Category Archives: Humor

Code of the Smartass

I’m afraid this blog might get out of hand, with all the smartasses that comment here. I think we need a code. So the following is a new page I’m adding to my blog:


Just read the cheeky comments on this blog, and you’ll realize that those who follow me tend to be smartasses. It’s fun being a smartass, and everyone is invited to join in on all the good times. But please keep in mind that we follow a code. It’s called the Code of the Smartass:

Code of the Smartass

We’re smartasses, and proud of it. But smartasses can refer to each other by a variety of names, including: smart aleck (whatever an aleck is), smarty, smarty-pants, wise-ass, wise guy, wiseacre, wisenheimer, witling, brat, cheeky boy (or girl), malapert, rascal, saucebox, and troll. However none of these other names detract from the fact that we are all just smartasses.

Smartasses are not easily offended. But that doesn’t stop us from working hard at it.

Smartasses don’t take life too seriously. Nothing is sacred, including being a smartass.

Smartasses don’t care about convention, tradition, perdition, or any of the other shins.

Smartasses respect all religions, creeds, political beliefs, and cultures. Because without these things, there would be little left to make fun of.

Smartasses appreciate and respect wisdom. After all, wisdom is the fictile clay for creating wisecracks.

Smartasses are troublemakers, and also get into trouble a lot. We accept this as the risk one takes when acting like a smartass. We take full responsibility for the consequences of our smartassery, unless there’s a patsy nearby who we can conveniently blame.

Smartasses do not organize well. Such an organization would fall apart from internal ridicule. The only thing that keeps smartasses together is our love for smartassery.

Smartasses aren’t known for being profound or thought-provoking. But we’re commonly thought to be profane and provoking.

Even though we strive to be smartasses, sometimes we fall short and are dumbasses instead. But that doesn’t mean we can’t pick ourselves up off of our dumbasses and keep striving to be the best smartasses in the whole world.

Smartasses chase unicorns, because unicorns are unique, novel, new, different, strange, weird, and thus, interesting. And that’s all smartasses really want. Relief from boredom. Otherwise we wouldn’t be such smartasses.

Countdown to Old Age

One of my blogging buddies turned me into a duck, in one of her posts. That was a few months ago. But I have a long memory, and don’t forget these things easily. Recently, she transformed me back to my anthropic form. That’s good, but it’s not enough.

I told her she should have turned me into a Prince Charming. Or a handsome prince. Or whatever the hell happens in those fairy tales, when ducks and frogs and such, become human. This would have made up for turning me into a duck.

But instead of transforming me into Prince Charming, she wrote a story that depicted me as a bumbling, daydreaming factory worker who trips over a hole and gets knocked out. While in a coma, he dreams he is a prince who suffers all manner of bodily injury.

I’ll admit the story is entertaining, but I am not amused. And I have concluded that she has failed to redeem herself. I won’t reveal her name, but her initials are C.S. (which stand for Carolyn Shelton). You can find her blog, and the infamous story, at joyroses13.

It has come to my attention that C.S. will be turning 50 very soon. Yes, soon she will transform into an old lady, and there’s nothing she can do about it. I’m sure she’d like to forget this upcoming climacteric in her life, but how can I allow that to happen after all the things she’s done to me?

Therefore, I have posted a countdown calendar in my sidebar. Just glance over to the right and you will see it, plain as the bump on a concussed prince’s head, counting down the days until the big birthday. As you can surmise, it won’t be long before C.S. is no longer a young, smartass whippersnapper.

No, she will soon just be a plain old smartass.

Always listen to the SCE squirrel, and never turn a blogger into a duck. Or an accident-prone prince.

Talker Meditation

Don’t let incessant talkers scare you away.

There are some people I know, who I haven’t spoken to in years. That’s because I don’t like to interrupt. These people have motor mouths that go on and on like flibbertigibbets. They can be a real pain in the ass, and the ear, to be around. But there is one thing good about them. They’ve inspired me to invent a new form of meditation.

