Posts Tagged ‘comedy’

My bladder has consistently proven itself to be one of my trickier organs. In the past, I’ve been compared to pregnant women, children, and once, a goat. The latter was in another country. One where the goats pee quite often, and at inopportune moments.

My inopportune moment would turn out to be a bit more technologically complicated than that of a goat. But in the grand scheme of things, a frequent pee-er (for lack of a better word) will always be a frequent pee-er, no matter the gadgets, the country of origin, or even the species.

Another difficulty that many frequent pee-ers might be familiar with, is the lack of a cut-off valve. Now, I know I’m getting pretty scientific here, so try to keep up. While some folks can turn it on and off like a faucet, others cannot. This is a key piece of information moving forward.

So let’s get to it. There I was, on a dark and stormy Tuesday night. I was in the bathroom, shirtless, staring at myself in the mirror (as is often the case on Tuesdays). Soon, I began the intricate task of trimming my ear and nose hairs (Please, stop throwing your panties at the screen, ladies).

Suddenly, my phone rang. Not a text, email, or social media, sort of notification, but an actual phone call. Suffice it to say, this was a harrowing turn of events. I scrambled away from the sink and stared down at my pocket, in disgust.

In that same instant, my bladder sprang a surprise of its own. I was now scrambling to unbutton my trousers and hop over to the toilet. With the seat up, and my unmentionables out, I got down to business (Remember, no cut-off valve).

The phone rang again. Who on earth was calling me? And without so much as a text, to warn me of the impending call. It was 2017 after all, and I was under the impression that we’d moved past phone calls.

Unless of course, this was the sort of news that could only be shared through live conversation. Deaths, births, and bizarre sexual encounters, being the three standard scenarios I knew of that allowed for this.

I shoved one hand into my pocket and pried my phone out. While trying to balance the phone, my pee stream, and also swipe that damn green button, I lost my grip…

…and down, down, down, it went. Flipping in slow motion, like a televised Olympic diver, milliseconds before a career destroying belly flop.

Sploosh. This was the worst kind of gold medal. The kind with pee.

Because of my aforementioned lack of a cut-off valve, I continued to whiz as my phone descended into the bowl. I silently cursed the heavens, knowing the terrible maneuvers that I would have to set into motion.

It all happened very fast, then. I flung my arm down, toward the pee-filled bowl. In doing so, my hips tilted away from the toilet, thereby forcing me to pee on my jeans. At the exact moment I began peeing all over legs, my hand broke through the murky water, in a desperate search for my befouled phone.

phone

An accurate interpretation of events.

 

Finally, with my bladder emptied, and phone in hand, and also way too much of my body covered in urine, I stood triumphant… okay, maybe triumphant is too strong a word. But I was standing there. You know, covered in pee.

Sure, I still had to rinse off my phone, and my hands, and my jeans, and more esoterically, perhaps a part of my soul. And yes, I still had the chore of chopping through a forest of nose hairs, but the worst of it was behind me. A toast to small victories.

Luckily, the S7 edge is kinda-sorta waterproof. Not to speak for the nerds that designed the thing, but I’m guessing they made these advancements because of just such occasions.

Perhaps this scenario was worked out during Samsung’s beta-testing. Or perhaps one of these science nerds dumped their phone in a random toilet, while out chasing Pokémon’s, or whatever it is nerds do on their off time.

Regardless, it’s a helluva device. Kudos to them. I’m currently writing this blog entry on it. An entry which was inspired by it. And I’m writing it for people who I’m connected to because of it.

Thought of in those terms, saving my phone from the toilet was almost like saving a group of drowning people.

I’m kind of a hero, when you really think about it.

I decided to go for a run. Maybe, because I needed to shed a few pounds. Maybe, because I wanted to tempt fate and test my middle-aged heart. Regardless of the reason, on that run, I recieved a sign. Now, I’m not saying it was from God… but yeah, it was probably God.

I was about two miles into that dreaded form of exercise, and all of the rattling and gasping, was loosening up the crusty stuff inside of me.

Suddenly, I had to spit. And it was a particularly juicy goober. Apparently, a bone fragment had made its way from one of my shins to the back of my throat.

Steely-eyed, with my luscious hair blowing in the wind, my impossibly square jaw set in determination, and my muscles rippling (I’m on a roll, don’t judge me) I forged on toward home.

While doing so, I coughed up the morsel and spit it out.

Now this is where the sign comes in, so pay close attention. The celestial-goober launched itself from my mouth, but instead of falling onto the pavement a few feet ahead of me, it floated in the air at eye-level. Held either by the wind or the hand of God… but we all know the wind is God. So, yeah, it was God.

After floating in front of me for a long moment, it was quickly returned to my face with a splat. At that point, I stopped running.

Now, how to interpret this supernatural act, is the piece of the puzzle that still remains a mystery.

Did having to stop my run in disgust, and wiping away my own awfulness, prevent my heart from exploding?

In this scenario, the jolly bearded guy upstairs was sending me good vibes and a thumbs up. And that’s good, I think.

OR, was it that some cosmic prankster elbowed his buddy, and said “Hey god-bro, check this out.”  and then slapped me with my own slime. Then they probably chuckled and exchanged a fist bump, as my muffled curses passed under their fraternity of clouds.

