A grasshopper ambled towards a road’s edge. Looking both ways, he saw neither car nor cyclist approaching and decided to cross. Half-way in, a thought struck the creature that his kind never explored the path to see where it led. A simple ninety-degree turn would do… As he lollygagged under the open sun, a bird swooped down and ate him.
Jack: “So I tricked the devil into paying my tabs.”
Jon: “Oh. How’d you do that?”
Jack: “Satin agreed to a drinking match. My eternal soul if I lose. Ten extra years if I win. Half-way in, I slipped a note to the bartender.”
Jon: “What was on it?”
Jack: “An unsigned IOU from hell.”
Jon: “Damn, how’d he take it?”
Jack: “He started mixing holy water.”
Inspired from the original stingy Jack myth!
“Who is first amongst equals?” Socrates asked.
“I am!” stomped Earth. “Without me, there is no ground for arguments to stand on.”
“Boooo!!” howled Wind. “Did you lift that bit from Water? Or did you get mud in your ears?”
“Stop blowing smoke!!!” roared Water. “No, I mean… stop with the nonsense.”
“Hahahaha” cracked Fire. “Water, I thought you’d be the most fluid. Never knew you’d rather be air-dried cough cough 😊”
Socrates rolled his eyes and sighed “I’m appointing Aether as first. Rest of you… get a planet.”
“What hubris!” the four exclaimed.
Cat: Why did the chicken cross the road?
Chicken: Oh here we go again. Ramblings of a drunk armchair philosopher. Existentialist I take it?
Cat: No really, there’s a legitimate line of inquiry here.
Chicken: Fine fine, entertain me.
Cat: So there’s a chicken living in the heart of New York City near Times square on-top a trendy rooftop farm. By the new Cluck Laws, chickens can enter into a living contract with a farmstead where they get free feed, a roof, and heating during the winter. There’s even entertainment such as TV/internet plus a job with a great health-insurance policy to boot.
Chicken: That sounds too good to be true… What’s the catch?
Cat: Well there’s an expiration date. After some time, the homestead moves you to a retirement home, puts you to sleep, and … off you go to cluck paradise.
Chicken: Holy catnip!! Execution is illegal here. And what happens to the body afterwards?
Cat: They feed it to humans… but you’ll be in paradise remember. The exact dates are all spelled out so there aren’t surprises.
Chicken: I don’t want to know when I die! What of my children if I have any?
Cat: They’ll be given the same contracts.
Chicken: And the alternative?…
Cat: Well, there’s always the road.
“The record stands 11 to 10” chirped Kris as he tied off his skip to the wharf. The last race had gone exceptionally well given the headwinds in the last hour.
“You got lucky this time! If it wasn’t for that alligator that started tailgating my boat” yelled Wheaton who was still sweating from the near life-death experience.
“Tailgating both of us. I recall being neck and neck when that log started drifting on its own. You made the first move to break away before it pounced”
“Bah, how was I supposed to know gators like moving prey. Don’t they prefer to sneak up on their food?”
Kris gave a slight grin as he took a gander around Wheaton’s craft. “Maybe it wasn’t looking for food. That engine of yours makes a pretty deep rumble.”
“Who’s the man that you keep sketching every week in the studio?” inquired Madeline. Her father had recently took to portraiture drawing after a decade long hiatus in the arts.
“This is my old college roommate Dan. He made a bet that I couldn’t remember his face after all these years so I accepted the challenge… Ten portraits over several weeks depicting his ugly mug under the best of all possible lights!”
“Heheh, do you plan on showing these beautiful caricatures to his wife? She’ll be the best of judges” grinned Maddy with a devilish eye.
“Even better. I’m going to put them on exhibit and invite the two over. The expo will be called Recollections of a Wanted Man.”
Mathew: The folks who manage the Belvedere have a saying that there’re two types of people who stay here. Stray cats, and lost dogs.
Joseline: Oh is that so. Why not a third like a homely Kangaroo?
Mathew: Hear me out.
Mathew: The stray cats are a flighty bunch who can’t settle in any one place for long. Their daemon is an ever-rising tide that follows them. Boredom is the trigger but I believe it to be dread. What’s on the other side of the tide, they refuse to see much less willing to dip their paws into. And so, they must keep scurrying from one ledge to the next till none remain.
Joseline: Ha! must be why existential cat loathes the tub. But how do they end up at the Belvedere then?
Mathew: Well that is because of the lost dogs.
Joseline: Let me guess, orphans who are looking for a home?
Mathew: Yes in a way but more sad. Lost dogs are sniffing for a master that they have never known. It’s an instinct that should have never evolved had they stayed wolves instead of submitting to the other. Because of this, they carry an aura of loneliness of the most repellant sort and will follow the slightest affection to the ends of the Earth.
Joseline: Is Belvedere at the ends of the Earth?
Mathew: Almost. When stray cats and lost dogs meet, a terrible misunderstanding happens. The former confuses attention for a perch. The latter mistakes charm for love. The Belvedere is the prison from which the cats can’t leave and the dogs can’t enter. It is hell on Earth!
Joseline: Who are you?
Mathew: Why the exterminator of course. How else to keep the numbers down?