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Me dicen el desaparecido
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-Manu Chao

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716: Welcome to the Monkey House.

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I wanted to make espresso but Cid was shouting in his underwear waving a wooden snake at Blue Balls who was sitting in the mango tree outside the kitchen. "Come on Blue Balls you fuck! Come on! I fuck you up you fucking bastard!"

Blue Balls raised his eyebrows and jutted his head.

"You know he won't do anything now," M said.


When I moved in I asked: "How many people live here?"

"Twelve I think. It's a big place though, you never see any more than four or five at a time."

My room is damp but the cockroaches are easily caught in leftover orange juice.


The day after I helped my girlfriend move into the room above mine she decided to be my ex-girlfriend. "I'm just not in a place to be able to care about anyone but myself. I know it's selfish."

That was a month ago.

She asked my friend and house mate to cuddle the other night. He said no. She said "I'll have sex with you." He said no.

R is a good friend.


When A and S were here things were better. They are a positive light. We all made a movie together for the Copenhagen climate summit, a football match between the Spoilers and the Sustainables. The ball was planet earth.

There was a lot of music then. We took turns on guitar and jembe; we wrote a song called "We Need a Maid".

Before Cid left to tour with his band Napalma he showed A, S and me beats on the jembe. "This is the I'm-gonna-finish beat. You do it at the end. Everyone knows this one. It's how you pass the beat around a circle."

I'm the only one who plays music now.


In November, D ignored the power notices and they cut it off. Candles and cold showers are only romantic for a day.


N's girlfriend arrived from his home town in Germany two days ago. He didn't sleep the night before. That morning when I asked, he said: "Yea, I'm fucking nervous."

A week ago he said they fight often. He said she can be very intense, that when something comes up she wants to deal with it right then no matter where they are. It sounded familiar so I asked what her birthday was.

"November the 4th."
I laughed. "That's my birthday too."


On the porch last night M studied the menu for his new job where they serve expensive wine while I read 'The Picture of Dorian Gray'.

"I'm smoking too much," he said.
"Me too."

He said he was ready for a change. "In 2010 I need to make money. I have a British passport and my sister lives there, so I know I'll be set up if I go. That's what I have to do."

Later he said, "I feel for you brother. It must be rough living with her here. But sometimes things have to happen for other things to happen. Like for me, It sucks that my mom had to pass for me to be closer to my dad. But I know I would never be this close with him if she was still alive. And I'm glad for the relationship we have now."

M is nineteen.


A German girl, K, moved in yesterday. She said, "I was in Cape Town for three weeks first to visit some friends. Then I decided to come here."

Later she said, "yea, I have a kind of boyfriend there. He needed to look for a job so I came here."

Welcome to the monkey house K.
21st Jan 2010, 13:07  

Alfie says:

Great post H. It sounds quite grim and hopeless, but at the same time you give the situations just the right touch of hopefulness.

21st Jan 2010, 13:41

Kostika says:

What wonderful writing.

21st Jan 2010, 14:04

mara says:


22nd Jan 2010, 07:13

Viv says:

well this made me start from the beginning and work my way through...

some adventure and so well told

thank for sharing

so much fearlessness and so much fear,

good luck with your choices...

22nd Jan 2010, 14:04

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