In this scenario, the afterlife is not looking too good, for yours truly. An eternal pledge for some cosmic frat, where they diddle and humiliate you. Jesus… That’s some dark shit right there.

I don’t know, man. I just don’t know. That’s the thing about signs. They’re open to interpretation. And that leads you down some treacherous philosophical roads. The kind where you need to determine how full glasses are. And nobody has the patience for that.

Bottom line. I spit in my own face… but it wasn’t my fault, like at all.

It was and act of god. And he or she (calm down) is a mysterious being, whose intent is beyond our mortal comprehension. But the most important thing to know is: If you, or any of your friends, talk to the lady that was walking her dog (Off of 22nd and Hampton), I DID NOT spit in my own face. It was way more complicated than that.

And she’s a goddamn liar.

The motorcade of black Range Rovers gleamed unnaturally under the neon beams. Thousands of red, white, and blue lights flickered overhead. A fifty-foot sign stood high above them, it read Trump.

Vladimir Putin and his envoy of advisors and bodyguards, exited their vehicles and quickly made their way up the stairs and into this new White House. If one were to look closely at the Russian president just then, they would have noticed a smirk. No one did though, as all of his entourage were either shielding their eyes, or squinting as they went.

A disheveled man with haunted eyes, greeted the party at the door.

“Hey, how are ya? I’m the uh, the Secretary of Things. The Donald’s waiting in his circle room.”

“You mean oval office?” asked Putin’s advisor. A tall, well-dressed man.

The Secretary of Things began to cough uncontrollably. He pulled a cigarette butt from his pants pocket and proceeded to straighten it out and light the burnt end.

“It’s uh, more of a circle… but whatevah.” replied the Secretary, once he managed to take a pull from the mangled butt.

He led Putin and the group further into the building. They navigated a maze of dusty corridors, adorned with garish self-portraits of various members of the Trump clan. The constant ringing of slot machine bells could be heard in the distance. The group finally stopped at a giant set of golden doors. Across the center of the doors, in letters made from blood diamonds the size of baby-fists, read one word: Trump

Putin and his group entered the oval office (or circle room). The décor was a hideous plaid laden 70’s vintage. A ten foot oil painting of the Donald stood over a freshly stuffed panda bear, on the far wall. Under it, President Trump sat at his desk. He was deep in concentration, as he fervently flipped through a copy of Star Magazine. Vice President Pence sat on the couch nearby, passionately devouring a taco salad.

The Secretary of Things began to cough uncontrollably once again.

“Jesus, Joe!” exclaimed Trump, when he broke away from his issue of Star Magazine, and finally noticed his guests.

“Oh. Hey V-diddy!” Trump stood and greeted the Russian President.

“Glad to see you could make it. Can I get you a coffee or maybe a voucher for the buffet?” Putin took a seat on the other side of the desk.

“I did not travel all this way to make, how you say, small talk.” replied Putin, coolly.

Vice President Pence, eyebrows raised, set the remains of his taco salad aside. “Um, if you’re not gonna use that voucher, I can—“

President Tump cut him off. “No! Goddamn it, Pence. You’re eating us into another recession!”

President Trump then fell into his chair, let out a sigh, and once again turned his attention to Putin.

“Let’s get to it. I promised the American people that things would start to change around here. And when I moved the White House to Atlantic City, they knew I meant what I said. Now, let’s talk business.”

“You’re speaking of Syria?”

“No.”

“The sanctions?”

“Nope.”

“What then?!” asked Putin, visibly annoyed now.

“Pooty… I need to build a wall.”

“I do not understand.”

“Well, ever since I got rid of all those undocumented workers, I’ve been getting gouged on pricing. My voters wanted a bigger wall, and I’m trying to give em the biggest fucking wall since an Irishman laid a brick.”

“But you have a wall already… and it is very large.” Putin said, confused.

“I know that Pooty. And it’s a great wall. The best. But I need another one… in the north.”

Putin shook his head in disbelief. “For Canada? But why? They are how you say, white.”

“Listen half my damn country moved up there. And I don’t want any of those traitors ever coming back! So I’m gonna build the biggest goddamn wall in the world to keep em out! It’s gonna be the best!”

“And, uh, I need to keep what’s left of us, in.” added President Trump, nervously. Trump leaned in closer now, and his demeanor softened as he continued.

“But I gotta be honest, these damn construction costs are killing me.”

“And what is this to do with Russia?” asked Putin, clearly enjoying where this conversation was headed.

“Look, I need some people that’ll be grateful for the opportunity to do some honest-to-god work. And not because they need more money, or benefits, or any of that other crap.”

“So you want undocumented workers?”

“Exactly!” Trump said, smiling back. This guy’s not so bad, he thought.

“But you had them.” Putin replied, confused once again.

“I don’t dwell on the past. I move forward. And I know if anybody has a line on some cheap laborers, it’s my ruskie buddies.”

President Trump emphasized the ruskie buddies part with a wink and a playful nod toward Vladimir Putin.

He did it again. And then one last time.

