Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Fork People

Copyright: Marie Gail Stratford

"Who were the fork people?" I asked my friend Jeff as we sat in the cafeteria where he works.

"An ancient middle Eastern people. They were advanced in some respects; used tools, built cities, had an extensive language."

"Why are they called the fork people?"

"It's a euphemism.  Their language contained some very crude expressions.  Fork, for example, is a euphemism for ...."

"I got it!"

"Also, they are sometimes called the ship people, the bellship people, and .... 

"I got it, I got it!  But what finally became of the fork people?"

"They evolved into stand-up comics on HBO."


Not that there aren't some comics I really like on HBO, but there are a few who totally overuse the word "fork" to the point where it's annoying and unfunny. That's something you'll never find among the souls of propriety that make up the Friday Fictioneers.

If you want to check out the terrific PG-rated writing of the Fictioneers, click here.  If you want to check out the one filthy dirty one, click here.

Just funnin' you.  

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Trouble with Time Travel

It all started when a man named Simpkin invented Time Travel.  Of course all of you know his name by now.

It seemed like a good idea.  Display your gall by conquering Gaul.  Sail the ocean blue in 1492. Get your kicks in 1776.   

But at that time neither Simpkin nor anybody else could anticipate the Trouble with Time Travel. To transport oneself into the past, precision is unnecessary. It doesn't matter if you land in the Ottoman Empire at 3:00 in the afternoon or 1:15 in the morning or even if you're late for the Caliphate by a couple hundred years or so. 

But if you're returning from the French Revolution and you don't return to the split second you left, another you is already there. And that leads to the embarrassing situation of two  of you with the same job,  same house, and same wife, who is going to become very sore very quickly.  And once you miss your precise moment of return, every you in every time track in all of time is going to follow you to the split second where you are.

When the first time traveling Simpkin landed a bit early, there were suddenly two Simpkins. They laughed alike, they walked alike, at times they even talked alike, but nobody lost their mind until the third Simpkin arrived.   Then another Simpkin arrived, and another, and another, and another. Soon they formed a softball team. 

Meanwhile Mrs. Simpkin was hospitalized, briefly hid out in a convent, and finally her vagina gyrated into outer space.

Simpkin began arriving with dizzying rapidity. Everyone had Simpin for a neighbor.   Everyone had Simpkin for a rabbi. Everyone had Simpkin as best man at their wedding and everyone had Simpkin as either the bride or the groom at their wedding and eventually everyone had Simpkin as both.

In the World Series that year it was a bases clearing home run by Simpkin in the bottom of the ninth that gave the St. Simpkin Cardinals a 4-2 Series win over the San Simpkin Giants, resulting in the sacking of San Simpkin Skipper Simpkin to be replaced later than year by Simpkin. 

In that same year, Simpkin won the Oscar for Best Actor, Simpkin won for Best Supporting Actor (in the same film), Best Film was "12 Years a Simpkin," and Simpkin proved to be the best Oscar host since Billy Crystal, ensuring that Simpkin would host the Oscars every year come Simpkin Time (formerly March).

In Washington, gridlock prevailed despite the fact that every elected official in government was Simpkin.   On Fox News Simpkin lambasted President Simpkin over Benghazi. At least some things hadn't changed.

Meanwhile we remaining non-Simpkins began to be pushed to the outer fringes of society, then to cantons scattered throughout the world.   As our food supplies dwindled  we turned to cannibalism; preferring plumper and more aged meat, the word avuncular gradually passed out of existence.  We desperately longed just once to see a People Magazine with Justin Bieber or Jessica Simpson on the cover instead of Simpkin.  

Our one hope for survival  was that Simpkin might die young and all other Simpkins naturally follow suit. To our dismay, Simpkin proved to have terrific genetic makeup and no bad habits and Simpkin after Simpkin came to be interviewed at break neck speed by Willard Scott,  who suffered an inevitable heart attack and was replaced by Simpkin.  

More Simpkins arrived. 

Today, all we remaining non-Simpkins, badly outnumbered, begin our revolution.   Today we teleport the strongest among us,  Moose Cohegan, back to the Renaissance and screw up the moment of his return.  With any luck we'll have a Mighty Cohegan army within 5 years, plus a great assortment of Raphaels and Titians.

The only problem:   Moose Cohegan has the worst breath ever.

Even worse than Simpkin. 


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

One, Two, Three!

"Why do you have a goat in your living room, Frank?"

"Well, you know how many archived files I have from over the years.  I didn't want to lug em' out to the curb and try to find somebody to take them."


"I got me Old Tessie here.  She'll eat all the file boxes one, two, three! and then I'll sell her to the zoo."

"I see.  But, Frank, I think maybe ...."

"Maybe what?  It's a brilliant idea!  Get rid all the old stuff one, two, three!" 

"Sure.  But, Frank...."

"But Frank, what?! "

"But, Frank, not only is your carpet full of one and two!, but  I think old Tessie three! is anorexic!"


