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Hideo Furukawa: A Dispatch from the Monkey Planet

April 29, 2014

An outside had never existed before! Does that mean where I am now is inside?

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Image from Flickr via @Doug88888

By Hideo Furukawa
Translated by Motoyuki Shibata and Ted Goossen
Brought to you by the Guernica/PEN Flash Series

Let me start with a tale from long, long ago. One day, scads of boxes came crashing down from the sky. No monkey had heard of such a thing. I bet you haven’t either! Of course we have weather forecasts on the monkey planet: “Good morning, the probability of rainfall today is 20 percent.” They even say: “The probability of monkeys falling today is 80 percent”! This was the first time, however, that a box had ever fallen. So the whole area was in an uproar. Once upon a time… a monkey managed to get into one of those boxes, and was amazed to discover—an outside! An outside had never existed before! Does that mean where I am now is inside? Another monkey started opening the boxes, and was amazed to find out that you cannot know what’s in a box until you open it. Does that mean if I entered one… you wouldn’t know it was me in it until I came out? Finally, a child prodigy monkey, reputed to possess the highest intelligence in the world, declared: my fellow monkeys, everything is a box! Conclusion: Do not underestimate boxes. And: enter first, before you observe from the outside! There, look… your tail is jutting out. My goodness, there are monkeys everywhere!

This tail, I mean tale, was originally written for the 2009 Summer “Box” issue of the Japanese Monkey Business Magazine.

Hideo Furukawa is one of the most active and productive writers in Japan today. He won the Mishima Prize for Love and the Mystery Writers of Japan Association Prize and the Japan SF Grand Prize for Tribes of the Arabian Night. TYO Gothic, a collection of linked short stories, originally published in Monkey Business, came out earlier this year.

Check out more fiction from the Guernica/PEN Flash Series:

Mira Jacob: Everybody Is Looking For Somebody Like You

Eric Boyd: The Chains That Keep

Sung J. Woo: 1950

Matthew Salesses: Inside the Inside of the Green Monster

Shani Boianju: An Odd Bird

Corey Zeller: Dead Money — Pfizer, Cisco, and Other Value Traps

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