The Monkey King shifted on the bar stool and rubbed his hand over the deep golden hair on the top of his head before pulling a cigar from somewhere, casually striking a match that appeared from an equally mysterious location and gently puffed the slightly mashed stogy to life.
“So what’s this all about?” He asked in between puffs, his voice a bit rough around the edges.
“I’m not sure. I just wanted to get to know you a bit better,” I answered kind of feeling my way along the dark corridor of this conversation. “That smells awful, by the way.”
“I know. You really can’t get a decent cigar these days,” he said tapping the thing in the ashtray and then placing it in the corner of his mouth to hang and waggle as he spoke. “It’s a habit I just picked up recently, in the last hundred years or so.”
We both settled into a slightly awkward silence with throat clearing as the main ingredient.
“So, like I said before. What’s the deal? I heard you were asking around about me and wanted a little face to face.”
“I guess I was just wondering what it is your doing these days, and how you might fit into this piece I am working on.”
“People nowadays are mostly rehashing my old stories from way back. In their defense, I really don’t get out much anymore. I’ve been hangin’ out with my crew on the mountain, but I gotta tell ya that’s wearing a little thin these days.”
” So what are the kinds of things you are likely to do in a story? What do you see as your role?”
“Well I have awesome powers. Each golden hair on my body can act as a tool with multiple functions and I have perfect control of all of them, but I tend to be a loose cannon, a bit shifty, and easily distracted.
I am definitely a heroic type, a bit off beat, I guess, but I generally get the job done. It all depends on who you talk to though. In India I am a bit more reliable, but I still have my moments of high spirits and off the grid action.”
“Hmm, I can see definite possibilities. What’s your schedule look like for the next few months?”
“I am pretty much wide open. I have a few minor responsibilities but nothing epic on the horizon.”
“Great! How do I do I reach you?”
“Just give a shout. I might come if I not busy. You never can tell. You can call me Hanuman or Great Sage Equal to Heaven will do too. But more than likely I will just show up and make things interesting for you.”
We shook hands and he vanished in a puff of foul bluish smoke. I went back to my gin and tonic, my imagination lit up like a strip club at midnight. Yeh, it was the beginning of a beautiful collaboration. I felt it in my gut. This Hanuman might be just the ticket to get me on the express train to somewhere weird and unexpected, and that was just what I was lookin’ for.