Category Archives: Comedy

The Heist

It was a normal bustling afternoon at the South Bend Savings And Loan. Everyone knows the ‘a’ in ‘and’ is traditionally lower case in business titles such as this but the craftsman who hand carved the granite edifice made it a capital so it’s been that way ever since. The original board of directors used the Lands’ End clothing company as a precedent. The day was like all others as the perma-cloud covered citizens and livestock in their usual grey mid-summer gloom.

Old Mrs. Bunkel was commandeering the head teller, Ellen, so she can have her explain why her trust fund dividend check was direct deposited into her account at 12:07AM instead of 12:05AM like last month. But don’t you worry, if it had been deposited at 12:05AM she still would have been here. Ellen would have had to calmly reassure her that no one was trying to embezzle her account at what is obviously a very vulnerable time at the South Bend Savings And Loan.

The rest of the customers busied themselves filling out deposit and withdrawal slips, aimlessly standing in line or have buried themselves deeply into the digital world ignoring all the life and motion that surrounds them. In the middle of all this ebb with little flow Stephen stands upright and still. He’s not an imposing man, few would say more than average in every way. But he has enough assurance to make sure you know his name is not Steve, any childish derivation of that or even Steven. He’s one to let you know that he’s StePHen. Some find that trait annoying others openly mock him in social situations when he righteously corrects the spelling of his name.

StePHen steps up moments after Lindsay does. Lindsay, by anyone’s estimation, is a lovely woman who holds herself in a manner of one who knows it. She’s not standoffish by any means, it is a fact that she has more and closer friends than any person in the bank at this time. Her kindness and helpfulness is known to all her South Bend social and family friends. But sometimes they take advantage of her good and gullible nature.

Such as the time co-workers convinced her a local fraternity, who have suffered many bouts of probation, is holding a horrific cat juggling contest. Enraged by this barbaric display of cruelty Lindsay drove eighty miles from her home to shut down this event. She was quite relieved and in her own (fairly saucy for her) words, ‘A little P.O.’d.’ that her co-workers took full advantage of her. But she, after finding out the event was actually the frats yearly table tennis championships, got the last laugh when she met a very handsome fraternity brother, Jeff, to whom she is now engaged.

The line moves forward slowly with everyone keeping a respectful silence inside these walls. Every once in a while a cellphone will chirp and there will be a rustle of low level harumphing which would quickly embarrass the offender to, at the very least, silence his device with most wishing he or she would put it away and enjoy the soft communal experience within the South Bend Savings And Loan.

“This is a robbery of this bank.” The masked robber bellows as five or six compatriots dressed exactly the same while carrying the same automatic weapon swarm the room. The words bouncing off walls and floor and ceiling giving it an almost operatic depth and clarity. “Nobody moves nobody gets hurt. Now put your belly to the floor.”

The confusing demands placed many customers in a dilemma. Which barked order is the robbers most urgent? There was a total hesitation before someone, many felt bravely and stupidly, slowly placed his belly on the floor. Many were also consumed by the poor grammar but that was a subject they didn’t have time to discuss now. But it will lead to hours of discussion for whomever survives at the inevitably South Bend Savings And Loan Robbery support group.

The first robber is getting impatient with the slow reaction of the now hostages. “Get on the ground or we all start shooting.”

The five or six other robbers, the correct count would not be agreed upon until the ordeal was over, began strong arming some of the customers to the ground while other, obvious frightened, customers were still having issue with the still confounding directions. One by one people reached the floor on their belly’s. Some more effortlessly horizontal than others. While there were quite a few who resembled a childs human rocking ride.

Once all of the customers were suitably floored the five or six robbers moved with a practiced precision to the teller area. The tellers, well trained in the event of any tragic occurrence, remained poised at their station awaiting there commands.

“If my Macy’s skirt gets stained, young man, I’ll be sending you the bill.” Old Mrs. Bunkel snaps. The five or six robbers look at Old Mrs. Bunkel who could be barely termed ‘on her belly’. One of them uttered words that no one had ever spoken aloud to Old Mrs. Bunkel in all her born years.

“Shut up, old lady.” If she only know the number of times Ellen had that same dreadful thought.

The five or six robbers ignored Old Mrs. Bunkel but until her dying day, even more so than the grammatical miscue, those words would be her highlight whenever this tale left her lips. The five or six robbers quickly make their desires known to the tellers who swiftly fill the orders.

