“What do you know,” Smart Tony said to his maid.
“Just when I goes and saves the world from the COVID bug, now some monkey disease is threatening to destroy mankind. I seen it on CNN and it got me all riled up. I hate monkeys, even worse than I hate Rand Paul. I think this illness is aimed at me!”
As a young boy, Smart Tony used to visit the Bronx Zoo and tell all the animals how smart he was compared to them and explain how big his brain was compared to theirs. One day, sometime in October, he was explaining his superior intelligence to one of the zoo’s monkeys when the monkey started laughing and spit at Smart Tony. Smart Tony was furious. He marched into the zookeeper’s office and demanded that monkey be quarantined, that it self-isolate, that it be given a lethal vaccine. But as Smart Tony wasn’t so powerful back then—he didn’t yet control all industry and government so he couldn’t do what he wanted—the zookeeper ignored him.
“I always had nightmares since then that the monkeys would take over the world and extract their revenge on smart humans like me, just like the apes done in Planet of the Apes,” he told his maid. “But this time, Ben Hur won’t be coming to rescue us! Now, it’s all up to me, all up to Smart Tony, and once again, I got to go save the world.”
Monkey Pox hit the world fast, right when COVID was still around and causing its own nightmares, and Smart Tony wasn’t about to let it strangle America like COVID did. So he gathered all the smartest expert scientists in the land and made his circuit with them on the friendly news shows.
“Here’s the straight up, Rachel in the Meadow,” he said to his gracious host, as a crew of sycophantic self-promoting boxed-in scientific experts hovered over him ready to support everything he said. “Right now, them monkeys hatched a pretty sinister plot with their pox, aiming to kill every person alive, and the ones they don’t kill with the pox, they will take away their voices so they can herd them up and abuse them like we never seen in our lives. Unless we take the Monkey Pox seriously, we ain’t gonna live long enough to regret it.”
“And what evidence is there that the scenario you paint is likely, Smart Tony?” Rachel asked.
“Since when did I need evidence?” an indignant Smart Tony said to her. “When Smart Tony says it, ain’t that evidence enough? What, you gonna start to question Smart Tony all the sudden? My word ain’t good enough? You willing to let the whole world die, become prisoners of the monkeys, just so you can ask me a question Rachel in the Meadow?”
Flustered, Rachel begged forgiveness for giving the impression that she was spreading misinformation. “I know that Monkey Pox will kill everyone unless we do just what you tell us,” she said to Smart Tony. “Please, I implore you oh great one, tell us what to do.”
Which, with the help of his very smart and obedient friends, he did.
“First and foremost, Ms. Meadow,” said Dr. Model Maker from University of Washington, with the absolute certainty of a scientist. “We must take this seriously and be scared to death, so scared that we willingly give all power to us, the scientists, to do what me must to save all of you less enlightened souls. Even one person who deviates, who spreads misinformation, who questions us, could cause the end of all mankind. And, in your case, women kind too.”
“Tell me just how bad it is,” Rachel in the Meadow asked.
“Well,” said Dr. Model Maker, “Just like with COVID, we plugged numbers into our computers and came up with projections. This time we used the number of dead people and people captured by monkeys in Smart Tony’s dream, put that into our models, and what it showed is that unless we do everything just like we tell you, we’re freaking screwed.”
“What measures must we take to stop the Monkey catastrophe that is banging on our door?” Joe in the Morning asked later in the afternoon. “More masks? Hand washing for exactly twenty seconds? Shutting down society? Censoring Republicans? Will we continue those very sensible measures?”
“Absolutely not,” Dr. Numbersoverlife declared. “This is a different bug, one that travels like monkeys through trees and eats bananas. We have to worry about it falling on us, and thus we need head protection. We’ve modeled out two types of protection that all Americans should consider. One is a surgical safari hat, which is pictured here.”
“It is pretty good, keeps 90% of pox from falling onto our head and burrowing into our brains and turning us into monkey prisoners. But this one, the MonkeyPox-95, or MP-95, is very much better, and I am selling them on my website, www.believemebecasueIamsmart.edu, and if you buy 10, you can buy ten more at the same price.”
“So, with the hats, is that enough?” asked Jake Tap Dancer on his show later. “And I assume that masks are necessary too, since COVID can hit from the air as the Monkey Pox hits from the sky, kind of like a Russian assault except it kills people.”
“Exactly,” sang the Hopkins Shutupandlisten Public Health choir, in the key of D flat. “We have to worry about kids mostly. This Pox preys on kids. First and foremost, we need a strict rule that there will be no monkeying around at school. All monkey business attracts the pox and can decimate a school in seconds. Monkey Bars too must be dissembled. All of them, immediately. And our most brilliant experts, with the help of Harvard and Yale and Pfizer, are studying whether all sports must be stopped other than water sports, since monkeys are very playful, but thankfully they don’t swim. Pfizer says they are working on powerful pills that can turn athletes into musicians so as to trick the monkeys, and these pills will be given to all kids under emergency authorization, whether they want them or not, without any testing, a strategy that was effective with COVID since we were able to sell billions of dollars of pills before we learned they killed people.”
“Frightening,” said Jake. “Truly frightening. Let’s hope this time the misinformation spicket isn’t open and we don’t get pushback from anti-science reactionaries. People, the science is speaking here loud and clear, and you best listen or else the fate of mankind could end, and the Statue of Liberty may well sink into the ocean, which will probably happen anyway from global warming, but it’s all connected, is it not Dr. Dolittleornothing?”
