Mondays at the Nest


Like you, I like to laugh. Laughter cleanses the blemishes on the soul that build up like cobwebs from the daily grind. As a child, I waited for my Dad to come home from the long business trips because I knew he would come back with stories that made me laugh. Although his humor was innocuous, as I read more, I grew to like satiric humor with social commentary. Mark Twain, George Bernard Shaw, and Marathi humorist P.L Deshpande became my favorite writers. I rolled over laughing when I read the exchanges between Sir Winston Churchill and the fools who were the objects of his sharp wit.

These were some of the classic masters. Later when I became a mother and lived the life of a stay-at-home mother for a short time, I discovered Erma Bombeck and instantly identified with her brand of humor.

When I started working in the eighties, I discovered UNIX fortune cookies. Like the zillions of the others, I was hooked on those for sustenance during the dreadful all-night coding sessions. Along came the early humorous email messages circulating through the engineering community. I owe my survival during those years to humor.

Humor is the perfect antidote to any illness, physical or emotional. So, I have always been partial to people or writing that makes me chuckle. Humor is a powerful tool to shed light on the social ills, phobias, or what have you. Humor sometimes slaps us in the face, and we smile and ask for more. Now that’s power.

When I judged the flash fiction contests, humor always captured my attention. I wished there was an award for the humor, but I didn’t ask for it. When The Literary Nest was launched, I didn’t consider including a category for humor. Basically, to me, humor is not a separate entity. It’s an organic part of the life and literature.

But, the majority of us do not think of humor when writing fiction or poetry, mainly because, it’s difficult to be funny in a serious manner. So, I decided to try an experiment.

Each Sunday night PST (or PDT depending on the season), I will post a picture prompt here for inspiration. You will have till next Sunday 6:00 pm PST (or PDT) to post a 300-1500-word humorous story in the comments section. You don’t have to incorporate the picture in your story. On Sunday night, I will pick one winning story to post to The Literary Nest blog. A grand prize winner will be chosen to be published in the next quarterly issue of The Literary Nest.

Sounds cool?

Here is the prompt for the week of 9/20/2015.

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10 Responses to Mondays at the Nest

  1. susanlanigan says:

    I would love to hear more about the UNIX fortune cookies 😉

    Like

  2. Pratibha says:

    Reblogged this on The Literary Nest and commented:

    Here is another opportunity to be published here. This a weekly contest. You can enter as often as you like. Hope to see you soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Mondays at the Nest | The Literary Nest

  4. zevonesque says:

    The chance to write humour and not worry about being taken seriously because of it; top idea. I’ll hope to dip in every now and again. Good luck with it!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I agree Pratibha, so many of my flash fiction stories were humorous and never got a mention, let alone win, I often felt that humour wasn’t taken seriously (hahaa!) so I’ll give this a go from time to time.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Holly Geely says:

    I love this! Humour is my favourite!

    The Professor and Freddy #2 (Vacuum)
    @hollygeely
    430 words

    March 29, 2015 (My Time)

    Whoever you are, however you find this, I swear it is true.

    This diary is going to become a way for me to keep track of my own time, as well as a cry for help from anyone who finds my meticulous copies. If you’re reading one now, picture me, pen in hand, scribbling in the chill of the desert.

    After our first misadventure with the sand dune, Professor Longpun set to work on repairing the time machine. Fortunately the contraption made the journey with us. I spent the better part of two days lamenting my choice of summer occupation, while the professor worked and asked me at random for various tools. The first aid kit is filled with tools; the emergency tool kit is filled with beef jerky. If I cut myself I’m going to be cross but for now I’m grateful for the food!

    When I woke yesterday morning the professor was ready to go. The machine was working perfectly, he said.

    “Take us home, Professor,” I said. At my interview, he’d told me I would be his voice of reason, and I am nothing if not reasonable.

    “Yes, yes,” the professor said, and I boarded with relief.

    I don’t know why I trusted him.

    “As soon as we take a quick look at the past!” he said, and he flipped a switch and pressed a button. The now-familiar explosion of light blinded me to the rest of the world. I don’t think I explained the journey to you in full yet, reader; it is a gruesome experience. My body shook, my stomach whirled, my bowels tried to evacuate. There were such colours as I have never seen and hope never to see again.

    “Where are we now?” I asked, when the world was still.

    Professor Longpun rubbed vomit off the window (his, mine, it’s all the same when you’re trapped in an enclosed space).

    “It appears we are floating through space,” he said.

