Funny stories in under 500 words.


Mike Petrarch was afraid of lows, so his old man built Mike an 18 story home on the top of Hangman’s Mountain in Hale, Connecticut. Mr. Petrarch had patented dog poop bags in the 1950’s, when no one used them, least of all dogs, then cleaned up after leash laws came into effect. He wished that his son did not have a phobia no one else suffered from, but he had the money to indulge him, often visiting his son on weekends for helicopter rides and rappelling.

Psychiatrists tried everything, misdiagnosing Mike with bathophobia, fear of depths, but he had no problem with deep pools so long as he sat on the top of his house or atop some grand hotel he might wing to. He simply broke out in hives while walking around outside when skyscrapers and hills and airplanes loomed over him, reminding him of his gravity stricken state. Valleys and caves particularly palpitated him.

The local school district tried to force Mike to come down to their level for his schooling, but each time the truant officer climbed up the 18 stories to apprehend Mike, Mike flew away in a helicopter. As a compromise, librarian Mabel Swing came in three times a week to tutor him, encouraging him to become an astronaut or a mountain climber. Mike balked, arguing that what went up must come down. After Mabel left, loneliness enveloped Mike, left to play with his only friend, his pet giraffe. At night he stared at the stars, wishing he could fly to them.

He hated his phobia but hated most not observing its limitations, until Donald Trump gave him no choice. Where others saw an 18-story building on top of a mountain in a small Connecticut town inhabited by only one person as insanity, Trump saw bankruptcy. After Mike’s father died, Trump bought the building from the Estate and opened up a resort, then evicted Mike.

Earthbound, Mike jumped off of Hangman’s Mountain and died, collateral damage for an empire. The resort went bust and Trump started wearing weird red baseball caps.

Ascending into heaven, Mike fell in love with cruising through clouds then entering new galaxies. After reuniting with his Dad, Mike had his audience with God, where they swapped Trump jokes until God asked Mike if he liked his new digs.

“I love them, thank you. But if I could make one request, could you make heaven a little higher?”

This story was written by Donald Hubbard. Donald Hubbard has written six books, one of which was profiled on Regis and Kelly and another that was a Boston Globe bestseller and Amazon (category) top ten. Two books have gone into a second edition and he was inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame as an author in 2015. A chapter of one of his books was published in the on-line edition of Notre Dame Magazine. His published stories include those in Funny in Five Hundred, Quail Bell, Praxis, 101 Word Story, Flash Fiction Magazine, Crack the Spine and Oddville Press.


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