Putin began to chuckle, and then that chuckle turned into maniacal laughter.

He wiped away his tears as he spoke. “Ahh, yes. I can help you with this. Do you know of gulags?”

“Sure. It’s like a stew, right?”

At the notion of stew, Pence’s eyes lit up. He thought a stew would fit quite nicely into his now empty taco shell.

“Eh, not exactly. Let us just say it is where I like to keep a lot of my work force.” replied Putin

Trump smiled triumphantly, but Pence sighed and looked down once more at the empty taco salad shell that sat before him. Why was it never enough, he wondered. 

“So then you’re in!” exclaimed Trump.

“What does Russia get in return?”

“What are ya looking for, Pooty?”

Putin shrugged. “Hmm, maybe some border problems go away. Maybe we get some good PR for once, and—“

Putin stopped suddenly, as he realized what he really, really wanted.

“Oh! Maybe we can work out something with Disney or Nickelodeon? Russia has much love for the singing and dancing of the children.”

President Trump slowly stood from his chair. “I’ll do you one better! How about I give you a tour of the labs where we make all those little weirdos.”

Vladimir Putin rose from his chair as well. A cold, wolf-like grin spread across his thin lips. President Trump extended his hand.

“Hell, by this time next year you’ll have a warehouse full of adorable song and dance bots.” declared Trump.

“And you will have another very large wall.” replied Putin.

The two men shook on it.

And that’s how Russia got Mikhail Mouse.

 

My stomach growled. The woman at the front desk remarked that it sounded like an old internet connection.

We both laughed hardily, then. But what she didn’t know, couldn’t know, was that I was currently in a tempestuous struggle to contain the sort of flatulence that might level this office building. Or at the very least, make the rest of our interaction awkward, possibly even unpleasant.

It was up to me, now. I couldn’t let my jovial new acquaintance know of the noxious darkness that roiled inside of me.

Suddenly, she stood. Had a vapor slipped past my defenses? Did she recognize me for the disgusting animal that I was?

No, her face still held a kind smile. She stood and politely excused herself, as she left her desk and walked into a back room.

And not a moment to soon. I quickly shuffled over to a large plant, in a remote corner of the office. Hell’s horn section was promptly released, and their gassy tune was a loud, rattling affair. With the soon to be wilted fern as its captive audience.

I sniffed at my stink. It was pleasant. I wanted to howl at a moon. To urinate on the potted plant at my feet. To run stark naked into a forest, and to just keep running. This was the freedom of the wild. I was the wolf man. Sasquatch.

The ancient dna of my caveman ancestors coursed through my being, and its primal charge whispered secrets of this unkown wild.

“Mr. Jajic, Jim will see you now.”

She smiled uncertainly, as I quickly stopped sniffing at the air, and let go of the fern.

Jim was ready to see me. And now we would truly meet.

The television was droning on, as I regained consciousness. McCain was being asked by a CNN reporter whether or not the birthplace of Ted Cruz should be investigated. He thought it would be a prudent move. I rolled over and let out a sigh. It was 4 am. Ted Cruz was of questionable origin. And I was in Detroit.

This was yesterday.

I rolled back over, and burrowed my face deep into the pillow. I briefly wondered if self-smothering was an actual thing. And then I smelled it. The scent was immediately recognizable. It was the smell of my Grandmother. Or to be more exact, my Nana.

She helped raise me as a child, and to this day, she still smells exactly the same. A mixture of Revlon perfume, Revlon hairspray, and old foreign lady. It can be a reassuring, even pleasant scent. Not so much, when I’m alone in a strange city in the wee hours of the morning.

Confused and in need of fresh air, I lifted my head. The fragrance danced through my nostrils. Needing to get to the bottom of this, I burrowed my face even deeper into the pillow, and inhaled deeply. This was weird, not quite disturbing, but definitely weird.

I played out the different scenarios.

SCENARIO A). The Supernatural One: My Nana has a ghost scent. It may have developed from years of working on a Revlon assembly line (which she did). And now, this phantom odor had for reasons yet unknown, decided to haunt me in the only way it knew how… by making stuff smelly.

SCENARIO B). The Practical One: The cleaning woman must be an older woman from another country. She obviously also believes in the beauty and staying power of Revlon products. As she fixed the bed, her old lady smell must have crawled its way down from her hands and onto my pillow. Until finally, it climbed up my nostrils with the determination of a hundred Navy Seals.

I chose the rational explanation. After all, ghost scents were reserved for mysterious old homes, not chain hotels. Even if this one happened to reside in, what some might consider, a haunted city.

I slowly rolled off of the bed and stood. Stretching out the cobwebs, and wiping away the smell. Unfortunately, it was still with me. The cleaning lady’s nana scent clung to my face and maybe even to the rest of my body. The thought of a nana scent all over my body, was uniquely repulsive.

I headed to the shower. After a thorough soaping and scrubbing, I was once again myself. The nana scent had released me from its clutches. I methodically trimmed my beard and combed my hair.

Then I reached into my toiletries bag, which my wife packs for me along with an occasional lunch, because I am perpetually twelve years old. I quickly removed the hairspray, and doused my head. Cementing what was left of my hair into place. My eyes went wide in terror. The scent was back. I was once again a giant, hairy, eighty year-old woman.

