My best friend’s face get savagely mauled

For those of you that know me well, you know that I have an obsession with monkeys.  And it all started with the very first monkey I have had.  He was my first toy when I was born.  He had a tail that got ripped off some time when I was a toddler.  My mom stitched his butt back up.   I scratched at his eye balls when I realized at 5 or 6 that the cornea was just painted on a white button.  He smiled his wide, red, yarn smile at me his entire life and my entire life.  This is a picture of when we both turned 30 together:

Yeah I know I shouldn’t have an obsession with a toy anymore.  But he came with me to college.  He was hand picked out of all the dolls to be the only one remaining that I kept around.  He traveled with me around the world.  And come on. How many of you have had something your whole life?  And all in all, for 30+ years, he looks pretty good.

After a fairly tumultuous year and a transcontinental journey I landed back in California.  The first order of business was to visit family in San Jose.  But unfortunately, on my return to San Diego, I realized I had forgotten Monkey at my sister Christine’s house.  I immediately emailed them to ask them to take care of him and received this in return.

That’s my sister Christine with Monkey.  Her husband Derrick wrote:  ”We want a billion dollars ransom or monkey will meet a fate worse than death!”

I wrote back “Oh No!  I don’t have a billion dollars!”

to which Derrick wrote back, “We gonna feed him to the george (their cat) unless we get a bajillion dollars in a duffel bag under the bridge in 48 hours.”

Well this banter went back and forth in good humor and I figured Monkey was in safe hands for the time being.  I’ll visit them later that year and retrieve him.  IN THE MEANTIME.  My other sister Cathy, who lives up in Seattle, conspired with Christine to have Monkey sent there.  You see, Cathy and her husband Mike were taking a trip to France and though it would be funny if they kept taking pictures of Monkey in iconic European locations.  Kinda like the traveling gnome in Amelie.  It was a good idea.  Until….

One day before the trip, Cathy came home to find Carter, her normally sweet as pie dog

with Monkey, my best friend since I was BORN. He had savagely mauled his face.  This was what my sister found.

My friend!!!  Knowing how much Monkey meant to me, my sister cried and threw something at Carter in a rage, scaring him so much he didn’t approach her for 2 days.  She freaked out and called up other sister Christine to figure out what to do.  She tucked monkey away in a safe place until they figured out their game plan.  But the cunning, bastard Carter wasn’t finished.

He found Monkey again while my sister was out and ATE HIS FACE.  This time he even consumed one eye.   A single string hung from his cheek, a remnant of the wide, bright cheery grin that smiled at me every day of my life.  The results were so horrible, Cathy couldn’t take a picture of it this time.  She spent the next two weeks sifting through Carter’s poo to see if the eye would turn up.  To this day I think the eye found a permanent home in Carter’s intestines somewhere.

In the meantime, it’s getting closer to mid summer and I’m planning a trip to the Bay Area to visit some friends and see Christine.  The following is my correspondance with them about Monkey:

Me:  are you guys taking care of him?!!!
Derrick: Whoops, forgot he was there!  I think he turned to stone….
Derrick: Scratch that.  I think George had his way with monkey.
Me:  Noooooooo!!!!  Damn that pervert George!
Me:  Are you guys keeping him safe?  don’t let George eat him.  :(    (little did I know, amirite?!!)
Christine:  We think he ran away to go look for you…
Me:  Nooo..  tell me you guys are keeping him safe  :(  I’ve had him since I was a baby!
Christine:  Let’s just say you should be hearing from him.  He’s safe.
Derrick:  I think he’s braving international waters right now… Unless he was able to stow away in someone’s luggage
Me:  I don’t like you guys.  You’re both rotten.  I want a skype date with monkey so I know he’s alive
Christine:  That’s a not a nice thing to say… We opened monkey’s horizons.  He’s not available to Skype.  He’s out seeing the world.  (Open his horizons?  you mean is FACE)

I guess in those two months, my wonderful two sisters hustled around.  And found a doll hospital to send him to.  He went a way for a couple weeks, where the specialists, using a reference picture of him, tried to find all the proper materials and colors to reconstruct monkey’s face.  It’s like those face transplant people that suffer freak accidents like their dog eating their face while they’re passed out on pills or getting electrocuted.

When I arrived in San Jose at the end of May 2011, my sister told me monkey had a tragic but hopeful story.  And this is monkey’s before and after:

Now, I preface this section by saying I’m super grateful for my sister’s actions post accident.  And I think it’s utterly sweet and thoughtful that they cared enough to want to find a doll hospital and give him reconstructive face surgery.  But the face that stared back at me was not the familiar face of my friend.  It’s every bit as jarring as the face transplant people.  It’s much MUCH better than how it looked directly after the freak accident.  But it still looks unnatural and strange.  Here’s the following list of aberrations:

  1. His face is too long.  He had a much shorter friendlier face before.
  2. His missing a seam around his muzzle.  It used to be be two pieces of tan fabric to create the face and then the upper mandible.  Now it’s just one.   He kind looks like the alien named meatball from meatball 2 the movie from the 80s.
  3. His lower mandible is also smaller. I think carter ate some of the that material too.
  4. His face is stitched narrower and sucks in at the cheeks like he has model cheek bones.  He lost his baby like roundness
  5. The nose is set too high.
  6. His smile is much much more narrow.  He used to have a wide shit eating grin.  My sister thinks this was all that was leftover from the original red string.  Yeah I wouldn’t be smiling quite as bright if my face was eaten by a monster.
  7. His body was repacked with hard strange material and is no long plush as he once was.  He feels like he’s full of grains.  Very unnatural.
  8. There’s little chunks of hair missing off the top of his hairline.  Again a vestige of the mauling.
  9. And last and most importantly, those are NOT my friends eyes looking back at me.  they’re dark and lack the kind, thoughtful comfort they used to have!!!
oh my.  All in all, kinda traumatizing.  Monkey and I had a really hard 30th year.  Having just turned 31 and reunited, I hope hand in hand, we can forge on to find bigger and better things… after I give Monkey secondary reconstructive surgery to make tweaks to his appearance. ;)
Written with much love for my sisters,
~ Cecile


  1. nooooooooo!!! not poor monkey!! kudos to your sisters for trying to make it right again. DAMN DOG! better make sure your little pup learns to protect monkey instead of attack.

    xoxo! kate

  2. christine

    I believe i’m the hero in this story searching far and wide for the doll hospital but some how that evil ransom picture turned up on your blog which gives totally the wrong dipiction of me. All I did was give monkey a home for weeks and then saved his life! Where’s my thanks?!

    • christine was the heroooo!! no i know you’re not the villain. I think it’s the cutest that you guys went into such a tizzy to try to fix him. that meant a lot to me. :D

  3. Aw….Cecile

    This made me cry. Zoe has a monkey that I bought for her before she was born and she keeps it with her too. I’m so sad this happened to monkey. It breaks my heart. However, I think it was super sweet for your sisters to try to fix it since they knew it would break your heart. I’m sure they felt terrible.

    Great story though.
    May you find happiness and love with your monkey.
    miss you.

  4. Mandi

    I’m totally cracking up after reading this. His face may be a little different, but I bet he loves you just the same.

    • Cecile

      I think he does too! LOL it was really sweet of my sisters to do this for me. Which reminds me that i still need to do some work on his face! :D

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