“You know,” said Arthur, “it’s at times like this, when I’m trapped in a Vogon airlock with a man from Betelgeuse, and about to die of asphyxiation in deep space that I really wish I’d listened to what my mother told me when I was young.”
If you love satire and haven’t tested the Hitchhiker‘s trilogy of five books, Douglas Adams would admit you’re not missing much. Of course, he didn’t hike across Preliumtarn to within view of the Quentulus Quazgar Mountains in order to learn who this week’s hilarious winner is.
And that is:
Beware, the Vogon or Swans die a ghastly death Dedicated to Paula Nancy Millstone Jennings of Greenbridge, Essex
Resistance is useless,
My love will always transpire,
It will grow mold, as does
My unwashed towel,
Which travels in the vicinity of my armpit,
Where a small lump of green putty resides.
Resistance is useless but
Flesh may rot, flesh may drop off
The stench may be unbelievably bad but
I will dispel it and find a stick and
Use my towel as a slingshot.
Resistance is useless,
Life, don’t talk to me about life.
The swan died a graceful death
But my towel was unfortunate,
It became stained with blood
Beware the VOGONS.
Congratulations, Deb! You made me laugh the most, and are therefore the funniest writer of the week!
I LOVED reading through the entries this week. Anticipation of reading them kept me going throughout a busy week, and you did not disappoint. I chose Deb’s for the single reason that hers made me laugh aloud! -which I did from title to green putty to …dying swan?
That’s not saying the others wouldn’t make a Vogon leap from an airlock. See for yourself:
Unquestionable Truth Leading to Conclusions That are Edifying, Beneficial and Nice
I sit here in the warm mud and my legs feel comfortable for now but I wonder how long it will last
Afternoons begin as mornings
I could get out of this situation if I had an infinite improbability drive.
It sucks that that’s something I don’t have.
Oh no, it might rain
I guess I will just sit here-
Yeah, I just threw that number in because it’s in a book somewhere
Beautiful poetry is something that speaks to the soul.
We are only empty when there are problems with the mechanical apparatuses in our space ships/
So long, and thanks for all the fish
Did you think I was done
I’m not done
I could understand why you would think I was done with a line like “so long, and thanks for all the fish.”
But I’m not done
I will continue reciting this poetry because it is edifying and beautiful
Let us zoom across the Galaxy
Oh yeah, I forgot
I’m laying down in the mud
It’s the thought that counts
It doesn’t necessarily count in a literal way of speaking
Made a vast
Fiord for Ford,
Said it meant
He’d never be ignored.
Lost his second head
Betting a million
That something so baroque
Had to be a crock
Of shit, said Trillium.
Those from Betelgeuse
Can be so obtuse
When buying rock formations;
And even the infinitely improbable
Will not turn something horribable
Into the jewel of nations.
As Marvin, when they asked,
Said, ‘I really can’t be arsed,
‘To correct this stupid defect.’
‘It is obviously so plain,’
When you think about his name,
‘He’s not perfect but a Prefect.’
Irate ratepayer Arthur Dent was confoundedly annoyed
To find his house and home planet completely destroyed,
Luckily the one poor excuse of a man Arthur had befriended
Was the perfect guy to accompany him when his world ended.
Ford Prefect was Arthur’s odd friends imperfect name-
A moniker once written oft on many an insurance claim-
Art never imagined his friend to be a bona fide illegal alien;
Born somewhere near Betelgeuse, not remotely mammalian.
Ford, once a wanderin’ scribe before this gig started to unravel
Knew his tenure on Earth was terminating, it’s nigh time to travel.
Ford had an inkling about this harmless planet he was stuck on,
That in a twinkling Arthur would ask ‘where on Earth, has it gone?’
Pangalactic Developers Inc saw Earth as an impediment to progress,
In their Universal view what harm is there in one itty-bitty bit of dirt less?
Ford, our hapless intergalactic hitchhiker, earthbound and lost
In desperation stuck out a digital thumb, plus all fingers crossed,
Finding on wakening they had been both uplifted and stown away
While all Arthurs worldly goods had been spectacularly blown away.
