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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…

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Stories Tragedy

Styx & Stones

❤️ A cold thick fog enveloped the muddy banks of the River Styx, chilling Persephone’s ankles. Demeter pulled Persephone’s coarsely woven robes tightly around her—robes of finely combed linen made from flax soaked in olive oil. When dried in the balmy Grecian sun, Persephone’s clothing smelled of newborn lambs and gentle sunbeams and fresh mown…

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Stories Tragedy

What I Want To Say

“Okay, little ladies . . . You know this is a difficult conversation for all parties concerned, but I am going to ask you for 110 percent. I am going to ask you to bring your ideas to the table as we think outside the box. This should be a constructive meeting for all of…

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Stories Tragedy

I Nothing You

“Wait . . . can you still hear me?” she asks, expectantly. She paces around the parking lot at dusk, seeing if the connection is better from a different angle. She holds the phone up and squints at it. She hikes a bit up an embankment, stupidly looking at her phone, wondering if two bars…

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Comedy Stories

Waiting for Samuel Beckett

“You wanna do something fun?” “No.” “You wanna do something fun?” “NO.” “Why not?” “Because your idea of fun isn’t.” “Isn’t what?” “Isn’t fun.” “C’mon.” “No.” “C’mon.” “NO.” “Really?” “Really. Whenever we go out, I end up regretting it.” “You don’t.” “I do.” “C’mon. Fun. Let’s go.” “I don’t want to do anything fun with…

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Comedy Stories

The Stuff That Dreams Are Made On

“I don’t think he loves me anymore,” I say, buttering a warm piece of bread. The bread basket is almost empty, but the waiter will bring us another. We’ll say we regret ordering more. It will ruin our appetite. But we’ll eat more bread gleefully—slathering yellow smears of animal fat on empty carbohydrates. My oldest…

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Stories Tragedy

Another Form of Water

The weather forecast called for snow flurries, unusual for this time of year. Yes, she had bundled up the kids for Halloween in all types of inclement weather when they were young—but never for snow. It never snowed this early in the season. No matter, she thought. The ground was parched and dry. Any precipitation…

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Comedy Stories

Witch Hunter’s Grandson

27 January 1736—London. Matthew Hopkins, III sat stoically with his glass of port at The Prospect of Whitby, a public house on the banks of the River Thames, four short miles from Parliament Square. The pub’s heavy oak paneling was a comfort against the cold, the glass window panes delicately frosted in lacy patterns of…

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Comedy Stories

Kerfuffle in Yazoo County

The white boy falls out of the Ford F-150 pickup truck first, hitting the road with a sickening thud. His left eye is already turning purplish-red, eyelid swelling to a most startling size. Moments later, a pretty dark skinned girl is launched from the Ford’s passenger side as well, but she elegantly falls, executing a…

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Comedy Stories

Mac

It is Alex LaCroix’s fault. Even as a 1st grader, I know he is pure Virginia white trash—all the LaCroix’s are, my mother says. Still, blonde haired, blue-eyed Alex Lacroix is the most handsome boy in class, if not the entire grade. Even if he is shorter than I am. It will be two decades…

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Comedy Stories

Void > Water > Air > Fire > Earth

Void. All gone. I hold my empty red wine glass, eyeing the waiter, feigning interest in the enthusiastic young man standing in front of me. He speaks without ceasing. Not a pause. Not a comma. Not an intake of breath. Just a wall of words emanating from his overly large mouth, a chasm devoid of…

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Comedy Stories

The Abyss Gazes Back

Of course he was late. I’d been warned. When he finally arrived, he sauntered in, wearing an Italian double breasted deconstructed blazer in flecked wool. It looked luxurious, silk and cashmere with patch pockets. He could have paired the jacket with anything. He chose basketball shorts. The kind you find on the floor at Ross…

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Comedy Stories

A Man In Love

The peroxide blonde gave one last heave then awkwardly dismounted. Wordlessly, she gathered up her clothing and strode into the bathroom. Tom Mosley lay very still. There were sounds of a toilet flushing, a faucet running, and oddly, tooth brushing. He made a mental note to throw out his toothbrush after she left. When she…