“It is,” said Dr. Dolittleornothing from Cambridge. “Which is why we must stop all banana sales into this country. That’s what monkeys like to eat, and if we stop these bananas at the border, then the monkeys may not even bring their pox into our nation. We must nuke all banana plantations and redirect border guards to stop and burn all banana imports.”
“Won’t that hurt, even destroy, the economies of Central America?” tapped Jake.
Smart Tony wasn’t happy with that question at all. “Really, Jake the Tap Dancer, really you have the nerve to ask such a thing? You think an economy is ok if everyone is dead, and half the people are prisoners of monkeys on some distant island? That’s the kind of economy you want to support? Since when are you so concerned about economies and people’s lives? You never was during COVID. We’re in the life saving business, and to do that, sometimes we got to take a lot of lives away.”
“Although, Smart Tony,” one of the other scientist sheepishly said. “We do have a theory that if children wear banana peels on their heads, that may be something helpful in that it will get the monkeys very angry, especially when they find no fruit in there. And if we import peels, then we don’t have to nuke all the banana plantations, just the ones that Dole doesn’t own.”
“Well if it’s good enough for Dole, then sure, they know their stuff,” said Smart Tony. “But that could get messy, you know, all them peels and stuff on kids head, and then what if one falls and the kid slips, and then the monkey laughs at that kid just like it did done to me when I was a kid, those bastard monkeys. No, I don’t like it at all. We need other ways to keep them monkeys away from our kids and our friends.”
“That’s why we are mandating that all people buy these necklaces,” said Dr. Trinket from Cambridge, showing the pendant that she had developed.
“They are highly effective against Monkey Pox. They have a picture of Jane Goodall, who all monkeys hate since she favored apes over monkeys. It scares them away, and we have definitive scientific evidence to prove this, evidence that is good enough for us so it should be good enough for you. If you don’t wear one, our Science President has declared that you can’t go to school or have a job, and he may pass a law that anyone who doesn’t wear one will be forced to clean monkey cages in zoos. This is a public health emergency, Jake, and no action is too severe when it comes to the science of survival.”
“Please tell Americans how they can tell the difference between apes and monkeys, in case they see one?” Jake asked the scientific panel. “And if they do encounter a monkey, what do they do?”
“Kill the damned monkey,” Smart Tony snapped. “Don’t wait. If you get it wrong, if it’s an ape or a person and ain’t a monkey you end up killing, well, we all make mistakes. I don’t know how to tell the difference between them primates, they all look the same to me, and I think we should kill them all, just to be sure we ain’t missing none of them even if a few people got to die in the process cause they looked like monkeys. Can’t be too careful, Jake the Tap Dancer.”
“Don’t monkeys have tails and apes don’t?” asked the camera woman.
The experts just looked at each other. Who could know such a complicated thing?
The next day on Joe in the Morning, Smart Tony told America what was most important about the Monkey Pox. “At the beginning of COVID I learned that the virus was treatable, that especially in people most likely to die from it a combination of cheap drugs could have cut the death rate down to like 2%, saving hundreds of thousands of lives. Right away, me, Smart Tony, I knew I had to stop that misinformation. I mean, if we treated COVID, if we saved everyone’s lives with cheap pills, then no one would wear no masks, no one would shut down society, no one would listen to Smart Tony and his friends, the FDA wouldn’t let us make the vaccine, and if we didn’t do all them things, if we saved lives instead of scaring people and letting everyone die, then where would we be today? Zillions of people may be dead instead of millions; how do we know that wouldn’t of happened? That’s why this time when the Monkey Pox comes, we got to ban all treatment, we got to force people to do all the stuff we say, we got to scare people and take over their lives, and let our friends at Pfizer make a monkey-killing vaccine, which, if you ask me Joe in the Morning, is a long time in coming!”
That night as the world shut down and got ready for more years of having lives taken away in order to save them, as Jake and all his pals talked non-stop about this new and dastardly threat, as the science President passed new science-based laws banning bananas and mandating safari hats and Jane Goodall pendants, Smart Tony sat with his maid and sipped some prune juice. He had been so busy scaring everyone with science and saving humanity from the monkey threat that he forgot to have a bowel movement. But he didn’t care.
“Once them monkeys is dead and once we got a new vaccine and boosters and lots of expensive drugs that I got patents on, and once I get even more famous and they build a monument to me even bigger than the one from George Washington, I mean, compared to that, what’s one hard bowel movement? You know what, maid? I led the world to the highest rate of COVID deaths and deaths caused by the quarantine in the whole world, maybe in all of history. And still no one questions nothing I say. So who’s to say I can’t even do better this time? Here’s to me, the face of science, Smart Tony! We ain’t gonna let no Monkey Pox stop us, and we’ll kill everyone we got to’s so we make sure we succeed!”
"One thing i know, Dr. Smart Tony, sir," the maid said. "Like with COVID, you may shut down schools, you may stop all fun and pleasure, you may prevent people from working and feeding their families, you may even tell people they can't talk, but as long as you keep the bars and liquor stores open, well then, do we really care?"
He and the maid clinked their glasses and sucked down their drinks. She was drinking vodka, and like most of the world, she kept it flowing. Monkey Pox be damned, it was time to hunker down again and start living the dream in a pleasant alcohol induced coma. That was science!