Now all Arthur possessed was his towel slippers and tatty bath robe,
Scant protection for a mere human going up against an alien probe.
(Hmm, barely made it past chapter one;
Guess Doug’s tale- and mine- is done,
For to 250 words I’ve been constrained;
Read Doug’s book and be better entertained.)
Maroon forms, no red, no salmon you nitwit.
Get in line again, try it all, dash it all
I said TRIPLICATE!
A man of many faces
I stare out the starboard portal and sigh
So all I can think of is the reason why:
Not one jot more, I decry.
Thank you all.
Deb: Here’s a new badge as proof of your hilarious skills:
Welcome to the Weekly Hilarity Contest! My friend Down Under, Debbie Whittam, reminded me that Monday is Towel Day!!!!
For those poor souls who may be uninformed, Towel Day is in homage to the late Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and many other satirical novels. I LOVE Adams. The Terrible Poetry Contest was inspired, in part, by his reference to Vogons and bad poetry, and my blog was originally named A Wife, My Verse, and Every Little Thing.
In reference to Adams and Towel Day and to commemorate my last weekly contest before taking a break (more on that later), here are the specifics:
“…[T]here really is no valid excuse for an able-bodied person going out of his head from being bewildered in the big woods so long as he has a gun and ammunition, or even a few dry matches and a jackknife,” says Horace Kephart, a man who left his wife and six children to live off the land very unlike Thoreau.
Who took this quote and this spirit and made me laugh the most?
The big woods can play with your mind. It’s extraordinary how exponentially larger a bear’s mass increases when it’s charging your way. But keeping a cool head, knowing we were adequately equipped: I have a good gun; what’s more, I have the ammo! As backup, I have the good sense to hand the wife the jack-knife and a box of matches; there were the potatoes to peel and she might get a fire going for the pot, and I don’t think she’s noticed the bear yet. You can’t outrun a bear, they said, but you can always get remarried.
Congratulations, Ian! You are the funniest writer of the week!
I’ll admit I didn’t crack up as much as I did for the last two contests, but that’s more a result of Kephart and his writing than the talent of those who entered. I did a bit of eenie-meenie-miney with my favorites and decided Ian’s won for best answering the prompt and best making the reader laugh guiltily.
When I jack-knifed my camper trailer in a place where even the most desperate dingo has never ventured, my first instinct was to adopt the foetal position.
Cramp eventually encouraged me to survey the damage. Alas my trusty Beetle and my 6 metre fully loaded camper had merged as one, never the twain to separate.
Recalling the immortal words of Horace, I rummaged through the wreckage until I found my only ‘gun’, complete with ammunition, and felt comforted by the fact that I had a staple diet at hand.
I also found dry matches and after I’d assembled enough twigs and branches, I looked around for somewhere to strike a match on. I decided the rough canvas on the trailer would be perfect and proceeded to experiment. Unfortunately, I had failed to note that the jack-knifing had ruptured my fuel tank.
When the Country Fire Service issued me with a coat that tied at the back to keep me warm and choppered me out to answer some pointed questions about the loss of some million hectares of virgin state forest, I couldn’t help but think of those poor souls in quarantine who would give anything to be me right now.
Martin was a savvy bloke,
He worked hard and drank much beer.
He didn’t talk too much,
And rather liked Shakespeare.
One warm day he decided,
To go into the woods for a walk.
He didn’t get to far though
For a voice began to talk.
It told him to survive,
He would require many things.
A gun, ammunition, matches and a jackknife,
Was what he should bring.
Dutifully Martin did comply,
And set out singing his merry song,
Unfortunately the noise drowned out the sound,
Of the bear which just happened to come rushing along.
Jack the Lad could barely wait to turn twenty-one,
To cast his vote, to drive, drink (legal-like) and tote a gun,
To pick the biggest baddest gun you’ve ever seen,
To fill the part, just like in that Soldier of Fortune magazine.
Off out to the woods he went to bag him a bear,
Or a boar, a duck, a deer, doe or buck, Jack didn’t care ,
Through thicket underbrush and bosk Jack barged,
In his blundering search only his smart phone would be discharged.