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Comedy Stories

Golden Repair

I’m not going to say another word. There’s really no point. We go round and round and round. It’s just so tedious. Of course this is a waste of time—and money. But I’ve found that in almost thirty years of marriage to her, she is an expert at doing both—often simultaneously. She could teach classes…

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Comedy Stories

Jax Gets Vaccinated

“Jax . . . are you coming with me tonight?” Jillian yelled from the bathroom, holding a mascara wand in her hand. She had desperately tried to prevent her eyelashes from clumping, but they seemed destined to cake together in a Liza-Minnelli-in-Cabaret kind of way. No response. “Jax!” “Go without me,” came his muted reply.…

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Comedy Stories

Lawn Darts

🏅 Billy Putnam shot my dad in the butt with a BB gun. It was quite a feat, as nailing a middle aged man on a ladder cleaning out his rain gutters couldn’t have been easy all the way from the house next door—a house whose gutters were always full of old leaves and debris.…

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Comedy Stories

The Teacher’s Dilemma

“Should we get started?” the principal suggests in a cheery, singsong voice, tapping on the microphone. “People? Please take your seats. Excuse me, people?” Her smile is brittle as she grips the microphone a little too hard. She stands alone on the Cafetorium stage, a space that doubles as both a lunchroom and a theater—and…

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Stories Tragedy

For the Last Time

“Ow! You little bugger—you’ve nipped me for the last time.” Five months in, breastfeeding had lost its luster, especially as the baby began to teethe, searching more for pain relief than for nourishment. Perhaps they were both just thoroughly exhausted, as both mother’s and child’s sleep schedules—blissful for a month or so after a chaotic…

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Stories Tragedy

The Joys of Late Stage Capitalism

He threw a larger piece of brick, shattering another pane of glass. Who would complain? The warehouse had already been emptied out. A company car drove by, slowly, its headlights washing over him. Gordy momentarily felt sheepish, squinting his eyes, hiding the alcohol he’d been drinking behind his back. He reminded himself he was a…

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Stories Tragedy

Land Of Milk & Honey

“It’s time,” the smugglers mutter, steely-eyed, unblinking. “It’s time.” “Martina,” her mother whispers a final directive. “You be Martin until these men take you over the border.” She zips up her daughter’s padded jacket and inspects her newly shorn hair. Just 11 years old. She can pass for a boy. “Yes,” Martina replies, meeting her…

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Comedy Stories

Takeout & Delivery

Is that it? Silver Toyota Land Cruiser. Ubers are almost impossible to spot until they nearly drive up on you. Virginia grabs her luggage and double checks the Uber app on her iPhone for the driver’s name. Lee. She dutifully takes note of the license plate to compare before entering the vehicle. She isn’t going…

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Stories Tragedy

Yellow Leaf

“Because you cannot take care of her properly,” I finally say after arguing for almost an hour. “Now, I’ve brought some brochures—” “I take care of her just fine,” my father replies evenly, those coal black eyes of his boring a hole through me. “I always have. And you know what you can do with…

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Comedy Stories

Take the Cannoli

“Carmine, you don’t have to help,” Rosemarie says. “You’ve done enough.” “Where’s all the ladies from the Women’s Guild? Widows aren’t supposed to clean up after their own husbands’ funerals. Mannaggia!” Carmine shakes his head, shoving a final piece of coppia ferrarese into his mouth. “There’s been three funerals this week already. What’s one more?”…

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Stories Tragedy

Angels Among Grief

❤️ Before—everything mattered. Now? Nothing does. 🜋 🜋 🜋 “It seems excessive—” the new angel says, eyes brimming with tears. “Grief descends on them so quickly.” He looks down again, keenly feeling each pang of despair, pooling in black waves around them like a treacherous sea. “It does,” the old archangel agrees. “But in their…

