My birthday in tropical paradise! I rise from my throne with a yawn and a wookie growl. It’s hard to tell whether it is the burn of the sun, or an orchestra of monkeys (and a drop bear) that wakes me from my slumber.
I leave the tree by sliding down the newly constructed flying-fox, which finishes halfway along Monkey Forest Road. It’s the best way to escape the forest without being chased by a white tiger (you sneak back in by hiding behind a tourist). Some of the monkeys follow but I kindly tell them to leave me alone for a little while. Cause I need ME time.
I sit down for a refreshing ginger and apple juice at the Three Monkeys Bar. Get a massage. Ride my moped without a helmet on, dammit. Have a copper pull me up, and he recognises me and smiles and sings “Happy Birthday Mr Monkey King” in broken English, then asks for money.
I play soccer with a group of local kids in a nearby village, have Mi goreng for lunch, and get a tattoo of a machine-gun wielding monkey on my back.
I believe a birthday should be a celebration of life. Nothing planned. Nothing set. No sit down roast dinners. I think it should be doing everything on the spot. Laughing when you’re 80 and saying “See this shriveled tattoo of a monkey gunning down Nazis? My 24th! I know!” Waking up and running out of your home and facing the world and saying “I always wanted to do this, so dammit! This is my time!”
But I realised that I just wanted to be with my monkeys. I could imagine that they were sad and lonely, wondering why they couldn’t celebrate my birthday with me.
But no, when I got back I found
the selfish bastards my friends drunk. It was too hot to dance. Most of them were just chilling on Bali lounges with tequilas and chatting up hot Swedish tourists. Moby was playing so loud on our collection of stereos that I could hear him from the other end of Monkey Forest Road. The traffic was hell, with most of the locals swarming closer, refusing to miss another monkey party. A bouncer (what the? Who hired him?) was blockading the gate, only letting in the chicks.
“You can’t come in!” the bouncer said. “I’ve been warned about you.” Then he chuckled and slapped me on the back and said “had you going.”
I entered, surveying the madness. I stepped over what I first thought was a mutated hedgehog (nothing like Sonic though) but was actually a stoned white tiger with an insane amount of tranquilisers pinned into the fur.
I grabbed a “cold one” from an esky and that’s when all the monkeys jumped up and ambushed me and lifted me. I crowd surfed all the way through the forest and was at last put down onto my throne. The monkeys handed me presents and cards, blabbering I had to open theirs first.
Well, I couldn’t open everybody’s first, so they helped me do it. Mojo opened Timmy’s present, a Kris (Indonesian sword). “Oh boy!” Just what I wanted!” Mojo shrieked, and ran down the tree with it to show his friends.
Garrett the drop-bear gave me a collection of The Doors albums, Jo-Jo gave me a golden engraved staff and some socks, and Lucy returned my Gossip Girl DVDs.
I opened the cards last. That’s how I do things.
This was my favourite cover:
But wait! There’s more!