Anybody want to buy a goat cheap?  She's on special this week. 

Old Tessie was the subject of my weekly submission to the Friday Fictioneers but now fortunately she's enrolled in an Eating Disorders Clinic and doing quite well, except she can't keep down tin cans as yet.   Click here to see what the other Fictioneers  wrote about Old Tessie, although I doubt they named her Old Tessie or even bothered to clean up after her.

One, two, three!, I'm gone!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Fabulous Fabled Fountain of Middle Age


March 14, 1496
It has now been over 18 weeks since we set sail from Spain on my ship the Nina Totenberg. The weather has been foul and stormy, and the men are growing restless.

Who can blame them? On several occasions, the 24-hour buffet has run out of mousse, the rock climbing wall’s been down for days, and four members of the El Cordoba Mets were unpardonably late for the meet and greet. Plus I never could handle the Special Dinner with the Captain with even a modicum of rakish aplomb.

March 21
The going continues rough. Oh, how different it all seemed back when the crew and I first set sail those many weeks ago! Then it was that I, Captain Ponce de Leon-Errol, had stood proudly among my men, ready to lead them in a heroic quest for the fabulous fabled Fountain of Middle Age!

Why not seek the Fountain of Youth instead? Well, frankly, why push it? Uncontrolled overexposure to the Fountain of Youth and you and I might wind up attending Selena Gomez concerts and swooning over the Biebs.

March 27
The weather continues severe, and I fear greatly we are off course. Steering by the stars is quite difficult, though far more reliable than MapQuest.

There is no land within sight! We seek Florida in the New World, yet judging by my calculations there is a high probability that we are not in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida at all, but rather in a bathtub in the home of a man named Mitt Romney.

April 1
Yes, the fabulous fabled Fountain of Middle Age has always attracted and fascinated me! You can’t say enough about a phenomenal and miraculous Wonder of the World that is at heart just another sorry underachiever—y’know, kind of like you and me.

As the legend goes, at the beginning of time two magical fountains were created. One had the fantastical power to enable a person of any age who bathed in its munificent waters to become 18-24 again—a miraculous transformation provided you can handle the constant besiegement by advertisers and marketers. This was the Fountain of Youth.

The one with too much chlorine and no lifeguard on duty was the Fountain of Middle Age. This fountain had the power to shave a couple of years off your age if you caught it on a good day. It may not sound like much but if you’re 61 years old and you can roll yourself back to 54, you can still call yourself “middle-aged” and set your sights on a marginally better class of women.

April 11
Still no land!

My first mate tells me the men are threatening mutiny. I don’t like to hear that, so I ask my second mate. My second mate tells me the men are threatening mutiny, so I ask my third mate. I am well into mates with double figures before I’m told that the men still rally ’round me and would never ever think of mutiny!

April 12
Put down a mutiny today.

April 21
When I was certain of my goal to lead an expedition in search of the Fountain of Middle Age, I sought the protection and financing of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. After all, they had expelled the Jews from Spain so they had to have good business sense.

I made my entreaty with dignity, logic, and careful reasoning. When that failed, whining worked spectacularly. Having secured the backing of Ferdinand and Isabella, I raised a crew of men eager to sail with me. Their median age represents the kind of person who finds reruns of Murder She Wrote radical and shocking.

April 30
“Land on yonder starboard bow!” cried the lookout today. Tomorrow we head for shore, drop anchor, and continue our quest for the fabulous fabled Fountain of Middle Age, just as soon as I figure out which side is the starboard bow.

May 1
We have anchored in Florida at last and are trudging faithfully inward toward the Fountain’s location as described in myth and lore. It is said to be 
by a forest, under a bower, near a gnarled tree. Don’t laugh. I paid plenty for that snippet of myth and lore.

May 8
We have found the fountain at last! As we emerged from 
under a trestle, by a brook, near a cesspool (I’ve got to find myself a new myth and lore distributor), I saw a large body of water filled with paunchy 50-ish gray-haired men. I thought at first I had stumbled upon a convention of Young Republicans. Then I saw the sign that proclaimed:


My heart leaped with joy as I splashed into the curative waters. I felt the years melting… melting… melting away! Well, maybe just melting. Scant hairs were regrowing. As for my waning sexual potency and desire, did I mention the scant hairs regrowing?

May 9
It is a miracle! A dream come true! I am almost sorry I snuck in and stiffed them on the fee.

May 11
Been looking in the mirror the last few days. Frankly I don’t like what I see. My skin looks plastic, my mouth doesn’t look natural, I look like Joan Rivers in a ruffled collar. Just what the world needed: A fabulous fabled Fountain of Middle Age that gives bad face jobs!

Maybe I’ll sue. If only Ferdinand and Isabella had left some lawyers in Spain to help me out with that. 


And don't forget, folks; this post also appeared in the prestigious  McSweeney's Internet Tendency on July 7, 2014. Make sure & go there and click "like."  Then I'll meet ya at the Fountain!