“Monkeys!  Monkeys!”
“Monkeys!  -MONKEYS!”
I walk past this chap, a suit, who’s just parked a respectable car.  He’s screaming “Monkeys!” through the letterbox of an indistinctive terraced house, between fits of knocking.  It’s about eleven at night but he doesn’t look dangerous.  As I pass, I can’t resist.
“Some kind of password?”
My question takes him by surprise and he checks over his shoulder at me, smiles.
“Top secret, mate.” 
 I smile back, nod knowingly, don’t break my stride and walk by, chuckling. 
Next thing I hear footsteps, quick ones, coming in my direction.  I check over my shoulder.  It’s him again, he’s panting.
“Here, mate, you gotta help me.  It’s…. it’s…..”
“My fish…. my fish have died.”
“Not your monkeys?”  I say, half smiling, slightly nervous.
“Your fish?”
“How many?”
“All of them.”
“How many is that?”
“Two of your pet fish have died?”
“Am I missing something?”
“You really don’t get it do you?” 
Despite his words, he’s still not aggressive.
“Er… no.  What are your monkeys then?”
“S’what I call them.  My little monkeys.  They like to know when I’m getting in so they can wake up, come to the surface and greet me.”
“So I call through the letter box to let them know I’m coming.  See?”
“Right.  And you need my help because……?”
“They’re DEAD GODDAMIT!” he screams, then folds in two, hands on knees, weeping. 
“Ok,” I try to think on my feet, “calm down.  You wait here and I’ll go get someone who can help.”  
“Thank you,” he sobs at me.
Feeling strangely terrible, I sit him down on the wall of someone’s tiny font garden on the next terraced street to his.  I leave him with his head in his hands crying like a baby and set off running, rather fast, up the street.
And I just go home.
I have to work late again the next night and reach a certain point on my walk home before deciding to take a different route, eliminating the road of the previous evening’s event.  It only puts two minutes on the journey. 
I turn down another, different but similarly indistinctive terraced road to find a woman stooped down to the letterbox of a house, hollering in a very strange pitch:
“Chinchillas! Chinchillas! ChinBLEEDIN’CHILLAS!”
I cross the road, then cross back after I’ve passed her.  Before I turn the corner at the end of the street I check back and she’s still there.  She looks a little old, stooped but animated.  Big, crazy, frizzy hair slopping about everywhere, witchlike. 

It’s raining so I take the bus home from work the next day.  We’re stopped at lights.  I stare vacantly out of a window at a house.   Someone is at a door shouting into a letterbox.  I involuntarily snort at the coincidence, then he turns and meets my eye.  He looks cold, tall, and very hard.  A shivery fear waves through me before I remember I’m on a bus and he can’t touch me. 
I get home and find the three letterbox weirdos on my doorstep.          
“Um, hello”  – me.
– No reply, I try to get round them to my door, feeling that same unsteady fear hacking its way through me once again, but pretending it isn’t there.  They don’t let me pass.  I give up, feeling like a bullied child and turn to the man who was unhealthily attached to his goldfish.
“How are your fish then?”
“DEAD!” he yells back.  His eyes incensed, my stomach churns.  The mateyness has apparently been extinguished from our relationship.
“Ah, right.”  I look down and away, then at the second lady, “Chinchillas, eh?”
“You-diddnt-even-care-to-ask.”  She speaks so fast and in such an abnormally high pitch that it takes me a second to work out what she said.
“Ah, no,” I say, smiling appealingly, “I was tired, you see and -”
“Worrabowt me?” the third one asks.
“I…I don’t know.  I mean… what about you?  I was on a bus.  What was I supposed to do!?” I say, a mite too exasperated, instantly regretting my tone.  He’s a large chap.
“Just get off the bus,” he says matter-of-factly.  His companions nod their heads in agreement, like this was the obvious thing to do.
“But it wasn’t my stop and…  – Look, this is just plain silly.  Please excuse me.” I try to get to my door again.  They’re like a wall and I bounce off.
“Well,” I say, quite exhausted now, “what do you want?”“A question you should ask yourself.”  That was the fishman. 
“I’m sorry?”
“We’re your, your…,” he stumbled, not the brightest,  “-What are we exactly Mildred?”
“Look I’m sorry,” I say, impatient and suddenly feeling brave, “but I’m going to have to call the Police if you don -”
“-Lissen to er.”  It’s the really big bloke, and he says it quite nastily so I don’t argue.
 “Okay, sorry.” Mildred the witch steps forward a pace.  She smells of onion.“Fing-is-youre-crap-really-en-you?”
“I’m sorry?” I gather myself well enough to reply.
“And we’re here to help you.”  – Fishman.
“Ah, that’s nice of you.  Can I ask how?”
“Yip.”  – Stinky Mildred.
“Well, how?” 
The fishman steps forward and puts an arm round me.  I feel decidedly uncomfortable about this but the big chap frightens me, so I accept his clasp.
          “You’ll be changed from now on.” 
I’ve had enough, I’m starting to think wacko religious sect, but I’m still not sure why they’re preying on me so specifically.  So I get cynical.
“How?  Some radical life changing experience?  A new way of life?  Three ghosts?” 

They all look at each other and smile unnervingly. 

Then stinky crazy Mildred witch creature comes up to me, puts her two bony hands on each of my upper arms and shoves her ugly boggle eyed face in mine:

“Nope.  None-a-them.  Yer-gonna-be-a-fish!”

I only have a moment to smile, then I get that sick, helpless falling feeling in my gut.  My legs shrivel up, wiggling unnaturally and absorb into my torso, which seems to be reducing too, turning orange and feeling wet.  And there’s laughter.  Incessant, freakish laughter bellowing into my eardrums until I feel my ears close up and fuse with my head.  Which is now slippery.  Then nothing, no sounds at all.  I feel elevated, and see a blurred view out onto the pavement like when you look through strong glasses.  

And there’s a blurred view out onto the pavement like when you look through strong glasses.

And there’s a blurred view out onto the pavement like…

Ooh look, a blurred view out to pavement.

– Like when look… glasses.

View… out.  Glassz.



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