Monday, August 15, 2011
The finalists of the Jacob Wonderbar Funny Writing Contest Spectacular Happening Event!
BUT FIRST, just a quick note about choosing these finalists. It was hard. I mean, I know I always go on and on about how hard it was to choose the finalists after every contest. But this was REALLY hard. It's hard to be funny out of context without knowing the characters. It's hard to be funny in 350 words. Humor is subjective.
But I read them all and I have arrived at these finalists. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. (And I swear I read every single entry, though the finalists ended up being from the first 200.)
While reading these quite amusing entries, I noticed...
Common subjects I would not have expected: Dragons, mice, training bras.
The format of this contest seems to have favored dialogue: It just seemed like with this short of a prompt, funny conversations seemed to jump out a bit more, though I ended up with a range of styles with the finalists.
Voice voice voice voice voice: Voice voice voice voice voice voice voice. (Voice: Incredibly crucial to humor. This post seems relevant)
You are a funny group of individuals: Give yourself a hand.
First, congrats to these honorable mentions, who acquitted themselves quite honorably indeed:
Vinyl and Mono
And now, before I announce the finalists, please remember the voting rules:
In order to vote for the winner, please leave a vote in the comments section of this post. You will have until approximately 7 PM Pacific time TODAY to vote. Please do not e-mail me your vote.
Anonymous comments will be closed during the voting to diminish covert voting opportunities.
Also: Please do not campaign for yourself or for your favorites out there on the Internet. Let's keep this fair. Please remind friends of this as well.
The grand prize winner will be announced tomorrow!
The five finalists are............
I faced them again. “OK, OK. Any questions then? Yes? Right, you with the big nose. Go!”
“Err.” The reporter I indicated seemed both unsure whether or not I meant him, and throttled by eagerness. “What happened, Strafe?”
“A man died.” Strafe 1, Press 0. “Next. You, there, with the ill advised beard.”
“What was the cause of death?” His beard was actually two beards; a thumbnail sized smudged under his bottom lip, and a spot hanging from his chin. He looked like he’d been poked by a magic marker.
“Something got lodged in his stomach.”
“An extraterrestrial. Next. Over there. With the ugly shirt.”
“Hey! This is a genuine Fioracchi!”
“OK. In the ugly Fioracchi.”
“How big was this alien? Did he swallow it?”
“That’s two questions. Pick one.”
“About four feet tall. Five and a half if you count the spike on its head.” I was on a roll now, slipping into the natural rhythms I used during these tedious press statements. It’s about playing to the crowd, working out which answers will elicit which reaction from the gathered masses and picking the best one. My arms shot about, selecting questions like a conductor indicating when an instrument should add to the orchestrated swell of an opera.
“The woman with menopause face!”
“Err…The other question the guy asked.”
“Did he swallow it?”
“No. It was rammed through him like a skewer.” There was a comical collective ‘ewwww’ from the crowd. Like gothic teenagers feasting on the morbid facts, the reporters, almost as one, scribbled down notes.
“You, over there, with the…Woah!...What happened to your face?”
“Eh.” The reporter said, his uneven eyes regarding me with incomprehension.
“Your face. With the…” I pushed my nose in a couple of different directions. “And the…” I did the same to my jaw and my ear.
“Oh right.” I gave him a nervous smile as means of an apology. “Right, ok, your questions.”
“How did the alien…”
“I’m sorry, I can’t do this. You’re too distracting. You over there. The plain, normal-looking dude.” I said, pointing.
I can’t do funny stories; I can only do sad stories at the moment. You see my pet, Anthony the Ant, died.
We were out playing in the garden. I turned my back just for a minute and the next-door neighbour’s pet, Declan the Anteater, jumped over the fence and started to hoover up little Anthony. Well I ran across as quick as I could but I was too late; I could only retrieve little Anthony’s head.
I shooed off Declan before looking down at little Anthony’s head inside my cupped hand. He beckoned me towards him, which was hard because he had no legs, and he I heard his dying words. “Avenge... My... Death...”
Well I organised a little funeral for him. I was hoping for a better turn out but Declan had eaten all his little friends too.
Funeral over I set about avenging Anthony’s death so I got a new pet – Sid the Snake – and he ate Declan.
My neighbour then asked me where Declan was. I said I didn’t know. Then he saw Sid the Snake and the anteater shape in his belly.
“Is that Declan?” he asked.
“No, that’s a different anteater,” I replied. My neighbour looked satisfied and started to walk away but at that moment Sid had a coughing fit and brought out all his food. My neighbour saw the half-dissolved anteater and knew it was Declan because of his distinctive nose. He was outraged. “Watch your back,” he said.
