I want to laugh. I really want to laugh.
Oh, God how I want to laugh. It’s been so long.
I’d settle for a good chuckle.
I so want to laugh. I want people to hear loud guffaws of uncontrollable laughter. I want to hear loud guffaws of uncontrollable laughter
I want someone to tell me a joke that is so silly I giggle—giggle and giggle uncontrollably.
I want to laugh like when I was a kid at the table and my mother yelled at me to stop or else, and when I tried to stop milk came through my nose. It spurted across the table and I got swatted and sent out of the house but I left laughing all the way.
I want to hear Billy Chrystal, Bill Maher or John Stewart. Bring me some Homer Simpson as my last wish. He never fails to crack me up.
I’ll even take Joan Rivers or David Letterman, but please, someone who is funny. The Three Stooges will do it. I need to laugh. Don’t you understand? It’s not asking too much at this time. C’mon, you owe me. I want to laugh.
All I’ve been doing is crying and I promised myself I wouldn’t. I gave my word to my kids and my word is all I have left and now the footsteps are loud down the hall. The priest comes in first and then the guards and they handcuff my ankles and arms and a guard on each side leads me following the warden with the priest walking behind reading that fucking twenty-third psalm which is enough to make me want to kill myself. There—I almost made me laugh.
I see the gurney with the arms stretched out waiting for me like I’m Jesus so maybe the priest is the right guy for the job. I try to make jokes about the room and the windows where people I can’t see are watching, but nothing comes out.
I don’t want to disappoint my kids with my tears. I pee my pants into the diaper as the guards unlock my cuffs and turn me around to set me on the gurney and I see the priest standing in the doorway not visible to the glassed in watchers closing his bible and setting it down next to him. He reaches into his pants pocket and takes out an extra large pair of glasses and they have huge eyebrows like caterpillars, a big rubber nose and a messy fuzzy mustache and he nods at me and puts them on.
I feel it starting in my stomach and rising up to engulf me and this priest, of all people, wiggles his phony bushy eyebrows as they begin to strap me down and he pops a big cigar in his mouth and stoops over and Groucho-like wiggles it goofily. He discretely waves goodbye with the fingers of his left hand down by his waist. He’s the silliest looking person I’ve ever seen and I can’t hold it any longer.
Paul Beckman writes everywhere and sells real estate in CT. He’s been a paper boy, a pin boy, but not a momma’s boy. He was an air traffic controller, saloon keeper, and greeting card manufacturer. His short stories of the flash and micro varieties are published frequently. Stories published or upcoming in The Raleigh Review, Boston Literary Review, The Brooklyner, Web Del Sol, Pure Slush, Connotation Press, Playboy, Ascent Aspirations, Yellow Mama, Full of Crow Quarterly, Metazen, Connotation Press and My Audio Universe. Soundzine, 5 Trope, Word Riot and other wonderful venues in print, on line & via audio. His published story website: paulbeckmanstories.com