Funny stories in under 500 words.

Open Mic



Before the open mic this lady comes up to me and grabs my boob, just like that, I mean, completely out of the blue.

“I’m a journalist,” she says, as if this should explain everything.

But I’m a guy, not used to having my personal space invaded.

“Aren’t you supposed to ask first?” I say.

“You think too much,” she says.

In America thinking too much is not a compliment; maybe in classical Greece it was, but not here.

“You sound German or something,” she says.

“My ancestry is German, but I grew up in Mexico City.”

“German and Mexican?” she says. “What the hell is that? You put sauerkraut in your guacamole? Goosestep around a piñata? Wear lederhosen with a sombrero? I mean: what the hell?”

She has no respect for German-Mexicans. Still, I like her. I wonder if I should ask her out.

It’s my turn at the mic, so I go up and read my usual piece about Post Immigrant Stress Disorder, and the pain and suffering endured by unskilled Thirdworlders trying to make it in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Not quite Edgar Allan Poe, but at least it’s honest.

I return to my seat hoping to pick up where I left with Ms. Boob Grabber. But now she’s talking to another guy, a yuppie and a hipster, or yupster I think they call them. The two smile at each other, obviously hitting it off.

It’s the yupster’s turn at the mic, and (oh, irony!) he has a poem against yuppies, hipsters, and gentrification in the Bay Area!

And Ms. Boob Grabber loves the poem!

“It was so funny,” she says.

“But the guy’s an impostor,” I say, “some rich kid passing for plebeian. He’s robbing us of our suffering.”

“At least he made me laugh,” she says.

“But he risks nothing. That was just a collection of clever remarks.”

“Well, better than your depressing story. I felt like killing myself after that.”

She and the yupster take off together during the break, leaving me behind, alone.

Such is the price of gentrification.

The next person at the mic reads a poem about contentment, and the importance of being grateful for what little we have. Life seems so full of irony right now. So I take a deep breath and it makes me feel a little better. But I still have one question left: who’s going to grab my boob at the next open mic?

This story was written by Fernando Meisenhalter, who is of German ancestry. He was raised in Mexico City, has been a full-time immigrant in the US since 1995 and a God-fearing citizen since 2002. He's MFA-free, has somehow survived the brutal gentrification of the San Francisco Bay Area, and still writes flash fiction.




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