Meditation came up as a subject a few weeks ago, at Borden’s Blather. I told Jim Borden that there are many different ways to meditate. But I forgot to tell him about Talker Meditation. Since Jim’s blog is about blather, I think he’d appreciate knowing about Talker Meditation. So this post is for him, and for you too, if you’re interested.

I’ve noticed that those who talk for a long time, cease to make sense after a short time. Their nonstop blather is due to a disease they have, called logorrhea. And those with logorrhea constantly fire off fusillades of words that disrupt our thought processes, blocking our ability to think.

But that’s good, because meditation is about letting go of your thoughts. So the logorrhea-afflicted are useful as meditation props. They help us to let go of our thoughts.

The next time you find yourself in the company of someone who yabbers and maunders incessantly, try this little experiment. Try very loosely to follow what they’re saying. Don’t try too hard to make sense of it, or you’ll go mad. Just follow along loosely. If you’re experience is like mine, you may soon find yourself automatically letting go of your thoughts, while being carried away by a stream of meaningless words.

If the blatherskite asks for feedback, just nod your head hypnotically and chant, “Mmhmm.” Soon they’ll be off again in nonstop soliloquy, and you can drift away into serene samadhi.

This is how you can transfigure the Hell of a talker into a peaceful Heaven. But I’ve said enough. I won’t explain Talker Meditation any further. No, I will not be your meditation prop.

I have my own talkers, and you must find yours.


My wife likes to embarrass me, in her blog, so I thought I might turn the tables on her. The following is a short story I wrote that is closely based on an actual event that occurred about six years ago. An embarrassing event. Involving my wife:

Free creamers. That’s what she liked so much about going to McDonalds. She’d order a cup of coffee, then ask for, let’s see, how about eight creamers? Then she’d put just one of those creamers in her coffee and stuff the remaining seven in her purse, to be taken home for using later. McDonalds had always been so nice about letting her get away with this.

“Welcome to McDonalds! May I take your order?” the young lady behind the counter smiled.

“Yes, a cup of coffee, please. And can I have eight creamers with that?”

“Sure. Anything else?”

She calculated that she’d need a little bag to hold the extra creamers without them getting scattered in her purse. Then she was struck with a splendid idea. She’d order the hash browns, which come in a small bag just the perfect size. She was dieting, so she’d have to throw the hash browns out, but they weren’t too expensive.

“And hash browns.”

A few minutes later her order was ready. There on her tray at the counter sat the cup of java. Next to it were some steaming hot hash browns. But there were no creamers.

“Uh, excuse me ma’am, you forgot the creamers I ordered.”

“Oh no I didn’t,” the nice young lady reassured. “I put them in your coffee for you.”

She sat at a little table with a view of the Ronald McDonald playground, and gave the coffee a test-sip. Her face scrunched up to the left and to the right, and her gag reflex kicked in. And then she reflected. This little coffee break cost her $3.12, when she could have bought eight creamers at the store for $2.50.

She dumped the coffee and hash browns into the trash receptacle and departed the land of the golden arches, feeling a bit sheepish.

Lesson learned.

Apology to pooh

Apology to Pooh

The original Winnie in 1914, purchased from a hunter and poorly named by Canadian Lieutenant Harry Colebourne.

This is really the shits. A few days ago I posted an article that might have insulted Winnie the Pooh. All of his fan (Carolyn) raised a stink over this, and demanded that I apologize to Pooh Bear.

Then others jumped on Carolyn’s bandwagon, such as Vic at The Hinoeuma (or however the hell you spell that), and CrankyPants. And now my wife is getting in on the action. Today she posted a demand for an apology, and threatened to cut off my macaroni and cheese dinner if I didn’t capitulate.

Jeeeeezus Keeeeeerist! All of this for a frickin’ pooh?!

I love mac and cheese, so I’m backed against a wall. Therefore, with my hat in hand, everyone who was offended, including Winnie, Christopher Robin, Piglet, Eeyore, Tigger, Rabbit, Gopher, Kanga, Roo, Lumpy, and any other wacky character that’s on that damned cartoon, please accept my apology. I also apologize to everyone who’s ever enjoyed a Winnie-the-fucking-Pooh cartoon.

