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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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Stories Tragedy

Ace of Pentacles

It’s easier with the drunk girls—especially the loud-mouthed ones who travel in packs. Dressed in sparkly tops, short skirts, and wobbly heels, they wear “Bride To Be” paper tiaras or “Nifty-to-Be-Fifty” ballcaps. On weekends, I expect them after the bars close. They burst through my door, tittering, eyeing the darkened reading room with glassy cows…

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Comedy Stories

Passing Through

“We are here again.” “Unfortunately…” “How long have you been waiting?” “A few years or so, but what does that matter? You are here now.” “Remind me of this past life. Who were we?” “Old Yemeni soldiers. Too old to fight, actually—but what can you do? The Houthi took control of Sanaa. I died in…

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Comedy Stories

Shuttered Hearts

Weddings prove to be the perfect hunting grounds. My brother—with his ridiculous scythe—prefers them, harvesting the overly excited elderly in the midst of their joy. He finds those who’ve imbibed too much, attempting to drive home instead of into a telephone pole. On occasion, a jilted lover will show up, armed and reckless, doing most…

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Stories Tragedy

Incapable of Her Own Distress

There is something liberating about losing the love of your life. Compounded with all the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, it makes the choice to lose one’s mind easier—not to mention the choice of losing one’s life. I guess that answers the question whether to be or not to be. If I were still…

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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

Down to One

“Are you there God? It’s me, God.” “Which one?” “What do you mean which one?” “That’s rather arrogant of you. There are 33 million Hindu gods, 28 Buddhas, and 12 Olympians. For all I know, you could be a talking totem pole. So don’t be a primadonna. Just narrow it down for me. Which god…

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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

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

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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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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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…