Funny stories in under 500 words.

The Half-A-Man Boutique



"Excellent!" said Jasper, smiling broadly as he handed the shoe box to the man in the wheelchair. The man's left leg was conspicuous by its absence.

"I am so glad that we were able to meet your needs," Jasper continued. George thought his business partner's wide grin smacked of insincerity. He briefly considered kicking him as they stood side-by-side behind the heavy oak counter.

The man in the chair nodded but said nothing. He maneuvered his chair around and exited the store - the automatic door clunking as it slid back to let him back out onto the street. In the brief moment that the door was open, a car sped by with a young man hanging from the window and cursing in the direction of the store.

The painted lettering on the door read "J & G HALF-A-MAN BOUTIQUE -- Catering to the Culturally Endowed But Physically Disabled Gentleman." Jasper turned to face his business partner, clearly satisfied with his work.

"See?" He was giddy, beside himself. "See what I mean? There is a need in the marketplace and we are here to fill it!" Jasper was bouncing on his toes.

George's first thought was to slap him across the face but again, he held himself in check. Instead he shook his head and said "You are a fucking idiot. I can't believe I let you talk me into investing all my money in this. Maybe I am the one who is the true idiot."

Jasper circled his friend like an excited puppy. "What do you mean? Are you serious? Did you see what just happened? We made a sale! We made a sale! There is an untapped market of disabled men out there and we just tapped into it!"

George shrugged. "Yes, we did. We made ONE sale. You managed to sell a single shoe to a one-legged man. That is our only sale in the two days that we have been open for business. We have over twenty thousand dollars tied up in inventory and you managed to sell a shoe for nineteen dollars. Maybe we should close early and go celebrate!" George plopped into a chair.

Just then the door opened again, and the one-legged man wheeled back into the shop. "Hello again, sir!" bubbled Jasper. "Can we help you with something else?"

The man tossed the shoebox on the floor. It came open and its contents, a single shoe, bounced out. The man looked down at his missing left leg, then at the shoe, then at Jasper.

The shoe lying on the floor was for a left foot.

George spoke up and he believed he was speaking on behalf of the unsatisfied customer as well.

"You are indeed a half-assed fucking idiot," he said to Jasper, who looked confused. "I am going out back to have a smoke," George continued, and rose from the chair, using both legs to transport him towards the back door.

Steve Sibra grew up on a small farm in eastern Montana where his primary job was cleaning the chicken coop. In the 1980s he dropped out of law school and opened a comic book store. His work has appeared in numerous literary magazines including Near to the Knuckle, Shattered Wig, Matador Review and Oddball Magazine.




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