I’m sorry that Pooh Bear is shaped like a turd. And I’m sorry his name is “Pooh.” I can’t think of a worse, more disgusting name for a parent to give a child. And I’m sorry Winnie is so damned sanctimonious and priggish.

Alright, I hope everyone is satisfied now, and that everyone’s idealist views of the world that my post shattered have been glued back together.

Now, where’s my mac and cheese?


I was on the phone with one of my sisters the other day, when the subject turned to politics. In reference to our fearless leaders, I said, “Those bastards don’t know shit.”

She corrected me with, “Oh, you mean those guys don’t know poo?”

Oh shit, that’s right, I remembered, I’m talking to my religious sister. She’s an uppity-up with the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Her husband’s an elder, you know, so she’s big-time, and has to set an example for everyone. And in that religion, “shit” is apparently an unacceptable way to refer to the fecal matter that drops from the anus.

The appropriate alternative is “poo.”

Worldly people say, “shit,” whereas those who are not of this world say, “poo.”

Poo is acceptable in any Kingdom Hall of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. You can say that word repeatedly, while attending their meetings, and they’ll just smile, and maybe even giggle, and you will be tops with them.

In fact, you can say, “poo” to any religious person. Nuns love poo. So do ministers. And so do Sunday School teachers.

Poo goes well with religion, but it’s also appropriate for mixed company. I don’t quite know what “mixed” company actually is, but from a small child I’ve heard admonishments along the lines of, “you can’t say that in mixed company,” or “don’t do that in mixed company.” I suppose it means you’re in the company of people who are mixed up about things, and thus are easily offended.

When you’re in mixed company, it’s risky to say the word, “shit,” because sometimes people will find it objectionable. But it’s never risky to say, “poo.” You can even add an “h” to the word, then double it, as in, “I pooh-pooh that.” Which I think means, “I shit on that.”

Adding an “h” to poo brings to mind Winnie the Pooh. Kids love Winnie the Pooh. I never cared much for that sanctimonious, priggish, moralizing, turd-shaped bear, but maybe that’s because I discovered the word, “shit,” at a young age. When I first became aware of Winnie the Pooh I wondered, why don’t they call him Winnie the Shit? Does calling shit “pooh” make it any less smelly or disgusting?

I prefer “shit” to “poo.” Shit is more authentic. Also, it’s a much more versatile word. It doesn’t always refer to the stinky material that draws all those flies. It can mean all kinds of things. But when you try to use the word “poo” to refer to anything other than the defecations secreted by our bowels, it really falls flat.

For instance, when someone says, “I have to get my shit together,” everyone knows they’re not referring to that awful stuff that gets flushed down the toilet. No, they’re speaking in the abstract. They’re referring to their life, and various aspects of their life that may be a bit disorganized at the moment.

But when someone says, “I have to get my poo together,” it leaves me in a muddle. I’m picturing them collecting the brown stuff from their toilet, and putting it all together in a sack. Perhaps a blivet bag.

If you’re going through hard times, and someone commiserates with you by saying, “Wow, that’s some tough shit, man,” you know exactly what they mean, and you feel consoled. But what if they say, “Wow, that’s some tough poo, man,” wouldn’t that sound a little weird and off-putting? Tough poo? There’s nothing consoling about that. That just brings to mind the sort of stuff that’s requires multiple flushes to get down the loo.

And yet, many religious people try to use the word “poo” in just this way. For them it’s a substitute for “shit” in all of our scatological idioms, bromides, and other cliches.

To me, it comes off as awkward, dorky, and wacky. If someone considers “shit” to be a taboo word, then they might not want to say it. But it strikes me as strange when they use “poo” as a substitute. It just doesn’t work, unless they’re actually referring to the fecal matter that drops from the anus.

But even then, it sounds like toddler-speak, in my view. And so does “poop” and “caca.” I hardly ever use those words. I grew out of them before I lost my baby teeth. I will, however, utilize the heteroclitical term, “crap,” fairly often. It’s a semi-taboo word that can pass without raising many eyebrows, in mixed company.