The next day I was out playing with Sid in the garden. I turned my back just for a minute and the next-door neighbour’s new pet, Nancy the Mongoose, jumped over the fence and ate Sid.
So you see I am in grief and can’t really do a funny story at the moment.
The car pulled up to a small, tan building. They hustled through the blustery winds to the glass doors. Once inside, her father went to the front desk while Suzy waited on a hard, plastic chair.
The receptionist took out a form and pen, ready to write. “Name?”
“Frank,” her father said.
The receptionist glared at him over the frames of her glasses.
“Sorry, I thought you meant me.” Her father forced a fake laugh. “This is the hamster I called about. The name is Mr. Snugglymuffin.”
“Is Mister abbreviated or not?”
“Does it matter?”
Again, the receptionist looked up at him as if he was ridiculous.
After a few awkward seconds, he scratched the back of his head. “I guess you can abbreviate it.”
The receptionist focused back on the paperwork. “And is Snugglymuffin one word or two?”
“I don’t know. I never spelled it before.”
“Here.” The receptionist put the form on clipboard and held it out with a pen. “You fill this out.”
Her father took the clipboard and pen and sat down next to Suzy. After glancing over the document, he whispered to Suzy, “Is Snugglymuffin one word or two?”
“Does it matter?”
“Apparently it does.”
“One, I guess.”
I sell heckacool Jeeps. And I sell them in a way that kicks the butts off people. After they’ve signed the paperwork, most folks step out of my office with their faces melted clean off. In a good way. In a “I just bought the crap out of that Jeep” kind of way. The Toyota dealership across the street thinks I’m a god. I don’t let them anywhere near me though. I don’t want their snot-nosed sales numbers getting stains on my sequin jacket.
This morning my crew arrived at 2am to prepare for the 6am opening. And no pansy-butt bagels or pastries to eat. Just coffee beans to chew on and some Slim Jims. My beagle, Macho Man Randy Savage, was there and he howled at them if they didn’t work hard. He doesn’t take crap. Macho Man Randy Savage will gnaw your freakin’ thumb knuckle off.
Three minutes before six, I began the “Call of the Jepo,” (pronounced Heh-po). At my signal, Jennifer the temp pressed the Red Button which set off explosions on the sidewalks in front of the store and sent confetti into the sky. I donned my Jepo cape and ascended a mini-Mayan pyramid parked near the street (I bought the pyramid half off after it was rejected as a float for the Macy’s parade). At its pinnacle, upon a Mayan sacrificial altar, sat a new Toyota Prius. I took a chainsaw to that little carbon candy foot until its front bumper and headlights rolled down the steps of the pyramid and crashed upon the street in front of the Toyota dealership. I could see one of their new salesmen wetting himself. I gave Jennifer another signal, and four more explosions went off, this time with fireworks. I jumped on the Prius and cried out in a great voice, “Bienvenidos al Hhhhhepoooooo!” The Call of the Jepo was completed – the same Call given every morning.
And it worked like a charm. Within twenty-four minutes, there was probably about fifteen kabillion trillion people on my lot wanting to buy one of my heckasweet Jeeps.
How do you know if a girl likes you? Not likes you like she wants to talk about movies or the best Clash songs or share your French fries at the diner. But likes you like she wants to see you with your shirt off and call you in the middle of the night and tell you how much that awesome David Bowie song makes her think of you.
It’s very possible she doesn’t like me that way. She makes fart jokes and snorts when she laughs, and she orders giant, messy burgers and eats them in front of me without shame. Girls don’t do that when they like you, right? But maybe Lyla is different. Maybe she does want to stick her tongue in my mouth as well as sing karaoke "London Calling" in my basement.
I haven’t told Lyla about my theory yet. I want to, but if she likes me in that way (the way I want her to) then she may spit out her coffee and abandon ship, and if she doesn’t like me that way but really cares about me in the friendship way, she may feel obligated to have a special conversation with my mother about this really nice mental hospital in Tucson that she read about on the internet. (In my
mind, Lyla knows way too much about plush mental hospitals.)
I try to imagine the conversation. Hey, guess what, Lyla? Remember when we were talking about past lives? About you wishing your best life was still yet to come? (God that was deep. And cute. So unbelievably cute). Well, my best life is almost certainly behind me. How can I ever top E=mc²? Not to mention the atomic bomb! Although, yes, I agree, that was kind of shitty.
At least the dude felt bad about it. And I feel bad about it, which matters because, Lyla--adorable, smart, sweet, cool, Lyla--I was Albert Einstein. At least I’m pretty sure I was.
I hear Tucson is a nice place to visit.