Tag Archives: funny story

Car Park by Shawn Van Tol

The car rolled up to the curb and stopped. Bob quickly hopped out and walked around the back side of the car to Catherine’s door. She smiled to herself, touched by the small act of chivalry, blissfully unaware that Bob was using those precious seconds to release gas pressure that had been building to dangerous levels over the last four minutes of the drive. He allowed the breeze to carry his flatulence away and then opened the door with a cool smile. She took his hand, extending lovely legs onto the sidewalk, and exited the car. Bob closed the door and pulled out his phone.

“Now watch,” he said, tapping at the screen. “The app tells the car where to park and how long to wait based on the time of the movie.”

Catherine snuggled in close to his body and peered at the screen. “That’s so cool!” she said.

“Yeah,” Bob said. “You can even instruct the car to park in the shade. The solar panel on top will trigger the car to move to a different spot if it’s sitting in direct sunlight for too long.”

“What time is it?” Catherine asked. “Are we late?”

“Oh, yeah. We’re cutting it close,” Bob said. “Let’s go.”

He tapped his screen, selecting the option for shade, and the self-driving vehicle pulled away and made its way toward the parking lot. Bob couldn’t help but smile as he saw Catherine’s beautiful legs leading the way into the theater. She was always so frisky during these midday matinees. They hurried through the glass doors and into the air conditioning of the large building.

Bob’s car, a brand new 2021 Nissan Soulare, wound its way around the hot parking lot. Sensors and GPS signals guided it safely along as it searched for a suitable spot of shade. But in every place, the solar panels indicated direct sunlight. It exited from the lot and drove itself down the street.

The car moved easily down Franklin Boulevard, rounding a sloping bend that led around a park. Two teenagers, well into their first experience with LSD, watched the driver-less car pass by. One saw the car as a UFO that split the sky open like a sheet while the other knew with absolute certainty that the vehicle was an orb of pure light coming to restore all that had been lost from humanity. The sensors of the Nissan Soulare found no appropriate places for parking and moved on.

Further downtown, traffic snarled around two lanes worth of construction. A hefty man, resting his ample belly on the handle of a jackhammer, spat on the window of the car as it passed by. “That’s for my brother, you piece of shit! He used to be a cab driver!” The Nissan Soulare sensed the foul discharge of moisture and began to spray its own windshield and activated the wiper-blades. The eyes of the hefty man went wide as he accidentally drove the jackhammer into his big toe. He fell to the ground in pain, and the car moved on.

The vehicle pulled into the vast parking lot of a Stuff Mart and began searching for shade. On the other side of the lot, another Nissan Soulare was doing the same. They scouted the lot like sharks following a faint scent until they both closed in on the same spot. The two vehicles simultaneously turned in, then, sensing the other’s proximity, stopped abruptly. Servos wound up and down. Sensors scanned and signals pinged. On a server based in Silicon Valley some seven hundred miles away, two sets of logic collided in an endless battle of zeros and ones for the final spot of shade.

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Shawn Van Tol is an amateur writer who is secretly training to become a lazy man. He hopes to one day conquer the literary world with books so that he can quit his day job and never wear pants again. More of his stories can be found here.

 

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The Operation by Darlene Campos

My parents worked hard, but only when they could. Ate usually only worked temporarily, and Ina had a regular job that didn’t pay much, anyway. Not long after Ate got a steady job with good pay, Ina lost her job at the superstore.

“They said I used too many sick days this year,” Ina told us during dinner on the day she got fired. “But truth is I ain’t been absent since the day I gave birth to Nimo.”

“I still got my job, and Nimo’s got change in his piggybank. We’ll be okay,” Ate promised.

“What about your surgery, Ate?” I asked as I picked at my broccoli. “It’s next month.”

“Don’t worry about that, son — I’ll cut myself if I have to,” he said.

“Jay Eagle!” Ina cried and slammed her fork down on the table.