I sometimes feel sorry for religious people who seem compelled to resort to silly measures like saying the word, “poo,” to avoid taboo behavior. But perhaps that’s the price they must pay to get on the list for housing in heaven.

I violate taboos right and left, so I’m not on that list. I guess me and my filthy mouth are going to hell. And that’s some tough shit, man.

Carolyn’s Poor Husband

A certain unnamed blogger, who’s initials are Carolyn Shelton, recently posted a tall tale where I was turned into a duck. This wasn’t very nice of her. Quack! I’m unhappy being a duck, and so I’ve been plotting and planning revenge.

I’ve come up with an idea for payback that I think will fill the bill. Quack! I’ve written a poem about her poor husband, Brad, who has to put up with living with Carolyn. Poor Brad. Quack! In fact, a few weeks ago I posted a poem written by Colin Chappell, entitled Poor Brad. Yes, Colin feels sorry for Brad too, as does everyone who knows Carolyn. Quack! Quack!

The Poor Brad post was VERY popular. Quack! Seems it touched a chord with many people, who have long harbored similar sentiments. I imagine there’s a popular demand for more of this, so I’ve written a sequel to Colin’s poem. It’s entitled, Carolyn’s Poor Husband. And we know who that is. Quack! Poor Brad. Quack!

And so, by popular demand, here’s the–quack!–sequel:

Carolyn’s Poor Husband

Repairing her car, Brad’s up late,
Removing a runaway gate,
Or fixing mirrors that jump out,
Like silvery trout,
Because she’ll never admit she’s distrait.

Brad tries to save money, it’s true,
But she wants a car that is blue.
The silver is cheap,
And it still goes beep-beep,
But if he buys it, then she’ll go boo-hoo.

Coffee, Brad wisely avoids
As bad as a case of hemorrhoids.
Yet she drinks it all day,
And salted caramel latte,
‘Til she’s buzzing like haywired androids.

She doesn’t speak English too much,
Just gibber and jabber and such.
Brad listens with care,
While pulling out hair,
From that damned Pennsylvanian Dutch.

She claims to be sweeter than sugar,
Yet she’s older than Brad, a real cougar.
His “Sweet Carolyn,”
Can really wear thin,
Reminding him more of a booger.

I’ve never met Poor Brad,
And that leaves me feeling sad.
But I would be pissed,
If he doesn’t exist,
Because then we will all have been had.

Poor Brad

This is not a poetry blog. It’s a serious blog for smartasses. It’s where smart asses chase unicorns. So we read serious quotes, and we learn about serious, but unique things, such as Mao Zedong and the Cultural Revolution. We may even make a few serious comments. But then, inevitably, things devolve into smartass comments, from the likes of Jim, Joan, Jason, and, hey why do so many smartasses have names beginning with the letter J?

No wait, three of our regular smartasses have names beginning with C: Cranky Pants, Carolyn, and Colin. Carolyn is at Nuggets of Gold, and Colin is at A Dog’s Life . . . And Mine . . . And Yours! I always treat Carolyn with the utmost respect, and never get smartassy with her. So does Colin, though sometimes I can tell what a strain that is on him, to hold back.

Carolyn, on the other hand, is a perennial smartass. And with grammar and syntax issues. There’s nothing like a smartass with grammar and syntax issues to try the souls of other smartasses bloggers, who know English as a first language.

But if that may seem tough for us, I wonder just how difficult it is for poor Brad, Carolyn’s husband. He has to live with her. Apparently, Colin has wondered the same thing, even to the point of writing a poignant poem, lamenting the trials of poor Brad.

Colin is a deeply thoughtful poet, who has even published his own book of poetry, called Just Thinking. I suppose Colin was just thinking about poor Brad, when he was inspired to compose the following jeremiad, in honor of the poor man.

Like I say, this is not a poetry blog, but rather it’s for smartasses. But this one time, I’m making an exception to the rule. I’m posting Colin’s verses so we can seriously mourn the trials and tribulations of poor Brad, and provide the much-needed empathy this poor man needs.

And if any smartasses out there feel moved and inspired to compose their own verses about poor Brad, you are very welcome to leave them in the comments.

