On The Front Lines (With Monkeys)

By: Pete Reynolds

“…a report in the Chinese state-run People’s Daily newspaper alleged that the Afghan Taliban has begun training monkeys in areas along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border as part of the struggle against occupying NATO forces. According to the story, the monkeys are sometimes offered bananas and peanuts as ‘a series of rewards and punishments to gradually teach them how to’ fire Kalashnikovs, light machine guns and trench mortars.” –- Time

September 3: Arrived at camp late last night. What an assignment! The first Western journalist allowed in to report from the border. Just me, my notebook, and eleven hundred highly-trained monkey warriors. Also: lots of bananas and nuts and it smells terrible.

September 4: Word out of headquarters: fire exchanged 15 miles south. As of now, no known casualties (monkey or human). Scout team heading out to get a full report; said I could ride along. Cracked wise about it being “a zoo out there,” but got nothing in response. What gives, monkeys?

September 6: Heavy casualties today after a series of strikes from NATO forces. It’s sad to think that many of these monkeys won’t make it out of here alive. Won’t get to go home. And most of them are just so young, too — 18, 19 years old. It becomes way less sad, though, when you remember that they typically only live for about 25 years anyway and are monkeys.

September 8: Funny story from the mess hall. This one monkey (I call him Twinkie) saw that dinner was peanuts (again!) and threw up his hands like “Gimme a break!” Pretty hilarious. Anyway, dinner interrupted by mortar attack, bloodbath, etc., but man, that thing with Twinkie…

September 12: Monkey warfare reaches predictable result. Running low on ammunition, monkeys construct a mid-sized catapult, which they then use to assail NATO forces with their own feces. Have no choice but to call it the “scatapult.”

September 13: Improved scatapult now reaching distances of up to 5000 meters, but it isn’t enough to slow NATO. Thought of a good one today about “damn, dirty apes,” but later was informed that monkeys ? apes. Thanks, Captain Sensitive.

September 16: “Monkey see, monkey do, monkey mercilessly torture POWs with a nail gun.” Not as pithy as the original saying, but EVERY BIT AS TRUE.

September 20: Yet another mortar attack. NATO is bearing down pretty hard at this point, and I’m not sure how long the monkeys can hold out. Hey, remember when NASA sent a monkey into space? They were like, “Hey, monkey, get in this rocket so we can blast you into space!” And he was all, “Sounds good, scientist guys!” Priceless.

September 21: Morale has disintegrated. The monkeys pretty much lay around all day smoking cheap hash and listening to Buffalo Springfield. This morning I saw one wearing a bark helmet with “Born to Kill” etched on its exterior. When pressed, he muttered something about the “duality of primates.” Hate to sound callous, but that’s pretty cliché, even for a monkey.

September 23: It’s all over. NATO forces arrived at dawn. Luckily, I hitched a ride on the last chopper out. As we flew away, I could see tanks losing traction on banana peels and the throats of those soldiers with peanut allergies swelling shut in the distance. The monkeys who stayed behind and fought would have been remembered as heroes, except instead of fighting, they pretty much just ran around shrieking before joining the NATO soldiers in toppling the scatapult. Oh, the horror…the horror…


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