Jane Goodall and the Chimp Diary

In 1968 I suffered a nervous breakdown during the London premier of hit motion picture, Planet of the Apes. 20th Century Fox hired me to work the red carpet in a gorilla suit, schmoozing the press and stars alike. The Glitterati were out in force, and aside from a zoologically accurate butt-sniffing that saw Jane Fonda knee me (twice) in the scrotal district, my jungle theatrics charmed all.

Things began to unravel during a hard-earned toilet break. I glimpsed my monkey self in the bathroom mirror and grew disoriented. Soon, not only did I believe myself a genuine gorilla, but I thought my reflection a rival silver back. I made smithereens of the mirror before charging back onto the red carpet in search of a mate.

At first, punters thought my frenzied shenanigans a mere escalation to my 'A' game. Leading man Charlton Heston even embraced me for a photo-op. Alarm bells only rang when I head-butted Mr Heston unconscious, seized a marketing woman from Fyffes, and attempted to climb to the cinema roof. I was subdued by security, wheezing and exhausted, on a narrow window sill only eighteen inches above ground.

A diagnosis of AMA (Acute Monkey Anxiety) was forthcoming, and for six months I literally climbed the walls of my apartment, existing on nothing but bananas. My wife Sorcha couldn’t cope with the constant butt sniffing, and divorced the living crap out of me. Custody of the children was determined in a swiftly arranged court sitting.

I don’t recall the custody proceeding, but the court transcript records my only contribution as “OOH OOH, AAH AAH”, after which I hurled a fistful of my own faeces at the judge, and broke both my legs attempting to climb to the mezzanine public gallery. Sorcha was awarded sole custody of the kids, leaving me to rue the vacuum of paternal rights in the British legal system and scandalous price of imported bananas.

A court-ordered stint in the Institute for Chimpanzee Delusions proved wondrous. Though I didn’t specifically believe myself a Chimpanzee (I saw myself more as a baboon, and shaved my ass accordingly), I recognised myself human again within four months of intensive therapy. However, one symptom lingered: a new-found terror of monkey kind.

My psychiatrist recommended I confront my fear with a zoo trip. I went one better, taking an advertised position in Tanzania as assistant to legendary chimpanzee researcher, Dr Jane Goodall. My psychiatrist strongly disapproved of my spontaneity, but died in a bank robbery crossfire six weeks later. Perhaps she should have spent less time disapproving and more time ducking.

My month in Tanzania was eventful. I kept a shorthand diary during this period, detailing my interactions with both Dr Goodall and the chimps. I publish it now, for your reading:

7th December, 1970
Arrived in Tanzania. Nervous about meeting Jane and the chimps.

8th December, 1970
Had sex with Jane. Nervous about meeting the chimps.

9th December, 1970
Still haven’t seen a God-damned chimp, or left Jane’s cabin. She’s freaking me out. Demands that I stop shaving for some reason.

10 December, 1970
Jane says she hates chimps. Says she shot one dead last year for kicks. Am frightened. She's bonkers. Still haven’t been into jungle. Jane making me scrape knuckles along ground when I walk. Says it’ll put me in mindset of chimp. Can’t be good for my AMA.

11 December, 1970
Awoke in night to sensation of ass being shaved. Turns out Jane was shaving my ass. Told her I'm scared, and want to leave Tanzania. Says she’ll kill me and slit throat of every chimp in thirty mile radius if I leave. Dragged finger across neck for emphasis. Says my tears disgust her.

12 December, 1970
Sexed Jane to sleep and snook into jungle with map. Figure I'll take my chances in wild.

13 December, 1970
Found chimps! Total fluke. Pitched my tent nearby. Too scared of Jane to be scared of the monkeys (not the band). No sign of Jane. Will sleep with knife close.

14 December, 1970
Still no Jane (thank Christ). Chimps intrigued by me. Allowing me to sit close. Females seem to be wearing makeup. Could only be Jane's doing. Males seem to be wearing cologne. What the f*ck is wrong with that woman?

15 December, 1970
Fur balls boring me to tears. So bored this morning, played prank. Waited until two mother chimps distracted. Grabbed child of one and swapped with child of other. Ensuing violence cheered me up.

16 December, 1970
Alpha male has not warmed to me. Keeps posturing, beating his chest. I have no fear. Is only short arse, glorified Mogwai. Have christened him Colin.

17 December, 1970
Have to hand it to Colin. Sure showed me. First embarrassed me in front of other chimps. Wrestled me to ground and jumped up and down on my back. Then whipped off my kacks and violently raped me. Far too strong. Pointless to try and stop him. Once he’d had his fun, ran me out of jungle like common pygmy. Probably a warning to others. Feel so used. Arse killing me.

18 December, 1970
Arrived at Jane’s cabin and grovelled for disappearing. Told her about Colin. Apparently real name is Larry. Jane says Larry must be dealt with. Has thirst for rape now. We attack at dawn.

19 December, 1970
Disaster. Charged into chimpsville at first light. Jane secured Larry in full nelson. I went to work, punching his monkey face repeatedly. Larry was tough. Spat blood into my face in act of defiance. Or perhaps to buy time? Other chimps rallied. Too many. Jane escaped. I couldn't. Was violently raped by Larry again. Chased from jungle for a second time.

20 December, 1970
Jane gave me lift to airfield. Tanzania not for me. Raped once by chimp, shame on chimp; raped twice by chimp, shame on me. Jane promised to kill and eat Larry. Will miss her. Gave me parting gift of photo scrapbook. Insists I don't open until home.

21 December, 1970
Scrapbook filled with photos of me. Am mostly asleep in photos, but some aerial shots of me taking dump in outhouse. Jane must have been on roof. Interesting.

Old Rants

Rant by www.rant.ie is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Copyright © 2009 Flann O'Coonassa