Poor Brad

by Colin Chappell

So many years ago
He found himself a bride
Her parents were so glad
At last now she was going
At last she was leaving their home
Everyone was happy… poor Brad.
Her sisters were delighted
That she was getting wed
It was no secret they were glad
They stifled their smiles
As she walked down the aisle
They couldn’t help thinking… poor Brad
He suffered her humor
Put up with her quirks
And then a child they had
Dizzy with excitement
Illogical as ever
Carolyn was a challenge… poor Brad
A second child followed
Much to Carolyn’s delight
And Brad was, once again, a Dad.
“Dizzy Lizzy” was confused
Puzzled and rather perplexing
But our thoughts go out to poor Brad.
So many years have now gone by
So much time has passed
Was it really all that bad?
Well by all accounts
At least from what we hear
All we can say is …poor Brad!
Now over 20 years later
We just shake our heads
She’s obviously quite mad!
We’ve known her for almost two years
And she does have really nice kids
But… we just have to say… poor Brad
Brad is surely a martyr
Suffering the confusion
It really is quite sad
For Carolyn, being so short
If she asked what we thought… we’d say (while looking down)
It’s alright for you… but… poor Brad!

Help! Wine Catchers Wanted!

I need help catching wine. Cranky Pants has been smuggling virtual bottles of wine across the Canadian border, to Carolyn, at JoyRoses13. She does this by “tossing” them over the border, through comments she leaves on my blog. For instance, she may say in her comment: “Here’s a bottle of wine.” Then Carolyn replies: “Got it!”

But if I reply to Cranky Pants first, and write, “Got it,” then I intercept the wine bottle and prevent Carolyn from catching it. I’ve managed to intercept some of that wine over the past few weeks, but sadly most of it has been caught by Carolyn.

I fear Carolyn has become quite the oenophile, with the staggering amount of wine she has to dispose of. Also, consider how much money U.S. Customs is losing, due to all this smuggled wine. I need help interdicting this brew, and so does Customs. But most importantly, Carolyn needs help, whether she’s willing to admit it or not.

So I’m asking all my followers to be on the lookout for Cranky Pants’ comments. Whenever she says she’s tossing wine to Carolyn, please reply to her, “Got it!” before Carolyn gets the chance to reply first. In this way, we can prevent illegal and costly bootlegging, and help Carolyn defeat her wine-guzzling demon.

It takes a village to help us all survive in this world, and I’m confident volunteers from the virtual village of the internet can help in this caring campaign. Thanks in advance for your wine-catching efforts!

Black Market Bingo

Three quick raps from the back door, followed by two slow ones. I peeked through the shutters and saw an old lady leaning on her cane. It was Big Mouth Betty. I cracked opened the window on the door and hissed, “What do you want?”

“Governor Gavin’s a gasbag,” she hissed back. That was the correct passphrase, so I opened up and let her in.

Betty was our first arrival for Black Market Bingo. The bingo hall had been shut down two months ago, due to the coronavirus lockdown. Bingo regulars, such as Betty, had been going stir crazy, itching to get back to their favorite game. My wife and I were bored and needed something stimulating to do, so we organized a game for them.

We had to be careful, so we only invited those we knew and trusted. But anyone wanting admission had to remember a secret door knock and passphrase. That’s standard. It was a habit we insisted our clients got into.

Another door knock. Four quick raps, and that was it. I felt suspicious. I peeked out and there stood Madelyn. All 81 years of her. Yikes! I always had to be careful around Madelyn. “What do you want?” I hissed.

“The Governor’s in a . . . a . . . b-bag of gas,” she hissed back. Close enough. I let her in, then gave her a wide berth. Yet still she managed to brush her fingers across my thigh as she moseyed past me.

George, Lucy, and Lil the Pill arrived next, and all managed to get the passphrase right, more or less.

Lil the Pill was last to walk into the room, and greeted everyone with, “Good evening, good evening, good evening, good evening, good evening, good evening!” with one good evening for each person present, other than herself. We each returned her greeting with a good evening, because we knew that if we didn’t, she’d get in our face and keep saying good evening to us until we said it back.