“What? I cut myself with my razor all the time. I think I can cut my chest open, too.”

Ate was born with aortic valve stenosis. It means his aorta doesn’t open as big as it should. He had surgery when I was three, but the doctor said he’d need surgery again, eventually. Now I was thirteen, and Ate was still alive, even though he could die any second. I didn’t like it when he took naps on the couch after dinner. I thought he might never wake up.

******

“Ate,” I said one night as he napped during an All in the Family rerun. “Wake up.”

“Not now, Josie, I still got all my clothes on for crying out loud,” he groaned.

I nudged his shoulder with my hand, and he turned to his left side.

“Josie, last thing I wanna do is knock you up after you’ve lost your job,” he went on.

“Ate, it’s Nimo!” I called out, and he jolted up from the couch.

“Nimo! You could’ve given me a heart attack! But hell, if I had one, I wouldn’t need to pay for surgery after all.”

“Sorry, Ate,” I said. “It’s past midnight, though, and Ina’s in bed waiting for you.”

“Is she wearing lingerie?” he asked with a big smile.

I shrugged my shoulders, and Ate ran to the bedroom. I stayed on the couch for a few minutes, relieved.

******

After two weeks, Ina still didn’t have a job, and Ate wanted to cancel his operation. They fell behind on the bills, and we were back to eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

“You’re not canceling your surgery,” Ina said at breakfast one morning. “Don’t you have benefits at work now?”

“They don’t kick in for another couple months, Josie,” he informed her. “I can live until then.”

The phone rang, and Ate got up to answer.

“Hello?” he said. “No, you can’t talk to Josie, she’s dead. You can’t talk to Nimo either ‘cause he’s in prison for killing Josie.” Then he hung up.

“Who was it, Ate?” I asked.

“Your grandmother,” he said, and Ina pulled on his ponytail.

******

The day before Ate’s surgery, Ina took me to the cash loan office just outside Pine Ridge rez. We waited in the lobby next to Ray Firebird, who wanted a booze loan.

“Hey Nimo,” he said. “I thought you was in the slammer for killing your mother.”

“He is, I need a loan to bail him out,” Ina said.

Ray Firebird nodded and pretty soon, he passed out on the floor, so we got to take his place when the clerk came out.

“I’m not sure we can give you a loan, Mrs. Thunderclap,” the clerk told Ina after they talked for a minute or two. “The computer says your credit score is substantially low, and your household has 15 unpaid credit cards.”

“Jeez Ina, what did you need that many credit cards for?” I asked.

“To raise you,” she said.

The clerk shook his head and said Ina was better off paying for Ate’s surgery with money borrowed from family.

“All of my family’s broke, why the hell do you think I came here?” she said.

The clerk grunted and gave Ina a sheet with the word DENIED in big letters.

“Ina, what about Leksi Gray Mountain?” I asked as we walked to the exit. “He’s a doctor. I’m sure he’ll lend us the money.”

“You’re right, Nimo,” she said, nodding. “But Ate doesn’t like asking his brother for cash. So I’ll do it for him.”

I waited in the lobby with Ray Firebird snoring next to me while Ina called Leksi Gray Mountain on the pay phone outside. She came back inside after about ten minutes, smiling. Leksi Gray Mountain said he’d send us a check, but not to tell Ate about it.

******

The next day, I sat in the hospital waiting room with Ate and Ina. Ate squirmed in his seat, so Ina whacked him on the head with a magazine.

“I’m about to get cut up, and you’re hitting me?” Ate protested.

“Yeah, to knock you out so we won’t have to pay for anesthesia,” Ina retorted.

Ate slouched in his seat, quiet and sweating from his forehead.

“Nimo, Josie,” Ate said after a few minutes. “In the worst case scenario, after this surgery, I’ll be dead. Nimo, you can have whatever I own, which is nothing. Josie, if you meet another guy you really like, marry him.”

