SENSITIVITY WARNING: Contains profanity, but with the gore and fecal matter, you would curse, too.
Chimpanzee people are crazy.
For starters, you have to be off your rocker to want an animal that will rip off your face because it’s Thursday. Did you know that a chimp can deadlift 1000+ lbs? They can easily pull any human adult male up a tree with ONE ARM while hanging onto the tree with the other.
Chimps are not to be effed with, is my point here. They are scary-strong.
On top of that, though, they – chimp people, that is, and to a one – always want to baby the animal, and that includes baby talk, which then graduates to an eventual need to attempt to engage in real communication at some point. Would you baby a grizzly bear, then want to know its innermost musings? No. No you would not.
So why you would want to own a chimp at all is beyond me, but wanting to communicate with one is a whole other universe of wtf. Do you suspect the chimp has Thoreauian thoughts while sitting by the patio door and scratching its diaper-clad backside? No, it’s pretty much banana, sleep, sex, fling poo, rip face. Chimps are simple creatures, when you get right down to it… and I say that as a simple creature.
But there are suckers to be had, and I was unemployed at the time. One day while we were getting high, Jackson – a buddy of mine who’s in the biz – encouraged me to cash in on the enormous piles of dosh to be had by becoming the world’s first Chimp Whimperer, or “Chimperer,” for short. One of his clients had horrifically lost some of her furbabies to a new household chimp, the taming of which was an untapped market at the time.
It sounded like a good idea, so I immediately began drawing up a business plan. (It was mostly a stick-figure drawing of a chimp pulling $500 bills out of its ass, but you get the idea.)
When it occurred to me that I didn’t actually know what chimps were saying, he laughed for so long I thought I would have to punch-reboot him. “Man, nobody does… how are they gonna know if you’re wrong??” Brilliant! I guess that’s why he’s the king of animal secrets, and I am just a pauper.
Jackson generously agreed to fund some print and web ads for me, and before I knew it, I was receiving all kinds of voicemails. There were more chimp owners than I had realized, in my area of West Hollywood!
I flipped through the messages and decided on Ava, first; her accent seemed Russian, and she sounded hot. Because the message gave her address and said, “Hurry, is emoorgency!” I went right over without calling. When I got there, I could hear the chimp shrieking from within; I rang the bell.
A Bettie Page lookalike answered the door; male or female, I couldn’t tell, but in West Hollywood, you often can’t, and … does it matter, anyway? I told Bettie I was the Chimperer she ordered. “Igor is logked in keetchen.” The sounds of breaking glass made that apparent. I started to head toward the back of the house.
“Where you goink?” She demanded.
“Uh, to talk to the chimp?” Had she made me as a poser this soon?
“Talk?? To CHEEMP?! No, you feex sova.” She stabbed a long arm, ending in a sharply pointed nail, toward a purple velvet divan in the corner which was covered in a mound of feces.
“Noooo… you called The Chimperer. That’s me. I talk to the animal and find out what’s wrong with it.”
“Oh this bool. You say you feex animal problem. You feex sova.”
At least she wasn’t a sucker, but I was out of there. I slowly backed out the door and down the front stairs, leaving Bettie to sort out her shitty menace for herself. I heard a plate hit the back of the door as she slammed it shut, and silently wished her luck. I think I dodged a bullet, on that call.
The next message was from “Deke.” He had a real Steve-Dave quality to his voice, but when I got there, he looked like an actual bouncer. A combination of steroids and a 24-hour gym membership, I was sure this guy only got a chimp to have a workout buddy.
“Uh, hi! You called The Chimperer?”
“Yeah, come in. I think Bob sprained something. He hasn’t been himself.”
“Oh, well I’m not really a veter…”
“Well could you just take a look and see? Maybe ask him where it hurts? Vets won’t do that.”
“You see it’s not really like that. I get into their psy…”
“JUST ASK HIM!” Whoa, dude.
