A Funny Legacy

 

Daily Prompt: Ha Ha Ha

June 21, 2013

Tell us a joke! Knock-knock joke, long story with a unexpected punchline, great zinger — all jokes are welcome!

[http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/06/21/daily-prompt-funny/]

Once upon a time there was a funny old man who told a joke a day to anyone who was willing to listen. Some days he told knock knock jokes, other days he narrated long stories with unexpected punchlines. Once in a while, he’d drop great zingers. The old man had no family, and the townspeople all knew him as an eccentric old man, but a little mad.

Finally one day, the old man died. The doctor was summoned. Upon examination, he found that the old man had been clutching a piece of paper in his hand, bearing what seemed to be a riddle.

“At the end of the last road

If a man his knees showed

To the ants scurrying merrily

Then find would he my legacy…”

the doctor read out.

Immediately the man gathered there out of curiosity hushed the doctor and began debating excitedly as to the nature of the riddle, and the supposed treasure, running out to spread the word and get a head start.

Overnight, the man became the most loved man of the town, people declaring their undying affection and swearing up and down that they’d find it because of the “special connection” they’d had with him.

“I remember when he told me the joke about the badger…,” they used to begin to reminisce.

Or, “I did my share of kindnesses to the poor fellow. He would love it when I lent him an ear to share those wonderful little jokes of his…”

Or, better still, “I shall cherish the jokes he told me. Poor man, he was like a grandfather to me. I’m convinced he hid his answer in the jokes he told me.”

For weeks after, many of the townsfolk were found trying their luck, ruminating over the many jokes the man had told, running to the town borders and hitching up their trousers near anthills, until the grounds became a common place for relaxation and communal merriment. Dances were held there, and parties and picnics as well.

A year later, at the funeral of another of the town members, a mourner happened to come across the old man’s grave. Remembering all the attempts they had made to find his treasure, the boy gave a wry smile and read the epitaph.

At the end of the last road

If a man his knees showed,

To the ants scurrying merrily

Then find would he my legacy.

A frown maybe, annoyance untold,

from greed to find another’s gold.

But he’ll laugh finally to see my legacy

Was the unity gained in comedy.

A Curious Find

Today’s Write Now Prompt by Today’s Author:

The kids must have dragged that thing out of the trunk in the loft.

“Did you hear that?” I mumbled sleepily.

“No,” mumbled Dave, equally sleepily. “Go back to sleep; what is it, six o’clock?”

“Okay,” I acquiesced with a sigh, nuzzling my husband’s shoulder.

~

Around ten, I ambled down in shorts, a sweatshirt and yesterday’s socks to put together some brunch. “Kids?”

I got no reply. I shuffled over blearily to the stove and put some water to boil. I needed tea. “KIDS!” And possibly a holiday.

Somewhere in the house, a door banged, and I heard laughing voices spill out from the upstairs corridor. “Come down for breakfast. Now!” As much as I hated their inability to come down on time, I was grateful beyond words for the extra sleep I got thanks to their disregard for mealtime punctuality.

“Mom, Mom, look at me! Isn’t it pretty?” Emma, all of eight-years old, came barreling into the kitchen, draped from head to toe in a red, flowy….scarf? Tablecloth? What was that? She spilled some pebbles out onto the counter. “These are magic,” she solemnly declared, just as Ethan poked his face around the door. “These trading cards are so cool!” he said exuberantly, holding them up in front of me. Jerking my head back an inch, I blinked. The Fool? The Magician? The Hanged Man? The cards were larger than those of an average deck and had unusual imagery on them, some verging on pornography, others graphic violence. Somehow I doubted this was part of a children’s trading card game. “Ethan, honey, give me the cards for a minute,” I said, taking them from him.

“Ooh a party! Why wasn’t I invited?” came Dave’s voice from the doorway. His grin quickly froze when he saw Emma’s new costume. He seemed lost and, somehow, nervous.