As the hot autumnal sun started to wane
Our huntsman looked for any game, in vain,
In his ceaseless aim he wouldn’t couldn’t stop-
Still as graceless as a bull in a china shop.
There wasn’t a critter to be found for miles around
As he trampled his way through his unhappy hunting ground,
Finding fording a stream’s done at a hunter’s peril-
A cruel cool baptism resulting in splintered stock and bent barrel.
So, cold, wet, lost in the woods as it grows dark,
Sat nav and phone flat, but Jack’s quite the bright spark,
His safety match strikes, the dry leaves catch fire!
Remains to be seen if anyone finds Jacks funeral pyre.
A mouse took a stroll through a deep dark wood
Unfortunately Bear Grylls was in the neighbourhood
Eating a mouse is great television, so watch for the trap
The mouse is caught, consumed in one, the scene is a wrap
Now time for Bear to light a fire with only a wet leaf and knife
Then tell a story about how he is missing a comfy bed and wife
Time to build a shelter from just some twigs and his underpants
Now Bear shows how to clean his teeth using some angry army ants
Look to camera and announce its time to hunker down for the cold night
Then jump in the car, head to the warm hotel and really satisfy that appetite.
“…[T]here really is no valid excuse for an able-bodied person going out
of his head from being bewildered in the big woods so long as he has a
gun and ammunition, or even a few dry matches and a jackknife.” This was the daily stated philosophy of Junior Beets, a devil may care recluse in the backwoods of Utopia.
Junior was getting tired of the backpackers traveling more frequently around his self proclaimed property.
Of course Junior had no rights concerning the surroundings of his area which was a world designed park in 2025.
Utopia was designed by the desperate survivors of the corona virus that wiped out ninety percent of the world population by 2023.
Junior Beets decided guns would ensure his privacy and started hoarding them in 2020.
Charli Mills, of the free writing community Carrot Ranch, has been posting three-sentence story prompts on the Ranch’s Facebook page using Story Cubes. This last Friday, she used Story Sticks. I have something like that, I thought, recalling a writing prompts book I picked up on discount.
…Hours later, I emerged from my library without the book but with a new idea: a random sentence from an interesting (seemingly random) book from my collection.
Horace Kephart (1862-1931) is the survivalist savvy of Robinson Crusoe, the precise details of an Aspie, and the tact of Donald Trump (or, closer to his time, Andrew Jackson).
Your writing prompt?
“…[T]here really is no valid excuse for an able-bodied person going out of his head from being bewildered in the big woods so long as he has a gun and ammunition, or even a few dry matches and a jackknife.”
Use it or be inspired by it to write a funny SHORT story.
Please keep your response to 200 words or fewer.
Remember: make me laugh. I can’t see how you’d go this route, but please also keep things clean.
You have till 8:00 a.m. MDT next Friday (May 22) to enter.
Use the form below if you want. For a more social experience, include your entry or a link to it in the comments. Please let me know if your pingback or entry do not show up within a day.
This week’s assignment was to caption the following photo:
Who came up with the funniest idea?
“As a Christmas gimmick the chorus of the constipated electrical outlets did not bring many customers to the hardware store…”
Congratulations, Charlescot! You made me laugh the most, and are therefore the funniest writer of the week!
I’ll admit: I laughed at almost all of the captions you all came up with. As a judge of winner, however, Charles’ made me laugh out loud! I found others’ puns and wordplays fun and clever; I think the winner simply struck me in just the right funny bone.
If you want a good laugh or several, read the rest:
“Come on, guys, concentrate! Harness the force and break free of these shackles!”
“Hey Joe, who’s the new neighbour?”
“Old flat face here? No price tag see, ain’t no one taking him to the checkout any time soon.”
“Hey, this guy says he’s ‘Tamper Resistant’.”
“Not judging by his expression, he ain’t.”
“This year’s emoji pose contest featured last year’s losers vainly trying to break the internet.”
When George Conduit accidentally electrocuted himself while trying to fix a malfunctioning depilator for Norma Primate, his overly hirsute podiatrist, he didn’t enter the Hereafter with any particular expectations. As a practicing Nano-Buddhist, he wondered if the stories of reincarnation were true and speculated, without pinning too much hope on it, that maybe an upgrade to something, if not royal then at least statesmanlike might suit him.
