Funny stories in under 500 words.

Budget Cuts

Hell was undergoing budget cuts. Word on the street was that the president, Kaden Luce, had been spending the government’s deposit of Kidney Stones on unspecified “projects.” Any moment now Kaden would soon have an announcement to make. The zombies drove nervously and cross-eyed in their business casual dresswear.

The teleprompters appeared. Kaden had an announcement to make.

An intercom system of floating televisions, held by roughhousing wingèd minions, displayed Mr. Luce’s face to the Hellions below. The minions cackled and flew about the crimson skies and pinched zombie men and women with their short arms and flew back up, snarling and laughing. Everyone was to stop whatever they were doing at that exact moment in time and pay attention to the teleprompters. Cars slammed on their breaks in the intersection and crashed, and mummies with dislocated shoulders wobbled out of their vehicles to listen to the announcements.

On the screen appeared Luce with his beet-red face and his hornèd Viking helmet, and his gruff voice, and he stamped his Doc Martins against tile which made sounds like a goat’s hooves. “HELLO,” he said in his gruff businessman’s tone, gritty like toothpicks, and the mummies in the middle of the traffic winced and re-bandaged their exposed ears. “HOW ARE YOU TODAY?”

Everyone said “Good” in unison. One mummy whispered “Bad” and he was launched from a catapult.

“Alright, let’s get down to business,” Luce said, and everyone uncovered their ears, sighing in relief. “So, there’s been some budget constraints we’ve been having here in Hell lately. I’ve been working on some... projects.” The zombies looked awkwardly at each other. “And these projects,” Luce continued, “are very expensive... It’s hard to both balance the budget of Hell while also paying for these projects... So, I’m here to announce that I’m cutting every Hellion’s payroll by three Kidney Stones.”

There was a general uproar among the people, and they ran about ranting.

“Calm down. Calm down. This just means that the cable car operators are gonna need to be laid off,” Kaden announced through the teleprompters.

The mummies shook their heads and tossed their hard hats to the ground. The crane operators cackled and the cranes hissed.

“Oh, and also everyone else is fired too.”

The chaos returned. The wingèd minions flew about cackling again, pinching and slapping people in the uproar.

So Kaden Luce’s new budgeting program began, as he embezzled the money for his “projects.” Everyone was laid off, and left unemployed for a full three months while Luce swam like a fat cat in a pile of money. The cable car operators were given one year of severance, and they were trained for job placements in a new program that sweeped Hell with a considerable degree of approval. Kaden instituted a robust social program where every unemployed Hellion prospered with a decent bankroll before they returned to their normal lives.

...because c’mon. This is Hell. Not corporate America.

This story was written by Isaac Birchmier. Check out his work on his website


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