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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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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 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

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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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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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…

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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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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

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

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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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,…