The Monkey Is Only Bait

“I don’t get it.”

“You’re not supposed to get it. It’s art.”

“It’s not art. It’s a rock in a jar!”

“Bottle.”

“Whatever.”

“Look. There’s no way to turn that rock to fit through the mouth of the bottle.”

“So?”

“So it’s a mystery, right?”

“It’s a mystery that people actually get paid for this crap. That makes it art?”

“No, what makes it art is that it’s a metaphor.”

“Ah, a metaphor. Since it’s a metaphor, it must be art. Obviously, the jar—”

“Bottle.”

“Whatever. Obviously the bottle is the artist’s, and I use the word loosely, head. The rock, therefore, is what he’s using for brains.”

“Ha. Ha. Look, the rock is your consciousness. The bottle is your body, or maybe the universe. The artist is posing questions. How did we get here? Where did we come from? What makes us human?”

“Deep.”

“Yeah. Yeah, it is.”

“So deep I need a really big shovel.”

“Idiot. Why do I keep trying?”

“You’re hoping to show me we live in an alien zoo?”

“I’m hoping to show you that there’s more to the universe than the little bit you can see in front of you.”

“I like the little bit I can see in front of me.”

“So do I, but there’s so much more. Liking what you can see shouldn’t stop you from looking for things you haven’t seen yet. Here, what about this piece?”

“Well, the preserved meat represents last night’s dinner and the preserved flies are obviously a metaphor indicative of—”

“Okay! How about this one?”

“A headless monkey masturbating.”

“What is it with you?”

“No. Seriously, that’s what it looks like to me.”

“With a name like ‘Eddies’?”

“Odd name for a headless monkey.”

“It’s not a god damned monkey! ‘Eddies’ as in ‘Eddies in the space-time continuum.’”

“He is?”

“You—!”

“All right, all right. Arthur Dent I’m not. I’ll play nice, okay?”

“Okay.”

“I will admit that the colors are interesting. It’s a nice effect.”

“What are you talking about? It’s garage floor grey.”

“Now you’re messing with me. The whole thing is pulsing between a deep red and a sort of chocolate brown. Little ripples of color here and there. Kind of cool, actually.”

“Look, it’s not pulsating and there aren’t any ripples. Cut it out.”

“Hmm. I wonder how she did it.”

“She?”

“The artist. I think… yeah, it’s humming a little, too. The pitch sort of rises and falls in tune with the color change. I almost missed it.”

“Okay, you’re starting to creep me out a little here. It’s grey and there’s no hum. It’s a silent, grey sculpture sitting on a silent, grey stand. Seriously.”

“I wonder what it feels like.”

“You’re not supposed to—”

“Warm. Like holding someone’s hand. And there’s a vibration, but only when it’s red. Wow. Look at that.”

“What?”

“Eddies… in the space-time continuum. Yeah, I get it now. The monkey is only bait.”

“Bait? Bait for what?”

“For me. Thank you. There’s so much to see out there, right here. The universe is big and I’m going to go have a look.”

“What the—? Frank? Frank!”

Ω

Lance Schonberg lives in Eastern Ontario, Canada with his wife, children, feline overlords, and Geckzilla. Previous careers include bookseller, cubicle dweller, number cruncher, and craps dealer. In between stories, he plays with his kids and dreams in other small realities. He hopes one day to discover the truth, whatever it may be. You can find him on Twitter as WritingDad or on the blog he tries to maintain at writingdad.livejournal.com.