“I already did, he lives in our basement, and he won’t come up until you croak,” Ina said.

Ate shook his head. Ina took hold of his hand, and she didn’t let go for a long time.

******

After Ate got called in, we all waited for the doctor inside a hospital room. Ate wore a big paper gown and wiggled on the bed so much that it rattled.

“Stop it, you’ll break the bed,” Ina scolded.

“If I wanted to break it, I’d bring you up here and make Nimo a sibling,” he said. “I’m starving, I ain’t eaten since yesterday. But I guess it’s good practice for how broke we’re gonna be after this damn surgery.”

“I’m hungry too, Ina,” I said.

“Okay, I’ll run down to the deli to get a sandwich for you,” Ina told me, patting my head. “If the doctor comes while I’m not here, tell him to wait until I get back. I’ll only be a few minutes. Okay?”

I promised I would, and she kissed Ate on his cheek before she left. I stayed at Ate’s side, watching the presidential debate on the TV with him.

“Turn it off, Nimo,” he said. “If I wanted to hear an idiot talk, I’d call your grandmother.”

I shut the TV off, and Ate slid further into the hospital bed. He was shaking, but he probably thought I didn’t notice.

“Nimo,” Ate said. “If I go, your ina will take good care of you. She always has.”

“Don’t say that, Ate, you’re gonna be fine,” I told him. “You survived the last surgery.”

“I’ve also survived a 15 year marriage, but I think I’m running out of strength,” he said. “Just promise me two things if I don’t make it out alive.”

I asked what he wanted, and he was quiet for a few moments. He put his hand on my shoulder to make sure I was paying attention.

“First, keep my wedding ring and do only that. You pawn it and I’ll come back from the dead and take you with me,” he said.

“I promise. What’s the second thing you want me to do?”

“Every single time your grandmother calls, heckle her.”

I laughed, and we did a pinky swear. He sat up in his bed and tugged me by my arm.

“You know something, son,” he remarked. “I’m still paying the hospital bill for your birth. I told your ina to go to the backyard and squat when you was coming out, and she hit me. If she had squatted, we wouldn’t have a bill for you.”

“Really?” I said, and he nodded. He admitted he and Ina couldn’t afford to have a baby when I came along, but did anyway because they felt like taking a risk.

“And everything went okay,” Ate pronounced. “Except for the bill. But you turned out better than we thought.”

Not long after, Ina was back with my sandwich, and the doctor followed after her. He wheeled Ate away down the hall. I poked my head out the door, watching him leave.

******

About five hours later, Ate was brought back into the hospital room, woozy and high on anesthesia, but alive. He saw me first when he opened his eyes, and he waved at me. But he didn’t recognize Ina.

“Hey son,” he said. “Who’s the burning hot nurse standing over there?”

“I’m your wife, you bonehead,” Ina told him. “And this is our son, Nimo.”

“We got a son?” he murmured, half awake. “So, you mean, we’ve done it?”

“Yes, that’s how we got our son,” Ina responded.

“That’s so awesome,” Ate announced. “Man, you’re the hottest nurse in the world. I should get surgery more often.”

He fell asleep right after, and Ina adjusted the blanket so that it was covering all of him.

“Nimo,” Ina said, turning to me. “Go home and tell my second husband in the basement to get lost.”

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Darlene P. Campos is an MFA candidate at the University of Texas at El Paso’s Creative Writing Program. In 2013, she won the Glass Mountain magazine contest for prose and was awarded the Sylvan N. Karchmer Fiction Prize. Her work appears in Prism Review, Cleaver, Red Fez, Bartleby Snopes, Elohi Gadugi, The Writing Disorder, Connotation Press, Word Riot, Plain China, and many others. She is from Guayaquil, Ecuador, but has lived in Houston all her life. Her website is www.darlenepcampos.com.

