Category Archives: Comedy

Dancing with the Heel

(AUTHOR’S NOTE: This flash fiction was written during a writers group meeting I attended. I was given a postcard with a photo and told to write a story inspired by it. I scanned the image and included it below. I thought at first it looked like a woman’s foot wearing a dance shoe, but then I thought it looked like a foot wearing a Greek sandal. That brought about this little tale. Enjoy!)

The image that inspired this flash fiction.

Achilles, clad in his best chiton, tapped into his warrior’s training as he rose onto his tiptoes and spun. His partner, Helen of Troy, whose face was ready to launch another thousand ships, spun with him, the skirt of her gold-trimmed white peplos billowing. But as Achilles descended, he stumbled and fell, nearly dragging Helen down with him.

“That’s the tenth time you tried that turn!” exclaimed Helen. “I’m going to need a new dance partner at this rate! The Greek Gala is only a few days from now!”

“I’m sorry,” replied Achilles, cradling his left foot. “I’ve not been the same since that heel injury during the Trojan War.”

Helen sighed. “Good thing I know an excellent podiatrist.”

The Christmas Invasion (or “Santa vs. the Flying Saucer”)

Author’s Note: Merry Christmas, readers! As my gift to you, I present this special holiday flash fiction. (Special thanks to Catherine FitzSimmons for the suggestion that led to this story). Enjoy!

The Christmas Invasion (or “Santa vs. the Flying Saucer”)
by Nathan Marchand

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image3586505Santa Claus whipped the reins, and his nine “little” reindeers ran forward and sprang off the roof, pulling the jolly fat man’s sleigh behind them. But instead of plummeting, they all threw off the shackles of gravity and arched into the night sky. As the wintry wind nipped at ol’ St. Nick’s thickly-bearded face, he was grateful for the ancient holiday magic that allowed him to perform his annual acts of grand generosity. Not since his days as a bishop so many centuries ago had he been able to do so much for the less fortunate.

“Ho, ho, ho!” he bellowed to himself. “The sun will rise soon in this time zone. This job gets longer every year. I miss the days when everyone had chimneys.”

The reindeer seemed to be slower, Santa thought, so he leveled out his sleigh at an altitude of three-thousand feet instead of the usual five-thousand. “Poor fellers must be exhausted,” said Santa. “I’ve run out of carrots from the children to feed them.” He laid down the reins and cupped his hands around his mouth. “Just one more city and it’s back to the North Pole, boys!”

All nine of them grunted affirmatively in reply.

“Ho, ho, ho! I can’t wait to get home to see Misses Claus, too!”

Santa reached back and grabbed a huge scroll, which he unrolled until he reached the “Nice” section for the final city. “Hopefully my first stop has a chimney—”

Suddenly flickering lights flashed in his eyes.

“Is that you, Rudolph?” he said, peering over the scroll. But his most famous reindeer’s nose wasn’t glowing.

Santa dropped the list and grabbed the reins. “It must be an airplane! I can’t let it see me!” With a flick of the reins, his reindeer, though tired, would take evasive maneuvers.

But he saw no more flashes. Nothing but pale moonlight filtered through clouds. Only the whistling wind was heard.

Santa stroked his white beard. “Perhaps I imagined it.”

Instantly, from out of the clouds came a spinning disc that seemed to be made of neon. Its lights blinded Santa. He held up a hand and blocked just enough of it to see it fly in front of him. He yanked the reins, and the reindeer groaned as they turned to port, almost clipping the sun-like saucer.

His heart racing, Santa rubbed his eyes with one hand, holding the reins with the other, but it took several long seconds of blinking to clear his vision. That didn’t help his headache.

“That’s no airplane!”

He looked over his shoulder. The saucer was a quarter-mile away but still bright. Santa squinted to get a better look. It was at least three times the size of his sleigh, perfectly round, and lined with windows.

“No aircraft on Earth looks like that! It’s from space!”

Leaving a trail of light, the saucer sped away—toward the city!

Santa’s beard ruffled as his face contorted with righteous anger befitting a saint. “You picked the wrong night to invade, sonny!”

He yanked the reins and banked the sleigh sideways, making a wide U-turn. “Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! On, Cupid! On, Donner and Blitzen!” The reindeers galloped, kicking at the air, their sleigh bells thundering as they fought exhaustion to accelerate. Santa could feel their fatigue through the reins. But the saucer came closer.

