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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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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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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

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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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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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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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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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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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

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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,…