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Comedy Stories

[Poem] In Search Of

An increasingly angry tourist goes on a quest to find gustatory delights on the isle of Manhattan. COMING SOON (after the NYC Midnight Competition!)    

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Comedy Stories

The Last Time I Was Beautiful

“I hope you don’t mind me asking,” I say, “but aren’t you a little old to be a new hairdresser?” The fifty-something woman in the reception area looks up expectantly, holding her job application and freshly-minted beautician’s license in her hands. “I earned a perfect score on the cosmetology exam,” she offers almost apologetically, with…

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Comedy Stories

Like a Baseball Bat to the Face

“I need your car.”“Carrie, it’s the middle of the night—” “Simms,” she says in a low voice, unnaturally calm. “Walk back to your bedroom, tell your wife to shut up, grab your keys, and bring them to me.” “C’mon, Carrie,” he whines. Simms is as petulant as a boy whose mother dotes on him too…

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Comedy Stories

But wait—there’s more!

Are you staring at your phone, waiting impatiently for a monosyllabic message from your mercurial lover to magically appear?Are you tired of sharing the intimate details of your life over cold nachos and watery margaritas with some bae from Bumble—only to be discarded three weeks later? Do you find yourself being a magnet for megalomaniacs,…

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Comedy Stories

Tetherball

Much like deciding to work as a summer camp counselor, playing tetherball with nine-year-old boys is exhausting, pointless, and stupid. After my easy serve, one of the bucktoothed brats miraculously hits the ball back. The ball is actually an old volleyball, hung like a church thief on a dirty rope affixed to the top of…

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Stories Tragedy

Ace of Pentacles

It’s easier with the drunk girls—especially the loud-mouthed ones who travel in packs. Dressed in sparkly tops, short skirts, and wobbly heels, they wear “Bride To Be” paper tiaras or “Nifty-to-Be-Fifty” ballcaps. On weekends, I expect them after the bars close. They burst through my door, tittering, eyeing the darkened reading room with glassy cows…

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Comedy Stories

Passing Through

“We are here again.” “Unfortunately…” “How long have you been waiting?” “A few years or so, but what does that matter? You are here now.” “Remind me of this past life. Who were we?” “Old Yemeni soldiers. Too old to fight, actually—but what can you do? The Houthi took control of Sanaa. I died in…

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Comedy Stories

Love & Flowcharts

“All right now, listen up. You cannot get two people to fall in love by shillyshallying. This is serious business. We’re talking about love—passionate love. The kind of love that eats away at you in the dark hours of the night. The kind of love that makes you crazy enough to hate. The kind of…

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Stories Tragedy

For the Rest of My Life

Their high school friends had gone on ahead, laughing and teasing one another, yet the thought of entering the Fall Festival’s “Howl-O-Scream” terrified her. It was the not knowing what lurked in the darkened corners that bothered her the most. She hated being surprised. “Are you ready?” her boyfriend asked. Boyfriend. What an insubstantial word…

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Comedy Stories

No Class Room

“You’re sharing a classroom with Mister Galanis,” Principal Twomey says, heavyset and out of breath from climbing up the stairs to the 3rd floor. The 3rd floor is the inner sanctum of the English Department. We don’t appreciate visitors here, especially ones from administration. Rarely do they bring good news. And notification of sharing a…

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Stories Tragedy

Fin

Maybe the lights won’t come back on. Maybe you can sit in silence in the back of the community center next to your ex-wife for a little while. She’s been remarried for years. You try to remember where what’s-his-name works. You hold her hand. She squeezes your hand back. 🜋 🜋 🜋 You know the…

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Comedy Stories

To One Not Sociable

The tail lights of a Mercedes E-class blink off as it accelerates through the stone gate pillars. An exhaust pipe of a BMW 5-series coughs up a plume of fetid smoke. On occasion there is a slight wave from a Lexus RX 350’s window—a white hand, manicured nails, rings with rocks worth more than my…

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Comedy Stories

Tatterdemalion

“Tatterdemalion. Ragamuffin. Slubberdegullion.” David’s great-aunt knew a dozen ways to call him slovenly and unkempt, but he paid her little mind. Since the Catholic Mass she dragged him to each day was tedious, he found crawling under the pews much more fun than listening to Latin. As usual, his great-aunt pulled him up by the…

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Comedy Stories

Shuttered Hearts

Weddings prove to be the perfect hunting grounds. My brother—with his ridiculous scythe—prefers them, harvesting the overly excited elderly in the midst of their joy. He finds those who’ve imbibed too much, attempting to drive home instead of into a telephone pole. On occasion, a jilted lover will show up, armed and reckless, doing most…

