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Comedy Stories

Jax Throws Jazz Hands

“I’m not sure if I’ll recognize her—” Jillian said, biting her fingernails, holding on to Jax’s arm. “I haven’t seen her since my younger sister’s wedding.” “From what you’ve told me about your mother, we’ll just walk around until we smell sulfur,” Jax replied, looking down his nose, over his glasses. He was at least…

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Comedy Stories

Jax Buys A Ticket

What happens at self-empowerment conferences? “Who are all these people? And why are most of them wearing cheap DayGlo hoodies?” Jax asked, pursing his lips in mild disgust. “Our fellow conference attendees are wearing Safe Hoodies,” Jillian explained carefully. “They are available in a variety of aura-lifting colors and body-acceptance sizes. Wearing Safe Hoodies shows…

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Stories Tragedy

As Ice Glazes Rocks

🏅 Alana’s mother had warned her about the rocks covered in ice near the edge of the lake. The Johnson boy had slipped and tumbled headlong into murk. In 40 degree water, he quickly sank in his heavy winter coat, started to hyperventilate, and drowned before anyone knew he was gone. “He’d only have lasted…

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Comedy Stories

Immaculate Reception

❤️ “There you are,” he said, making his way through the crowd, walking over to kiss her. “The fans are very loud today,” she replied, laughing amid the clamor, folding herself into his bear hug. Luckily, she had secured the last two barstools. “It’s the playoffs. They’re entitled to a little noise,” he remarked and…

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Comedy Stories

The Ties That Bind

“The family wants us to sort this out—” “Stop speaking in the collective. You want to sort this out,” she spat. “Of course I do,” he said sharply. He took a breath and exhaled dramatically, looking at his younger sister. Her jaw set. Eyes ablaze. This was never going to be easy. “Look, it’s not…

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Stories Tragedy

The Coldness of Sand

3.1688739 x 10^-10 Millenia In ten seconds you will break my heart. In a thousand years, I will never recover from the words that will come out of your mouth, from this serious conversation you want so desperately to have, from your dead shark eyes that fail to hold my gaze. I will get up…

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Comedy Stories

The King of Carrion

Although he loved her from afar, she sized him up fairly quickly, determined him to be reliable, then volunteered him to watch her cockatoo for the holiday break. “I’ll be back next week. Its food is in the plastic bag. If you could, give it some fruit once or twice a day,” she said breezily…

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Comedy Stories

The First Thing We Do

T.S. Eliot was right, Harrison thought. This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang, but with a whimper. Although his English bachelors degree had been useful in law school, now Harrison James Pellingham, III needed it for a job. Yes, he knew that 100,000 new lawyers graduated every year from varying degrees…

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Comedy Stories

Unfinished Business

❤️ Five days after Yom Kippur, David Jacob Tomaschewitz counted on Sukkot’s challah sales to ensure his foundering bakery made a profit for the year. Although business had been brisk for Rosh Hashanah, the weekly sales of his bread for Shabbat had consistently diminished as other Jewish bakeries in Boca Raton had far more offerings—cookies!…

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Comedy Stories

Bulldozer & Pushover

I just don’t understand what went wrong. This is his second apartment, not including his freshman college dorm. Remember when I told you how the college demanded he vacate the dorm’s premises in 24 hours? It was only his second month of college! You would think they would understand 19-year-old boys better. It’s ridiculous. Oh,…

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Stories Tragedy

Uneven Hearts

“You don’t hate me,” my older brother smiled slyly. “You admire me.” With that, he slapped down the queen of spades on top of the pile of cards, adding another 13 points to my score. It was the third hand in a row he’d gleefully beaten me. Roy was only half right. I admired him;…

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Comedy Stories

Innocence Lost

❤️ 5:00 a.m. — Lauds or Dawn Prayer “St. Benedict had too many rules for the clergy,” he said, rolling over in her big wide bed. “Awakening at this ungodly hour was probably the most demonic,” he sighed and burrowed back into the crisp, white sheets, cool in the morning air. The sheets had been…

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Popular Stories Tragedy

Your Poor Rick

🏆 ❤️ “We saw your poor Rick,” they say in the grocery store aisle. I smile, unconvincingly, and compare jars of spaghetti sauce that I don’t even want. “We heard about your poor Rick,” they say, half turned on the pew in front of me at church. I sit alone and nod at their thoughtful…

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Stories Tragedy

The End, Less Possibilities

“Where do you think you’re gonna go?” her husband sputters, blindsided by his wife’s packed bags at the bottom of the stairs. “It doesn’t matter,” she replies, dead-eyed and somber. She puts on her coat, the black one, the one for special occasions. “The kids—” “The kids are thirty,” she says, turning away from him…

