One of the Wright brothers probably dreamt the strangest of dreams on one of those nights prototypes of their famous invention failed. I always thought it would be Orville instead of Wilbur. His sunken, dark eyes in photographs seem to give him away as one who slept a lot. And dreamt a lot. Imagining the frustration my fictional Orville would have felt on one of his unsuccessful attempts at flying, and imagining him sleeping tiredly after on a pile of metal instruments dreaming away, I cooked up this fantasy.
Seven monkeys sit in a semi-circle inside a dingy, old bar in the middle of the forest, drinking local beer from wooden, carved mugs and telling awe-striking stories about their individual adventures as hunters searching for the greatest treasures of the world.
One dips his hand into his peacock-feather bag and draws out a shiny, smooth crystal shaped like a diamond which glistens in the poorly lit room. He holds it up for the others to see. Oohs and Aahs escapes the primates’ mouths as they crane their hairy necks to catch a glimpse of the stone.
“Do you know what this is?” One asks. They all shake their heads.
“It’s a Spiritstone. One of the seven jewels in God’s crown which fell off while he was creating the earth”
The monkeys gasp. One of them reaches for the precious stone but One slaps his hand away. He tells them all how he had dug for days without food or water, searching for the gem.
“I plan on selling this to those merchants from Asia. With the money I would get, I would build a Palace much bigger than the King’s” He announced. The monkeys all clap in glee.
Two tells of his visit to the sacred rivers and how he had managed to capture a river nymph who became one of his wives.
“Silly nymph!” He spits, taking a sip from his beer. “She was fooled by promises of golden-plated tree-houses and headdresses crested with jewels”
The monkeys cackle loudly at the nymph’s foolishness in believing the cunning hunter and praise Two’s ingenuity in crafting such words of deceit.
Three and Four talk about their biggest fishing expedition, and how they had caught a mighty whale which had sunk their boat.
“He was this wide!” Four says, gesticulating with his hands wide apart.
“And this long!” Three adds, agreeing with his friend and fellow fisherman.
Five shares the story of his trip to a far away country where he had discovered the hardest rock.
“It had zig-zag patterns and was so hard my fingers bled when I tried to move it” He says in a drawl, some beer spilling from his mug as he holds it loosely in his hands. Six snatches the mug away from him, apologises for his said-to-impress lies and tells the others the truth; that what Five had seen was in fact the back of a crocodile, and he had narrowly escaped death then, the water beast only succeeding in giving him a tiny nick on his finger.
All the monkeys turn to Seven. He is the youngest of them all; the most inexperienced, who has not journeyed past their home forest and who has never hunted down wild beasts or dug up valuable treasure. So, he has nothing to tell. As the others stare at him expectantly, he hides his face in his hands in embarrassment, ashamed of his insignificant achievements.
“Oh boy, don’t feel sad” Says sympathetic Two.
“Yes, boy. You are young. There are so many things yet to discover. So many treasures yet to be found. So many things to be done” Five rubs his rounded beer-filled stomach and gulps down his remaining beer.
The others in the bar make wild noises to show their agreement.
Seven’s face remains hidden in shame until the others’ attention leave him. He looks outside the carved window in the tree-bar and his eyes settles on the round, bright moon; the midnight sun which glows like a billion crystals put together and which seems so unreachable, like a blade of grass held over one’s head. The moon is a treasure. A challenge. It is an adventure.
Seven’s lips spread wide in a triumphant smile.
“I’m going to hunt down the moon!” He announces to himself when he gets home that evening, swinging from branch to branch on his tree-house.
The next day, he goes to the King to ask for a loan so he could purchase equipments to carry out his self-imposed quest. After promising the greedy King a large part of the surface of the moon which most likely contained crystals should he be able to pull it down, Seven goes home happily with a 1000 Cocoa seed loan so he could make his purchases.
Immediately, he travels to the neighbouring forest to buy the biggest anchor and the longest chain from the most famous blacksmith.
The big man eyes him when he requests for the items.
“Wah you boy gonna do with ‘em anchor and ‘em chain weighing thousands tons? You planning on sinking the whole earth?”
“I plan on bringing down the moon!” replies Seven enthusiastically. The blacksmith laughs loudly, rubbing his round belly.
“That was good,” He comments, complimenting how amusing the monkey’s supposed joke was. Seeing soon that Seven is looking puzzledly at him; making it obvious he isn't at all playing around, the big man pauses.
“You kidding, aren’t you, kid?” He asks, his hairy brows raised high.
“No, I’m not! I already told you I want to pull the moon down” Seven protests. The blacksmith clears his throat, trying to keep his amusement hidden.
“I really don care ‘waw you kids do for recreation nowadays. None of ‘ma damn business. How much you got for ‘em, boy? That’s ma business” He inquires. Seven drops a bag of cocoa seeds in front of him.
“This is 200 cocoa seeds”
The blacksmith’s mouth goes slack. When he recovers, he clears his throat again.
“Well, I’ll be damned”
Within minutes, a very long chain and a very heavy anchor is offloaded by the blacksmith’s crane into Seven’s tractor and he drives home with his great hunting instruments.
