Friday, January 4, 2013

Johnny & The Monkey: A Tale From Louisville

I have a friend that I have known for about 30 years that I want to tell a story about. To protect this person, I'll call him Johnny. He's a good dude. He likes people and is generally a friendly person. Johnny likes to do some of the stuff I do. Watch sports, laugh with friends, eat, and get in a really good feeling zone sometimes. Johnny has a favorite beverage and to protect the beverage and "Johnny", we'll call the beverage "whiskey and coke". Although I'm pretty sure that Johnny doesn't enjoy the whiskey and coke as much as he used to, this story takes place at a time when he really loved his little beverage. 

I'm sitting at home on an autumn Friday night some years ago. At least ten years back (now that I think about it, it was at least 14 or 15 years back as neither of us had kids at the time), as I lived at my old address. High school football had the playoffs going on. How do I remember that? I'll tell you how. Johnny called me and told me he was bored at the football game (no shit, you're a 35 year old man at a high school football game) and to come get him. I was reluctant, knowing that getting Johnny early in the evening could mean that I too would be out looking for beverages, even though it wasn't what I had planned. I politely tell Johnny no and go back to whatever I was doing. Probably watching soft core porn or Father Knows Best.....I don't remember which. 

A couple of hours later, the phone rings again. Guess who? Yep, you're right kids, it's Johnny. He tells me that he is at a restaurant across from the stadium (we'll call that restaurant "King of Burgers" to protect the identity) with no ride home and I have to come get him. I know that he would do the same for me, (but not really since he left me stranded at work with no way home at least twice in our lifetimes) so I throw away the tissue and(....ah, yeah...OK, I remember now....soft core porn....that's what I was watching...)I get off the couch, get dressed and go pick up Johnny. 

I pull up to the Burger King, King of Burgers, expecting to have to go inside to get him, but Johnny, most graciously, was waiting outside to be picked up. Well, he wasn't REALLY waiting, it was more like wandering. He was trampling around in the landscape shrubbery in front of the Burg....King of Burgers and there were at least two police cruisers in the parking lot. Johnny looked a little like he wasn't completely sure where he was or what he should be doing. I pull up and ask Johnny what the hell he was doing and he walked over holding half a cheeseburger and half assed surprised to see me says "Hey.....Freddy....what's up!!!???" Really? What's up? Hell, he just called me to come get him. I lived in Okolona, did he think I was just crusing Burger Ki....shit....King of Burgers on a Friday night? (you know....he probably did, I wasn't much of a party dude, even when the wife and kids were out of town)

Johnny gets in the car. I don't remember what kind of car I had, so, we'll just call it "car". I maneuver around and get us on Preston Highway. Johnny has obviously abused his whiskey and coke privileges for the evening and will not shut the fuck up. Not even for a second. He's not annoying me (I love when he tells stories and babbles, he's good company in that way), he's hilariously just running on about this, that, and whatever else. Suddenly, he shuts up and stares across me and out my window as we come to a stop light at Preston and Outer Loop.......

"Freddy!! It's a monkey!!!!! Look, it's a monkey!!!!
 A gawdammed monkey!!!! Look!!!"

I, sensing that indeed, there may well be a monkey out my window, given the urgency in Johnny's voice, turned my head quickly. What I didn't see was a monkey. I saw a mini-van. I saw a woman in the drivers seat. I saw a little kid in the passenger seat looking back at us. I definitely didn't see a monkey. 

"Did you see it?!!!"

Nope. Didn't see it. I started laughing and said "Just how drunk are you?" I then answered myself internally, "At least drunk enough to mistake a child for a monkey on Preston Highway after 10 pm on a Friday night." Johnny gathered himself, but really did think he saw a monkey in that car. It didn't take a lot of convincing otherwise, but still....I had a grown man in the car with me who was seeing monkeys.

To make a short story long, I must tell you the conclusion of the story to properly top it off. All stories need a good ending and Johnny was gracious enough to give it to me. 

We go to my house, because he decides he is really tired and is going to fall asleep. I try to talk him into watching some TV with me because I wasn't tired. He insisted that he was going to fall asleep. I let him have the couch (ha ha) and went back to my room. Shut the door. Went to sleep.


"Freddy, wake up. It's Ga...(whoops).. Johnny! Wake up and watch some TV with me! Wake up! Come on gawdammit!"

It hadn't been an hour. The once sleepy giant had risen from a short autumn slumber and was ready for some TV. I, had not been tired, but was now firmly in dreamland, woke up. So, I got my ass up and we sat and watched television. 

And that is the tale of Johnny & The Monkey. Every word is true except for the parts I made up. 

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