Following is Chapter One from Monkey Business (Drunk Monkeys 1), now available on BookStrand, Kindle, and coming soon to other third-party sites. And book 2 in the series, Monkey’s Uncle, is now available from Siren-BookStrand! 🙂
“That damn, batshit crazy asshole fucker in charge there in Pyongyang is the one who stirred the shitpot. Then Beijing made him lick the goddamned spoon and nuked his fucking ass. Problem is, when they did that—not saying they weren’t justified, mind you—our first and best chance to reverse-engineer this clusterfuck went up in a mushroom cloud. All the rest of us could do was fucking bend over and pray for lube and a reacharound.”
—Gen. Robert K. McCammeron (Our Last History? by Willard M. Sterling. Interview date May, 2143)
“In the time since we first became aware of the virus, and the subsequent events that have followed, we’ve come to understand that we have no idea why, much less how, they [North Korea] created it. Unfortunately, when Beijing wiped Pyongyang off the map, they also wiped out any hope we had of creating an effective vaccine in a timely manner to prevent transmission to a majority of the world’s population. It’s estimated that within another five years, over ninety percent of the world’s population will either be dead or infected unless we get lucky and figure it out.”
—Dr. Arnold P. Almer, CDC (Our Last History? by Willard M. Sterling. Interview date April, 2143)
“In terms of [Kite, the drug’s] addictive nature, it makes meth look like baby aspirin.”
—Kimberly Coates, PhD, University of Florida (February, 2143)
—President Charlotte Kennedy’s reported reaction upon learning that China authorized the use of nuclear weapons against North Korea on July 29, 2142, in response to Pyongyang allowing thousands of people they supposedly infected with the Kite virus to flood across the border into China several days earlier.
“The Drunk Monkeys? Those crazy motherfuckers don’t exist. And boy, are they good at what they do. Thank god.”
—Gen. Joseph Arliss (June, 2143)
* * * *
Long story short…
The world was already immersed in turmoil unlike any other era in the decades leading up to the culmination of events on July 29, 2142. Massive weather pattern changes had killed millions directly via storms, or indirectly via famine or water- and insect-borne illnesses. Localized epidemics had devastated populations in regions such as the Indochina area, Indonesia, and parts of Africa and Central and South America. Pundits suspected China had also been hard-hit, but the country refused to admit any such thing. The epidemics had struck first-world countries as well, but their populations had fared far better with only a fraction of the deaths.
Warfare in some parts of the world was the norm. Geopolitical events had created extremely volatile worldwide economic catastrophes that left most of the previous first-world countries living in dual-class systems of tiny minorities of the extremely rich and the vast majority of poor workers who supported them.
Likely the North Koreans’ idea started, as so many other horrible, government-instituted ideas do, as a brilliant thought in some lower-level politician’s pinheaded and narrow-visioned brain. Something that, if it could be brought to fruition, would send him on a meteoric rise up the bureaucratic ladder and secure his job—and his neck—with their illustrious Mighty Leader.
Unfortunately, as so many other horrible government-instituted ideas do, it quickly blew out of control and out of proportion when the military got hold of the idea and put a bug in Mighty Leader’s ear.
Once Mighty Leader decided this was what they’d do, by god, they did it. Including strong-arming some talent from outside North Korea in the form of threatening their families and their lives when basic bribery wouldn’t work.
And it worked.
The story goes that it was only after they realized exactly what happened when people were addicted to—and infected by—what came to be called “Kite,” that the North Koreans knew they had a fucking serious problem on their hands.
That was when some brilliant backwater Podunk decided he didn’t want all these human guinea pigs from the massive “reeducation camp” anywhere close to his little slice of hell on earth. He unilaterally decided in the middle of the night to shut down the facility and herd the inmates north, over the Chinese border and out of his hair.
It didn’t take China long to realize that not only did they have several thousand refugees suddenly streaming across a suspiciously unguarded border, but there was something decidedly wrong with many of them.
Wrong, as in Chinese epidemiologists had no idea what it was they were infected with, only that it spread rapidly and appeared ninety-nine percent fatal.
The one thing Chinese officials did know were that these refugees refused to go back, North Korea refused to acknowledge they even existed, and in addition to their illness they were horribly addicted to a drug that had also apparently infected them with the virus, described as something between influenza, mad cow, and rabies.
And they were starting to infect Chinese citizens via an increasingly disturbing number of attacks.
Only after hundreds of the still-cogent refugees admitted to undergoing “vaccine and pharmacology testing” during their stint in what was actually a forced labor camp, did someone in China finally put two and two together and quit coming up with five and three quarters.
While China never openly revealed all the details leading up to their response, somewhere an upper-level politician must have decided that North Korea’s fuckery deserved only one reply, one that would—hopefully—decisively end the problem and take care of any potential future refugees.
Not a bad—albeit ruthless—idea.
Enter several tactical nuclear weapons, along with what amounted to carpet-bombing most North Korean population centers with both thermobaric and bunker-busting ordinance that proved nearly as deadly as the nuclear kind. The North Korean military didn’t have time to respond, China knowing full well where their tac-nukes were located and targeting them first.
There was also supposition that mass desertion by the North Korean troops occurred once news began to travel—for as long as it could travel over a rapidly collapsing communications network—that Pyongyang no longer existed on this earthly plane.
Meanwhile, thousands of Chinese troops were ordered to exterminate the problem in the border province, including any Chinese citizens who were infected by the mystery illness, or even possibly exposed.
When the dust settled and Pyongyang—along with other population centers in North Korea—was little more than a smoking glow-in-the-dark crater, the howling in the bowels of the UN began. Considering that the only remaining representative of the government of North Korea appeared to be their UN ambassador, and he was totally farking clueless as to what had happened or why, there wasn’t a lot that could be done since China’s ambassador smiled and assured everyone else they were only responding to a direct act of aggression by North Korea and protecting their borders.
Everyone knew the Mighty Leader was batcrap crazy, and they were pretty much used to the country’s generations of inbred leadership, complete with impotent preening, feather-fluffing, and loudly clucking idiocy.
But no one ever suspected he’d be that crazy, to try to fuck with China.
China’s attack proved brutally effective. Seoul, being relatively close to the border, received a pretty good dose of radioactive fallout. Enough to force South Korean officials to order the capital and surrounding areas evacuated. China’s attack also sent a wave of panicked South Koreans elsewhere fleeing toward the port city of Busan, and sent terrified Japanese citizens, who’d understandably reaped more than enough radiation fallout to last their country eons, fleeing on every last airplane and boat they could secure passage on to anywhere in the world that wasn’t there.
Meanwhile, China’s UN ambassador placidly assured South Korea’s ambassador that it had no desire to invade their sovereign nation. In fact, the Chinese ambassador informed the stressed-out South Korean ambassador that if South Korea wanted to unify and take over North Korea, China would have no objection to it.
Again, you’re welcome.
Considering North Korea was now a country of smoking, radioactive craters, South Korea politely declined the opportunity, having more than enough shit on their plate to deal with as it was.
Yeah, thanks, but no thanks. We’re good.
When pressed, China eventually showed some uncharacteristically blurry satellite photos supposedly depicting an incursion across their border, and mentioned something in passing about a suspicious illness.
It wasn’t until two weeks later, when China could no longer keep the lid on the secret about Kite—the drug, and especially the virus—that they finally admitted that the outbreak might have possibly, sort of kind of, played an itsy-bitsy role in what was initially viewed by everyone else to be a horrendous act of unprovoked aggression on their part.
That was when the shit really hit the fan.