Word goes round of the young monkey’s silly ambition. He becomes the topic of every group discussion. Many monkeys come to see him in his tree-house, watching him mount the heavy-duty equipments in preparation for the biggest foolery of existence, including the old monkeys who were with him in the bar the day his decision was made.
“So, I heard you’re planning to end the world, boy” Two starts, his eyes raking up and down the monstrosity of an equipment.
“What foolish dreams you’ve got up your sleep, kid. I give it to you” One raises his hand in mock salute, using the opportunity to show off the huge piece of his Spiritstone on his finger.
Seven laughs as he hooks one end of the hook chain to the anchor at the base of a mighty tree.
“You searched for a jewel from God’s crown” He points out.
“True. But it was a venture that wasn’t as utterly stupid as yours”
Three and Four laugh in sync.
“Just give this up, boy. Don’t make more of a fool out of yourself” Six begs. Seven laughs and continues working.
When the other old monkeys leave, Five remains, chewing lazily on a blade of grass.
“You haven’t said any discouraging words yet” Seven says to him.
“Would you listen to the words of a hunter who mistook the bark of a crocodile for a hard rock?”
Seven laughs again, his hands putting the final touches to his work.
Five stands up to leave.
“Do you think I could pull this off?” Seven asks him.
“Well, we wouldn’t know until we have tried, would we?” He replies.
When nightfalls, while the moon, the object of the expedition shines brightly, and in the presence of everyone who come to mock his widely-thought impending failure, Seven throws the hook chain. The monkeys watch with amusement as the long chain barely reaches the air above his head. They watch him battle with the throw all night till morning.
The second day, he goes back to the blacksmith and asks for a better hook chain.
“You done hunting, boy?” The big man asks.
“The chain and anchor you gave me weren’t good enough. I need a better one” He replies.
“That will be 400 Cocoa seeds”
He tries again, flinging the strong chain with all his might towards the large moon in the sky. The monkeys watch. Some of the old ones bring beer and insect snack for all the onlookers. Seven throws and throws. This time, the hook chain reaches the tree-top but comes tumbling down after.
He goes back to the blacksmith when the day breaks.
“You really tryna pull the moon down?” Asks the big man.
“I need a better chain. Well-greased and with little rust” Seven says.
“Gimme 600 seeds”
He tries the well-greased and little-rust chain worth 600 Cocoa seeds when night comes. More spectators show up at the arena. The King himself comes to watch for a while, bored with the not-as-entertaining singers in his Palace.
“See, I told you watching this would actually be exciting” Two whispers in One’s ears as Seven attempts another throw.
Three and Four are cheering-mocking Seven, clapping their hands, hailing him, and then stopping for a sip of their beers at intervals.
When the ambitious monkey gets a hook chain from the blacksmith for the third time, only few monkeys are interested in watching the young, silly dreamer try to pull down the moon. The spectators usually present at the site diminishes, and by midnight he is all alone and in tears in his lonely tree-house.
Five comes to see him again; his body reeking with the smell of alcohol. He sits down beside him on a tree stump.
“By the next try, I would be broke. The King would hang me for failing” Seven announces sadly.
Five is silent for a while before speaking. “You know, I had never seen a crocodile before, until I thought it was a rock and tried to touch it”
Seven looks at him.
“Do you think it could work this time?”
Five smiles and burpes loudly. “We wouldn’t know until we have tried, would we?”
With his last 200 Cocoa seeds, he purchases a newer, stronger model of the hook chain. He tries with all his might to throw the hook this night so it could reach the surface of the moon. The chain only goes past a very tall tree and comes crashing down again.
Seven snaps then. In anger and frustration, he throws the hook chain far into the forest and removes the anchor from its position. Then, he storms into his house and screams, letting loose all his pent up feelings of annoyance and despair.
Afterwards, he sleeps on his carved chair in his living room, dried tears still on his cheek, awaiting the King’s men’s arrival to arrest him.
He has not slept long before a sudden rasp on the door awakens him with a start. He rubs his reddened eyes and focuses on identifying the intruder outside his door.
“Seven! Boy! Come out now! Get your anchor, you silly boy!”
In panic, he opens the door, expecting the King’s men to handcuff him immediately. Instead, he stares at Five, sweaty-faced and distressed-looking.
“Silly boy! Do you know what you have done?” He scolds.
“What? What did I do?”
“Look! Look above!” Five points into the air. Seven looks. His mouth goes open in a sharp gasp as he stares at the moon above, the large circle in the sky swaying from side to side in the air; his hook chain, stuck deep into it’s probably crystalline surface both being held in place by his strong anchor.
My fantasy hardly over, fabricated Orwille Wright wakes up to the shouting of his brother, Wilbur Wright.
“Wake up! Wake up!”
He opens his eyes and shakes his head. “I just had the craziest dream. You won’t believe it” He confesses.
“Oh yeah?” Wilbur says nonchalantly and goes to his seat in front of the huge pile of what seems to be the prototype of their invention. Orville joins him on a small stool and fiddles with some instrument.
“Orville?” His brother calls out.
“You really think doing it this way is gonna work? That we could actually fly this thing like this?” Wilbur asks.
Orville smiles. “Well, we won’t know until we have tried, would we?”