Shocked, I glared down at the can of travel hairspray in my hand. It wasn’t the travel size can of big sexy hair (don’t judge me), which I usually used. Instead, this was a dented old can of REVLON hairspray. The image on the can showed a beautiful woman with windblown hair, sort of Medusa meets the runway, staring at me with cold, soulless eyes. She was a mythical witch of Revlon, and she had cursed me with a scent reserved for loving foreign grandmothers, not a thirty-something salesman. A Greek tragedy had played itself out in my hotel bathroom.

I hit the showers again, and made a mental note to call my wife regarding this matter, at a more decent hour.

Resigned to my fate, I trudged into that morning’s meeting with unkempt hair, and smelling faintly of old women. God only knows what the men I was meeting with would think when they first saw me, or worse, when they first smelled me.

Hopefully they thought of their own grandmothers, and of simpler times. Perhaps reminiscing on such innocent thoughts might help propel any future business along. But who knew with these types. Perhaps, they might’ve thought I was rolling around with old ladies, and didn’t own a comb. And worse still, maybe they were into that sort of thing. I hoped not.

I guess that’s how things sometimes go. We hope for the best, but nervously fear the worst. And if we’re lucky, life falls somewhere in the middle of our imaginary spectrum. And sometimes we smell funny, and there’s always a bad hair day right around the corner.

And that’s fucking life, man.

 

 

The Father had finally let it slip. “If you believe in him hard enough, then he’s real.”

“But Billy and Joey said he wasn’t real. They said that you made it all up. That you’re lying.”

The boy let out a heavy breath, as he fought back tears. The Father shook his head glumly. Billy and Joey were creepy little assholes. The Father knew it to be so, ever since watching them pick their noses and share their boogers, like an overzealous couple enjoying tapas.

“That’s because Billy and Joey don’t believe. They never believed hard enough. That’s why he’s not real to them.”

The Father knew he was taking his son down a treacherous path, that the boy was still too young, but nevertheless, the time had come, and now the issue of believing was at hand. The Fat Man had given the gifts, and now he would come to collect on a debt, years in delinquency.

When the Father was his Son’s age, he had believed. He had believed extraordinarily hard that year. And on the night before Christmas, all were asleep… and then the Fat Man showed up.

“Hello Boy!” the Fat Man bellowed.

The Father, only a boy then, jumped from his slumber, recoiling in fear. He screamed for his mother and father, but no one stirred, not even the mouse, who was currently trapped in a wall.

“Quit your whimpering!” growled the Fat Man. He leaned in closer, his milky breath hot on the boy’s face. “You believed, and now I’m here. And I have a gift for you.”

“Y-you do?”

“Oh yes! It’s the badass BB gun you wanted!”

The Fat Man pulled the shining rifle from his bag and presented it to the boy, whose mood instantly changed from horror to delight.

“Nice!” Exclaimed the boy with a fist pump.

The boy reached for the gun, but the Fat Man quickly pulled it away.

“Whoa. Easy does it, you little shit.”

The Fat Man wore a fat grin, as he held the glorious weapon just out of reach.

“First things first, if you want this pretty little chipmunk-chopper, I need something in return.”

The boy eyed the fat man warily. He was now in the process of learning that everything had a price… especially gifts from imaginary fat men.

“Do I need to be good? Is that it?” The boy asked.

“Fuck no.” Replied the Fat Man.

“You can shoot fucking Bambi for all I care. No, I need something more important than that.”

“What’s that?” Asked the boy, slightly taken aback by the Fat Man’s propensity for f-bombs.

“I need to keep on keeping on, if you catch my drift.

“I don’t” said the boy.

The Fat Man let out a sigh of exhaustion. He was so very tired. Dealing with children was not his strong suit, and he really wasn’t a fan of them, when all was said and done. The fact that he needed the little beggars more than they needed him, just exacerbated his condition.

The Fat Man reached for the smoked venison in his pocket and tore into it. He spoke through mouthfuls of the salty meat.

“Here’s the deal, I give you presents and shit, and you don’t stop believing. Then when you have kids, you make sure they don’t stop believing. It’s kind of like a Journey song you have to listen to… forever.”

The boy gagged at the thought. The Fat Man dangled the rabbit-blinder in front of him once more. The boy was transfixed on the rifle. Its polished steel and rich wooden stock, hypnotizing him like a snake charmer with a red rider tattoo.

“O-okay. Y-you got a deal.” Stammered the boy, his eyes still locked on the raccoon-ripper.

“Thatta boy!” Exclaimed the Fat Man, as he shoved the rifle back into his bag.

“Hey! Don’t I get the–”

The Fat Man cut the boy off with a wag of his finger.

“Easy does it, kid. Tomorrow’s the big day. Tonight’s just the fine print.”

The Fat Man stood to leave, but before he could go the boy asked “What if I don’t believe in you?”

The Fat Man eyed the boy suspiciously.

“We have a deal, kid. You wanna know what happens if you pull out of a deal with me?”

