This story is by Larry Keeton and was part of our 2017 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the Summer Writing Contest stories here.
Beads of sweat cascaded down his forehead landing on his thin upper lip. He removed a soaked Kleenex from his pocket and wipe his brow for the fourth time in what seemed like eternity.
He’d never known such terror. The swamps of Parris Island, the churning sea of Coronado, and the sandboxes of Iraq and Afghanistan were mere playgrounds compared to what he now faced.
“Live from Disgrace, California, the Comic Cop!” a female voice blared. The curtain pulled back. He surveyed the crowd. The good news, they were drinking. The bad news, he wasn’t.
You can do this, he thought. On stage, he launched into his routine.
Good evening. Thanks for not applauding. I’ve PTSD. It’s recently acquired ……… last night ….. the first time I did this act ……… in public. Didn’t bomb …. Just fizzled away. Was that gratuitous chuckle?
Life hasn’t been kind to me. Start with my name – John. It’s a piss hole. Tell someone you’re going to hit the John, they know what you mean. Tell them you’ve got to hit the Harry. What do they say? “Slug him for me; that asshole owes me fifty.”
I found a solution on the all-knowable Internet. Maybe you saw it. Change your name to Jim. “I gotta go to the Jim” has a nice ring to it.
Point to gut and butt.
Hell, some woman may take pity, tag along and give some pointers about how to eliminate my sagging gut and floppy butt. …….. Or, I could just get off my dead ass and start moving. You know, from the bar to the John, back to the bar. I can even add weights – 16 ounces in each fist.
I settled on Jake as a name. John Wayne played a rancher named Jake. State Farm has a Jake. I meet the Jake criteria. I live in Rancho Cordova and own a red polo shirt and tan pants. Someone calls me at 3 am wanting advice, I’m hanging up. Hell, after 30 years of marriage, I only know one position and I fall off ……… to sleep ……. every time.
Look down at gonads. Shudder.
Besides, unlike that lady who cut off her husband’s wang and threw it away, my wife keeps a meat grinder next to the bed. That’s a keeper.
Like I said, life hasn’t been kind to me. I just got booted from my 23-year career. With lemons, you make lemonade. When you get booted, what do you make? Boot polish? Bootstraps? Jackboots? No one polishes shoes anymore. Straps are so passé. And Jackboots goose-stepped out of vogue with the Nazis.
Jeannie, my wife, was empathetic to my plight. Giving me a loving squeeze, she whispered “It’s okay dear, you’ll get another job.” No need to interfere with her routine – don’t cook; won’t clean; just Facebook.
Facebook is the preferred adult social media – blast gossiping. The more likes, the higher your rating: dull, acceptable, competitive, titillating, TM. Jeannie’s a TM – Tabloid Master.
The tweens and teens have abandoned that ship. Their lifeboat is Instagram …… where a picture shows all or nothing. Personally, I can’t relate.
Run hands along body.
A beached whale with flies has more sensuality.
Snapchat’s my preference – pictures and texts dissolve like a smoking gun.
Given my cop background, private investigator or security consultant seemed the logical choice. Jeannie disagreed. “Be a comic. You’re funny once the booze starts flowing.”
It is true cops and comics have a lot in common: Patience, perception, personality disorders. You have to be sick to find employment in society’s flaws. Maybe that’s why politicians run for office. ……. To keep the flaws alive …….. guarantees their employment. …… Like I should complain. …… Cha-ching.
I was a FED? You know, Federal Employee Discouraged. Come to think of it. I’m still a FED, Federal Employee Discarded.
Worked for NCIS – No Criminal is Safe ……. until I was told I blotched a case. Perp walked. Rape victim devastated.
Point to face.
Waalaa ………. Comic created ………. Cha-ching.
This isn’t a proud moment for me. Those with PTSD understand. Why would any fool bare his shield of shame to hundreds of drunks who won’t remember him in the morning?
Slap forehead with palm of hand.
Sounds like my marriage …… except my wife doesn’t drink. Great line, Jeannie.
Then it dawned on me. You can be my Facebook page. I can have hundreds, if not thousands, of “friends” tracking this perp.
Not going to be easy though. The guy’s sharp. He’s a graduate of JC’s School of WOW – Walking on Water. Read his officer efficiency reports. They’re like the Bible. And, we know God’s word is true. …. Or is he just pulling our leg? …….. Regardless, this perp is as untouchable as the four stars and scrambled egg halo he wears.
You’ll know him if you see him. He’s a spear. Pole skinny, pointy head, virile. Able to stain panties with a single thrust. …. Hmmm. ……. Erectile dysfunction?
It’s my fault. I blotched the case.
Grimace, shake head slowly.
Snapchat ……………. photographs.
Should have stayed with Instagram.
I realized all wasn’t lost. There was physical evidence. Miracles do happen. It had “disappeared.”
Slowly pull plastic bag with panties from pocket.
Or did it?
Scan room, slowly.
Sent him a photo. Used Instagram this time.
Wonder how his pucker factor is doing about now?
Hey, you’ve been a great crowd. Keep safe. And, stay away from a woman with a meat grinder next to her bed. Unless you love her.
The female announcer’s voice blared, “A big round of applause for Comic Cop.”
He smiled. Hand over heart, he bowed, his gaze scanning the room. It’s only a matter of time, perp. He waved as he strolled off stage. Jeannie’s right. I am funny when the booze starts flowing.