The initial segregation of that day’s deceased into religions took place quite quickly due, he later heard to a previous unseemly debate on the merits of purgatory as an alternative to soul based exfoliation as advocated by Polynesian Micro-Daubists. After that, to his slight surprise there was a sub-segregation into modes of demise. He managed to catch a quick word with a harassed looking official, better to understand the reasoning.
‘It’s all about Fate and Choice. We did a survey last year and found most Buddhists were happy if they got there first choice of reincarnation but if that wasn’t available they struggled with how to choose an alternative. We piloted a few schemes and found that if people accepted their Fate, which 90% did, they were happy with their demise and options based around that.’
‘How does that work?’
‘Well, dying in hospital, and reincarnation in a caring environment makes sense. A car accident and maybe you’ll see an opportunity in garage work or a motor dealership perhaps.’
‘What about…?’ But George was waved quiet and told to wait for the counsellor.
Time oozes rather than passes in the Hereafter and so George watched the minutes multiply and disperse like a slow firework.
The speaker shimmered but that was the only way he or she – that wasn’t clear either – differed from your average service flunky. They wore a rather taut looking onesie which they fiddled with in a way George would once have found distracting but now seemed just part of the backdrop to his new existence.
‘Right well, I’ll get straight to it. As a Nano-Buddhist and given the surge in demises your options have narrowed somewhat.’
‘And given you acceptance that small is best…’
‘That’s what Nanoists believe…’
‘…you have three choices….’
George waited. The speaker stared at their clipboard, essayed what might have been a frown but could have been some involuntary facial origami and fiddled with their earpiece. They spoke into their lapel. ‘Yes, look, can I check the options for case 2427 of 20? Conduit, yes?’
They shimmered at George. ‘Won’t be a tick. It’s… Yes? You sure? They’re all rather… you know. Inanimate.’
There was a drifting sense of space seeping away and the speaker coughed and addressed George. ‘Three choices. A ceiling light fitting which gives spectacular views and guarantees some warmth. A fusebox which puts you at the centre of the ring main. Or a three pin plug socket.’
‘They all sound okay.’
The speaker seemed surprised at George’s apparent compliance. ‘You don’t mind? Most seek something a touch more flesh and blood.’
‘Not really,’ said George. ‘It’ll be change.’
‘I rather thought I’d like to be a statesman but if that’s not possible at least this way I’ll be in a position of power. The socket, I think.’
“The shock and horror as their mother tries to make the sparks fly between herself and every random passerby…”
“Oh no, did you see the size of that plug!!!”
The council cut the trees down in our road so I sent a message asking where my tits were going to sit.
I had a very nice response and a few days later found a hawthorne tree in a bucket by our door with the council’s compliments.
My shop is called The Birds, partly because it’s unsettling Hitchcockian overtones amuse me but mostly because I only sell birds. Customers flock to my avianorium, where only the best of the nest will do, so that they can pin a feather in their cap and cock a snoot at less discerning buyers. One day, a preening peacock of the human variety entered my shop and looked down his not inconsiderable beak at various of my wing-ed wonders and trilled thus:
‘I had hoped to find feathered treasure but, alas, I feel let down. Nevertheless, I will take that vaguely presentable kookaburra to give my friends a laugh.’
‘$500, cage included.’
‘Oh, you are a hoot. $200 is my best and final offer.’
Taking my silence as lack of consent, he turned theatrically and made for the door, before pausing and turning.
The birds sleep late into the morning these days and then cry out for brunch. And then, after a wholesome meal, they chirp contently with bulging bellies. We listen to this strange sonata of fulfilment at noon and wonder if our lives have turned upside down. Then we see that we’re wearing masks and sanitizing the doorknobs and realize that we are indeed walking on fours while the birds enjoy our privileges.
I’m sure, at first, the sight of deserted lanes and unfrequented alleyways shocked the birds. They must have readied themselves as usual for the pollution, the noise of traffic and construction, and the voyeur who spies on them from his rooftop. They must have looked forward to the usual cacophony of plates and curses at eight in the morning. But I look at them now and understand that they’ve changed their entire rhythm.