“Onwards!” Santa shouted.

The saucer darkened its lights and vanished into a mountainous cloud.

“Rudolph, full power!”

The lead reindeer’s nose glowed, shooting a red beam that cut through the cloud. The saucer was silhouetted inside.

“Faster, boys!” shouted Santa, whipping the reins.

They were a quarter-mile behind now, but the city was only fifty miles away. The cold wind bit Santa’s cheeks and stung his eyes. He whipped and shouted. They inched toward the saucer. Rudolph kept it bathed in red light. Santa’s teeth rattled as the magic surged through his sleigh. His old transport felt as though it would fall apart. He only whipped the reins more.

The reindeers’ painful groans mingled with the peels of their sleigh bells, but now the saucer was only a hundred feet away. Before Santa could think of what to do next, the spaceship dove. Only then did Santa look down and see the city’s suburbs below.

“Down, boys!” he shouted, whistling to signal a descend.

They arched downward, but the rhythm of their bells slowed. The saucer shrank before them. Panic seized Santa. The world can’t end on Christmas Eve!

He expected to see flashes of flame, but there was nothing. Then, to his shock, he saw the saucer had stopped below them and a few hundred feet above the houses. Ten seconds later, Santa leveled out his dead-tired reindeer and floated next to the spacecraft.

With his sleigh hovering, the old saint put down his reins and stood.

“Go back to your planet, invaders, or I’ll…sick my reindeer on you!”

All nine of them moaned.

Santa slapped his forehead.

An electronic hum.

Santa looked at the bottom of the saucer and saw white beams of light shoot out.  Momentarily, his chest tightened, but then he saw what looked like strange dolls and model ships floating down the beams like they were tall slides.

“Toys!” he exclaimed.

The playthings descended along the beams, phased into energy particles, and fell into houses’ chimneys or through skyscrapers’ windows.

Santa looked up at the saucer, which now glowed with warm multicolored lights.

He smiled. “You just wanted to help deliver toys.”

A white light danced across the saucer’s hull as if to say, “Yes.”

His frozen cheeks suddenly burned. Then he burst into a hearty, “Ho, ho, ho!” and his belly shook like a bowl full of jelly.

“Thank you! And a Merry Christmas to you!”

With that, the saucer’s teleporter beams ceased and it darted into the sky, vanishing in a twinkle.

Santa sat down and grabbed the reins. “I hope Misses Claus has cups of hot chocolate ready for all of us, boys! We need them!”

The reindeer grunted in agreement.

‘Hot and Twisted’ – Coming to a Theatre Near You!

Pizza Hut recently unveiled 17—yes, 17—new pizzas and several other new products in an effort to appeal to a younger demographic (and become the Subway of pizzerias?). I’ve tried several of these new products, and they are tasty. The problem is they have ridiculous names. Some sound like titles for cheesy workout videos, like the Skinny Beach, Skinny Club, and Skinny with a Kick. One of my favorites is the Buffalo State of Mind, which on their computer screens is shortened to “Buff State of Mind.” That sounds like an exercise video hosted by Arnold Schwarzenegger that will prepare you to go to the Skinny Beach and join the Skinny Club.

That, however, isn’t what I’m writing about today.

What follows is a transcript for a fictional ‘70s exploitation action film using the names of other new Pizza Hut products (they’ll be in bold). No joke. That’s how goofy these names sound.

Enjoy!

In a ‘hood where a restaurant doubles as a whorehouse, Pretzel Piggy, the fattest and tannest pimp in Harlem, gets rich forcing his girls cook meals and sell their bodies as dessert. Even the cops turn their backs because his women were sweeter than donuts.

Now three of his hottest hookers are fighting back!

Ginger Boom-Boom, the black babe with a shotgun!

Ginger: I’m gonna smack that fake bake offa Piggy’s face!

Sweet Sriracha Dynamite, the roller derby girl who loves pipebombs almost as much she does skates!

Dynamite: I’m a recipe for disaster!

Cherry Pepper Bombshell, the femme fatale who’ll seduce you and then stab you in the back—literally!

Cherry: For the last time, I use a knife, not cherry bombs!

Nothing can satisfy their hunger for justice. These sisters-in-arms won’t stop until they find Pretzel Piggy and blow his house down!

