Collections of Jokes Do Not Win Pulitzer Prizes

A short story though it may be funny is not a joke.

The last line of a joke is the punchline.

The last name of a story has no name.

You remember a punchline.

You do not remember the last line of a story.

You may remember the first —- I still remember the opening lines of David Copperfield and A Tale of Two Cities — but I do not remember the last.

No one does.

You tell people jokes.

You do not tell short stories.

Short stories have an author.

Jokes do not.

No one knows who the first person was to tell a joke that does the rounds.

Jokes are short.

Short stories, except those of Lydia Davis, are comparatively long.

Collections of jokes do not win Pulitzer prizes.

Collections of short stories do.

I like them both.

There is one way short stories and jokes are alike: the good ones you like to hear or read over and over again..

The Scarlet Pimpernel of Cats

She was the scarlet pimpernel of cats. A thunderstorm was looming and the sun had already set and she had not made her way inside though it was her dinnertime and she was a stickler about that. Hail was forecast. Go outside and rattle the tin, I was ordered. I’m having an early night. Fair enough. A cold will do that to you.

On and off for the next four hours I did as I was instructed, rattling the biscuit tin, calling her name. Only the hail answered. If she was on the roof again, she’d be a soggy, sorry cat. Occasionally between downpours I’d check the road with the torch on my iPhone for something flat, gingery and blood-stained. Fortunately there was nothing. The Scarlet Pimpernel of cats was indeed elusive.

Around eleven I packed it in and slumped asleep.

Did you find her? came a text message next door. I’m scared.

No, I messaged. ZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

In the morning preparing two bowls of cereal I opened the pantry door and out popped a cat! She headed straight for her bowl, wofing down the food from last night. I checked the pantry for tell-tale signs of toilet distress but there were none. How did you go for so long without doing a wee? I asked.

I crossed my legs, she said.  

Temporarily Unattended

Sometimes my mind

runs off

like that bloke’s mouth

outside the gym

pontificating about those fisticuffs

at the footy

“those weren’t friendly fisticuffs;

that was full on, mate”,

about George Pell:

‘ someone will pop him off one day,

like they did JFK’

or the Black Lives Matter protest rallies —

you don’t want to know’;

but I round my mind up

before it goes too far off the tracks

& give it a little talking to:

mostly I keep a close watch on this mind

of mine

While on the Subject of Udders

Cattle_feeding_on_pastures_at_Keernaun_-_panoramio

We were driving past cows full of paddocks when my friend

asked me whether I thought bulls considered cow udders

‘sexy’? I said I hadn’t given it much thought but added,

you don’t  see many pinups of naked cows on the sides

of barns or bulls wanking off to them thoughtfully

on sunny afternoons; unsatisfied we pulled over

and did a Google Search, typing in ‘do bulls …’ to which

suggestions came up, such as ‘do bulls hate red?’, ‘do bulls moo?’ ,

‘do they have horns?’ and then the big one: ‘do bulls find

cow udders sexy?’ to which Google replied, ‘no, it’s a human thing’.

and that was that till Denzel Curry’s cover of ‘Bulls on Parade’

came over the radio, and my friend started all over again

 

* pic courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Mystery Ships

Inside_the_Lake_Saiko_Bat_Cave_C-Point

When he gets up to go to the toilet in the middle of the night, she’d be there or on the way back to his room after pausing in the kitchen for a glass of milk, she’d be in the hallway.

Passing ships in the night.

He’d look at her, and she at him, then both look away.

After eight years, off and on, they were still a mystery to each other.

Her cat. Not his. They’d never bonded.

The Sad Shopping Centre

lost-places-old-decay-ruin-162389

I read about the sad shopping centre, the one that’s going to close in Surrey Hills and turf out all the shoppers who like to hang out in the down-at-heel coffee shop where even broken light bulbs are not replaced, all the lonely people.

I read about how it’s going to close anytime soon, maybe tomorrow, next week, how it’s going to be replaced by shiny new apartments purchased by a Chinese business conglomerate, that there’s going to be flashy new shops to replace the deadbeat ones, the shuttered ones. Only the liquor store is thriving, all the lonely people.

I think of a world that’s closing down. Hotels, bars, restaurants, coffee shops, stadiums, places where people congregate. The city is emptying. People are retreating, even the parks have fewer people, the beaches and winter is closing in. It’s like a city that a neutron bomb has hit, all the lonely people.

People shuffle back to their homes from the seedy shopping centre, the old, the destitute, the disabled, the friendless, not knowing if they’ll have somewhere to go next week, somewhere to meet up.  Winter is closing in. And the Fear. And now the churches and libraries are closing too. All the lonely people.

 

Even the Stinkers

stars-in-the-night-sky

Most people think of stars when they think

Of infinity

Or grains of sand

But I think Adam Sandler,

All the films of his I haven’t seen

And all those I have

Even the stinkers like ‘Little Nicky’

I want to see again and again

and again.

There are so many.

Almost as many as the stars

and the guy’s still making them!

But as Jim Croce says, ‘there’s never enough time

To do the things you want to do,’

It’s just not funny.

 

  • what’s your favourite Adam Sandler film?
  • what’s one you hate?
  • when you think of infinity, what comes into your mind?

on Leg Hairs and Tennis

800px-Roger_Federer_Doha

If I had as many black hairs on my legs

As Roger Federer

Would I be a great tennis player?

Would I be as good as the Fed?

Do leg hairs maketh the man?

There must be a hair for every ace

He’s ever served.

If leg hairs were ants, which they look like

The Fed would be in screaming agony.

One day he’ll lose most.

Hair today, gone tomorrow.

You know the puns.

Hair’s to you, Fed.

Good luck in the Aussie Open.