    “Space? That’s terrible!” I cried. “What will we do for oxygen?”

    “Don’t be silly, Freddy. There is enough oxygen in this cabin to last us at least a year.”

    I did not (and do not) fancy a year stuck in space with the professor.

    “I don’t think you’re taking this seriously,” I said.

    “Of course I am. I understand better than anyone the gravity of our situation.”

    My face dropped into my palms, and I said, “Professor, there is no gravity in space.”

    “You’re such party pooper, Freddy. Has space vacuumed your sense of humour?”

    Dear reader, help me.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Chicken Therapy
    By Gerald E. Greene

    Chickens are therapeutic. There, I’ve said it.

    Most people take chickens for granted, accepting the benefits, too numerous to mention, while saving accolades for the turkey who gets all the attention one day each year.

    It’s about time someone stood up for the chicken who comforts so many, so often, throughout the year. It’s not unusual for a family of four to share a meal of crispy wings, legs and nuggets while sitting in front of the TV, or picking up a box of selected pieces of chicken meat before going to the park to enjoy the experience watching the river flow by, or watching wild birds flit and fly through the trees.

    So let me tell you about “Chicken Therapy.”

    The most beneficial of all therapeutic exercises is to find a chair, or bring a folding one with you and sit down next to a chicken yard, you know those areas set aside with chicken wire allowing the hens and roosters to leave the coop and walk at their leisure looking for bugs and seeds on the ground.

    Sometimes I’ll focus on one bird and follow its movements from place to place, its head pushing forward before the body moves. An elegant dance if ever there was one. A pause here or a pause there to observe the surroundings, followed by a close examination of the ground for something edible.

    Yes, that’s therapeutic as you sit and watch the clucking dance that brings to your mind previous experiences of solitude and silence, relaxing the mind and purging stress and toxic thoughts leading you to a place of peace.

    But, throw a piece of old lettuce into the enclosure and all hell breaks loose as the hens become vicious predators displaying human attributes until the last morsel is consumed, before returning to the blissful dance that preceded the outbreak of violence.

    I’ve found that eating a chicken leg also provides therapy allowing my primitive urges to be fed.
    There’s nothing like tearing a chunk of meat from a bone with your teeth, while ignoring the grease smearing onto your fingers, chewing the meat and thinking wild and crazy thoughts, allowing the imagination to release pent up energy, resulting in a state of relaxation after a good belch or two.

    For the more refined, there’s the chicken nugget with an optional sauce for extra flavor, served with an abundant supply of napkins – a few nuggets to appease the appetite while ignoring others who are gnawing on bones.

    Yes, we should be grateful for the role of the chicken in our lives and show more respect on the fourth Thursday of November.