In the middle of the room Stephen begins fidgeting. Lindsay looks over with concern etched upon her face. “Stop.” she says. “They’ll kill you.” But it does no good. Stephen’s fidgeting rises him to his knees. The customers are the first to notice him and begin to murmur their displeasure.

“I’m sorry.” Stephen says. “I have to do this.” The first robber notices Stephen standing fully straight up. This was obviously not an expected option. The first robber levels his weapon at Stephen who remains still.

“What are you doing? Get down.” The only people moving are the five or six robbers who have completed their part of the job and want nothing more than to flee the scene. “I’m not kidding. Get back on the ground.”

“I’m sorry.” Stephen repeats. “I just can’t do that.”

The seven or eight of them stand for a moment totally still. In an instance the first robber starts to shake his masked face.

“Uh, what is that?” With his free hand the first robber tears off his mask.

“What are you doing? They can see your face.” One of the five or six robbers asks and explains.

“No! It’s stinks in here.”

“What are you talking abo. . .” One other robber starts retching.

“. . .oh man, is someone baking a cat in here?” He asks.

One after the other all five or six robbers are enveloped in the stench. One of them points the gun at Stephen.

“Did you do this?”

“Maybe it’s some type of gas.” A robber choked out.

“No,” answers the first robber. “It’s this guy. He farted.” The first robber reaches Stephen. “Didn’t you? You couldn’t wait until we left, could you?” While the questions pile up Stephen remains still.

Suddenly the odor begins to fall to the ground and the prone customers begin protesting their position.

“Stay down.” A robber commands. “It’s no better up here.” The first robber has tired of the staring contest he’s losing with Stephen.

“What died inside you? A yeti?” The robber points the gun at the surprisingly calm Stephen. “I’ve got to kill you. Maybe that’ll take some of the sting out of it.” The first robber shoulders his weapon securely.

“I wouldn’t do that?”

“Oh? And why not?”

“Because the moment you pull that trigger a tiny spark inside your weapon will cause a huge explosion due to all the gas in here.” The robber looks around wondering if he should believe this.

“Oh, and what are you? A scientist?”

“Yes. ” Stephen grabs the first robber. “A scientist of killing.” Stephen turns the first robber upside down gaining control of the weapon while turning in a semi-circle rapidly firing at the five or six (although we now know it was five) stunned robbers.

As the smoke clears Stephen drops the first robber on his head swiftly disarming him. Stephen places a strong foot on the first robber to keep him still. As customers slowly begin standing Stephen begins, “You always leave one alive. . .” The customers stop for a moment before responding in unison.

“. . .to tell the story.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah, we all saw Usual Suspects.” Says a man, Dirk, walking up to Stephen. Dirk stands next to Stephen as they survey the scene of the carnage. “I think I speak for everyone when I say thanks.” Stephen stands there humbly taking in the thankful murmurs. “But I also have to say you really stunk up the joint.” Everyone starts making waving motions with their hands as they exit the bank.

Stephen stands there as people file past.

“Sorry.” He says with sincerity oozing from every pore. “I had kimchi for lunch.”

People hurry past Stephen to the crisp, clear out of doors while the Indiana State Police SWAT Team enters the South Bend Savings And Loan.

It Can’t Be Easy

And by the title I mean being my friend. I’m a coarse, vulgar, sarcastic idiot who adds little to the friendship outside of being able to take a shot and the uncanny ability to lift heavy things.

So how difficult do you think it would be to be my girlfriend? My friends can leave, change their phone numbers and, in extreme cases, move. My friends don’t have to see me every day. My girlfriend? Not so lucky. She’s stuck with real life moments like this,

“I’m talking about something really important here but I don’t want you to give me a solution I just want to talk it out with you listening to each word as if the outcome of this random event could change the course of your existence.”

“Uh hu.”

“Are you listening to me?”

“Wha? Yes, of course. You were talking about that thing about this person who has an allergy to gravel or is having her belly button excavated or something like that.”

“So you weren’t listening to me?”

“I was.”

“Don’t lie to me.”

“I think we both know it’s a little too late to put that puppy back in it’s mother’s womb.”

“What were you thinking of that was more important than my friend with the gravel allergy who is having her belly button filled in. Proving you don’t listen.”

“I was thinking how cool it would be for a cement filled tennis ball to be shot out of a tennis ball machine and kill someone.”

True statement. I just couldn’t go another day without envisioning that scene. But writing one scene is stupid so I had to write a shitty B-movie script around it and that’s how we have ‘Die Virgins Die‘.

