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THE MONKEY WITH THE BANJO
bamboo # 196 - anis 20.12.01 - for f. k.

once upon a time - there were two children - tony and amica - who had a little monkey - that came way deep from africa - and still was very young - it lived together with them in the house - for the parents of tony and amica - this was ok - they called the monkey rasputin - because he had so much hair - rasputin quickly felt comfortable - he had a cage of his own - yet spent most of his time - in the living-room - soon he understood the remote control - of the television - and the dvd player - as well as the way to the fridge - he jumped about in the trees in the garden - and learned from tony and his father - how to play chess - but he lost every game - or had to accept a draw - in this way the years passed - then on a thursday - he won over the father - with a rare variant - of the king's gambit - nobody could figure out - how raspu knew about this variant, at all - the father - as a matter of logic - became very angry - and he locked the monkey up - in the dusty attic - there raspu discovered old hats and plush clothes - which he wore - and examined in the mirror - he also found the banjo - originally it belonged to tony - but he had soon been tired of it - it was completely out of tune - and the monkey had to start with - learning the cycle of fifths - from old music books - that were scattered around the gramophone - there were a couple of dixieland records, too - from east-germany - in the attic - and nobody wanted to listen to them - so raspu practised music all day long - then - when the father's rage started to calm down - after about four months - and when rasputin was allowed to come back down - he could play the banjo - passably without mistakes - although of course he was unable by far - to resort to free improvisation - tony, amica, their parents and the grandfather - who has not appeared in the story before - let the monkey have his instrument - which he seemed to be so besotted with - rasputin played dixieland music all day long - and sang to it - at first in the living-room - then in the cellar - then in the back of the garden - and eventually even - in a motorway service area - meanwhile tony and amica - had developed new interests - so that a certain alienation had taken place - between them and rasputin - and there wasn't much left - for them to tell each other - then came christmas eve - everybody was in a conciliatory mood - and they celebrated together - in the evening they sat by the open fire - after a good meal - and even when rasputin once by accident - knocked the heavy tree over - which was decorated with real candles - they did not mind - for the presents had not been unwrapped yet - and when they were - rasputin felt like the happiest monkey - in the whole country - for he got the score of the christmas oratorio - immediately he tried it at the piano - until he - as if intoxicated - and without consideration - went to the extent - of creating very complex phrasings - that lasted for several hours - harmonic for the ear alright - and yet a clear affront - against the other family members - the monkey just could not be stopped - tony saw amica - as she was looking at the fireplace - and turning her eyes to rasputin - and tony grabbed the monkey by the neck - and threw him in - quickly he locked it with the grill - and raspu's fur went on fire right away - he still tried - to squeeze his shining face - through the grill - but did not succeed - such was the punishment - of the ungrateful animal