Funny stories in under 500 words.

This Whole Thing with Janet

Everybody’s uneasy because Beth can’t find her roommate Janet. But the laugh’s on everybody, because Beth isn’t looking. She’s in their dark kitchen eyeing Janet’s boyfriend, who’s fanning himself with a purchase order for ‘one sacrificial virgin to Frank.’

Beth sneers up from her dead Christmas fern. “Uh, do you even care that our power’s been turned off?”

Anton whales around the table, spouting, “I only care about Janet!”

“Okay, so, why did we even sleep together then?” Beth has him drive them to an establishment couched in wrought-iron spires. “I’ll get your woman.”

Inside, Beth’s favorite psychic tells her to guard herself against besties, and, “Avoid false drama.”

“You mean, like, sleeping with chicks’ dudes?”

“I mean, like, avoiding flash fiction.”

As hoodlums slam on Anton, Beth utilizes the backdoor, starts a wee fire under the fire escape and races to her workplace to polish her alibis, but coworkers keep popping in for news on Janet.

Frank knuckles her desk, whispers, “Wanna go to our coven meeting in the basement later? P.S., Janet was perfect.”

Put upon, “Uh, Frank, are you happily married?”


“Is your wife?”

Beth kisses him into the supply closet, then comes out alone in fake nose and moustache glasses.

Backbiting naked on a marble altar surrounded by scarlet-cloaked figures chanting in clouds of torchère smoke, Janet reaches for her cigarettes. A claw slaps them away, then awkwardly tapes her mouth.

Beth dons Frank’s cloak on the elevator ride to the basement. She bursts into torched darkness, gasps, lights a cigar, then impersonates Frank, “Oh, thank God! I thought Janet got away, the murderous little cross-burning prostitute! Carry on, witches.”

Milk-curdling laughter splatters the sinister ambience.

Goat-head Bill, snickering curse words, drops the dagger between Janet’s spread legs. Magnificent Sorcerer materializes in a periwinkle plume. “Your flippancy is disruptive, Brother Frank.” He feels for the altar, figuratively. “Put out the cigarettes, people. This is a smoke-free boiler room.”

Zipper says, “So I sacrificed my plumber last week and my drain’s still clogged. Why?”

Thumper says, “And I s-s-still s-s-s-stutter. P-poor little Livia.”

Beth orbits the altar. “I got more goodies when I prayed to that swivel-headed cow on my dashboard. Satan’s suckin’, people.”

“Frank’s wicked evil,” Fever says. “Should we worship him, or-r-r-r-r?”

M.S. gyrates and flashes. “Dissenters! Infidels! You will not make a blasphemous mockery of this Black Mass! Proceed with the sacrifice!”

Beth ankle-yanks Janet off the altar and whips her into torchères and robes. Fiery pandemonium ensues.

“We don’t fear fire!” M.S. informs his stampeding congregation. “We’re devil worshipers for Christ’s sake!”

Back in their powerless apartment, Beth rifles candlelit wallets and purses, and suggests plans for their booties, but Janet seems occupied upstream.

“Yeah—no, we, like, totally fleeced those devil freaks,” Beth says to a sheath. “You grabbed that dagger, right?”

Janet hiccups and bobs. Flames dance between them.

“You okay, girl? You don’t look so good.”

Eyes uncrossing, Janet smiles, sort of, then eases a claw between her spreading legs.

This story was written by Margaret C. Strunkel. Marg lives in Illinois with her cat Franken. She does all kinds of stuff. It's really mesmerizing. You should see her come harvest time. Sadly, she doesn't have more a tagline, and is hoping, 'You were entertained but don't know why?' will suffice.

Check out her book of flash fiction stories on Amazon >> 


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