That doesn’t sound too bad to you? Well, what about what happened just the other day. We’re leaving the house and, like every morning, I’m carrying a full, clear plastic bag. This morning we just so happened to run into our neighbor. He stops to say hi so I hide the plastic bag behind my leg. He sees this because he asked,

“What’s in the bag?”

Now I could have done the normal thing and said nothing and changed the subject. He would have been none the wiser. But I can’t do that. Pulling the bag out from behind my leg like the finale of a magic trick I held it up to his face and said,

“Cat poop. Want some?”

She was not happy with my choice for response. The neighbor? He carries around dog shit so who’s he to talk.

She has to not only put up with me sitting there in a roomful of people looking as if I’m engaged while I’m really thinking of greeting cards. She has to watch me take out a pad and pen and write down an idea while in the middle of a conversation. Plus I do this stupid thing that annoys her so. And no, it’s not breath. That pisses her off. Totally different.

We could be anywhere and a song will come on. When the song is over (because I’ve learned not to offer my ‘stupid ideas’ during the song) I say,

“You know, the original lyrics for that song were. . .” and then blurt out my new (and I think awesomely improved) lyrics.

The other night a jukebox was playing a song when I did it. I don’t mean to do it, it’s my evil head that’s doing it. I’m just a conduit. After the song I said,

“You know. . .” This is where she slumps her shoulders. That way I know I’m on the right path. “. . .the original lyrics to that song were. . .” this is where she rolls her eyes. How can you not go forth with reinforcement like that?

“I’m in the mood for gloves, simply because it’s freezing, funny but when it’s freezing, I’m in the mood for gloves.”

That’s not even a good example but it’s the only one I can remember right now. But, trust me, I do it all the time (my reworking of The Temptations ‘My Girl’ to ‘Maggots’ is not one of her favorites) and her response rarely changes,

“You are a goon.”

“I am not a goon. You are a goon.”

And then she hits me. Proving, once again, that she is the true definition of a goon.

Me? I’m just annoying.

Once we went to this thing where I didn’t know anyone. I don’t mind that. I can blend in and check out the scene. But this time I made up my mind when I was introduced to a guy it would go this,

“Hi, I’m Steve.”

“Me too!” And I’d shake his hand.

Six, seven ‘Me Too!’s’ into it I can tell word has got back to my girlfriend.

“Why are you doing that?”

“I don’t want to work at remembering anyone’s name.”

There, an honest exchange. Maddening, but honest.

And when she’ll ask the innocuous question of “What are you thinking?” She never gets the answers one would expect. The “How much I love you and this life we’ve built.” Or the “I was thinking that you’re right seven more cats wouldn’t be that annoying.”

No, from me a simple, “What are you thinking?” gets

“I’m thinking of a word that rhymes with vagina.”

See? Not easy at all. And you wonder why she’s not a fan of my work.

So I want to thank all of you for putting up with my behavior. I was going to say encouraging but that’s far from the truth. I know it’s not easy so I appreciate the effort and will try to make it worth your while to hang out with me from time to time.

Need me to lift anything heavy?

This is a true holiday story.

Many years ago during a crisp winters morn a lovely couple decided to take this time and go Christmas shopping for their beloved children. But these were well-seasoned parents, grizzled veterans of shenanigans you might say. After last Christmas’ debacle with presentgate they said in unison,

“No more!”

After years of painstakingly purchasing presents and then carefully hiding them around the house only to have their diabolically crafty children always find them they planned to make this Christmas one full of surprises. So they shopped, as in past years, while their children were off at play. The children, as always, figured they knew their parents game. The house was only so large, the available spaces so few they were confident they would, once again, find out what they were getting long before Christmas. They even found out what they were getting the year their parents gave up, wrapped all the gifts and put them under the tree weeks before the big day. It’s amazing what you can do with a razor and some careful folding.

You may think this was ruining Christmas but not as far as these kids were concerned. They wanted to make sure their presents were evenly measured out. For every pair of socks they might find they sure as hell had better find a video game or tablet. And if they saw the line moving further towards non-enjoyable gifts they would make their displeasure known in no uncertain terms.

But this year the parents knew they had them beat. There was no way, after all their hard toil to gather the goods, the kids would know what gifts they’d be getting. Not this year. The bright idea came to them one day after shopping. They passed a building with an intriguing sign on it that read: One Month Free. Yes! For half the cost of a video game the parents would rent a storage unit for the length of their shopping sojourn. They celebrated this victory over their meddling children as parents have done for the centuries by stopping off for an adult beverage after securing their space.