They lounge around at two, bathing in the green and insolently chirp when they spot a nervous gas mask-wearing, modern Rambo, scuttling like a cockroach to collect his supplies. They’ve grown fat and love the languor of the afternoon, and mockingly sing when they spot the voyeur – without his camera and bizarre instruments – sitting in the confines of his bedroom, thereby giving him a taste of his own medicine. They are also wise enough to stay away from mad protestors who selfishly demand rights, and Presidential tweets because they’re content with their tweets which aren’t inspired by the need to brag or compete or present an image.
I’ve heard a story about a bird who flew. I don’t know anything about that. However, as I was driving down a back road the other a barely distinguishable animal scurrying across it forced me to come to a complete stop in order to avoid hitting it. Upon closer examination I realized what kind of animal it was. I do not know why the chicken crossed the road, but I can wholeheartedly assure you that it did.
I see the ranks of homing pigeons swoop and soar,
There’s gotta be a flocking thousand of ’em or more,
Wheeling o’erhead, hovering high above the low building I let,
Leasing the ‘penthouse’ out too cheap is one deep abiding regret.
I was glad to sign the lease for that seedy top floor-
A two-year ironclad deal’s what a landlord prays for,
But concern is building due to his installing a pigeon coop aloft,
It’s not the constant cooing from on high, more the elevated waft.
The whirring of the wings above is impossible to ignore,
The sourness of signing off on a bad deal sticks in my craw,
As birds keep landing on my landing my dim view’s turning dark,
Its not all their swooping but their pooping that’s leaving its mark.
Jim Pale stood back. This was a joke. Some teen’s trick. Or one of those TV shows making a fool of him.
‘I’m neither a trick nor spoof TV.’ The crow sounded quite put out.
‘Did you read my mind?’
‘More your expression. It helps us survive to know what predators think.’
‘I’m not a predator.’
‘Not now you’ve got Lidl and a taste for cottage pie, but it’s not that long ago you ate my ancestors. A millennium is nothing in the life of a crow.’
‘You’re not one thousand years old.’
The crow grunted. ‘All I’m saying is I have to be desperate to speak to a human.’
Jim stepped back. ‘Why aren’t you flying?’
The crow sighed. ‘At bloody last. The “why” question.’
‘Look. If you want help, sarcasm is hardly going to encourage it.’
‘It’s in the name, moron. “crow”. It’s what we do. We could have been called sneers or eye-rolls but we stuck with crow as the name. It’s suggestive of superiority.’
Jim began to turn away.
‘Oh all right. I’m sorry. Okay? Does that make it better? You’re the dominant bloody species and I’m a sodding bird yet your skin is as thin as an anaemic slug.’
Jim coloured. ‘Sorry. How come you’re…? Actually, what are you doing? Hovering? Floating?’
‘I’m stuck. Frozen. Rendered immobile.’
‘Does that happen often?’
‘Really? You need to ask that? Geez, are you really as stupid as you look?’
‘No, hang on.’
‘Why should I? You’re a foul-mouthed…’
‘Are you saying I look like a chicken?’
‘Now who’s a numpty? Foul, with a “u”.’
‘It was a joke? Of course I don’t have a chicken’s mouth.’
Jim checked his watch. ‘I need to get on.’
‘All right. Bloody hell. Look, one minute I’m swooping down for that burger crust there, the next I’m here, in mid-beat like one of those ridiculous porcelain ducks you love to stick above your fireplaces.’
‘No one has flying ducks anymore.’
‘You looked in number seventy-two recently? She even has antimacassars. Can we stop this redundant intimacy? You said you were busy. Just see what’s stopping me flying, will you?’
Jim stepped forward. He looked around the suspended crow. ‘It looks like you have two strings holding you in place.’
Jim peered hard. ‘Actually there are more than two.’
‘Is it some sort of net?’
‘Noooo, more like puppet strings.’
‘I’m no one’s bloody puppet.’
Jim reached up and tugged at one. The crow’s left wing beat slowly.
‘Hey, stop that! Bloody cheek.’
‘You’re trussed up like a ch…’
‘Don’t say it. Don’t you dare say it! Just cut me down and I’ll be on my way.’