The Fat Man’s eyes were suddenly fathomless pools, and in their dark universe, the boy saw a vision of the bearded giant, who stood atop a mountain of coal. He saw a horned beast in flight, its blood red nose aglow. Tiny elves danced savagely, their jagged teeth glimmering in the moonlight. And in the distance, there was a list with endless names crossed off of it.

In the doorway the Fat Man stood, looking down at his little believer.

“Remember kid, it’s the Journey song for you and yours.”

And with that, the Fat Man was gone… but his gift was not.

"Dooon't stoop believinnng! Hold on to that feeeeeling!"

“Dooon’t stoop believinnng! Hold on to that feeeeeling!”

It was a coffin factory. I was in an honest to God, coffin factory.

I had made the call two days earlier. A shot in the dark, but one that I took every now and then. New business is often without aim. A target floating in the ether, waiting on that lucky bullseye.

I was tipped off to their general whereabouts from an old colleague of mine. The casket company appeared to be doing quite a bit of welding. And if you’re spot-welding, then you’re most likely using a lot of welding consumables. These parts are made from nonferrous metals, and need to be changed out often, due to the large amount of current, and heavy force, which this particular process of welding entails.

Brass tacks: Sooner or later you need new parts. We happen to make those parts. Buy them from us and we’ll love you forever.

I should have put one and two together. A casket company, is most likely making caskets. But the word casket sounds a little too much like gasket. And my mind glazed over the word lazily. I assumed it was automotive needs that I would once again be trying to fulfill.

The company was located in a rural area of Indiana. An area which most recently made headlines for the staggering amount of new HIV cases that were popping up in its various townships. Apparently, the numbers rivaled those of New York City. The only difference being there wasn’t nearly the resources, medical personnel, or awareness, that most major cities have. Long story short, the CDC were setting up shop.

Not that any of this had a bearing on my situation. I wasn’t planning on sharing needles or genitals anytime soon, but still, news of this sort always carries a bit of doom and gloom with it. The fact that I was driving through rural Indiana in the midst of a downpour didn’t help either. My eyesight isn’t the best, but I’ve staved off the opportunity to don hip eyewear for this long, and I tend to keep that going, at least until the DMV advises otherwise. Unfortunately, a downpour can be challenging for those of us not blessed with sniper-like peepers, especially when the street signs are mostly lying face down on random dirt roads.

Although, my frustration at the amount of attention needed for the simple task of driving quickly fizzled, as I stumbled upon one of the stranger sights I had seen in some time.

While stopped at a red light, an Amish couple turned and clopped down my street, riding on a horse-drawn carriage. This was my first encounter with the Amish, and their means of transportation (Not counting Kingpin), and I stared wide-eyed in fascination. My jaw hanging and the light changing, as I took it all in.

The rain was flying in at a 45 degree angle. The drops were  the size of mini-water balloons, coming in quicker than a Cuban little leaguer’s fastball. The Amish couple kept low, their hat and bonnet impossibly glued onto their soaking heads, as the gusting wind fought to rid them of their ancient accessories. The man handled the reigns capably, as his wife, or sister-wife, or whatever it is with the Amish, held the umbrella up and out like a makeshift windshield. The scene was equal parts human innovation and cultural stagnation.

The other party in this shit show was, until now, an unseen trucker. He laid on his horn from behind me, reminding anyone within earshot, that we all have somewhere else to be. Even the Amish.

Moments later, there I stood, soaking wet inside of a coffin factory. The Amish might’ve remembered their umbrella, but I did not.

The head of maintenance, I’ll call him Jimbo for this blog, greeted me with good ol’ boy charm.

“Gotdamn. It sure as hell is coming down out the there, eh?”

“Yeah it is.” I replied warily.

“Well, come on then, let me show you round.” Said Jimbo, as he spun and headed deeper into the factory.

I followed Jimbo through the maze like turns of the offices, until we finally spilled onto the shop floor, where I was promptly greeted by hundreds of open coffins.

The sight was a slap in the face from the bony hand of the Reaper himself. I let out a stunned stammer, trying not to let my mortal fears show. Jimbo turned and smiled brightly, reveling in my surprise.

“Lots a damn coffins, amirite? Shit, we build and ship em all over the gotdamn world. This is the house of a thousand soon to be corpses. Heh!”

I just nodded and smiled, as he went on. Jimbo really loved his job.

“Imagine if this place flooded, eh? Whole damn county would be screaming and running for their lives. Floating coffins everywhere!”

Jimbo chuckled hard at his imagery, and I couldn’t help but let out a snort and laugh as well. I believe it’s known as gallows humor, and it does the trick in a pinch.

Soon, we strolled around the shop, as Jimbo showed me the manufacturing process of coffins. All the while, the coffins traveled back and forth, over our heads, and all around us, on various conveyor belts, like a conga line from hell.

Jimbo showed off the really custom ones, which, according to Jimbo, went for upwards of fifty thousand dollars. The big man shook his head when he dropped that number. He looked like a man who wished he had some chew to spit at that moment, but settled for just shaking his head again.

“Can you believe that?! Fifty grand! Hell, if it was me, I’d take that fifty grand and throw a party instead. Dancing girls, my man!”

“A lot of money.” I said, as I nodded in agreement.