Day by day one or both of the parents would visit the facility to deposit that days purchases. One afternoon, while the children were at the house meticulously inspecting every corner and cubby only to come up with no information, the mother spent a delightful afternoon alone in the unit carefully and lovingly wrapping each present for delivery on Christmas.

The big day finally arrived. The children were whisked off to Grandmas for the annual Christmas Eve feast. The husband was closing up shop early to gather all the stored gifts. He made sure his van was empty so he’d only have to make one trip to carry all those gifts to their final destination. But first he’d stop off for the usual pre-Christmas libation with some of his co-workers. He planned on one, maybe two, to share the joy of the holidays with his friends.

But as holiday cheer often does, it flows so wonderfully it seems to become the entire universe. With NORAD tracking Santa on the television the father stepped back and blinked his eyes. What was he was seeing? Surely it must be a Christmas illusion. He picked up his phone and checking it twice he quickly made a faithful call.

The phone rang once, it rang twice, three times it rang. On the fourth ring a connection was made. But it did not make the man happy. It filled him with dread as he listened to the answering machine tell him the facility closed at six while he was standing at seven thirty.

His wife was in ire. The kids felt let down. The man was in the dogs gingerbread house his expression a frown. They called throughout the day, that evening into night hoping for a Christmas miracle but, alas, it didn’t and their Christmas was put on hold.

The moral of the story is it’s best not to be too tricky because Christmas spirit has a will of its own.

I had an unhappy customer.

The fact that the unhappiness was totally their fault didn’t seem to hamper them from thinking I was at fault. At one point of my stoically repeating the phrase “no.” they finally snapped and said,

“Why are you such an asshole?”

Having heard that line spat in my face many times it did not phase me. But this time, instead of explaining why their behavior is causing them to think I’m an asshole, I figured I’d go all philosophical on their skull. See if I can make their brain explode into an astral plane.

“I reject the premise of your question.”

Sure, their head didn’t explode. But it did make them stand there blankly staring at me most likely still thinking I was, indeed, an asshole.

The Interruptor

A talker was sitting behind me. I was facing the TV as he talked to people near him. One guy was actively ignoring him but another guy, in this story, the patsy, was engaging.

The pasty and the ignorer went outside to smoke, that didn’t stop the guy from talking but it was more mumbling twattle than when he had a audience. I can tell by the force of sound he’s starting to turn his attention on me. Why does he have to make it ugly? Why is it not legal to kill someone who invades your individual choice to ignore everyone to watch a little TV, have a little beer and catch a little peace?

And I know it’s illegal to kill them. I called my congressman. And senator. And a federal agent. I guess they just don’t know how hard is it out here for a guy who doesn’t want to talk to someone who has nothing else to give but blathering.

At the moment he’s not barking at me but the noise and his mumbling and his coughing and his throat clearing make me wish for a body bag. I think if he was gently placed in it while alive it couldn’t be considered murder if he just happened to use up all the air in there with his babbling.

I’m looking at the TV, I have not moved, when he starts making loud statements directly to the back of my head. I know it’s meant to force my attention because I can feel his putrid breath drop down my neck.

He doesn’t know I don’t respond to random barking and I can feel him get frustrated. He’s used this for years because he knows, in polite society, people respond to statements that beg for a response. Many people have fallen for this in the past.

But he has no idea that I’m the present. And this present is going to suck for him if he persists. He repeats the statement a little more forcefully as he leans closer to me. He’s wise enough not to touch me because then, and I think those dunderhead law enforcers would have to agree, I could smack him in the face because I would consider his move an assault.

I’m sure it’s happened to him in the past and doesn’t want to go down that road again. That’s why I hate when people say people are stupid. Sure they’re probably doing something you find stupid but they are doing exactly what they want. They just don’t care if you find it inconveniencing.

I can feel him stand up straight behind me. He’s not getting his wanted reaction. He mumbles some things under his breath. I can feel him staring at the back of my head. I can feel his frustration. It’s always come so easy for him. He doesn’t know how much I like making people work for things.

“Hey.” He says.

Nothing. I do.

“Hey.” He says as  he gently taps my shoulder. Damn, not a smackable offense because of those damn lawmakers.


I sharply mimic his word.

“What?” He says taken aback.

