The Planet of the Apes Problem
I was woken early one morning by a hammmering on my back door. I quickly dressed and rushed downstairs, where I found Alun in an irritable mood.
"It's Daily Mail journalist Katie Hopkins, Jed," he said. "She's done a shit on my lawn, then run up to my front window and dangled her still-shitty bare arse at me."
"What again?" I said.
I should explain.
Happy Island has always had a gorilla colony. I grew up going to bed to the sound of monkey's whooping, hollering and copulating, I thought nothing unusual in the fact.
Alun's father, always a keen statistician, had the idea of giving the monkeys typewriters, to test the theory that an infinite number of monkey with an infinite amount of typewriters would, over an infinite period of time, produce the complete works of shakespeare. Of course, Happy Island is a small, isolated island in the middle of a long-overlooked archaepelago, and there were never enough monkeys, time or typewriters to produce shakespeare, but the monkey's writing was sufficiently good for many of them to get jobs writing for tabloid newspapers.
Some of them became household names with regular columns. They used human names, such as Katie Hopkins, Gary Bushell, Peter Hitchens, Sarah Vine, Mel Phillips and Simon Heffer and used fake photos, trying to disguise the fact that they weren't human but were really hideous apes. The one exception was the most ugly, hideous ape of them all, who chose to use his real face in his publicity photos, Gary Bushell.
Alun and I tolerated the existence of the gorilla colony, for however misbehaved they were we found their company preferable to that of mainlanders. However, in recent months their behaviour had become noticably worse. Not only had Katie Hopkins taken to frequently shitting on Alun's lawn, their writing had become more and more abhorrent, increasingly right-wing, inciting hatred and intolerence with every word they wrote.
"I can't understand it Jed," Alun said. "The gorillas' writing is getting worse. They're so right wing now their ideas are downright dangerous, stop trading with Europe, send everyone of working age out of the country, it's ridiculous."
"Are you sure?" I said, it seemed unlikely. Whilst the gorillas writing had always been nonsensical, they'd never previously written anything that would essentially destroy the entire mainland by ending all economic activity.
"Yes Jed, and we need to find out why. Mainlanders read these monkeys and take their views seriously, we need to stop them doing real harm. There's nothing for it, you'll have to dress as a gorilla and live among them for a while."
"Why me?" I said. "Couldn't you do it?"
"Of course not Jed, I don't speak the language."
Regular readers will of course remember that I was, for a brief period in my childhood, raised by monkeys. Gorilla-speak is therefore my second language, as well as being fully fluent in orangutang, chimpanzee and basic tufted capuchin.
So that afternoon I donned the gorilla costume I'd last worn for the Happy Island fancy dress party, where Alun and I had both fallen for gatecrashers dressed as mainland radio's Victoria Derbyshire and, in an evening of confusion suited to a west end farce, had both become engaged to the wrong Victoria Derbyshire (see The Victoria Derbyshire Problem).
None of the gorillas noticed anything unusual as I crept amonsgt their midst, hidden thanks to the mist that had descended on the island. I was therefore able to listen in to the conversation without challenge.
"Ha, ha, ha," said the gorilla called Peter Hitchn in an evil swagger, "The gullible mainlanders are lapping up our nonsensical right-wing bile."
"Yes," agreed Mel Phillips, a particularly hairy gorilla with a distinct lack of social grace, "It doesn't matter what nonsense we write, our readers believe it. My column last week said that we should end all trade with foreign countries, because all foreigners smell. A stupid idea, ending trade would cost virtually every job in the country, there'd be no money for pensions, let alone the NHS, yet the pensionsers and NHS users who read my column lapped it up."
"Yes and they loved my column arguing that we should get rid of all forgeigners, gays and lefties, even though the entire working age population are either foreigners, gay, leftie or all three. There wouldn't anyone paying taxes to pay for the pensions my readers soak up like so many rotten sponges."
"Ha, ha, ha," said Peter Hitchens again, "It won't belong before the entire mainland economy collapses, then us apes will be free to take over. Soon we will rule the world."
"Yes, and our colony in America is progressing even better. There'll be a major war within the next six months that'll wipe out most of human kind."
"Soon the entire world will be ours."
The conversation ended before they could reveal more about their plans, as at this point Gary Bushell and Katie Hopkins started copulating noisily and frantically beside me, not having noticed my presence due to the ever-present mist. I took the opportunity to sneak off.
I rushed round Alun's and explained the gorillas' plans. "What shall we do to stop them?" I asked, as Alun always has a plan.
"It's too late to stop them Jed," Alun said. "They have too strong a following. Their readers believe everything they say, no matter how nonsensicle. The mainland civilisation is finished, there's nothing we can do."
"But I videoed the whole conversation. We can show the world their plans."
"You forget Jed, the rest of the world doesn't understand monkey-talk. Only you know what their plans are. Besides, it looks like you've only recorded two gorillas copulating."
It was true, I must have pressed the wrong button when I tried to record and when I thought I was switching the camera off I was accidentally filming the entire gruesome 37 seconds of sexual havoc between Katie Hopkins and Gary Bushell.
Which is how the gorillas' dastardly plan was stopped. Gary Bushell is so unbelievably ugly, even to other gorillas, that the shame of being caught copulating with him would result in any gorilla being banished from the Happy Island gorilla community, so I was able to blackmail Katie Hopkins into writing relatively sensible articles which ended the gorillas' plans.