The Enduring Mr. Monq (Life Among the Cannibals)
(The right to grow arms.)
It started like this:
One hundred years ago, while on his tiny canoe many miles off of the Fiji coast, a fisherman from Fiji’s Hulla Balloo tribe, named Monq (pronounced Mahnk), who was barely out of his teens, lost half of his right arm while fishing.
With lightning speed, Monq’s big marlon spun, pulling the heavy fishing line tight around the boy’s arm and ‘snap,’ sliced it off quick and clean below the elbow. Before passing out, the panicked Monq applied a makeshift tourniquet above his elbow until the bleeding finally stopped.
After sleeping for three days under the sail cloth, Monq awoke in his canoe. He was hungry, and had lost all of his fishing gear along with the unattached limb.
All that there was to eat in the canoe were some small linkia sea stars tangled in an old piece of net and the rainwater inside his canoe. The skinny blue sea stars, more-than-likely tasted like they smelled. The young fisherman held his nose and took his only chance at a meal.
Linkia sea stars have the ability to regenerate their missing body parts.
Monq had no choice but to eat disgusting linkia. After three delirious days in the hot Melanesian sun there was a definite stump developing where his forearm used to hang. After drifting for a few more days, his arm was as good as new and he was able to use the torn net to catch a few tasty fish.
Regeneration was cannibal’s dream come true. He did not want to return to his village in an injured state. It would be a death sentence. Monq’s tribe traditionally ate their sick.
Eating echinoderms, as simple as they were (if you could get past the smell, the taste, and the violent diarrhea), could transfer their talent for regeneration to their eater, but only if consumed fresh, regularly and exclusively for days, if you didn’t mind putt-putt-putting around the island like a 300-hp Ever-rude outboard motor. A diet of powerful sea stars can give a cannibal up to fifty regenerations. Heads not included.
In the nineteenth century missionaries reported seeing only young, healthy Hulla Ballooins when they visited Fiji. Some lucky cannibals may have appeared malformed, when in fact they were busy growing new parts.
A large cushion star, with jelly filling, was worth a lot of money in Monq’s hood. One cushion star can regenerate an entire poor child’s body. Heads not included.
One local chief, named Mmdude (pronounced Hay-yu), grew his own twin. It worked for him while he went off to fish every day. He later set fire to and ate his twin as a birthday cake to himself.
Sometimes fingers, and even entire hands were lost when offered to tribal elders for nail-biting during times of heavy stress, thus saving their own desiccated digits.
Today, the sea star cure remains a secret among a handful of tribes, handed (no pun intended) down from regeneration to regeneration. (hee hee).
In the Twenty-first Century, Sea Star Therapy has yet to be discovered by Western medicine. In nineteenth- century Hawaii, Father Damien, could not be offer the victim’s of Hansen’s disease the sea star cure. Damien, though pure-of-heart, and with his hipster beard, just wasn’t tuned in to Micronesian sea star magic.
Power to the People: Right Arm!
Monq -Version 10.2, was home again from his many weeks at sea and ready for the Annual Fiji Mbolo Worm Eating Festival (AFMWEF) which always began at sundown on June 1, with the centuries old chant:
“Nobody likes me. Everybody hates me. Guess I’ll go eat worms.”
Standing on the torch-lit makeshift pier, Monq tossed his net into the water, and saw the surface began to squirm. As he pulled in his net for the first time, he felt a sharp pain in thin membrane between his thumb and index finger.“Oh Mmfuck! Not again!” he thought. He kept pulling and saw that the net was, yes, not only full of green and brown Mbolo worms (oh yum) but deadly striped sea snakes!
In an angry quick motion, he pulled his razor-sharp machete from his canoe, and, in one furious swoop, lopped off his own hand before the lethal poison could travel through his blood vessels and throughout his body, which would ultimately result in his belly button unscrewing and his ass falling off.
Damn! It’s the right hand again! I need that for work too! It would be months before Monq’s new hand would, again, be operational.
