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The 60s - He was there then - You be there now -
best writer I know." - Tomas Neece, Filmmaker
"Anything special you'd like?" she asks, then delivers the goods, checking often to make sure it's right. Tight enough, wet enough, deep enough, hard enough, fast enough, slow enough? Suction? Motion? She takes great pride in her work and performs most professionally indeed.
One of her favorite freaks is Jere Liebowitz. She's been threatening to bring him over for some time and now she finally does. Turns out he's an orthodox rabbi dropped-out to become an orthodox junkie: drugs, painting, jamming, and nothing else. This is one way-out cat, let me tell you. He doesn't bathe or change his clothes - I'm talking never.
He and I hit it off and get into hanging out.
One day, while Jere and I are out walking, just as we are passing in front of a police station, a set of works jumps out of his clothing like magic and falls to the sidewalk with a clatter that is shockingly audible even in the noise of Manhattan.
He stoops quickly to pick it up, and another two sets pop out, fall apart, and spread out on the pavement. And while gathering those up, out jumps a baggie of grass and a bunch of loose pills. It's a cartoon, but he gets it all back together, and nothing comes of it.
Later on, we are jamming up in the pad, when Amazing shows up with a john in a dark suit and tie, black socks, very shined shoes. There is something going on, because Amazing keeps cracking up. It is per se funny that she'd bringover a guy like that, but not that funny.
He's a Reichian therapist, she tells us. He's called the Monkey Monster. He nods in cheerful affirmation and elaborates that is because he can regress himself not just to past lives but to even before evolution into human form. He can go all the way back to Ape.
He delivers his information with clinical clarity and academic dignity, while Amazing keeps wigging out. We figure it's got to be a put-on. Like what else could it be, right?
But he does look kind of ape-like though, when you look at him with that in mind. Short and stocky, disproportionately broad in the upper torso, hardly any definition to the ass at all, short legs, long arms, hairy knuckles, heavy eyebrows, protuberant forehead.
He asks if we would we like to see a little demonstration. I look at Liebowitz. Liebowitz looks at me. Sure, why not? We've seen everything else, right?
The man takes off his shoes, and his eyes go out of focus. It seems as though he's stopped seeing us, stopped seeing our environment at all, as though he was looking off into somewhere else. For an instant I think I catch a flash of leaves and vines in the wall and a whiff of earthy jungle air, maybe a glimpse of what he is seeing.
And his eyes are brown ape eyes. Were they like that before? We can't remember.
He bends forward, and his knuckles touch the floor. He emits some noises that could be considered ape-like and jumps up and down, nothing spectacular, but with an intensity developing . Then he runs around in a tight little circle, propelling himself off his knuckles hitting the floor, making chirping, jungle sounds -- a cute act, lent-to by his physical characteristics to be sure, but not something a semi-competent thespian couldn't pull off.
He stops and looks up. The place has double-high ceilings. Were I, for example, to jump as high as I could, I would not even be able to come close to touching the ceiling with the tips of my fingers. The Monkey Monster, however, althoug several inches shorter than I, leaps up effortlessly and hits feet first at the very top of the wall, bounces off executing a backflip, and lands perfectly back on his feet.
Now that was spectacular, terrifying actually, because we are realizing he is not just putting on a show. The man has in fact "gone ape." It's not just a metaphor anymore. The human being is no longer with us. We are locked in a room with a wild animal that possesses a power way beyond our own, that could tear our throats out and not think twice, not even think once actually, and might even do just that, if he happened to notice us, which so far, apparently, thank God, he has not.
He repeats the incredible leap and backflip several times in rapid succession, then comes to rest, breathing primally, reminiscent of my friend the Zen Master, Masahiro Oki's yogic breath. But how else would an ape, or a master, breathe?
Then he looks at us, and we start edging toward the door. We are going to make a run for it. He's gotten to us, two of the jaded-most motherfuckers of all time scared shitless. And Amazing is laughing her head off. She isn't scared at all, but that doesn't help us. She is female and fucking him to boot. So she has that special dispensation even if, maybe especially because he is an animal.
He snaps back into human mode before we can get out of there and immediately addresses our distress. "I'm sorry," he says. "It's over. I'm sorry. It's over. It's okay. It's over. I'm sorry. Don't be afraid."
"Cheeze Got in Himmel, dat vuz hea-ea-vy!" Liebowitz intones the argot with a Yiddish accent so thick it would leave a footprint if you stepped in it.
The Monkey Monster goes on to tell us that he has a student with the same proclivity, a young man whom he is teaching to do the same thing.
There's two of them!? They should be playing football or tag-team wrestling or something -- and I should be their manager.
The incident is a stitch in a spontaneous healing process. It brings a sense of wonder back to life, and that in itself is healing. Thank you very much, Dr. Monkey Monster, for that, and for showing me that not all therapists are full of shit, and not all therapies are expensive and useless. I needed that.
© Charles Martin Simon