathroom, aimed at the scales.

4)      Gina loves cycling. She often rides the roads around Ubud.

5)      She has always wanted to see the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia, travel across Europe, and stay in New York.

6)      Gina loves motorbikes, watches all forms of martial arts, and enjoys cricket.

7)      She first wanted to be a famous actress, after watching Tomb Raider, starring Angelina Jolie. She promised her family she would finish a degree before she broke into acting, and she chose Journalism so she could get experience in front of the camera.

8)      Gina was once attacked in a riot, while she was on air. She retaliated by king-hitting the man who shoved her. She would have lost her job, except she gained a lot of public support.

9)      Gina and Andrew have dated for two years. She knows he will likely propose soon. She doesn’t know if she will say yes. She knows Andrew  will expect children, and she wants to wait another ten years.

10)   Her favourite restaurant is Café Lotus. Gina normally gets the be-pasih goa lawah (fish marinated in turmeric, lemon grass and ginger, which is then steamed in a banana leaf). Gina generally eats alone.

Categories: List, Romance | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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