“Why did you poke me?” I turn and look at him. I see him take a step back.

“I asked you a question.”

“How is that possible?”

“How is it possible you can ask me a question when we were not speaking?”

He blinks. His internal structure is not programmed to handle this conversational series.


“Well, in polite society, a person first has an interaction with another in the form of a salutation. Never, in my experience, has a conversation started with someone screaming a question to the back of someone’s skull.”


Strother Martin’s voice took over in my head. And, amazingly, not a line from Slap Shot.


“Huh what? You’re the one who needed my attention. You’re the one who barked at me to get my attention. You’re the one who initiated this conversation. Where are you going with this?”

He blinks rapidly. He stares at me. He’s a tad perplexed on how to deal with me. Proving he shouldn’t have spoken to me in the first place. Sometimes when something like that happens it tends to go south. Fast.

“Why are you such an asshole?” Asks someone who, I’m sure you’ll agree, started out as THE asshole in this story.

“You poked me because you craved my attention and I’m the asshole? ”

He stands there calculating, mouth-breathing, trying to find a response.

“Well, I’ve seen you here before.”

“Have we ever spoken?”

“No, but I. . .”

“. . .but what? Someone has the ill fortune to sit next to you so they becomes your confidant?”

“I was just trying to have a conversation.” He lied. He was trying to have a monologue.

“And I have successfully killed it.” I turn back to the TV while he mumbles.

To himself.

The Bus

I got on the bus last night and it started off your normal bus ride. People filing on, no one out of the ordinary (which was out of the ordinary) just regular people going about whatever constitutes their regular day.

A big guy gets on the bus and sits in front of me. I’m facing the front of the bus and he’s facing the side so I can see everything he’s going to do.

Pretty quickly he starts going through one of the two backpacks he has with him. He’s pulling out the usual things, food, drink, papers. Electronic devices, a black knit hat with the word ‘Blessed’ embroidered on it which he was using to protect his own personal video game controller. He wiped the controller down, pressed a few buttons then carefully placed the controller back into the hat, folded it over so it was safe and then slipped it back into the backpack.

He rummaged around for another few minutes not taking anything out, just sort of feeling his way through it. He reaches to the absolute bottom of the bag and with great care he pulls another item out of his bag.

At first the item didn’t register. It quickly dawned on me but it was so out of the realm to see something like this here there was a moment of doubt. I’ve seen this item many times but usually at very specific places and a bus, until this moment in my life, had never been one of those places.

Then he began unscrewing the urn to take a peek inside.

An urn. There’s an urn on the bus. That guy carries an urn in his backpack. I hope we don’t hit a bump. But that is definitely an urn he’s looking into. Please close that urn, buddy. That is an urn on a bus. That is just like snakes on a plane. The only difference is that was a movie and I’m really on a motherfucking bus with a motherfucking urn.

I can’t take my eyes off this encounter. I watch his face as he stares into the urn of the ashes of a loved one. After what seems the runtime of Snakes On A Plane he starts to screw on the top of the urn. I was relieved. I’ve inhaled many things on many different busses but a person’s ashes, luckily, still isn’t one of them.

Then I watched as he held the urn while he reached into his backpack. He pulled out a pink elastic band the type you put around a tiny baby’s head and he wrapped that band around the urn one, two, three times until he was satisfied it was snug. After holding the urn for a beat or two he gently cradled it into a special place in his backpack. He zipped it up and tossed his arms over it.

People talk about carrying their pain and anguish and memories with them. Most try to submerge them so they can carry on some semblance of a peaceful life. But it’s too raw to that guy. He can’t close it. He has to carry that burden around with him because he can’t believe what he is always carrying with him didn’t have a better outcome.

I hope one day he does. And he puts that burden down.

Because it scares the hell out of the other passengers on the bus.

100 Years Old

Someone I know invited me to their grandmother’s 100th birthday celebration. My problems are 1) I don’t even know the woman and 2) what the hell could I get for a 100 year old?
I rationalized my way out of the first one by reminding myself there will be cake.
The second problem was a larger issue. In 100 years she’s probably had everything she ever wanted. And not knowing someone makes them tough to buy for. Plus, with all the people going, you don’t want to buy the same thing which has to happen.
I thought long and hard over this issue for a full minute before figuring out a gift I guarantee she’s never had and no one at the party will give to her.
A t-shirt that says:
I May Be Old But At Least I Got To See All The Cool Bands.