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Stories Tragedy

Marshmallow Wrapped in Barbed Wire

🏅 ❤️ Twenty five years in, she found herself a ghost. She stood unseen in the living room, stupidly holding a large bowl of homemade caramel corn. The noise from the widescreen television washed over her, the whistles and calls, the screaming of the fans, the roar of the crowd. The men in the room,…

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Stories Tragedy

U.S. Army Issue Brown T-Shirt

“You can’t keep me here.” “Please, Mr. Van de Kamp. Take your seat,” ordered the imperturbable headmaster, black eyes narrowing over his hawkish nose. The boy stood in his office. Out of uniform. Insolent. “You can’t keep me here—” the boy repeated. “I assure you, we can,” the headmaster flatly stated. “Your father—” “My father…

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Comedy Stories

The Physics Professor and the Latte

Read by Russell Norman ❤️ It wasn’t like Dr. Stevens to spend $4.38 for coffee. Not coffee—a latte. A latte was essentially a fancy espresso with a thin layer of foamed milk. Either way, $4.38 was an egregious amount of money to spend on a beverage for a young professor with crushing student loans. A…

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Stories Tragedy

Behind the Wainscoting

When I’m gone, finally gone, our children will find this. Behind the wainscoting. I remember you’d insisted on this—this tacky beaded white wall paneling, always insisting on what you thought you knew was best. Did it matter if I wanted the interior of our home decorated in rough sawn oak or weathered pine to create…

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Comedy Stories

Missy’s Midlife Misdirection

Of course Missy was making a scene at the registration table. Thirty five years had not blunted Missy’s expectations that her very presence should cause red carpets to unroll and doves to be uncaged. Over her carefully coiffed blonde head read a welcome banner: “Class of ‘85 – Still Alive.” Black and gold balloons attempted…

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Comedy Stories

Love in the Time of Apocalypse

Willy was in a pickle. As what remained of the electrical grid sputtered and flickered, Willy desperately tapped his computer to see if his blind date had received his spasmodic messages. Jay, the hopeless romantic from Willy’s work, had set Willy and Barbara Jean up before the remaining Arctic ice caps had melted. With all…

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Stories Tragedy

Ollie & Evie – Walmart’s Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

❤️ It was Evie who wanted the kids, Orville remembers. Orville would have been content drinking coffee with his Evie in the mornings, looking out the window, watching the birds at the bird feeder, quietly listening to her go on about this and that. “When does the school bus come, Ollie?” Evie asks. “About 3:30,”…

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Comedy Stories

Short Delay in Service

“Hey—that looks like quite a load! Do you need any help?” It’s the new guy from account services. Is he coming into the elevator with me? He’s even better looking close up. Much better looking. Did I put on antiperspirant or deodorant this morning? Either way, this might be a problem if he stands too…

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Comedy Stories

Forth Majeure

And here is the resting place of your great-grandfather, Salvador Earnest Forth. The renowned Sally Forth. Found dead in his cottage with an iPhone in his hand at the age of 96. Yes, I am aware you didn’t get to meet him while he was alive. He was an interesting man. Well, maybe less interesting…

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Comedy Stories

Male #18

“It sounds like hell.” “You’ll be fine. Now, the women stay stationary in the circle while the men rotate around the perimeter. You’ll switch to a new partner every three minutes,” he carefully explained. “It sounds like square dancing,” I protested. “Do I allemande right or left?” “It’s not square dancing. And you will not…

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Comedy Stories

Pass the Potatoes on the Left-hand Side

“There he is! Come in here, big guy!” My father throws me into a headlock hug, causing me to drop a duffle bag full of filthy laundry. It’s too cold out to snow and we quickly retreat inside. “Hey Mom!” I call out. “Mom?” The smells emanating from the kitchen trigger every one of my…

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Stories Tragedy

Dance With The One Who Brought You

❤️ Read by Russell Norman “Your wife’s confusion is partly due to salicylate poisoning,” the young doctor explains. Orville waits patiently for him to continue, holding his wife’s sweater while she dresses in the examination room. The doctor’s office is too cold, as Texans like their air conditioning glacial. It hurts his knees. “Essentially she…

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Comedy Stories

The Almost Last Supper

“One of you is sleeping with my husband,” Issa says matter-of-factly, just before the sticky toffee pudding is served. “Issa—” her husband protests, but everyone knows Jude is a womanizer and a fool. The truth of his wife’s declaration shoves his objections right back into his lying mouth. “What I cannot figure out,” Issa languidly…