 

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Mango Salad by Stephen Mander

A man came into the post office today and asked for a chai latte. I said we didn’t have any. He didn’t believe me.

Are you sure? he said.

I said, look around. We sell envelopes, cards, boxes, jiffy bags. This is a post office, not a coffee shop.

He looked at the shelves then at the exchange rate board behind me and said: but I don’t need envelopes or anything like that. I need a coffee. A chai latte preferably. Why wouldn’t you sell them?

I said, because this is a post office. Post offices don’t generally sell coffee. It’s not what they’re for.

He looked confused, but you’re a shop, aren’t you? You sell things.

I said, yes, we are, and we do sell things. Just not coffee. You’re welcome to put it in the suggestion box, though, and I pointed at it.

He followed my finger there and back and said, you’re joking, right? This is a joke, yeah? Is there a camera around or something? Are we being filmed? Yeah, yeah, very funny. Okay, I get it. Now, can I have my latte?

I said, sorry, sir, this is not a joke. We don’t sell latte. The cafe up the road does, but we don’t. Why don’t you go there? It’s not so far.

He said, but I’m here. I came here. You were open. You were a shop. You must have latte. Some kind of coffee, at least.

I said, look, how many times have I got to tell you? We do not sell coffee. If anyone’s on some prank TV show, it’s you. Now, can you stop wasting my time? There are other customers for me to see.

The man turned around. The queue had been building. He said, but you need to deal with me first.

I said, I have. Next.

The woman behind him stepped forward. The man moved out of the way. I ignored him, smiled at the woman and said, what can I do for you?

She got a list out of her bag.

Mangoes, she said. Unripe ones. I’m making a salad.

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Stephen Mander is originally from Liverpool in the UK, but has lived and worked in Japan, Australia, Hungary, Slovakia, and Syria. He currently lives in Vietnam.

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Baby And Me by Lori Schafer

Our best friends were having a baby. Inwardly, I groaned.

“You know what this means, Frank?” I complained to my boyfriend. “They won’t be going out with us anymore.” One by one our friends had succumbed to the bothersome burdens of boring adulthood: first marriage, now children. Soon only Frank and I would be left gloriously unencumbered.

“Sure they will,” he reassured me. “It’ll just be earlier. And, um, noisier.”

He should know. His sister had a kid, a rambunctious pre-school aged brat with no redeeming qualities that I had ever observed. Frank volunteered to baby-sit every so often. I called this my quarterly booster of birth control. Each time his nephew arrived I wanted children even less.

Frank, I suspected, was a bit soft on the kid thing. He seemed to like children an awful lot for someone who claimed not to want any. Once he had even told me that if I changed my mind about having one, he might be on board with it. I said that was just his biological clock ticking.

The pregnancy seemed to last forever, and I wasn’t the one carrying the bowling ball around in my belly. Every week when we visited our friends – who had already begun the mystifying transformation from regular adults into the strange creatures known as Mom and Dad – we had to suffer through the latest revelations. The tests, the pictures, the ultrasounds, the boy-girl debate and its resolution, the design and decoration of the nursery, how soon they wanted the next kid to come along. I feigned interest. Graciously, I hoped. I was happy for them — really I was — but only in a generic sort of way. I mean, I’m glad, too, when the local team makes it to the World Series, but I still don’t watch the games.

And then finally it happened: the kid was born; healthy, rosy cheeks, ten fingers and toes, and everyone was happy, all except for me. I still complained.

“Now we’re going to have to go and see the baby,” I whined, fully aware that this was spoiled and selfish and not caring in the slightest.

“So?” Frank replied, puzzled, his warm, dreamy eyes already misting over in anticipation of witnessing the wondrous miracle of magnificent new life.

“Never mind,” I answered. It would have taken too long to explain.

For our friends’ sake, I did try. I pretended to be impressed by the wee magical creature sleeping so adorably in the pink bassinet. I expounded with delight on how she had her mother’s ears and her father’s eyes, or maybe it was the other way around. I chuckled when Dad played peek-a-boo and made kitchy-coo noises at her. I was very convincing.