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Comedy Stories

LibraryWork

❤️ Lizzy liked nothing better than walking over to the public library immediately after school. As the other schoolchildren had collectively decided she was weird, she ignored them in return, preferring to go down Oak Street, turning left on Maple Avenue, and taking a quick right on Sycamore Lane. On her way to the library,…

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Stories Tragedy

A Fellow of Infinite Jest

Dusk comes early to the blue-black Virginian woods in November. I know these paths well, but I still stumble on scraggly branches and twigs which poke angrily through a pristine icy blanket of snow. It crunches under our heavy boots as we make our way to the old oak. It seems the perfect time of…

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Comedy Stories

The Fifth Wave

“Well, I appreciate your kindest regards, gentlemen—but I must get back to work,” he said graciously, standing up to leave the café, affixing his silk top hat and holding his calfskin gloves. “Oh, don’t leave yet, COVID,” Flu said. “You’ve been so busy this past year, and we haven’t heard all of your plans for…

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Comedy Stories

Bad High School Teacher

They prepare no lessons, carry no papers, and instruct no one. They spit unrelated facts, regurgitate irrelevant dates, and monotonously spew textbook drivel. They strangle curiosity, stifle a love of learning, and murder both classroom discussion and critical thinking. Most egregiously, bad high school teachers spend far too much time at the photocopier, endlessly printing…

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Comedy Stories

Goddess of Chaos

What better way to beat the endless boredom of immortality than watching women fight over who is the most beautiful? Eris had always found ways to amuse herself, usually sending her minions to antagonize the sons of men, but watching Athena, Aphrodite, and Hera go at it was exceptionally wicked fun. Each one of those…

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Comedy Stories

Madness Among the Flowers

“So what do you do when your personal values clash with those of your family, your friends, your loved ones, your society?” The classroom went silent. Expected. I gave the prerequisite wait time—counting the slow seconds needed for my high school seniors to digest my salient query. Their pensive expressions belied the fact that they…

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Stories Tragedy

The End of Days – New Orleans

“That’s the thing about this city,” said Detective McMurtagh. “It’s impossible to discern what is real—or just a Mardi Gras illusion.” Maretha shook her head. “I just don’t like the South in general. Voodoo. Fried foods. And that peculiar institution left its stink on everything. The New Orleans slave pens trafficked more people than anywhere…

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Stories Tragedy

The End of Days

“Is the boy here yet?” “CPS is transporting,” the desk sergeant replied. As usual, Child Protective Services was predictably late. The small police station in Show Low, Arizona was on edge. Before this incident, the station just processed the usual petty theft and property crimes—with the occasional drunk and disorderly or drug bust for good…

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Comedy Stories

The Gods in the Stars

Seems like drowning oneself is harder than it looks. Embarrassing, really, as worried Bahamians attempt to haul me out of the Caribbean Sea into their rusty tugboat in response to the cruise ship’s clarion call. I feel my earlobes and note one of my diamond earrings is missing, lost to the depths. A treasure for…

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Comedy Stories

Kiko’s Humble Duty

What happens when a Nevada brothel tries out a full-service android? Why would any self-respecting brothel employ an android—especially a Japanese one? We have veterans that frequent our establishment, Troy.” “Not any vets from World War II, Chet. I think we are over Pearl Harbor,” his young business partner replied, looking for something to open…

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Comedy Stories

Jax Makes Amends

“Jillian? Jillian—” Jax said tersely, knocking rapidly on the bathroom door. Silence. “Jillian, I know you’re in there. I can smell Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia through the door,” he said firmly. “You need to open this door.” He crossed his arms and waited. “Go. Away.” “I’m not going away, Jillian. I’m never going away.…

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Comedy Stories

Jax Teaches 8th Grade

“Oh-Jillian-I-can’t-believe-I’m-doing-this,” Jax said frantically. He finished his blueberry scone and used the Starbucks bag to slowly breathe into. “Calm down. You are not hyperventilating,” Jillian replied, driving with both hands on the wheel. “How scary can substitute teaching be? Just let the students play on their phones all day. If their teacher were there, they’d…