Revenge is a dish best served…HOT!

Schlock Films presents…Hot and Twisted!

Written and directed by Quintin Tarantino.

Coming soon to a theatre near you!

(And don’t miss the sequel—Meatbrawl!)

Teatime with Elopus (a GISHWHES story)

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Author’s note: If you’d been following my Facebook page (and if you haven’t, why not?), you’ll remember I was commissioned to write a 140-word short story for a friend participating in GISHWHES. Well, now that the contest is over, here’s the story! The requirement, besides the word limit, was that it had to involve Misha Collins, the Queen of England, and the Elopus (the mascot for GISHWHES). Enjoy!

Teatime with the Elopus

By Nathan Marchand

Misha Collins kicked open the door to the Queen of England’s chamber, cocking his shiny magic shotgun. The elderly Queen dropped her teacup in shock, as did the half-elephant, half-octopus creature sitting across from her.

“Never fear, Your Majesty! I’m here to kill that unholy abomination!” Misha said, aiming his shotgun at the creature.

“But you’re just an actor!” replied the Queen.

“I’m a real-life monster hunter. Where do you think the Supernatural writers get their ideas?”

“Enough! You’ll do no such thing! The Elopus is my friend!”

Misha stopped. “That…spawn of Cthulhu…is your friend?!”

“How dare you call him that!”

“My apologies, Majesty.”

“Not all strange creatures are soul-eating monsters. Such prejudice!”

The Elopus huffed in agreement.

“Now go before I feed you to him!”

“But you said—”

“Be gone!”

“Yes, Majesty!” Misha said, stumbling out the door.

‘Pizza and a Psychic’ by Nathan Marchand

Author’s Intro: No new blog post this week, but I do have a new story to share. It’s a flash fiction prompted by an assignment in my local writers’ group to write about E.S.P. The following story is loosely based on my own life. (I’ll leave it up to you to decide which parts are “true”). 😛 Enjoy!

Pizza and a Psychic

By Nathan Marchand

            Like Garfield, I hate Mondays. Nothing happens, especially at Pizza Barn, and when you’re a delivery driver, that means no tip money and, worse yet, unending boredom. I spend my time folding boxes and oiling pans. Mundane. Menial. Mind-numbing. There’s just one problem with that: I churn out crazy ideas when I’m bored. Like answering customers’ phone calls with obviously phony names. One time on Independence Day, I answered the phone saying I was George Washington. I was disappointed the customer didn’t notice.

As I was folding what seemed like my thousandth box, the phone rang. I jogged over since no one else liked answering phones. The customer’s name and phone number flashed up on the computer screen. I pressed my thumb on the fingerprint scanner and picked up the phone.

“Thank you for calling Pizza Barn. This is Joey. How may I help you?” I droned reflexively, trying to smile (my manager says customers can “hear a smile” on the phone).

“I’d like to place an order for pick-up,” replied the woman on the phone.

Darnit. Not a delivery! I thought.

I tapped the name flashing on the screen and brought up the customer’s info.

“Is this for Smith?” I asked.

A brief pause. “Yes,” said the customer, surprised.

“Is your address 234 Main Street?”

“Yes. How did you know that?”

My boredom suddenly seized my mouth. I can’t be held responsible for what I said next.

“I’m psychic.”

“Really?”

“Yes.”

Another pause. “What do I want to order?”

I figured I’d take a shot in the dark, get it wrong, and explain we have caller ID. We’d both have a good laugh, and then I’d take her order.

So, I said, “A large pepperoni pizza and an order of breadsticks with cheese.” That’s about as bland and generic an order you can get—and I learned I was dealing with an equally bland and generic customer!

“That’s right! Oh, my gosh!”

I raised my eyebrows. Talk about luck, I thought.

Ms. Smith kept raving about my E.S.P. as I keyed in her order. After a minute or so, I read back her order and gave her a total. But instead of saying goodbye, she asked me another question.

“Can you tell me my fortune? What will happen to me tonight?”

I rolled my eyes. I wanted to tell her the truth, but she sounded so earnest, I decided to humor her.

“You’ll meet the man of your dreams and win five-hundred dollars in the state lottery.”

Ms. Smith squealed. “I’ll pick up a ticket on my way to the concert tonight! Thank you!” With that, she hung up.

I didn’t think much of it the rest of the evening.