I found myself morphing into an extra from King of the Hill. A yes man of sorts. Agreeable to the end. “Yup, what you said, Jimbo.” Or “Damn right, Jimbo.” It was an easy transition to make, Jimbo had ideas enough for the both of us.

And there was no doubt that Jimbo had thought out this scenario, and probably most scenarios that had anything to do with the funeral trade.

Unfortunately, our meeting ended abruptly, when Jimbo was pulled away on an urgent matter. A matter that would presumably result in an angry conference call with one unhappy deity or another, and thus perhaps resulting in a bold move toward cremation.

And Jimbo would let out a frustrated sigh and exclaim “That’s the gotdamn death business for ya.”

I drove back to my office under a sun-filled sky, with clouds like cotton balls. I hoped to steal another glance at the Amish, who undoubtedly made their own coffins, but it was not to be. Instead, I settled for a guy with a funny mustache, at the first Starbucks I could find.

Close enough, I thought.

I had to delete that goddamn chain letter, didn’t I? The motel bathtub—or my new my bed, depending on how you looked at it—creaked against my aching back. With the way my luck was going, I wouldn’t be surprised if I woke up covered in ice, and one kidney light. I rubbed my side and shuddered at the possibility, and then I wondered what twelve years feels like.

This Morning:
I sipped at the steaming coffee carefully, as I hid within the cubicle, checking my personal email. The traffic up and down the office halls began to slowly grow. The work day rearing its expressionless head, in minutes the place would become frantic, and we the sheep would flock to our specific herds—the high school class system still seeped deep within our psyche.

There were four unopened emails, two from my neighbor Pervert Dave, both of them containing attachments to video clips that I dare not open on the company computer. One was from Shelly—who worked down the aisle from me. She wanted to know if I would be attending our company’s Fourth of July barbecue.

The answer would be a resounding No. But Shelly was attractive, and showed an acceptable amount of interest in me (more than none), so I would skirt the issue, perhaps attempting to convince her that binge drinking at a dive bar near my dilapidated split level was the wiser choice. The fourth email appeared to be junk mail, its subject line read: Open me! And I did so without pause.

A graphic of a hideous leprechaun dancing appeared, and below the flamboyant troll, the email went on about the luck of the Irish, and how luck would be granted to all of those people smart enough to forward this email to twelve of their friends. I don’t have twelve friends to begin with, the fact that I had to be reminded of this in a chain letter was just plain cruel.

As I scrolled down further, I noticed the threat of twelve years of bad luck, and the word cursed appeared frequently throughout the body of the email. Not one to take kindly to chain letters, or idle threats, I forcefully slammed my index finger onto the mouse button, effectively erasing the ridiculous hindrance from existence. I was god.

A brief satisfaction gripped me, unfortunately it vanished quickly as my computer screen blinked the numbers 666 rapidly, and then switched to a wallpaper of a grizzly bear having relations of a sexual nature with a man, who appeared to be in a great deal of pain. The computer speaker blared Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy”, as I jumped from my seat in horror.

The volume of the music began to attract some of my co- workers; they began to gravitate toward my cubicle, peering in one by one, watching as I frantically attempted to disconnect the computer. The bear roaring and pumping away, the man staring out at the viewer, grimacing, resigned to his fate.

I leaped under my desk and pulled the plug from the outlet, the music thankfully stopped. My co-workers snickered loudly to one another as they began to disperse back to their own work stations. I gracefully re-emerged from under the desk, bumping its edge with my head, knocking my coffee cup onto the floor, its steamy black innards splashing into the outlet that had just relinquished my computer of its power. A hiss was audible, and the power in the entire office went out. Just like that. Cut to black.

The next hour brought an onslaught of commotion. Managers, supervisors, and countless vice presidents, all of them desperately were attempting to remedy the situation. Electricians and building engineers were called in, none of them able to figure out what was wrong with the power. The only thing that everyone was certain of was that I was to blame. A brief meeting with my supervising manager, and I was on my way home.

Admittedly, chain smoking in my Camry was a welcome reprieve. Traffic began to bottleneck, as I glanced up at the digital traffic billboard that hung ominously over the highway. The traffic times switched off, leaving a strange rectangular blackness in its wake. Suddenly, the digital board came to life once more TWELVE YEARS it read. The shock of witnessing this impossibility forced my hands into spastic gyrations.

Veering into the left lane; I caught a glimpse of a mini-van, milliseconds before the impact. The collision was obnoxiously loud, as I stuffed my front bumper under the van’s back end. Quickly gathering my bearings, I hit reverse, pulled out from under the wreckage that used to be a minivan and my Camry, and pulled onto the shoulder.

Smoke generously poured out from under my hood. The mini-van followed suit, pulling over onto the same shoulder fifty or so feet in front of me. I emerged from the car, startled and jittery, pretending to inspect the front end. Looking up at the mini-van in front of me, I noticed all of the windows were tinted completely black.