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Stories Tragedy

Incapable of Her Own Distress

There is something liberating about losing the love of your life. Compounded with all the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, it makes the choice to lose one’s mind easier—not to mention the choice of losing one’s life. I guess that answers the question whether to be or not to be. If I were still…

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Comedy Popular Stories

What You Can Do With Your Book

You present me with a gift bag as if legions of angels will descend, trumpeting your thoughtfulness in remembering my [insert celebratory event here]. I’m gracious, of course. You shouldn’t have! And I mean that. You shouldn’t have. Because now you are stepping over the line. We are simply: co-workers mothers with children at the…

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Comedy Stories

The Good Soil

“I’m going—I’m going,” she mutters, pushing her three-wheeled shopping cart out of the alley. As the proprietor glares at her, hands on his hips. She stops to inventory her possessions, often rifled through by miscreants in the middle of the night. “I warned you about coming back here,” the man says, menace in his voice.…

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Comedy Stories

How To Slash A Tire

Step One: Let some air out. “You have to depressurize the tire,” the older boy explains, pulling out his switchblade. With a flick of a button, a two-inch blade appears. My eyes grow wide—I have never seen anything like it. With a vulpine grin, he hands the knife to me to hold. I shake my…

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Comedy Stories

Growing Sideways

“Grow up.” “Get out of my room.” I cross my arms. We stare at each other. “$275,” I say. “It’s going to cost $275 to replace your retainer.” “So?” “So? So—do you have $275 to replace your retainer?” I ask my son, exasperated at his indifference. “No,” he replies, dismissing me. He begins to shove…

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Stories Tragedy

Homewrecker

🏅“No, she isn’t my daughter,” he corrects a colleague. “She’s my wife.” On cue, I beam at my husband, innocent and doe-eyed—like I did in my 20’s when he was in his 40’s. His friend invariably elbows him, making comments about cradle robbing and spring chickens. We laugh. I say something clever in reply. His…

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Stories Tragedy

Spider Silk

“Where’s Papa going with that ax?” My sister Lizz holds up the book she is reading to her 3rd grade science class. The eight-year-old students go wide-eyed at seeing a picture of little Fern attempting to wrestle away an ax from her father. He has planned to kill a newborn pig, the runt of the…

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Comedy Stories

Hack

🏅 Your cursor blinks. Your cursor blinks ceaselessly. You delete ceaselessly. Adverbs are not your friend. Adverbs are indicative of weak diction, but you cannot think of a better verb to express the action just the way you want. Certainly you can use an adverb occasionally. You delete occasionally. You delete certainly. You can use…

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Stories Tragedy

War Crimes

Andriy watched his father move an anti-tank mine out of the roadway using his bare hands, all the while smoking a Chinese cigarette, the tobacco loose and pungent. “Your name, Andriy, means manly and strong,” his father explained through clenched teeth, delicately carrying the explosive. “I named you for days like these. You will be a…

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Comedy Stories

Few and Far Between

“He fell again,” my husband mouths to me, then returns to his phone call with his-brother-who-I-cannot-stand. “No, no. I’m right here. I can be there in twenty minutes.” Of course he’s going out in an ice storm in the middle of the night. Of course he’s the one my father-in-law calls, a man who patently…

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Comedy Stories

The Making of Chocolate

Step 1: The Selection and Harvest of the Cocoa Pods Although Jean-Paul had received several invitations from Brussels to Zurich, he decided to apprentice with one of the chocolatiers in Paris. Parisians had a particular passion for all things chocolate, even prescribing it from their pharmacies in the 18th century. Whether chocolate had any medicinal…

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Comedy Stories

Down to One

“Are you there God? It’s me, God.” “Which one?” “What do you mean which one?” “That’s rather arrogant of you. There are 33 million Hindu gods, 28 Buddhas, and 12 Olympians. For all I know, you could be a talking totem pole. So don’t be a primadonna. Just narrow it down for me. Which god…

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Stories Tragedy

Get Thee to a Nunnery

“Sister Theresa, what time does the new applicant arrive?” Sister Pauline asked politely, to avoid Sister Theresa’s wrath. For a Franciscan, Sister Theresa could be entirely uncharitable, even to the abbess herself. “Oh you old cow, I’ve told you twice already!” Sister Theresa replied, throwing the bread dough she’d been kneading into a large wooden…

