One of the funny things about the Peace Corps is the tendency for stories to be blown out of proportion and for the actual events of a story being very different from what actually happend. This is one of those stories.
It was a normal day in Sorsogon. Scott Manos and I had been visiting the barrio of my wife on this 99 degree summer day. We spent the afternoon drinking gin (Ginhebra San Miguel ) and beer in Bucalbucalan, a cold water spring near my wife's house. We were practicing being ugly Americans that day, as few swam on one side of the spring while local barrio ladies were doing their laundry on the other side of the spring. We were scheduled to rendezvous with Boylan, Jeff Smith and a few other friends later in the afternoon. We embarked on our Tamaraw (local truck) to return to Sorsogon and proceeded to show the old, "college moon", to all onlookers for most of the twelve kilometer trip. We arrived at Jeff and Alice's house and sat down with Tio and the gang to continue where we left off.
We grilled fish, squid and continued to drink massive quantities of local gin. Sometime later in the evening, I got the urge to wrestle with Boylan and I basically attacked him in his chair. The four legs of his chair splayed out and splintered and we proceeded to wrestle on the concrete driveway. Usually Boylan got the best of me but that particular evening, I was able to give him an excellent rug burn or driveway burn on his head. About this same time Scott Manos had some problem keeping his pants up inside the house and accidentally flashed a few wives and girlfriends. Believe me, after drinking as much as we had, this type of thing could honestly be an accident!
We all retired to our beds and had a restful evening, with the exception of Boylan, who was still in for something physical. Boylan had two large pet monkeys and he kept them chained at the house. Boylan decided he would play with Cha Cha. Cha Cha was a three foot monkey who weighed about 20 - 30 pounds. Boylan being a black belt in Tae Kwan Do enjoyed his occasional test of reflexes games with Cha Cha. This particular time, after a few slaps to the face, Cha Cha apparently was not convinced Boylan was playing and reacted by biting Boylan repeatedly. Boylan was not used to losing, so rather than leave Cha Cha alone, he decided to do battle. I'm sure this had nothing to do with all of the gin we drank that evening! As the battle proceeded, Boylan ended up grabbing Cha Cha by the throat and ultimately ended up killing Cha Cha. The method of Cha Cha's death is still in dispute, since Boylan was the only one who observed this event.
Needless to say, no matter how strong or agile you are, it doesn't pay to fuck with a monkey! The next morning Boylan woke up with deep monkey bites all over his hands and lower arms. They were green, the cuts were deep and his arms were definitely a battered sight. Boylan realized in the morning he should proceed to Manila and have the Peace Corps Doctor (Dr. Tianco), mend his wounds. I proceeded back to my Peace Corps site in Sto. Domingo, Albay the next day and did not have the opportunity to link up with Boylan and the gang for a few months. Prior to meeting the gang again, I was in Manila at the Peace Corps office and I heard a volunteer telling the story of how a volunteer in Sorsogon had been attacked by a Monkey while walking in the forest. According to this person, "the volunteer was badly injured as a result of this encounter"! I knew Boylan needed to stretch the truth in order for Peace Corps to pay for his medical expenses, so I didn't say anything. I really did want to tell the volunteer, "too bad we couldn't get the monkey's side of the story"!
Thus.. this is how Boylan became known is some circles as "The Monkey Man!"