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Comedy Stories

Irrumator Praetor Matrem Suam

🏅 ❤️ In nómine Patris, et Fílii, et Spíritus Sancti. Amen. Things sound so much better in Latin, don’t they, Father Connolly? I guess that’s why my parents splurged on the whole two-hour deluxe wedding package. The TLM, baby! Total. Latin. Mass. I’m sure you would have been fabulous with the Gregorian chanting. Father, do…

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Comedy Stories

No One Really Explains

❤️ No one really explains to you that only after your cervix dilates to 10 centimeters that the true horror show begins. The mounds of maternity pamphlets, handouts, and books you dutifully study and the endless streams of websites, blogs, and postings you devour will all allude to bearing down, but they don’t really convey…

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Comedy Stories

Seven Greek Gods Walk Into A Bar

❤️ The minor Greek gods hung out in suburban fern bars, claustrophobically furnished with wood paneling and phony Tiffany lamps. Places where a Reuben sandwich would set you back $12.99. As for the Olympians? They seldom fraternized with the lesser gods, preferring the occasional rowdy roadhouse or ironic dive bar. Any place a random abduction…

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Stories Tragedy

The Bloodline Gamble

❤️ There in the cold hospital waiting room, we gathered together to watch my oldest sister die. As usual, I sat alone and apart. The only person I even liked in this motley group was currently in another room, heavily sedated on a ventilator. If my oldest sister had been sitting next to me, we…

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Comedy Stories

Can’t Get Enough of What You Don’t Need

❤️ “Stop that. It’s disgusting.” I rolled down the car window for some fresh air. As if the smells emanating from my son’s laundry bag weren’t nauseating enough. “Mom, it’s not my fault,” laughed my 19-year-old son, secretly proud of his foul emissions. “The dining hall serves only three types of food: fried, deep fried,…

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Comedy Stories

Riddle of the Sphinx

A thing there is whose voice is one; / Whose feet are four and two and three. 🜋 🜋 🜋 Four feet. A baby crawls over to his father reading a newspaper at the breakfast table. He pulls at his father’s pants leg. The father picks him up, while folding the newspaper open to the…

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Stories Tragedy

A Breakup In Five Acts

🏅 Act I is the easiest part to write as you don’t even like him at first, unusual considering how hard and how fast you fall. On your first date, he asks what type of restaurant you prefer. Idiot, you think. We aren’t going to get into any place decent this late on a Saturday…

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Comedy Stories

To Abstain Courteously

You are warned against drinking and dating older men, especially those dark-eyed ones from New Jersey. Upon meeting Frank for the first time, your Virginia gentlewoman of a mother calls him swarthy. Being the son of Italian immigrants is not a crime, you cry, reminding her that The Godfather is just a movie. The second…

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Comedy Stories

All The Knowledge No One Needs

She wasn’t sure about these people, clutching copies of their latest writings, ready to be pilloried by perfect strangers around a public library conference room table. “Are you new?” asked an overly friendly librarian. “I’m new,” she decided. It still wasn’t too late to turn around and leave as the stench of uncomfortably conspicuous introverts…

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Stories Tragedy

Parent Conference

“Thank you for coming in today, Mrs. Sampson,” the principal said, smiling thinly and motioning for the anxious mother to sit in the chair directly across from the principal’s desk. The bookcases behind Mrs. Sampson’s seat were filled to capacity, mostly with well-thumbed history textbooks and supplemental Advanced Placement materials that the principal had kept…

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Comedy Stories

Tom Mosely Falls in Love

As the relentless Saturday dawn poured through the bedroom’s faux wood blinds, the peroxide blonde gave one last heave then awkwardly dismounted. Wordlessly, she gathered up her things and strode naked into the bathroom, apparently used to the routine. Tom Mosley lay very still. There were sounds of a toilet flushing, a faucet running, and…

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Stories Tragedy

The Come Down

As usual, my father stalked into the room, quickly scanning assorted relatives for the most suitable person with whom to trouble himself. Taking inventory of the stock and trade in the claustrophobic meeting room at Winston’s Funeral Home & Crematory, I felt his slate eyes gloss over me, registering nothing on his end but vague…

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Stories Tragedy

Affaires de Coeur

When Mom died ten years ago, dad practically did too, even though the death certificate would list his official passing with today’s date. There are couples and then there are soulmates; mom and dad were the latter. They didn’t need to finish each other’s sentences because they could converse without speaking. Theirs was a love…