The next day, I was equally as bored folding boxes when the phone rang again. I reflexively answered, not looking at the computer screen.

“Thank you for calling Pizza Barn. This is Joey. How may I help you?”

“Joey! Thanks for answering. You were right!”

“What?!”

I looked at the screen—it was Ms. Smith.

“I won five-hundred dollars and snagged a boyfriend last night at the concert!”

“That’s…great, Miss Smith….” What else could I say?

“I told him about you, and he asked me to call you for advice before he went to the horse races today.”

“Well, um…”

Love and Pac-Man

Love and Pac-Man
By Nathan Marchand

“I don’t wanna be here, Joey!” cried my blonde eight-year-old sister, Kay. “I wanna ride the Wild Mouse!”

I tightened my grip on her tiny hand as we walked to Adventureland’s arcade, Tilt. The stares we were getting from parents and their kids were palpable. I smiled awkwardly at some passersby and then turned my attention to Kay. “Don’t worry. We’ll ride it soon. I just want to play some of the games in here, okay? I promise I’ll buy you a stuffed Black Beauty with the tickets I win.”

“Really?”

“Yes.”

“Pinky swear!” My sister held up her mouse-tail of a pinky.

I wrapped my, by comparison, python-like pinky around hers and swore my oath.

Instantly, Kay smiled, and said, “Okay!” With that, she released my hand and ran through the door into Tilt.

I shook my head and sighed. Maybe I was better off spending my Friday night working on my old laptop or reading a C.S. Lewis book. But someone has to watch her while Mom and Dad are out on their “date night.” That thought felt like a knife through the heart. I wish I had a date tonight. I harrumphed. At least in our tiny rural town we have a half-decent little theme park to go to. I can enjoy a bit of the hot weather this summer before I go back to college.

I pushed open the door and was greeted by a rainbow of flashing neon signs, the smell of pizza, the screaming laughter of children, musty air, and the cacophony of Donkey Kong, Street Fighter, and Mario Bros. Shouting over it was the song “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey, which was blaring from the jukebox. It brought back happy childhood memories.

“Hi-ho, Silver, away!”

I looked to my right and saw a giggling Kay straddling a Lone Ranger-themed coin-operated horse ride sitting next to a Pac-Man machine.

“How’d you get that to work?” I asked.

“I found a quarter on the floor,” replied Kay, smiling coyly.

I rolled my eyes. A few seconds later, the horse stopped, and I lifted Kay off “Silver” and onto the floor. I crouched to make eye contact. “What poor boy did you charm into giving you his hard-earned money?”

Kay hung her head and wrung her hands, wearing her trademark “pouty face.”

“Spit it out, Sissy.”

Hesitantly, she pointed behind me and said, “That one.”

I looked over my shoulder. There, standing between an animatronic Abraham Lincoln and a Gunpowder arcade machine was a little brown-haired boy about her age wearing a Quickdraw McGraw T-shirt—and he was holding the hand of Sue Preor!

I gulped. My sister had just swindled money from my high school crush’s little brother!

Bow to Your Sensei!

The wind whipped through the towering trees as Jason Whiteheart parried the sword strikes flying at him from all directions. Clanging steel echoed in his ears as he dodged and deflected blow after blow from Sensei, the giant talking tree he called “teacher.”

“I’m too hot to handle!” taunted Jason, nearly cutting Sensei’s sword from his branch.

Sensei’s wooden face remained, well, wooden.

Jason parried a big swing from Sensei, spinning like a tornado, his body preparing for the finishing blow—only to find Sensei’s other sword at his throat.

“Defeated!” shouted Sensei.

“What?!” exclaimed Jason. “You cheater!”

SMACK! Jason felt the sting of one of Sensei’s switch-like branches on the back of his head.

“I wish you wouldn’t do that,” said Jason rubbing his head.

“Then bow to your Sensei!”

What a jerk! thought Jason as he dropped to his knees.

“Jason, you were ostracized from the Ninjas and abandoned. You would have been doomed if I hadn’t saved you. For that, you will bow to your Sensei!

Jason pointed accusingly only to have his hand slapped by Sensei’s branch. “Oh yeah?! Well… you…” He sighed disappointedly, knowing he had no retort.

“You must be prepared for an attack from anywhere, anytime. For all you know, your enemy could have a weapon in his…” Sensei paused, smiling euphorically. “Mmm, cupcakes.”

