KWM: Three Minus Three Plus Three Is Three / Anonymous Note: Does This Answer Your Question, Todd? / Chimp Attack Kills Cabbie and Injures Tourists

Chapter Twenty

Three Minus Three Plus Three Is Three

If you can’t step into the same river twice and you aren’t the same man today that you were yesterday, continuity is a lie, but an accepted one–a suspension of recognition is pervasive–so it hardly matters if yet another car accident in Slovenia killed three people and three other people took over where they left off on whatever it is they were doing. It’s hardly worth a pause; certainly not a passing mention.

Chapter Twenty-One

Anonymous Note: Does This Answer Your Question, Todd?

     1992  BORN 04.05.1036 – DIED (KILLED 07.06.1992)


A previously stated reluctance to rely on Slovene intelligence, so to speak, applies to solicited information. But when an anonymous note is slipped under the door of a secret office—which is naturally subsequently relocated, we certainly must take notice. Admittedly, the information is scant, and adds little to our previous knowledge. The attempt on Kramberger’s life in Velenje is new, and subsequent checking reveals that it is not necessarily untrue (A Slovene dictionary is insufficient for translation, but we can confirm that something out of the ordinary occurred in Velenje on that day and made news). As for the monkey, we have been unable to verify the information, which is not necessarily untrue simply because our informant got the name wrong. Ančka is a sweet name, but the monkey was called Count Belisarius, after the Byzantine general—and that has been verified. Interestingly, the anonymous note, obviously written by a Slovene with good English and good intentions vis a vis our hunt for the truth, assumes a scarcity of available factual information, which is indeed the case, even for a Slovene. We have been over every single Slovene source, mainly because there are so few. So we must judge the intent of this fellow; he was simply making sure we knew what there was to know. That being the case, along with the lack of embellishment, leads us to assume that Count Belisarius was indeed assassinated, which makes the instincts of Todd Fullmer appear nothing short of astonishing: refer to Chapter One.

At any rate, like a river, sometimes a topic or theme must widen before it narrows again. We know that when the river widens, it is likely to narrow and then proceed into a sea of either truth or obscurity, though some continue on only peter out, to dry up into desert washes, and others, like Slovenia’s and Italy’s Reka Reka, or Reka River, dive underground for 44 kilometers before emerging just in time to dash into the sea unrecognized (for many centuries at least). Our information, as you will soon understand, forces us to drop known cause and effect in order to include odds and ends, flotsam, yes, jetsam, no, you might say, in order to come to grips with the magnitude or minutiaetude of events. For we now have reason to connect Kramberger’s assassination, or to suspect the possibility of his assassination, with recent events in the simian world and similar clashes in the defunct world of the Byzantines, as well as some none too surprising Balkan shenanigans.

Pay very close attention to the following article.

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chimp Attack Kills Cabbie and Injures Tourists


Associated Press in Freetown
Tuesday April 25, 2006
The Guardian

Police are hunting 27 chimpanzees that escaped from a Sierra Leone preserve and attacked the occupants of a taxi, killing the driver.

Four other people among the group of local and American sightseers were mauled by the animals and needed hospital treatment, including a Sierra Leonean man whose hand was later amputated.

The US embassy warned Americans against visiting the Tacugama sanctuary, from where the chimps escaped.

A local police official said it was unclear why the chimps attacked; such attacks are unusual but not unprecedented.

If you’ve only read it once and are rushing to understand the implications and the connections with the present work, please take the time to read it again and give it some serious thought.

Sorry for the condensation, or the condescension, if either apply. We feel that actually neither does. For it is typical of such a homo sapiens-oriented text to place such a high premium on brevity that what is howled between the lines may be both that much more deniable to the discerning and that much plainer to those receptive as the sleeping nose to the adventurous fly, if you will pardon the overt slanting of our prose. Or are you still in the dark?

Another clue is provided from the notes Todd Fullmer’s editor finally provided, rescued from his Baltimore harbor-view rat’s nest, a place he apparently owned but did not frequent. Among Fullmer’s notes was his assassination song—the guy was an assassination expert, an assassination fanatic, an assassination obsessed freak—that begins with the following lines:

Norbert Zongo plays the bongos
Cause Stambulov has no hands

The accompanying lines (The Kennedy dead have holes in their head/So they can’t be in the band) are beside the point but we provide them to please you with the final rhyme of the stanza—an orphaned rhyme can feel very much like an unresolved assassination.