Too convincing.

“Do you want to hold her?” Mom inquired in a hushed tone, as if it were a great honor bestowed only upon the most worthy of visitors to the baby’s shrine.

“That’s okay,” I said, summoning all of the firm politeness I could muster.

“It’s all right; you can hold her,” she assured me.

“No, thank you,” I replied, less politely and more firmly, well aware from past experience that even the least doting of new parents would refuse to believe that there could be a woman on Earth who didn’t really want to hold the baby.

“Aw, come on, you know you want to!” she urged, prompting me to wonder whether she and the kid were part of a grand conspiracy to make a mom out of me whether I wanted it or not. “Here, just take her for a minute,” she repeated, dumping the kid in my lap as if it were a grocery bag I was supposed to bring out to the car. “I’ll be right back.”

So then I had to sit there with my arms out holding the kid’s head up like you’re supposed to, and wondering when this enforced bonding time was going to be over, and how many more years I would have to put up with this annoying little creature and the brothers and sisters that would soon follow it, and then she reached out with her tiny pink fist to grab hold of my index finger in the sweetest, most endearing gesture you have ever seen.

“Forget it, kid,” I said scornfully. “That’s the oldest trick in the book. You’re not winning me over with that.”

A sentimental sigh ruffled the air behind my back and I whipped my head around to find Frank peering covertly at the tender scene from the edge of the doorway. “Oh, how cute!” he proclaimed, springing ecstatically into the nursery, evidently unabashed at being so red-handedly caught spying. “You look so natural sitting there with a baby on your lap!”

“Forget it, bub,” I answered, glaring up at him. “You’re not winning me over with that old trick. You like it so much, you take it!”

He opened his arms to grab hold of the wee darling, and laid her across his chest, prompting her punctually to spit up all over it. And then another, more powerful stench filled the room, causing the dreamy mist to fall abruptly from Frank’s eyes like an old-time theater curtain over a completed movie fantasy. Staring horrified at the hand that had been supporting the baby’s bottom as if it were contaminated, he set her ruefully down in the crib and yelled for Mom and Dad to come and fix her.

“Whew!” he exclaimed, plainly disgusted, struggling to remove the spit-up from his shirt with a baby-wipe while the baby’s piercing cries rang throughout the bunny-lined nursery. “That’s why I’m glad we are never going to have children.”

I looked with new respect and appreciation at the screaming, stinking little bugger and wondered whether she and I had more in common than I’d thought. And with that I reached down into the crib, grasped the baby gently by that pint-sized fist and whispered, “Thanks, kid. You might not be so bad after all.”

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This story originally appeared in Every Day Fiction.

Lori Schafer’s flash fiction, short stories, and essays have appeared in numerous print and online publications. Her first two novels, My Life with Michael: A Story of Sex and Beer for the Middle-Aged and Just the Three of Us: An Erotic Romantic Comedy for the Commitment-Challenged, will be released in 2015. You can find out more about Lori and her forthcoming projects by visiting her website at http://lorilschafer.com/.

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Disobedience by Craig Towsley

“Good catch. Good boy! Okay, now bring it here. No, here. Come on. I said bring it here. I’m not chasing you. Get over here. Leave those people alone. They don’t care about your Frisbee. Stay. Stay. Stay! You want to get tied up? Get over here. Stay. Stay. That’s it. We’re going home. Finally. Now drop it. Drop it. Drop. IT! I’m not playing the pulling game. No. Drop it. Just drop it already. I’m not playing this game. Give me that Frisbee. Give it to me. Jesus.

Okay, good boy, good boy. Are you ready for another throw?”

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Craig Towsley writes flash fiction, but earns money by writing for video games. He lives in Montreal, QC, with his wife and dog. This story originally appeared on his website.

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