Friday, May 1, 2015

Matthew's Banana Monkey

Once there was a man named Matthew who was walking down the road to paradise. There were trees on either side of him and a clear sky above him. On his back was a rifle and a monkey. On the monkey's back was a bunch of bananas.

When the journey began, the Master said to Matthew, "now that I have set you on the path to paradise, you must live according to my words. If you truly trust me, you will not eat the bananas in the forrest. You may eat the fruit of any other tree, but if you eat the bananas, you will regret it and forget for a time that you know me. Your joy on the path will be hindered. I have given you all you need for the journey. Don't neglect my gifts."

Many days later, these words still echoed in Matthew's ears. However, the monkey, for what seemed like the thousandth time was dangling a banana in front of Matthew's face. Matthew knew the monkey did it on purpose just to annoy him. The aroma was glorious. "I've forgotten what bananas taste like" thought Matthew. "Perhaps if I just take a deep smell of the fruit, it will be enough."

Matthew inhaled the scent that was before him. Unfortunately, it only made the craving deepen. He walked a bit longer, but soon could take it no longer. "Surely the master knows how difficult this journey is? And why would he allow this monkey to ride along if he knew this would happen?" When the thought had fully played itself out, Matthew grabbed the banana and took a large bite.

The flavor was rich and pleasing, but only for a moment. Guilt filled his heart and spoiled his satisfaction before the aftertaste had faded. Not only that, but he realized the banana did not taste nearly as good as he'd hoped. Certainly not as good as the other fruits he'd found in the forrest.

Just when this thought had ended, the monkey leaped from Matthew's back and stood in front of him. After giving a loud shriek. The monkey kicked Matthew right between the legs with profound force. Matthew fell to the ground in agony.

After about twenty minutes, Matthew struggled to his feet. His mind was fuzzy. The pain had mostly faded, but his insides were numb. He began to stagger forward and continued on his journey. He looked back and saw his friend the monkey following close behind. Obviously he was angry with the monkey. However, he'd grown fond of the creature throughout his journey and was sure there was a rational explanation for what had happened. Eventually he allowed it to hop back onto his shoulder to continue the journey.
Another day or two passed and soon Matthew forgot the pain. Feeling began to return to his insides and thoughts of the Master returned to him. He then realized it had been a long while since the Master had entered his mind. Some remnants of guilt remained, but as he thought more intently on the Master's promise of paradise, joy began to fill his heart again.

However, the purity of this joy did not last for long. After a few more days, the monkey began to return to his old tricks. He would dangle a banana in front of Matthew's face every so often, even though Matthew would push his hand away. Soon the aroma began to drift into Matthew's nose yet again. His stomach would begin to grumble. For several miles, Matthew was able to fill his stomach with different fruits. He often found he was not in the mood for them with the thought of bananas on his mind, but he would eat them anyway. They always proved more satisfying than he had hoped.

However, before long, he ran out of fruit he had packed for the journey and began to grow hungry again. He looked into the forrest and saw fruit that he could pick to replace it. However, before he worked up the motivation to go and get it, the thoughts of fresh banana rushed into his mind. Sure enough, the monkey hung one in front of his face just when his craving was at its peak. He ate the fruit before he even gave himself time to think.

Only moments after he'd experienced the flavor, guilt rushed back into his heart. Sure enough, the monkey jumped off his back again and stood in front of him. Before he had time to brace himself, the monkey kicked him once more. Matthew fell to the ground, barely able to breathe.

This pattern continued for several weeks. The pain would slowly fade, followed by the guilt. Thoughts of the Master would return, but would soon be followed by the monkey's irritating distraction with that accursed fruit. Matthew would resist for a while, but eventually he would run out of the fruit he would pick for himself and would give in to the monkey's cruel offer.

Eventually, a day came when Matthew's hope had nearly faded. Yet again the monkey was torturing him when his craving was at its peak. Just then, the Master's words returned to Matthew's mind "Do not neglect my gifts." He suddenly was reminded of the gun on his shoulder and began to feel its weight. He immediately pushed the monkey off his back, whipped the gun off his shoulder and began to aim it at the monkey's face. He yelled, "Get rid of those bananas or I'll shoot you right here and now!" The monkey began to jump up and down and shriek at the top of its lungs. After screaming like this for several moments, the monkey threw the bananas into the forrest and climbed calmly back onto Matthew's shoulder. Matthew sighed with relief...

The journey continued.

Matthew felt peace in his heart for a time. However, he soon noticed that the monkey would take occasional trips into the trees. Each time it would come back with a few bananas. He tried to think nothing of it, but the pattern continued. Eventually the monkey had just as many bananas on its back as before. Sure enough, the monkey whipped up the courage to begin torturing Matthew again. Matthew didn't wish to go through another ordeal, so he resolved in himself that he would fight to resist temptation from here on out.

He stuck to his commitment... for a few hours.

Sure enough, Matthew found himself on the ground once more, recovering from the incredible pain. His insides were numb yet again. The monkey stood nearby with a blank expression. With what little emotion he had, Matthew decided he was angry. He was angry with himself and angry with the monkey. However, without truly knowing why, he decided to continue as he had before. He hobbled forward, and the monkey assumed its position on his shoulder.

Matthew wasn't sure what to do. He knew the pattern would continue if he didn't act. But what did the Master expect of him? How far was he to go? The Master's words returned to his mind "Do not neglect my gifts." Just then, the monkey dangled a banana in front of Matthew's face. Hunger pangs seized him.

Matthew stopped in the middle of the road. He felt the weight of the gun on his shoulder yet again. He closed his eyes. He reminded himself of the pain he had now experienced over and over. Moments passed.

...Matthew opened his eyes... his decision was made.

In one swift motion, he took the monkey by the neck and threw it to the ground. he whipped the gun around and pressed it right between the monkey's eyes... He pulled the trigger.

BLAM!

The noise echoed throughout the forrest. Matthew looked down at the corpse of the monkey... bananas scattered all around it. Blood drained out of its head and it's tongue was hanging to the ground.
Matthew stared for several moments. He put the gun back on his shoulder, grabbed an apple from his sack, took a bite, and kept walking.

His journey continued in peace. Paradise could not be far now.

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