Sometimes to understand what a dead man would have one must try to think like that dead man. So the apes tried to tear off the hand of one guy, who later had it amputated. Coincidence? Didn’t Stambulov have both his hands torn off by the Macedonian/IMRO mob that assassinated him (his wife famously returning to the scene with the hands in a jar) (How do you shame people who would tear someone’s hands off?). Probably here the reader can’t put his stuttering objections into a single clear sentence. But try this on for size: authorities are hunting 27 chimpanzees that escaped from a preserve. A preserve in this context, of course, means natural habitat, or as we speaking simians might say, a home. When is the last time you escaped from home? Fine, leave it. Let’s go on to the order of the sentence, the tricky use of the word ‘and’. This mob, this bloodthirsty IMRO chimp frenetico, escaped and attacked the cabbie and the tourists. So the assault occurred outside the preserve. But look at the next sentence: local and American sightseers? So the apes escaped and attacked a convoy outside the preserve? Lick our balls! What a load of shit! Now skip ahead: suddenly the chimps escaped from a sanctuary. A sanctuary. Suddenly the preserve is a sanctuary, a safe haven, a strategic hamlet—and the ungrateful apes took off and turned on their benefactors. Eat our caca. Finally, though we don’t know why the attack happened, we can say that it was not without precedent. Read between the fucking lines. A hand amputated, the American embassy gets involved, it’s a sanctuary, and the whole thing is a puzzle, but not without precedent. In other words, sotto voce soporific: don’t be alarmed. We’ll hunt the fuckers down and kill them, but don’t panic. See, if it was without precedent, if we all remembered Stambulov as the chimps would expect, assuming that like they we know our history, we would all get the message. Their warning unheeded, now the attack is on.

What warning is that, you wonder.

Here’s an excerpt from a missive we received from Skip Obscure on the subject:

…but don’t expect anyone to listen to you. I’ve been warning people for the last year, since that episode in California where the Chimpanzee bit off the man’s nose and gouged out his genitals. It’s worse than talking about the ozone layer. I’m an alarmist conspiracy nut. Don’t people realize that monkeys gave us AIDS? Don’t they realize that nature isn’t through with us yet? AIDS was a colossal failure, bird flu is nothing but a red herring with wings. I’ve read more than fifty books about simians and it’s clear they are undergoing a rapid and dangerous change. Who killed Diane Fossey? Don’t make me laugh…

Don’t we love the part about the winged herrings? Anyway, the significance of the bitten nose would be lost on anyone who doesn’t know his Byzantine history, the habit of the deposing emperors denosing rather than decapitating the outgoing—ask Heraclonas, the first undergo this therapy. At the time, such behavior was considered humane, rhinometia being a sure method of preventing a man from even wanting to return to the throne. Any chimp would expect us to remember such a bizarre commonplace of one of our more notorious empires, so commonplace, in fact, that emperors learned to overcome it, the first of these being Justinian the Second, who had himself fitted with a golden nose before he returned to decapitate Leontius, who by now was missing his own nose, and Tiberius the Third, who had ordered the operation performed on Leontius. So don’t try to tell us that California attack wasn’t a warning, and don’t think we’re just going to sit

Editor’s note: I started The Collidescope so that I could give a home to work that is true to itself rather than diluted by the artless concerns of marketing and audience pandering. The aesthetic of the journal reflects my own tastes, of course: writing that tinkers with the mechanics of language, that itemizes etymology, orchestrates melody, writing that is logistically illogical and acts as the ouija board of voiceless dreams. Rick Harsch’s writing embodies all this and more. I never thought that I’d be serializing an amazing novel from an amazing author. I’m both honored and excited. So dear readers, be sure to bookmark The Collidescope and check back every Sunday for new installments of Kramberger with Monkey: A Comedy of Assassination by Rick Harsch.

Rick Harsch hit the literary scene in 1997 with his cult classic The Driftless Zone, which was followed by Billy Verite and Sleep of the Aborigines (all by Steerforth Press) soon after to form The Driftless Trilogy. Harsch migrated to the Slovene coastal city of Izola in 2001, just as the Driftless books were published in French translation by a French publisher that went out of business a few years later. Rick is also the author of Arjun and the Good Snake (2011, Amalietti & Amalietti), Wandering Stone: the Streets of Old Izola (2017, Mandrac Press), Voices After Evelyn (2018, Maintenance Ends Press), Skulls of Istria (2018, River Boat Books), The Manifold Destiny of Eddie Vegas (2019, River Boat Books) and Walk Like a Duck: A Season of Little League Baseball in Italy (2019, River Boat Books). Rick currently lives in Izola still with his wife and two children.

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