‘How do I know I should? I mean I don’t know who you belong to, do I?’
‘Oh that’s great. I’ve just undermined your whole belief system by talking and showing you I can mind-read…’
‘Stop bloody quibbling. And now you question if I’m someone’s pet.’
Jim nodded. ‘Yes. Fair point.’ He reached up and touched the nearest wing.
The crow jerked away. ‘That tickles. Be firm, will you?’
‘You are touchy, aren’t you?’
‘Do you really need an answer to that?’
‘No, I suppose not. Here,’ he unhooked a string. Then another. After less than a minute the crow stood by Jim’s feet. ‘Better?’
‘I just want to know who did this. Bloody nerve. Right. I’d better be off.’ The crow turned and stretched its wings.
Jim said, ‘Are you going to say thank you or anything? Show your appreciation?’
The crow twisted its head and held Jim’s gaze for a moment. Then he took to the air and flew in a wide arc. As his flight path crossed where Jim stood he emptied his bowels in a white stream of avian faeces that hit Jim slap on the forehead.
Jim staggered back, stunned. ‘What was that for?’
The crow curved away cackling. ‘I thought you lot considered that to be lucky? Well, be lucky, Jim Pale. I hope it’ll mean you’ll have something to crow about.’
Blimey what are those birds doing
Oh it’s such seedy x-rated viewing
Really, on our back garden fence as well
Is it not behaviour best saved for a seedy motel
Surely they are spoiling our gorgeous farmland view
Interrupting our peaceful world with something so taboo
Spending every day exchanging birdie pleasantries
Always trying to make so many more feathered babies
Fooling around as if there is no tomorrow
Oh having such fun and never showing any sorrow
One overriding thought about those feathered huggers
Lashings of rummy pumpy, those lucky little buggers
Some birds we exalt, poeticize their flight
Romanticize both hawk and dove
Recognize in each their might
See in them what we most love.
Feathered birds with mythos, we heartily imbue
But hungry folk give a flying f***
When flights of fancy wheel towards food
Which fowl they might come to pluck.
Any bird, perched ‘pon the plate
In that bald, unfeathered state
In such a foul state we find ourselves
All together all alone
Even those with well stocked shelves
Might choke on eagle bones.
A bird flew in my mouth.
I gulped in horror.
If it were a mozzie,
But a bird
A wattlebird at that.
It panicked in the echo chamber of my mouth.
I wrestled it with both hands
Trying to pry it loose.
Suddenly it plopped out like a fish.
It staggered in the air.
I staggered along the path.
A bird in the mouth is worth two in the bush.
My friend quipped.
So how was it? He asked.
Surreal, I clucked. Surreal
A bird shat on our window pane,
Freshly washed, it took careful aim,
Streaking down the shiny glass
Jettisoned from its feathered a**,
Hubs was not impressed at all
The bloody thing having such gall,
‘Next time’, he said, ‘I’ll see you shot
As you’ll fit nicely in the pot!’
Thank you for entering!! Come back tomorrow for next week’s prompt. I intend to try a caption contest for that one.
Ellen: Here’s my brand-new badge you can post as the winner:
Farewell, farewell, to our old friend, the Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest! You had a good run. You may have given someone a good run… Once the world became as jaded and grim as my mind-corners, I decided the sarcasm of terribility was not the best approach. Instead, I opted for a new angle: humor.
-Not that our terrible poems weren’t funny. This is just an acknowledgement that happiness and laughter are the direction we wish to intentionally head.
Write a short story, poem, song, or really long sentence about Birds.
Don’t make it too long. We’ve got real life to get back to.
The goal is to make me, the judge LAUGH ALOUD. Whoever tickles my funny bone the best will be crowned champion.
As a tip, I generally think and live in a G-rated world. I don’t find crude or profane things very humorous.
You have till 10:00 a.m. MDT next Friday (May 8) to enter.
Use the form, below, if you want. Leave a comment if you roll that way. Definitely leave a comment if your pingback doesn’t show up in a day or your entry doesn’t get listed when the contest is over -seriously, I just went back through my e-mails and found a few, poor, terrible poems lost in the shuffle.