“Huh?”

“‘Huh?’ nothing!” snapped Sensei, quickly posing in a fighting stance, swords in braches. “Your turn!”

Jason jumped to his feet, his own sword at the ready. “What must I do to win the fight this time, Sensei?”

“Squeeze me! No, bite me!” exclaimed Sensei.

“Uh-huh…” said Jason, surprised and yet not. His tone alone shouted, “Do I look like a beaver?” This is not going to end well, he thought.

“All right,” said Sensei, detecting Jason’s disinterest. “Lick me instead.”

Jason harrumphed, rolling his eyes, and lowered his sword. “No!”

SMACK! That sting nearly sent Jason tumbling onto his sword.

“Don’t make me mad!”

Blasted bark-head, thought Jason. He was glad Sensei wasn’t telepathic.

Jason raised his sword and pulled back to strike—

ZAP!

All Our Passions

All Our Passions
By Nathan Marchand

“I’m still here, my darling. I just dozed off a little.”

“Then maybe you should take a break. You’ve been there for hours.”

“Oh, hello nurse. I didn’t hear you come in.”

“I moonlight as a ninja.”

“Heh-heh. No, I can’t leave my Joseph. I want to be the first person he sees when he wakes up from this coma.”

“How romantic! I hope he appreciates having such a vigilant wife.”

“Trust me, he does.”

“Just don’t squeeze his hand too hard. I’d hate to put it in a caste after he wakes up.”

“I think he’ll be fine. He has strong hands.”

“I’ll go get you some coffee.”

“Thank you.”

“It’s me, your blonde goddess Mercedes, my love. I’m the only one here now. I know that Corvette was your favorite car, but it was totaled in your accident. The police are still trying to figure out what caused it. I know you’d never do anything to wreck it. You loved it almost as much as you loved me. I promise Daddy will buy you a new one when—”

“Get away from him!”

“Jeffrey! What’s wrong with you?”

“Get away from my twin brother, dirty whore!”

“How dare you barge in and talk to me like that! I’m his wife!”

“Stop lying! I know about your plot.”

“What plot?”

“Don’t play innocent with me! The man lying on that bed isn’t Joseph—I’m Joseph!

“You’re insane!”

“Am I?”

“Yes. You were always jealous I married your brother and not you.”

“You drugged me at our wedding reception, and then had my twin brother take my place.”

“I’d never do such a thing!”

“You treacherous slut! I know Jeffrey stole you from me and the two of you conspired to have him take my place and have me put away in some loony bin.”

“I love him, Jeffrey. I’d—”

“STOP CALLING ME THAT! I’M JOSEPH! I’M THE MAN YOU MARRIED!”

“No, you’re not! The man I married is lying there after nearly dying in a car accident.”

“Haha. Who do you think caused it?”

“What?”

“I cut the car’s break line so it’d look like an accident. If I couldn’t have you, neither would he!”

“You bastard!  I’m calling the nurse.”

“No, you won’t!”

“Let go of me!”

“Shut up, bitch!”

“Ahh! Ow!”

“Did you like having sense smacked into you?”

“Someone will hear this and call security!”

“Not with this chair barricading the door. Even then, it’s your word against mine.”

“Idiot! Joseph, Jeffrey, whoever is in that bed may be in a coma, but he’s heard everything. He’ll know what you did and tell everyone!”

“Not if I can help it.”

“Don’t you touch him!”

“Out of my way!”

“Ahhh!”

“Once I pull this plug, I’ll finish what I started.”

“No! Please—”

BEEEEEEP!

***

Jeffrey shot from his bed, gasping.

“Are you okay, Jeffrey?” asked his wife, who was sitting in bed next to him. “You’re as pale as a ghost and sweating like a pig.”

“Mercedes…I…”

“Was it Jeffrey or Joseph who pulled the plug?” interrupted a TV announcer. “Did Mercedes really plot to run away with her husband’s brother? Find out tomorrow on All Our Passions.”

“It’s weird watching this show because two characters have the same names as us.”

“What are you watching?”

“I couldn’t sleep, so I turned on the cable TV. It was tuned to the Soap Opera Network. I’m sorry if it woke you. I thought I’d turned it down enough. I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay. Trust me.”

“Did you have a nightmare?”

“No, but I wish I had.”