Funny stories in under 500 words.


There's a light bulb in this warehouse somewhere in Detroit. Ya know, the Motor City? But it's not called that anymore; it's the Holy Motor City now. People from all over the world flock to this warehouse – this mecca – on a pilgrimage. The bulb is in this room in the abandoned warehouse with paint chipped walls and an asbestos covered ceiling. There's nothing in the room, just this one light bulb, always on, swaying, glowing. People believe that if you touch the bulb you can see God or get a burst of creative energy or become enlightened. Bono, that activist singer from U2, went to see the light bulb then came back and recorded the Grammy-winning solo album AIDs and Shades. And ya know what else? They brought this gorilla, Chi Chi, there and she touched the light then painted an exact replica of the Mona Lisa! Art enthusiasts and historians couldn't even tell the difference between the two.

Well, I went to see this light bulb. I walked in to the warehouse, nearly filled my lungs to the brim with asbestos. There were dusty white columns and flattened cardboard boxes covering the entire ground floor. I guess they were trying to preserve the place the way it was, keep it holy – and dirty. So I walked through the main lobby and toward the mecca room. I passed by this never-miss-a-mass super Christian who looked like she had just gotten her forehead palmed by Jerry Falwell. Some guy was helping her walk and fanning her hot, red face. She left, then I opened the door and went into the room.

The shuffling feet of pilgrims before me kicked up a dirty haze. I stepped forward, trying to find my way. When the dust settled, I finally saw the bulb. It didn't look like anything special, just bright as hell. I took two more steps into the light, and then I could feel the energy coming off of it.

The holy bulb was still swaying from the woman before me. I walked closer. A dull pulse was beating behind my eyes, and I felt this tightening in the base of my skull. It definitely felt like something supernatural was going on. So I kept getting closer. There was this odd, disgusting smell, like garbage lit ablaze by an electrical fire, and I could hear a faint hum coming from the bulb. Who would have thought a normal looking light bulb hanging from a normal looking orange extension cord socket on the ceiling of a rundown warehouse in Detroit would be so special?

I could hear some people talking in the other room, so I knew I had to hurry. So there I was, face to face with the holy bulb, ready to change my life. I stretched my right arm out, took a deep breath, and braced myself for enlightenment. Closing my eyes, I grabbed the bulb firmly and.... and....

….and burnt my fucking fingers!

Joe Portes is a writer of Fiction, Humor, and Essays. Currently, he contributes to and teaches writing at SUNY Adirondack. He has edited The Saranac Review, Pitkin Review, and Free George Magazine. His fiction, interviews, articles, and movie reviews have appeared in all three of the publications he's worked on, and he has had fiction published in the Indianola Review and Z-Platt literary journals. His website is, you can find his editorial writing at, and he is always looking to meet new people on Twitter via @JoePortes.


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