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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,…

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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

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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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

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…

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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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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…