Funny In Five Hundred

Funny stories in under 500 words.

He Loved Books

October 25, 2017
How much do you love books? Not as much as Jeffrey Hornsmith. Check out this new story from Dave Woolston about a guy who can't get enough reading.

Jeffery Hornsmith is a well educated man. First a high school diploma, then college degree in botany, and finally a PhD in clinical psychology. Today he fells ill. Okay, he feels fine. It’s only that he needs a sick day to do what he loves best.

He sits on the toilet, deep in thought about the dark brown object in his hands. His nose is buried deep within yet another book. As usual, he has removed the colorful cover and left it lying on the ceramic floor. His wife passes by the open door.

"Seriously?" she says. "Just because we've been married for fifteen years doesn't mean I need to see that!" She pushes the door closed.

He glances up. "What, my reading?"

He ponders weak and weary, recalling the many hours he’s spent reading. Absorbing all that painstaking word at a time. If only there was a better way! His fingers move along the edge of the thick tome, until he pinches the corner of one page. In one downward and swift motion, he rips it from the book and pops it into his mouth. At first dry, bitter tasting, it soon liquefies as he chews and finally swallows.

Something begins to happen. Below yes, but also in his brain. New thoughts appear. Ideas. From where? Yes! They've just been derived from the page he has literally consumed. Actual meaning is now being injected directly into his bloodstream. How could this be? Excited by the possibility, he ingests many more pages. Each one more intellectually fulfilling than the last.

“Honey...are you getting out of there anytime soon?”

Somehow, in the thralls of a massive bowel movement, this trailblazing genius has discovered a new way for mankind to acquire knowledge. “Eureka!” He shouts. Only days afterward, Jeffery Hornsmith dies from an impacted bowel.


October 19, 2017
Why do people say men are pigs? Pigs are smart. Check out this new funny story from Nancy Brown about a pig named Piffle who is trying to understand human behavior. Nancy is a writer in her 60's hoping to set the world on fire.

My name is Piffle. I’m a pig. I know it’s a stupid name but I forgive Mandy for naming me that dumb name because she is only five and she didn’t know what it means. If you look it up in the dictionary, Piffle means foolish. She probably doesn’t even know she gave me a name with a real meaning.

I was born here on the farm and grew up with Cal and Sue and Mandy, and I learned real fast that everything around here has a name. They even call their tractor John. The back field is called Corn. Though, I’ve heard them say that they were having corn on the cob for dinner, so I am not sure if its name is Corn or Cob.

It's ridiculous if you ask me but I’m not one to complain about petty stuff like that. After all, they feed me so well that I shouldn’t complain about anything.

Just the same, it’s hard being a pig. I mean these humans have a habit of calling other humans pigs when they don’t look or act nothing like me. I heard Sue call Cal a pig when she was leaning over the railing feeding us and he snuck up behind her, so I’m not sure about this name game.

It was fine when I was a piglet. Mandy would hold me in her hands and I would wiggle and she would giggle and say I was so cute. However, that was a long time ago, and I couldn’t wiggle even if I wanted to because I’ve gotten so disgustingly gross and fat that I can hardly move.

The county fair is coming up and I know I am not going to fit in that tutu they made me last year. I am not even sure I can prance around like I did in front of all those people who were oohing and awing. I’d be just too embarrassed, with all this weight I’ve gained.

I’m feeling frustrated, over-stuffed, extremely miserable, and I’m not sure what’s going on but a guy came over the other day and took one look at me and told Cal I was in my prime and ready to go. I oinked at him. She’ll dress well he said so I guess I am getting a new tutu after all. He also said something about a big house so maybe after the fair I’ll be moving in with Mandy. I hate living here in this stall with Hammy and Feeble and Munch. It’s so crowded.

Besides, Hammy pays no attention to me now that he’s had his way with me. I think he fathered my eight piglets but I am not sure. It might have been Munch but it doesn’t matter either way because he doesn’t pay me no mind either.

Cal come and sticks a pitchfork in my hind-end and tells me to get moving. Guess it’s time to get dressed.

Photo by Fabian Blank on Unsplash, edited by David Gregory.