“What’s all this then?” I asked. “Dave, do you have any idea what these are? I don’t think the kids should-”

Snatching the cards from me, he walked across the kitchen, kneeling down near Emma. “Sweetie, why don’t you give that to me? ‘Atta girl!”

Still suspicious, I cleared my throat. “Any idea where they might’ve found this?” I asked Dave, voice tighter than I’d meant it to sound.

“Oh, um,  the kids must have dragged that thing out of the trunk in the loft,” he replied, standing up, still not meeting my gaze. “I’ll just go and make sure they haven’t made a mess up there.” Grabbing the pebbles in one hand, and the cloth and cards in the other, he turned and headed upstairs without looking back. As he climbed the stairs, I noticed him wrap the cards in the red cloth.

Something was definitely up.

Long Days and Lullabies

This week’s Trifecta Challenge:

CLUB

1a : a heavy usually tapering staff especially of wood wielded as a weapon b : a stick or bat used to hit a ball in any of various games c : something resembling a club 2a : a playing card marked with a stylized figure of a black clover b : plural but sing or plural in constr : the suit comprising cards marked with clubs 3a : an association of persons for some common object usually jointly supported and meeting periodically; also : a group identified by some common characteristic <nations in the nuclear club>  

[See more at: http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/2013/06/trifecta-week-eighty-two.html#comment-form]

Ray was exhausted. His top-level corporate job had paid for his lifestyle, but left him with very little time to spend with his son, Jason. He sighed. He’d have to make a better effort. Starting tomorrow. Today, all I want is a glass of…

“Oh, you’re home,” El called. She kicked her heels off and sank into the sofa.” Rick called today- he wanted to remind you about some concert thing planned for Saturday. Macklemore.”

Ray started. He’d forgotten entirely. He and Rick had spent their entire adolescent lives idolizing him. When they’d heard that this tour was to be his last, Rick had persuaded him to buy front-row tickets.

When he looked up, she’d fallen asleep. Poor thing. Covering her with a blanket, he headed for the kitchen to pour himself a drink.

Just as he reached, he heard noises from Jason’s bedroom. “Hey pal,” he said, finding him awake. “Couldn’t sleep?”

“I had a scary dream…I want Mommy to sing a song,” he said, eyes wide.

“Well, Mommy’s asleep, so how about I sing you a lullaby tonight?”

“M’kay,” mumbled Jason, happily. “Now, what am I going to sing for you today?” he wondered aloud. Is it too late now to call Rick? The concert is on Saturday.

“Mommy sings me songs from when she was a kid,” Jason murmured.

I remember my first concert, thought Ray with a smile.  We used to sing along to “Thrift Shop” all the time back then.

Almost without realizing it, he found himself humming it. “I’m gonna pop some tags, only got twenty dollars in my pocket…” He grinned; lowering his voice, trying to disguise it as a lullaby, he continued, “Walk into the club, like what up I got a big – ” Oops

“-cork,” he completed, flustered, darting a glance at his son. Had he noticed? But Jason lay still, already asleep. Ray felt his throat constrict. “I promise I’ll be home more often,” he whispered fiercely to his sleeping son.

—————————-

So this is the short version. Initially, I got carried away and wrote around 750 words before I got a friendly reminder (thank heavens for those!) that it was way over the word limit. Still, I have a soft corner for the original, so I decided to add it below, just in case anyone’s interested in reading it.

Turning the key to let himself in, Ray made straight for the living room and put his briefcase down near his favorite recliner. He was exhausted. His top-level corporate job had paid for his house, his cars, and (he suspected) had also had a small role in his getting his wife. Unfortunately it left him with very little time to spend either on his hobbies or with his son, Jason. At three years old, Jason was reaching that age when parental presence (or its absence) sets the tone for their lifelong parent-child relationship. He sighed. He’d have to make a better effort. Starting tomorrow. Today, all I want is a glass of…

“Oh, you’re home,” El called by way of welcome, standing in the doorway, laptop bag in hand. Her job in the media kept her, if possible, even busier than his kept him. Elizabeth kicked her heels off and sank into the sofa, flexing the soles of her feet and moaning with relief.

