This is a short story that is part of the new challenge put out by We Drink Because We’re Poets. Here is the prompt before I get into the story: “Write me a story about Justin Bieber and his monkey. What does he do with his monkey? What does the monkey do with Bieber? Do we really want to know? Does the shadow know?”
Will this be my greatest story? No. Will this be my worst? No. Do I need to wash my brain out with vodka, rum, and whiskey? That’s the plan. Enjoy.
The crowd of reporters and photographers are patiently gathered at the foot of the police station stairs. Their whispered conversations coalesce into a wall of wordless noise that reminds passersby of a swarm of angry bees. They are all here for the same thing and they are poised to rush forward at the slightest opportunity. Some have already begun to inch forward, wedging their legs between the people ahead of them, so they can shove ahead for a better shot of their target.
Their target is pop sensation Justin Bieber, who has been mysteriously arrested after the police searched his tour bus, private plane, and hotel room. The only information the press has received is that it involves a pet monkey and one of the arresting officers threw up upon making the big discovery. The pop-star has been locked up in solitary for the last three days as the police decide what to make of the bizarre situation.
Camera flashes blind most of the crowd as the police station doors open and the towering police chief steps out. He stumbles from the blinding lights and wall of noise. For a moment, the bald man is tempted to go back inside and return in riot gear. He smiles at the thought of lobbing tear gas into this mass of reporters, who have camped out on his station’s steps for the last two days. The smile fades when he returns to the task at hand and walks down the steps to a simple podium. He clears his throat and fixes his tie before leaning on the podium to get his mouth closer to the microphone.
“I’d say thank you for coming, but you’ve been here for days,” the police chief says with a wry grin. “Now, I’ve been hearing a lot of rumors getting thrown around by the less patient. I can say that all of those rumors are false. There is no sexual fetishism or drugs involved here. Mr. Bieber has done something else that has forced us to take him into custody.”
“Why didn’t you let him stay under house arrest?” asks a female reporter from the back.
“We thought it best to bring him to a place that would make it easier to protect him once the news came to light,” the police chief replies, sweat growing on his head. He pulls out a handkerchief to pat the sweat away and drops the damp cloth on the podium. “Do you want me to explain what is going on or are you going to come at me with questions? I’d prefer to do this with as few misunderstandings and as little confusion as possible.”
Several questions are screamed at the police chief, but he remains silent and stares at the excited crowd. Minutes pass before the crowd settles down and the camera flashes cease. He can see a few reporters in the back turn to leave as if they have what they came from. The police chief rolls his eyes at the thought of more rumors being spread. He stands straight and gathers his thoughts, praying he can explain the situation clearly.
“We were notified of mysterious remains found in the area where Mr. Bieber’s tour bus was parked in a week ago,” the police chief begins to calmly explain.
“He killed a person?” a reporter interrupts.
“Was it a young girl?”
“Was it a young boy?”
The police chief pounds his fist on the podium, causing the microphone to screech like an injured parrot. “It was not a human body! It was . . . the skeletal remains of several monkeys that have been identified as his pet.”
Every reporter struggles to think of a question to ask. Until now, they thought the monkey was going to be revealed as a drug mule or that it was a sexual prop. They didn’t even know that there was more than one monkey. Several times, reporters try to ask a question, but give up before they can finish.
“What did he do to the monkeys?” a reporter from the center of the crowd finally asks. “Was he killing them for sport or entertainment?”
“No,” the police chief answers with a smirk. “We investigated his hotel room and private plane to find that he has been eating the monkeys. It’s some delicacy that he’s grown found of from somewhere. The skeletons were the remains of the monkeys he has eaten since arriving for his tour. We have been receiving messages from other cities that they have found similar dump sites. When all of the information is in, we will have a clearer picture of the amount of monkeys that Mr. Bieber has eaten recently.”
A timid reporter raises her hand and asks, “Is eating a monkey illegal?”
“Selling monkey meat and eating monkey brains is illegal, but owning a monkey and eating it is currently a gray area,” the police chief says. He fails to hold back the chuckle that he had been choking down for the last minute. “This is the most ridiculous case of my career and you don’t even know the worst part of it. We are not holding Mr. Bieber for the consumption of monkey meat.”
“Then, what is he in jail for?” a squawking photographer shouts, his impatience getting the best of him. “I have other celebrities to track down, so get on with this. Time is money over here!”
“This will certainly be worth your time,” the police chief whispers away from the microphone. He takes a deep breath to calm his nerves before talking to the crowd. “We found that the deceased monkeys are all the same monkey. Instead of smuggling the animals into the country or finding simpler ways to get this delicacy, Mr. Bieber has secretly funded illegal cloning activities. He has been having these animals continuously cloned in a lab that he has yet to give us the location of.”
“You really want us to believe that a pop star has had a hand in successful cloning,” one of the frontline reporters says in disbelief. “That’s not a funny joke.”
“Successful isn’t the best term,” the police chief nervously mentions. “Very few of the monkeys were alive after being made. It seems that most of them died soon after being cloned. Mr. Bieber has been keeping them in various camouflaged freezers, so he can cook and eat them whenever he gets the urge. The majority of charges are of a federal nature in regards to illegal cloning practices. We have also decided to charge him with littering because we really can’t think of anything else to do here. This is an uncharted situation for everyone involved.”
Most of the reporters continue to whisper amongst themselves. Several of them push their way out of the crowd to leave, tucking their recorders and notepads into their pockets. The photographers are less subtle as they pack up their gear and leave, filling the air with mild curses and crude insults toward the absent celebrity.
“One more question and then we’re done!” the police chief says to get their attention.
“I have a question,” a young reporter announces, raising his hand as if in a classroom. “Is Justin Bieber in good health or has eating the cloned monkeys made him sick?”
“At this time, he doesn’t appear to have any physical or mental ailments caused by the monkey meat,” the police chief responds, happy to have a question that makes him think. “We are keeping him under surveillance until a CDC team arrives to run some tests. There’s the chance that he’s a carrier for a disease that he isn’t showing symptoms of. I believe one of my men called it a possible Typhoid Mary situation. To make sure there’s no outbreak and that Mr. Bieber is kept safe, we’re keeping him away from the public. If he’s found to have no contagious disease and wishes to leave then that’s his choice, but that won’t be happening for a few days.”
“Did his gir-” starts a reporter until the police chief coughs into the microphone.
“I said that was the last question,” the large man in uniform states. “Thank you all for coming and we will inform you of any updates as they are confirmed.”
The remaining reporters erupt in a mess of unanswered questions that they were too afraid to previously ask. Again, the police chief imagines hurling tear gas into the crowd before turning to go back into the police station.