    Like

  8. Peckers Honour by Avalina Kreska (1209 words)

    “THERE! There’s the sign, oh, you almost missed it!” Simone yelled, tugging at Roy’s sleeve. Slowing down, Roy waited before crossing lanes then turned down the steep hill towards the farmhouse. The road was really just a track, his four wheel drive would have a real challenge for a change. Like a stormy sea, they were tossed about inside, Roy inwardly groaned at the clean-up job he’d have to do when he got back.
    “Oh look, there’s one!” Simone shouted, pointing at a raggedy tailed cockerel. The cockerel lifted its scrawny neck and crowed. It was more like a squeak. Roy looked at Simone and chuckled.
    “Bit pathetic wasn’t it?” he said. Simone giggled. Arriving, they carefully stepped out of the Land Rover, gingerly walking over towards a group of out-buildings. Damn it, Roy thought, all this mud will be inside the car. Another chicken ran past them, again, not looking it’s best, in fact, Roy thought it looked decidedly shifty.
    “Ahoy there!” a man’s voice was heard coming from a side building. They both turned.
    “Ahoy!” Simone said, waving.
    “You the chicken woman that rang?” the man said, emerging from a dilapidated doorway.
    “I am indeed, and this is my husband, Roy.” The man came towards them, wiping his hands on his overalls. Roy dreaded touching the man. The man stuck out his hand, Roy shook it, his hand was rough but slimy, Roy resisted the urge to sniff his fingers.
    “Ay, you come to the right place, chickens, we got chickens, what you looking for?” he said, glancing down at Simone’s low cut top.
    “As I said on the phone, some good layers, I used to keep chickens as a girl, thought it would be fun to start again,” she told him, hoping his eyes would rise up to meet hers. Roy wandered towards the buildings.
    “I, er, I wouldn’t go in there if I were you, the chickens you want are this way,” the man said, lighting a cigarette. Roy looked through a crack in the door, thought his eyes were deceiving him, there were rows of green army uniforms, too small for even a child.
    “How old are these birds?” Roy asked as they walked to a large coup with shitty food bowls and no fresh water. He was starting to get a bad feeling about this.
    “All young-uns – good enough for you, all one year-olds they are, you’ll have no problems with these.” Roy got a whiff from the enclosure, he looked at Simone, who shrugged her shoulders.
    “You said you’d kept them before like? So how many do you want?” the man kicked the coup startling the hens inside, they rushed out squawking. They only looked marginally better then the ones they passed on the track. Simone bent a knee and peered closer. Something was wrong about them, she looked closer still. Then she realised, they were each missing an eye! She stood up in amazement.
    “But – but – these chickens have only got one eye,” she swung around to look at the others, “and this one’s only got one leg!” The man sniffed. Simone could’ve sworn that it was an emotional sniff. He put one leg over the fence and with the quickness of a ninja he scooped one up, the hen didn’t resist.
    “War wounds. This one is Daisy, she’s a good layer, she’s a year older, shot through the eye she was. What a trooper! Night raid it was.” The man stroked the top of her head. Roy caught Simone’s eye, she knew that look, what in the crazy world of mothers is going on? Simone looked closer, just under the top feathers, something caught her eye.
    “There’s something under its feathers,” Simone said, Roy joined her, peering closely. The man swept a bunch of feathers aside. Staring back at them all was the smallest medal they’d ever seen.
    “She’s a war hero is our Daisy! Awarded the Peckers Honour for bravery!” Simone tapped it gently, it was definitely metal. Roy gave Simone a little nip on the back of her buttock with his fingernails like pincers. She stifled a guffaw.
    “My God! That’s amazing! I – We’ve never seen a chicken war hero have we Simone?” Roy said, hamming it up. She shook her head, biting her lip. The man beamed, glad that they were interested.
    “Oh yes, all these birds I’m letting go, all have seen battle, every single one deserves a good home, someone kind to love them as I do-o-o-o!” he burst into tears. Roy’s eyes said, I can’t stand much more before I burst. PLEASE!! Simone pulled herself together fast.
    “But Mr, if you love them so much, why are you giving them away?” she asked sincerely. He wiped away the tears.
    “More war coming, from the North, haven’t got the time to give to them, no, better they go, more will take their place…” he sniffed and put Daisy back down, then changed his mind, searched around for a container, and shoved her inside.
    “How many more Miss?” She looked at Roy, he shrugged and quickly turned away.
    “Two more should do it, for starters, maybe – er -after the war, I might come back…” The man nodded, and again, with the swiftness of a ninja, grabbed two more. Safe inside, the birds settled quickly.
    “That’ll be all then?” the man asked, tears glistening in his eyes. They both nodded, glad to get away from this crazy farmer. They walked back past the buildings, Roy looked, the uniforms were gone. He was seeing things for sure. Walking back up the path, Simone looked back, the man had gone.
    “Soon be home my ladies,” she said to the housed chickens. Roy burst out laughing making Simone laugh too.
    “Oh my GOD, how did I keep a straight face? Chicken war! Hahahaa!” he leaned over like he was going to vomit. Simone loaded the chickens in the back of the car.
    “Peckers Honour,” Simone said, tapping the skin of the car. That was enough for Roy to start a fresh round of hysterics, he hung onto the car door. Simone held her stomach.
    “Dooon’t – Sh-shushhh, he’ll hear us, come on let’s go, let’s get these war heroes home!” They climbed into the Land Rover, Roy looked behind him and backed his way up slowly.
    “Tell you what, he was one fast dude for an old man though,” Roy said, head out the window. They were near the top when they heard distant shouts. They looked at one another, faint at first. Roy continued up the track, the car precariously swinging side to side. He paused.
    “Can you hear that?” Simone wound down the window and stuck her head out.
    “Voices I think.” Roy reached the top, he had to back out onto the main road, all the cars had stopped both ways. Crossing the road were at least one hundred chickens, dressed in army uniforms, marching in perfect unison, their wattles flapping as they strode. Most had tiny, shiny rifles, others swords. A large cockerel marched off to the side, shouting commands. Simone’s mouth was open so wide she dribbled.
    “From the North…” Roy said absentmindedly.
    “Yes, more peckers…” Simone said.

    Liked by 1 person

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