We also made sure we smiled when we said good evening to Lil, or she’d order us to smile. Everyone hated Lil the Pill, but nobody dared admit it.

The bingo players sat at least six feet apart from each other, in our spacious livingroom. Lucy had a cough that left everyone feeling nervous, so we put her a little further away, off in the corner.

“You better not have the virus!” Big Mouth Betty remonstrated to Lucy.

“No, no, [cough, cough] I just swallowed something wrong,” Lucy defended herself.

Madelyn made sure to sit close to the front, where I would be calling the numbers, and might perhaps stray within arm’s reach. George sat near my wife and leered at her. And Lil sat in the middle of the room, because she always liked to be in the middle of things, making demands of everyone.

Big Mouth Betty was rambling on and on, like she always did. My wife stood up and clapped her hands for about 30 seconds. That finally shut Big Mouth up and got everyone else’s attention as well. “Alright, listen up! There’s a $10 buy-in. Has everyone paid?”

“All but Lil,” I informed my wife.

“I forgot my money. I’ll pay next time.” Lil firmly declared.

“Okay, Lil. But you can only play for fun. You can’t win anything tonight,” my wife said sweetly, while smiling like a cherub. She knew how to handle old bitches.

Lil the Pill rummaged through her purse, and after a minute her bony fingers produced a ten-dollar bill. That settled that.

[cough, cough] went Lucy.

“Now we all have to be very careful,” my wife continued. “If anyone knocks on the front door, we all have to be quiet. No talking at all!” she cast a hard, meaningful glare at Big Mouth Betty. “My neighbor across the street is very nosy, and she might call the cops on us.”

Everyone nodded in agreement. They understood. Lucy coughed.

“Lucy, you shouldn’t have come here with that cough!” railed Betty. “You’re making us all scared!”

“It’s allergies,” Lucy pleaded. “I always get them this time of year.”

“None of us are wearing masks,” my wife pointed out, “And the county no longer requires it. So if you cough, be sure to cough into your arm,” she said to no one in particular. But we all knew she meant those words for Lucy.

My wife sat down, then stood up quickly. “Gaah!” she yelled. George had scooted his chair near hers and put his supinated hand on her chair’s seat, just as she sat down.

“Whoops, sorry,” George grinned, “I didn’t see you there.” George was a 75-year-old widower. His wife had been my wife’s friend, and while she lay on her deathbed, George started making passes at my wife. He’s been pursuing her ever since.

“Okay everyone, let’s get started!” I announced. I stood before a TV tray with two bowls on it. One bowl contained folded paper slips with letters, and the other contained folded paper slips with numbers.

My wife and the other five contestants sat poised with their bingo daubers and cards. I reached into each bowl, randomly selected paper slips, and unfolded them. “B-16,” I announced.

“What? What? What? What? What?” came a chorus, back.

“Speak up!” my wife reminded me.

“Beeeeeeeeeeee–16eeeeeeeeeeeeen!!!!!” I shouted.

“Oh, this is so exciting!” Big Mouth Betty proclaimed. “When I was young I knew someone who was in the mob during Prohibition. He was a big tough, guy, and he blah blah blah blah blah . . .”

I continued with my job, selecting paper slips and announcing numbers. And Big Mouth Betty continued with her job, yacking and yabbering away.

“Would you shut up!” Lil finally snapped at Betty. “I can’t concentrate!”

“Oh sorry,” Big Mouth apologized.

But a minute later her logorhea kicked in again. She just couldn’t help herself. Big Mouth Betty was always the most reviled contestant in the bingo hall, and she continued to live up to her blatherskite reputation at our Black Market Bingo.

“Geeeeeeeeeeeeeeee-55iiiiiiiiiiive!!!!!!” I shouted.

“[cough] Bingo!” Lucy shouted back with glee.

“Shit!” everyone else muttered.

Sure enough, her card checked out. I paid her $54, which was the $60 prize money, minus our 10% vigorish. Then we prepared for a new round. Lil managed to find another ten-dollar bill in her purse. Everyone was in. But then Lucy raised her hand.

