Roots

I never understood why people get so obsessed with relatives who’ve been dead for a hundred years. Nevertheless, when I turned 40 I found myself crossing Loch Ness, searching for graves of the drunken horse thieves who were my ancestors. My chat with a local lassie on the ferry resulted in a kind invitation for traditional music and dinner at her stone house on the other side. After several glasses of scotch I was able to swallow the haggis, but when she commenced on the bagpipes I rushed out the door, stole her horse, and galloped off into the Scottish Highlands.

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Mousetrap

Lulu, our precocious poodle, resented my dad for refusing to allow her in the car or on the couch. One Saturday, when we returned from the beach, Dad found some hairs on a couch cushion and realized that Lulu had been up there during our absence. The next weekend, he retaliated by placing a loaded mousetrap on the couch before we left for Disneyland. When we got home, Dad inspected the couch and cursed loudly. There was a mouse crushed in the trap, but it was Mickey Mouse — a doll. Dad looked over at Lulu, and I swear she was smiling.

Looking for Love in All the Wrong Hominids

“Oh my God!” exclaimed Janet as she examined an ancient hominid pelvis at the University of New Mexico. “I wonder what it would be like to make love to a Neanderthal! They copulated with Cro-Magnons, but it must have been so dangerous and rough!” “That sounds a lot better than my date with Sidney last night,” quipped Shirley. “Maybe he got short-changed on Neanderthal DNA.” Listening at the doorway was Torggh, an unkempt laborer wearing a goatskin and gripping a large club. He trudged toward Janet and presented two tickets to tour Carlsbad Caverns. Janet flushed and nodded yes, eyes shining.

Big Cat, Tiny Circus

Barker Smalls and his diminutive assistant, Bathi, were reputable big cat tamers in the Tiny Circus, but the mounting carnal attraction between them was a dangerous temptation prohibited by Tiny Circus safety policies. One night, after a particularly triumphant show, Barker impulsively snapped his whip, embraced Bathi, and they consummated their unspoken passions beneath the small top. Unfortunately, this startled the big cat, which immediately pounced and savagely attacked the writhing lovers. Fortunately, the big cat in the Tiny Circus was a kitten named Muffin, and the delicate scratches he etched into the lovers’ flesh only served to heighten their ardor.

Male Remodel

Betty hired Craig, a male model, to tile her bathroom because his fluffy, blond hair was perfect. Two months later she nearly killed him. “You’re always frosting Casper’s fur instead of laying tile!” she screamed as she seized Craig’s neck with one hand and held his squealing Bichon Frise over the swimming pool with the other. Fortunately for Craig, Betty caught a glimpse of the tint on Casper’s fur in the sunlight. She blurted out, “Ooo! Can you do me like that?” The bathroom tile never got laid, but Craig did, and now Betty’s happy because her hair is perfect too.

The Big One

Beth was sobbing in the shower when the big one hit. She didn’t notice it because Mark had just confessed he’d impregnated a Kinko’s clerk. That wasn’t the kind of reproduction Beth had expected when she’d sent him there two months earlier with their baby shower invitation. Beth stepped out of the shower to see the entire house devastated. She was standing naked in the rubble when the contractions started. Mark’s voice rose faintly from the crawl space, “Help!” but by then the head was crowning, so Beth reclined on the boards above him and pushed out her big, beautiful baby.

Nightjar Fairy Tale

Whenever the Guardian Moon was incapacitated by an eclipse, The Insomniac would scoop a piece of night sky into a jar for his pet demons, because they thrived on darkness. He collected these jars of cool night sky for centuries until his menopausal mother, Earth, threatened to burn him alive in a hot flash unless night was returned to the sky. When The Insomniac reluctantly removed the lids, a nightjar bird flew out of every container, and their sad, sweet songs transformed his demons into lumps of saltwater taffy. After that, The Insomniac slept soundly for the first time in ages.

Shamanic Fasciitis

An inner voice told me that I had the power to cure plantar fasciitis with my hands. This struck me as weird gift, but at least it set me apart from my asshole twin brother. I found him groaning on his bed, gripping his feet. “Plantar fasciitis acting up?” I inquired. “Go to hell, bastard!” he spat back. My hands were burning and the impulse to perform a healing was compelling, but I resisted and did nothing to relieve his agony. As a consequence, the voice told me my power was being rescinded, but I still think it was worth it.

Lack of Awareness Day

In response to the rising tide of ignorance that was crippling our citizenry, I persuaded the mayor to initiate a campaign to shed light on this scourge by officially designating November 3rd as “Lack of Awareness Day.” The day itself turned out to be a disappointment, however, because no one noticed it. Several citizens told me, “I had no idea it was Lack of Awareness Day.” Deeply discouraged, I invited the mayor to a meeting to discuss the lack of public awareness about lack of awareness. Afterward, when I asked the mayor why he missed the meeting he said, “What meeting?

Fire Down Below

He was 100 years old and very drunk. The cigarette burning in his lap had ignited his pants, and tiny flames danced above his crotch. But he showed no alarm, which I guess was his point. I considered using the fire extinguisher on the wall, but decided that was too obvious and would identify me as someone with common attachments. Still, the situation was quite unsettling, so I dumped my Coke on his burning package and tried to make it look like an accident. The Zen master opened his eyes and laughed, and told me that I had solved the koan.