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Comedy Stories

[Poem] In Search Of

An increasingly angry tourist goes on a quest to find gustatory delights on the isle of Manhattan. COMING SOON (after the NYC Midnight Competition!)    

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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

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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Stories Tragedy

Spider Silk

“Where’s Papa going with that ax?” My sister Lizz holds up the book she is reading to her 3rd grade science class. The eight-year-old students go wide-eyed at seeing a picture of little Fern attempting to wrestle away an ax from her father. He has planned to kill a newborn pig, the runt of the…

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Stories Tragedy

War Crimes

Andriy watched his father move an anti-tank mine out of the roadway using his bare hands, all the while smoking a Chinese cigarette, the tobacco loose and pungent. “Your name, Andriy, means manly and strong,” his father explained through clenched teeth, delicately carrying the explosive. “I named you for days like these. You will be a…

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Comedy Stories

Few and Far Between

“He fell again,” my husband mouths to me, then returns to his phone call with his-brother-who-I-cannot-stand. “No, no. I’m right here. I can be there in twenty minutes.” Of course he’s going out in an ice storm in the middle of the night. Of course he’s the one my father-in-law calls, a man who patently…

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Stories Tragedy

Get Thee to a Nunnery

“Sister Theresa, what time does the new applicant arrive?” Sister Pauline asked politely, to avoid Sister Theresa’s wrath. For a Franciscan, Sister Theresa could be entirely uncharitable, even to the abbess herself. “Oh you old cow, I’ve told you twice already!” Sister Theresa replied, throwing the bread dough she’d been kneading into a large wooden…

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Comedy Stories

Marked for Failure

Twenty years earlier, Chaoxiang’s mother had held her newborn son, weeping with joy. Of all the auspicious names to choose from, his mother picked the Chinese name for “expecting fortune.” As an undocumented kitchen worker at AmeriCasino’s Shanghai Buffet in Reno, Chaoxiang had learned to temper his expectations. In the midst of chopping endless mounds…

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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

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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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

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

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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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

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 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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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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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…