“Sure, no problem.” I remembered my “training” (the fact that people don’t know what the animal is saying), and got close, but not too close. “Bob, hi. Deke says you’re hurting. Could you…” uh oh. Deke was standing right there. Any request for obvious cues was going to fall flat. “... tell me with your eyes what is going on with you today?”
(“Our eyes are our most expressive organs, you know,” I said as an expert aside to Deke, who nodded in a clueless-yet-knowing way.)
We sat there, the chimp looking back and forth between us for several minutes. “Hmm, that’s odd. Where did you say Bob seemed to be injured?” I inquired.
“Well, I thought it was his solarplexus.” Shit, I didn’t know anatomy. My ruse was failing; I had hoped for some better guidance.
“Well, he says you're totally right and he needs a vet for that, but what I’m also getting from Bob is a heartbreak indicator. He’s lonely, and a little sad. Have you ever thought of getting another chimp?” It was a gamble…
“Oh wow, man. I never thought about that! Then they could talk to each other, and when Bob’s injured, I could still work out with the other one. That is a fantastic idea. Awesome, man, thanks so much!” Deke stuffed a wad of bills in my hand and saw me out the door.
Holy crap, I couldn’t believe it! This was a goldmine!
I had time for one more call before I needed to get to the bank, so I decided on “Diamond.” I liked the sound of that, from a purely financial standpoint.
As I pulled up to the front of the building, the valet indicated that Diamond was currently on the rooftop doing yoga but had left instructions that I was welcome to wait in the penthouse and get to know Jimbotron.
Hoo boy. This was going to be a doozy.
Plush white carpeting greeted me underfoot when I exited the elevator; greenery everywhere was reminiscent of a jungle palace, complete with marble columns peeking out here and there, and the sounds of small waterfalls just out of view, gently trickling into hidden pools somewhere nearby. It was a fairytale. Classical music was softly playing, and the windows were open, letting gentle breezes flow in from the penthouse-length patio. The sliding doors left open, an occasional bird flew in and landed on open seed wells, beautifully carved in shapes of flower bells. If there was a paradise, this was as close to it as I had been.
“Hello?” I quietly and somewhat reverently inquired into the peaceful setting, wondering why I had not been met upon arrival. I ventured further into the palatial abode and encountered a sunken den. In the center of the darkened room was a television, and facing that was a man on a wrap-around white leather sofa, watching football.
“I’m Diamond,” came a sensual woman’s voice from behind me. I spun around and blinked. Looking right, then left, then right again, my mind refused to grasp the obvious.
There was no woman standing anywhere: only a Lululemon-clad chimp, flashing a toothy grin.
“D-Diamond,” I finally managed. “Uh-Hi. Hello. I’m the Chimperer you called for?” I felt like an ass and an idiot, saying it specifically to the chimp. I half expected it – her – not to answer. My brain felt like Jell-o. Could this all be an elaborate prank?
But, answer, she did: “Yes, and thank you for coming out so quickly, under these circumstances. That’s Jimbotron on the sofa. As you can tell, that's his only trick, hence the nickname. I would dearly love it if you could get him to do literally anything but watch televised sports.” Jim grunted.
“Well, usually I work with chimps..anzees,” I told her. Her gaze narrowed. “I don’t really know all that much about the human psyche.”
“I consider myself to be a “chimpanzee person,” if you please.” She growled, the toothy grin changing to something more of a fangy grimace. “I took a great risk bringing you up here, and now you aren’t even going to help me? Tell me, “Chimperer,” have you ever survived a five-story fall?” She began bouncing up and down and gesticulating wildly.
The last thing I clearly remember is a pair of kungfu primate feet headed straight for my head at that exact moment, with some designer legwarmers visible just behind them…
And that’s how I ended up here, with no face and complete paralysis, dictating this cautionary tale.
Like I said in the beginning, and now I mean it even more: chimpanzee people are crazy.