Funny stories in under 500 words.

Message on the High Seas

I leaned against the ship’s rail watching sunset ripen into twilight, listened to the gentle slap of waves against the hull, and tried, for the thousandth time, to forget about Maria. She always hated the idea of a cruise, so my taking one was supposed to be an act of rebellion. Instead it only made me think about her more, especially since her hatred turned out to be justified. These things really are just floating smorgasbords with ports of call just long enough for the locals to rob you with poorly-masked contempt for your carpetbagging affluence.

My cynical reverie was gradually interrupted by an unusual clunking sound. The ship was at anchor a mile or so off the coast of an island they said was uninhabited; the captain announced that we’d resume course in the morning. I tracked the sound to the waterline on the port side to find a bottle bouncing gently against an intake valve – some drunk must have tossed it into the drink from the raging party on the upper deck. I was about to go back to my stateroom when I noticed that the bottle was corked, and, incredibly, contained a rolled-up piece of paper.

It was a goddamn message in a bottle.

Being close to the stern I was able to find a large gaff and after several aborted attempts managed to hook the bottle and bring it aboard. The cork was sealed with wax, so I returned to my stateroom and hacked it open with a butter knife. I upended the bottle and gently shook the paper loose, took a deep breath, and carefully unrolled it. It read:

Dear Sir or Madam,

First, I don’t want to be rescued. I’m fed up with society’s bullshit. So don’t go and notify the coast guard or anything. Here’s my problem: my volleyball and I were getting along fine until we started talking about politics. He keeps throwing Benghazi in my face, and I can’t share an island with a Trump supporter. We tried dividing the island into equal halves, but having no chalk we had to draw a literal line in the sand, so whenever the tide came in there was a territorial dispute. Anyway, I kicked him into the sea, so please send a new volleyball.


The Castaway

I went to the leisure deck and looked around, but the closest thing I could find was a basketball. I ran back to the orlop and lunged the basketball as far as I could in the direction of the island. I watched it drift away from the ship, hoping that it would reach the castaway, hoping that he wouldn’t be as lonely as I was.

The next morning found me leaning against the ship’s rail, watching dawn ripen into sunrise, enjoying the silence before my corpulent shipmates lumbered to the breakfast bar and the engines roared to life. My cynical reverie was gradually interrupted by an unusual thumping sound, which I tracked to the waterline on the port side.

It was a volleyball with a crudely-drawn face, and a bumper sticker reading “Let’s Make America Great Again!” slapped to its forehead.

This story comes from Luke Normsy, a guttersnipe writer who’s killing time in the void.


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