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Comedy Stories

Marked for Failure

Twenty years earlier, Chaoxiang’s mother had held her newborn son, weeping with joy. Of all the auspicious names to choose from, his mother picked the Chinese name for “expecting fortune.” As an undocumented kitchen worker at AmeriCasino’s Shanghai Buffet in Reno, Chaoxiang had learned to temper his expectations. In the midst of chopping endless mounds…

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Comedy Stories

Perilous Times Shall Come

When the end came, it was the people in the cities who suffered the most. Barbeau lay low on the snowy roof of the abandoned ski chalet, focusing his 10×50 binoculars on the great plumes of black and gray smoke spiraling from the general direction of Washington, D.C. It appeared Interstate 66 was still blocked…

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Comedy Stories

Pink Martini

“I don’t think I’m ready.” “You’re ready. Besides, you don’t have a choice.” “I don’t have a chance . . .” “C’mon. She’s sweet.” “She’s scary.” “She’s sweet and scary and—six years old. Look, I think you have a distinct advantage, being a grown up and all.” “Ugh . . . tell me what she…

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Comedy Stories

Death By Sharpie

Lori Greene was needlessly cruel and we were afraid of her. “Please don’t slice and dice other students with your sharp tongue, Lori,” scolded Ms. Attaway, our 7th grade drama teacher. “Everyone deserves your respect.” When Ryan Wiggins laughed at her rebuke, Lori Greene decided to cancel him on the spot. “You’re a pervert, Ryan,”…

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Comedy Stories

The 2nd Floor of the Circuit Court Building

“Stay off the 2nd floor of the Circuit Court building,” my older brother advises, lighting a cigarette directly under a No Smoking sign. “Why?” “Ain’t nothing good up here,” he replies, his cigarette ash falling on the paperwork declaring him my guardian. The clerk frowns at him while he signs, but he flashes her a…

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Comedy Stories

Moved On

“No.” “Hear me out.” “No. No-no-no. No. Get out.” “I can explain.” “I’m sure you can explain, and I’m equally sure I don’t want you to. Goodbye.” “It’s been three months. We should be able to talk about it.” “No. No-no-no. No. Get out.” “Don’t shut the door on my—DAMMIT.” “Move your foot.” “Move the…

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Comedy Stories

The 10th Circle of Hell

🏅 ❤️ “Virgil?” “Yes, Dante.” “Um, what’s going on here? I was told there were only nine circles of hell.” “There were only nine circles of hell in the 20th century. But for the 21st century? We needed to expand.” “You needed to . . . expand. Hell.” “Yes. We’ve added a whole new circle.…

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Comedy Stories

Florida Man

Miami ⛱⛱⛱ “Well, that was dramatic.” “You know the drill. We had to put a hood on you. It’s better you don’t know where you are.” “You could have just beaten me up on the street.” “Where’s the fun in that? Now, look Ricky, we’re tired of waiting for our money.” “I got your money…

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Stories Tragedy

Featherless Biped

The morning traffic jam at the high school peaked at 7:47 a.m., short tempered fathers slowing down to jettison their surly sons, mothers asking their daughters if they wanted to take an umbrella just in case, seniors cutting off all other cars to drive diagonally through the parking lot. Mister Carlton angrily tapped the steering…

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Comedy Stories

No Thank Hugh

🏅 ❤️ “Thanks a lot for coming in tonight—you are a wonderful crowd. Now get out of here!” Hugh’s trademark comedic snark teeters between sincerity and sarcasm. The audience does not know how to take his tone, so they laugh even harder, cheering and whistling at the close of his set. But Hugh is already…

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Comedy Stories

Texting After a Funeral

❤️ “It’s over. ⚰️ That’s all that matters.” “C’mon. Don’t be that way.” 🙄 “What way?” “The way you always are ☣️—who you always are.” “All right. ❓ Who would you like me to be?” “Be happy . . .” 😊 “You want me to be happy? Fine. ✨magic✨Ta da! I’m happy.” “Feels good, doesn’t…

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Comedy Stories

[Ok.]

[Ok.] A text from you. You want to meet me. For coffee. Something quick—so when it doesn’t work out—we can both leave unscathed. Of course, I say. Why not? I try not to—but I start imagining a cozy cottage for us by the Baltic sea, like the one my Polish grandparents lived in. A garden…

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Comedy Stories

The More Things Change

Today’s the day you change. You mean it this time. Everything. Change every jot and tittle. You are unsure what a jot and tittle is—an expression you learned in Hebrew school—but it seems like a good phrase to use today. You pull out your iPhone and google “jot and tittle” → [every small detail has…