“I have to go to the bathroom,” she announced.

“Number one or number two, Lucy?” my wife inquired.

“[cough, cough] Number one. But I can’t get off the toilet once I sit down. Do you have an old spaghetti pot I can use while standing up? That’s what I do at home.”

Note to self: Don’t ever eat Lucy’s spaghetti.

Madelyn stood up. “While Lucy’s using your spaghetti pot, I’ll use your bathroom.”

“No wait, Madelyn,” my wife stopped her. “Lucy, I’ll help you get up. You’re not using my spaghetti pot. Madelyn, you’re next after Lucy.”

About ten minutes later it was Madelyn’s turn. But as she walked past, heading toward the bathroom, she somehow tripped and fell against me. I instinctively grabbed her by the waist to keep my balance, while she steadied herself with her hands all over my ass, and her lips and face pressed against mine. “I’m so sorry,” she apologized, with a huge smile on her face. Then she triumphantly proceeded down the hallway, while I brushed my face and clothes off the best I could, feeling grossed out and dirty.

Finally everyone was seated and ready for the next round. I announced the first number. But before I could announce the second, there came a rapping on the front door. Front door? My hackles went up. My wife cast a worried look my way. I put my finger against my lips and shushed everyone, especially Big Mouth Betty.

I crept to the door. “Who is it?”

“It’s your neighbor, Mrs. Javvits!” we all heard. That fucking nosy bitch! “Is there a party going on in there? What are all these cars doing parked by your house?”

“I don’t know, Mrs. Javvits!” I shouted through the door.

“Aren’t you going to open up so I can talk to you?”

I had to think of something quick, and I don’t think well on my feet. What should I say? What should I say? I frantically searched my brain. Finally, “No, I just got out of the shower. I’m naked!” I heard Madelyn sigh, somewhere behind me.

Silence. Then, “Okay, well, I hope you’re not having a party. We all have to do our part to fight the virus, you know. Have a good evening!” I heard retreating footsteps.

We resumed our play. But after this scare, everyone was subdued. Even Big Mouth Betty lowered her voice.

“Innnnnnnnnnnn-42oooooooooooo!!!!” I hush-shouted.

“Bingo! [cough, cough]” announced Lucy.

“Shit!” from everyone else.

Betty turned on her with daggers in her eyes. “Lucy, you shouldn’t have even come here! You sound like you have the virus!”

“No, no,” Lucy pushed back. “It’s my heart condition. It makes me cough sometimes.”

But Lucy’s win, after my neighbor’s visit, broke up the game. Everyone decided they’d had it and it was time to go home. But they all said they’d had a good time, and vowed to return in a week for more Black Market Bingo.

“Can you come to my house someday?” George whispered into my wife’s ear, as he walked out the back. “I have something that my wife wanted you to have.”

“Ohhh, okay, we’ll see,” my wife patted him on the back while pushing him out the door.

This unnerving exchange distracted me, and Madelyn managed to sneak in a goose, as she followed George outside. Dammit!

After everyone was gone, there came a pounding on our front door. It was a cop.

“Excuse me sir, but we got a complaint that there was a party going on here. Are you aware of anything like that around here?” the young officer inquired, while peering over my shoulder and observing my wife straightening out the furniture.

“No sir, not here,” I told him. “It could be my neighbor across the street, though. She has family reunions there all the time. You might want to keep an eye out on her house. I think she’s been breaking the lockdown rules a lot.”

He looked me over carefully. Finally, “Okay, well sorry to disturb you. Have a nice evening,” and he left.

That was a close call, but we got away with it. And with a total vig of $12, plus $29 in net profit from refreshments and snacks my wife had sold, we’d netted $41.00 under the table.

All-in-all I think we did okay for our efforts. We got together with some screwy, but fun old people, and filled a vacuum of loneliness that months of lockdown had created. It had been a successful night for everyone, at Black Market Bingo.

[cough, cough]

This story is fiction, but the characters are not. They’re real people who frequented my wife’s beauty shop for many years, before she retired. Her beauty shop was connected to our house, so for better or worse, I got to know them well.

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