The Ebola virus has certainly captured the world's attention, especially now it's moved into Europe and the USA. The first outbreak of this deadly virus occurred in 1976, when it was more commonly known as the Green Monkey Disease, since it was thought to have originated in a particular type of monkey. I happened to be travelling in South Sudan at the time, and was devastated to find many villages deserted, their inhabitants either struck down by the disease or having fled to escape its contagious grip.
Some years later, when I was preparing a book of short stories as part of my M.A. in English (Creative Writing) at San Francisco State University, I used my visit to this obscure part of the world as the basis for a story called...
THE GREEN MONKEY’S TALE
The truck ploughed to a stop, sending clouds of red dust swirling into the dense jungle of the Central African Republic. As the haze cleared, a small boy became visible at the roadside, holding out the body of a dead monkey by the tail. He squinted at the driver and shouted.
“Hey, mister! Fresh shot today! Only fifty francs!”
“Let me see,” the driver responded, a gleam in his eye. “Fifty francs, hey? Well, take this for it.” He pushed three ten-franc notes into the boy’s hand, and swung the corpse onto the dashboard of the cab. The boy ran off into the undergrowth, pushing the notes into his ragged shorts, while the driver pulled away again, grinning at Chris, his English passenger.
“Hey, man, now we have a feast tonight. You eat monkey before?” he asked, his white eyes shining from the deep caverns of his cranium.
“No, Emille,” Chris answered, wincing at the thought. “I’ve eaten some strange things lately – snake, elephant, locusts – but never monkey.”
The tiny skull of the animal seemed to sneer at him as it rocked on the dashboard like a stuffed toy. Its minute hands still clung to an imaginary branch and its green fur bristled.
This last week I've had great fun throwing out a load of junk from my office...stacks of brochures and magazines accumulated on various research trips over recent years. I think I enjoy this activity so much as it's a way of re-defining myself, through making decisions about what's important to me and what isn't.
I've also been streamlining my website. If you've visited before, you might notice that my home page has disappeared. I realized that most people who visit this website are not so interested in me as in the words I write and the images I take, so I've just shifted my introductory audio slideshow to the top of my blog page and done away with the rest. I've also been making changes to other parts of the site, mostly on my periodicals page, where I've deleted the story I had posted on the Loy Krathong Festival in Thailand, and added scans of half a dozen feature articles that show the variety of topics that I write about and photograph.
I hope that you find this streamlined version of ronemmons.com fun to browse, and if you have any suggestions of things you'd like to see more or less of, just drop me an email via the button at the foot of the page. Thanks for visiting!
is a British writer and photographer based in Chiang Mai, Thailand.