The sliding door swung open with a thud, long peculiar pant legs connected to giant red shoes stepped from the vehicle. Standing in front of me was an angry clown, adorned in a sport coat, checkered pants, and those mesmerizing giant red shoes. His large frizzy orange hair was puffed on either side of his head with a hat much too tiny for such a large skull. His face was painted a stark white, with black eyeliner circling each enraged eye, blood red lipstick generously coating his nose and lips. Slightly shaking my head side to side, I attempted to rid myself of this very real image.

As I did so, another equally large and angry clown exited the vehicle, identical to the previous one, and yet another, and then another. They continued pouring out of the mini-van, as the first few walked menacingly towards me. All in all, there were about seven or eight of them, I couldn’t be sure.

“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?!” The first clown barked.
“I’m really sorry! I lost control! The traffic sign freaked me out, it was tellin—”

He skipped towards me and threw a punch, like a coked up prize fighter swinging at an unfaithful wife. The fist connected with my mouth, bringing my frantic excuses to an abrupt conclusion. I fell to the pavement in a broken heap. My legs not responding as I tried in vain to get to my feet and run. The enraged clown septuplets circled me, beginning to kick and punch my body and limbs, while I desperately tried to cover up. One of them grabbed my arms and pulled them back, forcing me to stand upright.

The crazed clown in front of me leaned in close, his booze soaked breath layering my face as he hissed,
“Do you think you can just go around fucking with our kind?! Do you?!”
“I’m sorry…puh-puh-please.”

The painted devil nailed me with a body shot dropping me once more onto all fours. They all laughed in maniacal unison as they walked back to their mini-van. The clown carrier peeled out as it fish tailed back onto the highway, an empty forty ounce beer bottle flying out from the passenger side window.

Stammering back to my feet, I breathed in the lingering air of drunken clowns through a broken and battered sinus cavity. Dejected and beaten, I walked back to my car, dreaming of the sweet release my couch would no doubt bring me.

It didn’t turn over, my camry was dead. The accident must have severely screwed up something, because there was no starting it. The question now was would I remain here waiting patiently for help to arrive, or would I continue the trek home on foot. Seeing as I was just beaten in public by marauding circus folk, and no one came to my aid, I chose the second option. After all, the next ramp was my exit and I was only a couple miles from home.

The walking was hard to do as my bruised frame throbbed. I crossed the highway, and stumbled down the exit ramp, dodging down-on-their-luck veterans who asked for change. Maybe it was too many movies, but I felt as if the look they gave me was telling. As if they understood my current plight. As if maybe, once upon a time, in some distant past, they too wore the clothes of a clown beaten man-child.

My pace quickened to a brisk jog, and I came upon the local grocery store a couple of blocks from my home. It had recently been bought out by a large chain, and was now twice as bright and shiny as it used to be. I slowed back down to a walk, the all knowing bums far enough in my rear view for me to be comfortable with. There was some sort of commotion in front of the nameless chain’s front doors. Hundreds of picket signs which appeared to be held by hundreds of children, paraded in an energetic manner back and forth in front of the store.

I carefully walked toward the spectacle, slowly realizing that the children were actually little people. I had never seen a little person up close, let alone a hundred agitated ones with signs, my curiosity was peaked, and I felt the tinge of guilt as well. They chanted over and over in unison,

“Discrimination is wrong! We’re people too!”

I watched as they marched and repeated their mantra. A pretty blonde little person—who was watching the proceedings intently—stood next to me. I glanced down at her and nodded, as she glanced up at me and did the same.

“What’s this all about?” I asked.
“They refused to serve one of us, even after he showed them his i.d.”
“That’s weird, why?”
“Because they’re racist assholes.” She muttered matter of factly.

I looked down at her quizzically.

“Are you guys considered a race? I mean how does it work?”

The shock in her eyes told me all I needed to know.

“What did you just say?!” she growled.

I backed away slowly, my arms out in a “please, I meant no harm” gesture. Quickly turning, she screamed to the crowd of pint-sized picketers.

“This asshole just called me a midget!”

The crowd stopped marching, the chant with no rhyme scheme came to a screeching halt—imagine the record scratch, the bar full of angry patrons…yep, just like that.

“Whoah! Whoah! Whoah! I did not say that!”

The blonde kicked me hard in the shin.

“He’s a fucking liar!” She howled.

This lady was so fucking mean. I screamed like a six year old girl, and began to feverishly sprint away from the crowd, which only added fuel to the fire.

The mini-mob immediately gave chase; it was like when you briskly walk away from an over friendly, possibly horny dog, only to have it follow you even more aggressively. The mob mentality had grown roots in their collective heads, and there was no other option now. They were going to make an example out of yours truly.

Close behind me, I heard labored breathing and the rapid thuds of tiny feet racing closer toward me, cursing me all the while. Picket signs flew to the right and left of me, narrowly missing their target. I was gaining some distance on them now; I cut through some yards, and hopped some fences, making quick left and quick right turns along the way. Glancing back, I saw that the first fence had slowed the mob a great deal; they bunched up behind it, slowly climbing over, a few at a time. I stopped momentarily to catch my breath. Watching as they cursed and shook their fists in my general direction.

I continued on my way, free of the dangerous demonstrators but having learned an important lesson. Never ask a question to anyone, about anything… ever again.