Sex with Rocks

August 19, 2017
Take a romantic stroll into the woods in this new funny flash fiction story from Daniel Craig Roche. Several of Daniel's short stories have appeared in print through Tough Lit Magazine and Idea Gems Magazine. Many more of his stories, poems, articles and memoirs have been published in several online magazines, including Ariel Chart (a signatory of Poets and Writers.)

There’s a large stone that overlooks that trail I take for my daily jog. It’s like any other stone, all rock-like and unnoticeable, but today there was some graphite written across the stone’s smooth surface.

It read, “I fucked your mom,” in large white lettering.

This remark left a sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach, so I stopped jogging long enough to call the large stone out on its lies.

“You’re full of shit,” I said to the rock.

It took the cowardly way out by ignoring me.

“How dare you talk about my mom,” I screamed. “You don’t know me! “I’ll fucking kill you!”

The stone sat there not saying a word. I swear I saw it trembling.

“That’s what I thought,” I said while turning away.

Having the last word, I continued with my jog.

As I continued down the path, my thoughts drifted, and I began wondering if there were any truth to the stone’s claims. Did my mother really wander out here into the woods to make sweet love to the stone?

Maybe the rock went to her?

The answer to my second question seemed obvious. As far as I know, stones are immobile. There’s no way it could make it all the way to my mother’s house in the middle of the night, especially unnoticed. Surely someone would stop it, perhaps an officer of the law - maybe even give it a field sobriety test.

So that left my first question: Did my mother come out here into the woods to make sweet love to the stone?

I jogged around a bend and came upon a young boy who was busy spray painting swear words on a tree. He appeared to be one of the locals, so maybe he spent a fair amount of time out here in the woods.

“Excuse me,” I said. “Have you noticed any sweet little old ladies wandering along this path lately?”

“Fuck you,” he said. “I haven’t seen shit.”

This kid was useless, so I jogged back to the rock to check for any abnormal protrusions, maybe something a woman could use to pleasure herself with, but I saw nothing. Just smooth, un-fuckable surface.

I hated to get my mother involved, but there wasn’t much choice. I pulled out my cell phone and called her. When she answered, I told her where I was and I explained the situation.

“Oh, honey,” she said, “don’t be silly. You know I only fuck trees.”

The relief that came over me nearly knock me over. I told her I loved her and hung up, but before jogging away, I flipped the stone off and told it to eat shit. I jogged around the bend again and came upon the area where I had seen the boy spray painting the tree.

On the tree, I saw the words ‘I fucked your mom.’

“I know,” I said, and gave the tree a high five as I jogged past.

Photo by kazuend on Unsplash. Edited by David Gregory.

Three Brothers

August 10, 2017
This funny story is all that, and Dim Sum! Written by Sue Powers, this tale takes you on a ride to the Three Brothers Chinese restaurant, where our protagonist must prove herself a worthy chef. Susan's stories have appeared in numerous zines and publications. She's also a recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship and an IAC Grant, and two of her stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.
Wanted love, needed work. Saw an ad in the Job Mart and answered it. Wanted, it read: Dim Sum Cook. Must have experience, good health, and must prepare such dishes as: Chak Slu Bow, Shrimp Har Gau and Stuffed Duck Feet.

I’d lived in China, worked in China, cooked in China for four years. I was the woman who knew Dim Sum cookery like the back of her tattooed hand; Stuffed Duck Feet was my specialty. I read the ad again - $495 a week, 1-1/2 for overtime - and prepared myself to meet the Three Brothers.

I showered, shaved my ruined head, put on my finest kung fu jacket and pants, then slipped my powdered feet into soft-soled shoes and called for a cab. The driver was a young man with an air of quiet confidence. Neat brown curls hugged the back of his ears. From the rear-view mirror I studied his eyes, twinkling eyes the color of ginger. When they turned their attention to me, I read their meaning.

“Whaddaya think?” I said. “I’m just some ugly kind of man? Listen,” I said, “under all this cloth, I’m not so bad.”