Monq had much bigger worries. One night while drunk on Kava, he’d insulted the local sheriff, Urp, by wearing the big red sea star on his bare chest and making gun sounds like a cowboy. He’d once seen Urp walking through the village wearing a silver star. Monq thought that wearing some red sea star “bling” might attract the ladies. (It would only end up attracting his often angry-for-a-good-reason, castration-happy wife.)
Red sea stars were sacred. They were only to be worn as bling by authority figures. Monq didn’t think that anybody had been paying attention. Behind a clump of bushes, a young cannibal named Bing, of the rival Elvii tribe, was taking detailed notes. Members of the Elvii are greasy-haired relatives of the vicious and Kuru afflicted Hotats of New Guinea. Bing, coveted Monq’s beautiful wife, Mmbabybaby, “for her mind.” Monq’s rival was also insane. Bing had acquired Kuru (mad cow disease) from dining on human brains at “Cerebrum Fest 2007” while in Papua, New Guinea. Bing’s afflicted body shook like a leaf on a fuzzy tree. Uh huh huh. Later that night, Bing would leave notes. One for Monq’s chief and one for Monq’s wife.
“Chief Mmrall (pronounced Dave) will not be amused,” said Monq’s wife, Mmbabybaby. “He gonna bite your head off, stupid!”
“And heads don’t grow back,” squeaked Monq as she had just castrated him again.
Monq would probably lose his meager income as well.
Because of worry, Monq had bitten his own fingernails literally down to the knuckles on three fingers of his right hand. It would be weeks before he could properly wipe his behind, which luckily never fell off because of the sea snake bite.
“Idiot!” he thought to himself. “I’d better started chewing on my left hand!”
Chief Mmrall was due back today, and Monq was sure that the monarch would make him a main course on the ‘Royal Sunday Brunch Buffet table. Monq could imagine himself, on a plate, right next to the very rare, endangered dark porpoise eggs.
Yes, porpoise eggs.
The Jolly 400-pound Chief had come back to the village and nothing was said about Monq’s transgression. Then, without any notice, one Sunday morning, two of the villages scariest warriors, Mmrush and Mmrove (Bob and Ed), knocked upon the door of the Monq family hut. “Whish Whish” went the knocking on the grass door.
“It’s Mmus, Monq. The Chief wants to see you for breakfast! Now!”
Monq, put on his best Sunday-go-to-eatin loin cloth, kissed his wife a tearful goodbye and went to the Chief’s hut along with the two warriors.
“Monq!” said the jovial Chief, Mmrall.”Have you had your morning Kava yet?”
“Mmmmm No, Your Highness.”
“Do you take fruit bat milk in it?”
“No, Your Highness.”
“No, thank you, Your Highness. Can I ask why you sent for me?”
“I didn’t send for you. Do you remember Daucina, the shark goddess? She was my close childhood friend. I’ve heard that she’d moved to Kupaio and started to grow coffee in the island’s bloody soil.”
The Chief smiled his ragged-toothed smile and leaned close to the fisherman. “She’s just saved your skin, Monq. She needs your special talent’s of regeneration, to help her fight the enemies of her old man, Dakuwaka.”
“The Shark God?”
“Apparently the *Hotats, the Kuru infected crazies from New Guinea have already adopted her power-hungry mother, Macelaca. Now, the crazies are also targeting Daucina’s family and her friends. You’ll be following, Daucina’s brother, a Mako shark named Fuscus, over to Kupaio, to help her out.”
“Fuscus. I remember him from the Fiji Devil’s Team. He’s one badddddd…”
“Shut your mouf!”
“Sorry, Your Highness.”
“Just fuckin’ with you, Monq.”
“Go and help the goddess. Get your canoe ready. You leave at high tide. When you return, call me. We’ll have dinner.” The Chief showed his ragged-toothed smile again. “Don’t worry. We’ll order a pizza….with everyone on it. Hah! I’m just busting your bolas, kid.”
“Just fuckin’with you, Monq.”
•The Hotats a tribe of greasy “canoe mechanics” who cannot surf.
•Kuru = The human version of Mad Cow disease, caused by eating brains.
* Hansen’s disease / Leprosy (Not caused by the boy band The HansOn Brothers from the 1970s who, in fact wrote a song called “MMMBop“)