Finally on my block, I smiled and walked to my front door. Upon entering, I crashed heavily onto my computer chair. The strange messages, the ferocious clown beating, and the angry protesters, were no coincidence, and I had to at least attempt to get that message back and send it to everyone I had an email address for, anything to lift its evil curse.

I shook the mouse, waking the monitor from its slumber. A red glow came to the screen, 666 flickered in a horrifying manner on the screen. It faded, as an angry leprechaun appeared in its place. I sat frozen in open-mouthed horror.

“You disobeyed our request and now you will face our wrath! HAHAHAHA!”

The monitor began to smolder and melt, flames bursting upward. The fire quickly began to rise up the wall and spread throughout my living room. I fell backwards onto the floor, screaming and crying in frantic bursts. I ran out the front door and watched from the sidewalk as my home quickly became enveloped in the Leprechaun’s spiteful flames. Neighbors slowly began exiting their homes.

Pervert Dave ran over to me, shouting inaudibly as he shook me by my shoulders, his dildo-forehead attachment slapping repeatedly against my face, but I paid him no mind. I was too far gone. They were no longer my neighbors, no longer my peers, they were now simply the lucky ones, and I the cursed.

The only answer that came to me in those moments was pure and primal… run away. And I did. My world had transformed into something else entirely, and I needed to figure out what to do next, who to become, and how to survive.

Later that night, when my legs could carry me no further, and the general area I was in didn’t seem to be filled with imminent danger, I stopped running. As I stood there, sucking in the air, the lactic acids building up, I saw the motel 8 sign flicker, and for the first time since the incident, an electronic sign did not heap digital threats upon me.

I walked toward the motel hoping that it would become my temporary holy ground…and here I am. In a bathtub—the mattress had a stain that looked like a masturbating bear, so I didn’t want to risk it. Yeah, I’m sleeping in a bathtub. The boogey man is real, the creaks in the floor are Satan, the crawling in the walls are probably zombie vampires, and twelve years is a long fucking time.

During a conversation with a friend the other day, a question came up. What are some of the funniest novels you’ve ever read? We quickly made our lists, and they were surprisingly short.

At the time I was able to come up with three off the top of my head, novels where I actually laughed out loud while reading:

1: How I Became a Famous Novelist
2: Confederacy of Dunces
3: Money

My friend followed suit with his list:

1: Catch 22
2: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
3: Lamb

After whispering a curse to my failing memory (Douglas Adams and Christopher Moore have had me in tears, and deserved better), we came to a not-so-funny conclusion. Neither one of us has read that many funny novels, and the ones that we both really enjoyed were all at least five years-old, some closer to forty-five.

This realization stayed with me. Later, I decided to look back on what I’ve read in the last year or so.

Out of all the books I’ve either listened to or read, about 1%-5% of them could be considered a comedy, or at least comedic in tone. This percentage pales in comparison to my taste in television and film, where I hover closer to the 40-50% mark. Or life in general, where a dick joke, pratfall, or bit of sarcastic flare, can really put a spunk in my step. That’s right… spunk.

Anyhow, I decided to go back and review my overall reading trends in the prior year. Between audible, kindle, and actual print, I read fifty-nine books last year (this is not a humble brag, I swear). Fifty of these books were fiction, nine were nonfiction. To break it down further, fourteen of these books were literature, eleven were thrillers/mysteries/crime, nine were sci-fi, four were westerns, and three were fantasy. Of the nine nonfiction books, most were memoirs, none were self-help (I can neither influence people nor make new friends).

After looking back at this list, I was able find four books that I would consider comedic in tone and funny as a whole. Those would be I Wear the Black Hat, Chuck Klosterman’s meditation on villainy in pop culture and our attraction to it. Bossy Pants, the story of Tina Fey’s rise through the comedy kumite. This Book is Full of Spiders, the funny dystopian sequel to John Dies at the End. And Agent to the Stars, an amusing Hollywood meets E.T. romp.

For the sake of clarity, Both Bossy Pants and I Wear the Black Hat are not novels (I’m talking fiction, yo). So, they’re immediately scratched off this list. Plus, Bossy Pants is at least a couple of year old. Though Agent to the Stars is fiction, it’s also close to ten years old. So, it’s out as well.

This leaves me with one novel out of fifty that I read this year, which I could say was a comedy at its core.

I’m sure many other books came out this year that could be considered comedic novels. I know the aforementioned Christopher Moore had a novel released a few months back (It’s entitled Fool, and I’ve heard it’s hilarious), but there’s only so many hours in the day, and I already spend too many of them reading, listening to, or looking for a book.

I was under the impression that my random tastes in fiction, and my proclivity toward silliness would steer my reading habits to the funny, but apparently it hasn’t. I’m not sure if this is because of my investigative shortcomings, a subliminal change in my tastes when looking for a book, or a scarcity of comedic novels being published. Whatever the case, I assumed the percentage of funny novels I had read in the last year or so, would be much higher, and for some reason I’ve found that it is not. This strikes me as peculiar, and a bit worrisome.

So, I guess what I’m saying is:

Does anyone have a suggestion for a funny novel? One caveat, it has to have been published within the last two years.

If so, let me know. I’m looking for one.

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