I explained about Chinese tradition, Dim Sum cookery and the Three Brothers. Which explained, I said, my need to disguise myself as a man. He laughed and I thought: this is a man who at least pretended to understand. He said his favorite dish was Shrimp Har Gau. I said, when we get to Three Brothers, wait.

Brother One bowed, admired my shoes and introduced Brother Two who took me on a tour through the kitchen. There Brother Three, knees bent, leaned over the sink dicing beans. “Does she keyboard?” asked Three, scrutinizing my tattoos most displeasurably.

“I’ve lived in your country,” I said. “I understand your customs. I make a tremendous Wu Gork, a really tangy Shrimp Har Gau.”

Three stopped dicing. “Must know Mail Merge,” he told Two.

“Forget overtime,” I said. “I love family business. Who needs overtime? Beef Meat Ball? Very delicious. I cook any Dim Sum you want. Are there other applicants?”

One turned and threw open the back door. Eight bald women dressed in kung fu outfits lined against a brick wall. The air stunk of decay and dog manure. Hunger growled in my throat, gnawed at my bones; my knees buckled to the floor. In the process of collapse, I promised to take dictation. One shut the door.

The fresh smell of Three Brothers slowly crept back to my nose. Fresh bok choi, scallions, pea pods; a savory pot of vegetable soup simmered on the stove.

The cabbie said his name was Mike. He took me to a costume shop where I bought some hair. He offered free love, free beer and free faith. He believed in Life with a capital L, and radial tires. Also, he said, he was not opposed to big tips.

He spent the night.

Photo by Japanresor on Unsplash, edited by David Gregory.

I'm Told That I've Decided to Become a Man

July 28, 2017
Time to grow up, everybody! This story is a funny tale about some good, fatherly advice, and was written by Douglas Collura. Doug lives in Manhattan and is the author of a spoken-word CD, The Dare of the Quick World, and the book, Things I Can Fit My Whole Head Into, which was a finalist for the 2007 Paterson Poetry Prize. He was also the 2008 First Prize Winner of the Missouri Review Audio/Video Competition in Poetry, and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2016.
My father sat me down and said in the mob enforcer voice he favored for our father-son talks, “It’s time for you to start making decisions for yourself and become a man, ding dong. Now, what do you want to do: go to work, or go to college?”

I could feel myself becoming more of a man by the second as I said, “Go to work.”

He smacked me. “What as? A traffic cone? You’re going to college.” Boy, I thought, this making decisions for myself and being a man stuff is tough. “I’ll give you another chance to prove yourself, oatmeal. What do you want to do this summer before you leave for college? Work and put money away, or sit around on your ass?”

I looked at his hand and said, “Work and put money away.”

He smacked me. “Good answer.”

“So what’d you hit me for?” I said, rubbing my face.

“You won’t become a man by lying, ying yang.”

“Then I take it back. I want to sit around on my ass all summer.”

He smacked me and said, “How predictable. I’ll give you one last chance to prove yourself, tree trunk. What kind of professional have you always dreamed about becoming after college?”

“Can you give me a hint?” I said, exasperated.

“First letter’s an ‘L,’ second letter’s an ‘A,’ he handles divorced people’s property, and he makes a lot of money,” he said.

“That’s easy,” I said confidently. “Landscaper.”

He smacked me twice. “I hope you’re starting to figure things out, soap dish.”

“Yeah, I’m figuring out what manhandled means,” I said, rubbing my face.

“The more you’re handled, the quicker you become a man,” he said. “I was younger than you when I learned that lesson. Just a kid, back when I’d invented a game the other kids loved to play. It combined aerodynamics, knot making, and an interest in the human form. That’s right. I’m the one who invented: Let’s Tie the Smallest Kid to a Rope and Swing Him around Naked. I was so proud, right up until the day the smallest kid escaped, and I found out that I was the second smallest kid. I was betrayed by my own baby. That’s when I realized no matter how many hands are smacking you, they’re all somehow your own, and I started to build the calluses of a man.”

“Gee, dad. That’s a beautiful life lesson,” I said. “If I promise to smack myself every once and a while, can I go?”

“Believe me, when I go, you’ll miss every smack.”

“I’m trying to picture that.”