“Long day?” he asked.

“You bet,” she said, closing her eyes. “Right now all I want is some sleep.” She settled in deeper into the sofa. “Oh, by the way, your childhood friend Rick called – he wanted to remind you about some concert thing you had planned for Saturday. Macklemore’s Grand Finale apparently.”

Ray started. He’d forgotten entirely. He and Rick had spent their entire adolescent lives idolizing him. When they’d heard that this tour was to be his last, Rick had persuaded him to finally give in to impulse. Together, they’d bought front-row tickets for the concert. Right now all I want is some sleep, he thought, echoing El.

“…but I need to watch the LVBN ’26 Awards thing,” El was saying. “It’s supposed to be on tonight. I need to,” she yawned,”make sure…,” another yawn, “that….” yawning again, she drifted off to sleep.

He smiled. Poor thing. Getting a blanket from their linen closet, he covered her, dimmed the lights, and headed for the kitchen to pour himself a drink before calling Rick back.

Just as he was tilting the decanter, he heard the sound of something expensive (grimace) falling. Eyebrows furrowed, he put down his glass and stepped out into the hallway. He’d updated his security system just a month or two ago; it was a pretty expensive one too.Just to be on the safe side however, he grabbed a steel ladle from the kitchen before heading down the hallway.

Peeking into the living room, he saw Jason standing there, teddy bear dragging, blinking sleepily, and inwardly sighed with relief. “Hey pal,” he said, squatting down to his son’s level. “Couldn’t sleep?” He sheepishly tucked the ladle behind a wooden table nearby.

“I had a scary dream,” he pouted, looking up. “I want Mommy to sing a song,” he said, looking worried, eyes wide.

“C’mere,” said Ray, standing up and lifting his three-year-old into his arms. “Mommy’s asleep, so how about I sing you a lullaby tonight?”

“M’kay,” mumbled Jason, already burrowed happily into his father’s shoulder.

Laying him on the bed, Ray tucked Jason into his solar-system-themed comforter. The absence of Pluto still irritated him all these years later.

“Now, what am I going to sing for you today?” he wondered aloud. Is it too late now to call Rick? The concert is on Saturday. Two days away.

“Mommy sings me songs from when she was a kid,” Jason murmured, snuggling into his pillow.

I remember my first concert, thought Ray with a smile. I had to practically sign my freedom away to go see Macklemore, me and Rick both. We used to sing along to “Thrift Shop” all the time back then.

Almost without realizing it, he found himself humming it. “I’m gonna pop some tags, only got twenty dollars in my pocket…”

He grinned, realizing how much he’d missed Macklemore. Lowering his voice, trying to disguise it as a lullaby, he smiled at Jason and continued, “Walk into the club, like what up I got a big – ” and stopped himself just in time. Macklemore isn’t for lullabies, what’s wrong with me?

“-cork,” he completed, flustered, darting a glance at his son. Had he noticed? But Jason lay still, already asleep. Listening to the sound of his son’s steady breathing, Ray felt his throat constrict. “I promise I’ll be home more often,” he whispered fiercely to his sleeping son. “I love you.”

Pulling the door closed, Ray went through his phone’s contact list till he found the name Rick.

Meet-cute

Figment’s daily theme:

Your Daily Theme for June 6, 2013
A “meet-cute” is a charming first interaction between two characters who will become romantically involved. (Think the tangled dog leashes in 101 Dalmatians.) Write a meet-cute between two characters.

Headphones clamped around her ears, vacuum-sealed, she couldn’t hear the argument raging just four feet away; couldn’t hear the net café customer yell himself hoarse about having lost his seat to some “random girl off the road”; didn’t see the owner apologetically but firmly shrug a diplomatic “no”; didn’t notice the disgruntled visitor throw himself down on the chair next, sighing audibly. She was lost, fighting far off people from far off lands…and she won. Again. She only noticed when the angry fist-on-table near her shook the table. She looked up, as did he. More than the table shook.

Link to my piece on Figment:

http://figment.com/books/651913-Meet-cute