Thursday, 29 March 2012

The Wager by Michael A. Kechula.

When the Queen of Zamboozia awarded Charlie Burns a jeweled trophy for winning the Faux Shakespeare Sonnet Writing Contest, I bet him ten million euros I could do better.
He thought I was nuts.
“I’ll even do it a year sooner. It’ll be so good, Shakespeare will think HE wrote it. But instead of putting fifty blindfolded, lobotomized people on typewriters like you did, I’ll use fifty blindfolded monkeys.”
Burns accepted the bet. The Queen agreed to be the judge and offered Knighthood to the winner.
I went to the Congo. Posted 785,235 recruiting posters in the jungle. 9,827 monkeys responded. After giving them personality and IQ tests, I selected fifty. Transporting them to London, I fed, clothed, housed them. Plus, I gave them weekly paychecks.
Soon, my blindfolded monkeys mounted typewriters and danced on the keys to hip-hop.
After three years of scrutinizing results, they seemed a million miles from producing a new Shakespearean sonnet. However, by cutting and pasting, I pieced together a poem Keats might’ve written in the third grade. It took first prize in Laughter Shack Magazine’s annual poetry contest.
As the deadline approached, I became anxious and drove the monkeys harder. For the thousandth time, I explained the stakes. Unfortunately, a labor organizer convinced them to go on strike for shorter hours and company-provided chocolate-covered bananas during smoke breaks.
We resolved the banana issue, but nothing else.
I explained management’s position on BBC.  After that news report flashed around the world, amazing things happened. Thousands of sympathetic monkeys found blindfolds and typewriters. They pounded them 24/7. I was flooded with tons of genuine, monkey-typed pages.
But none were sonnets.
On the final day of the bet, I spotted something in the mail that stunned me: a sonnet typed by a chimp from Kong Island. It was fantastic!
The Queen declared me winner, handed me Burns’ check for ten million, and knighted me.
While throngs of Zamboozians applauded, she said, “You were lucky, Sir Michael. You couldn’t do that again in a million years.”
“Your Highness, I can do even better. I’ll bet my monkeys can create a Harry Potter-like, 120-page novella within five years.”
“I’ll bet my crown you can’t,” she said.
“You’re on, Ma’am,” I replied, writing a check to match the crown’s value.
I won the crown and the novella became a best seller.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Two Men Get Thrown Out Of A Bar by Rob Kitchin.

‘So, these two men go into a bar ...’

‘No, you don’t,’ a deep voice interrupted.  ‘No bar jokes.’

The two men looked up from the whiskies they’d been nursing and stared quizzically at the bartender.

‘The first rule of drinking in a bar - don’t make the guy serving your drinks the butt of a joke,’ the bartender said, polishing a glass.

‘I was telling a story, not a joke.  Why would you think I was telling a joke?’ the first drinker asked.

‘Two men walk into a bar ...’  The bartender rolled his free hand, the towel twirling.

‘I thought that was a horse?  Or a giraffe,’ the second drinker said.

‘What the fuck would a giraffe or a horse be doing in a bar?’ the first drinker asked, losing his cool.

‘Taking part in a joke,’ his companion replied.

‘I’m not telling a joke!  Do you want to me to tell this feckin’ story or not?’

‘And the bartender is the straight man, not the butt of the joke,’ the second drinker continued.

‘I don’t care, bar jokes are banned,’ the bartender said.  ‘As are knock, knocks and doctor, doctors.’

‘Doctor, what?’ the first drinker said, his face a mask of confusion.  ‘Why would two men walk into a bar looking for a doctor?’

‘They didn’t, did they.  They went to a surgery.’

‘Then what have they got to do with my story?’

‘How the hell are we meant to know?’ the second drinker said.  ‘You haven’t told it yet.’

‘I haven’t been allowed to tell it!  It’s been ambushed by horses, giraffes and doctors!’

‘This isn’t going to be one of those shaggy dog stories, is it?’ the bartender asked.

‘Why would they have a shaggy dog?  To keep the horse and giraffe company?’ the first drinker said sarcastically.

‘Now you’re just being daft.  There’s no way a dog is going to hang out with a horse and giraffe.  Do you want a drink for a road before I lock up for the night?’

‘For the road?  Why would I give the road a drink?’

‘Hey, why did the chicken cross the road?’ the second drinker asked.

‘Right, that’s it!’ the bartender snapped.  ‘You two jokers are barred.  Go on, get out!’

The two bewildered drinkers slid off their stools.

‘But I haven’t got to tell my story yet,’ the first drinker complained.

‘Probably just as well,’ said the second drinker, ‘I’ve heard it before.  And what they did to that penguin was a disgrace.’

‘OUT!’ the bartender roared.

Hiding out in Ireland, Rob Kitchin spends his spare time reading or writing crime fiction.  He blogs at where he publishes reviews and a weekly drabble (a story of exactly 100 words).  He's the author of two police procedural novels and had short stories published on Flash Fiction OffensiveShotgun HoneyA Twist of NoirPowder Burn Flash, and Spinetingler

Sunday, 25 March 2012

UPDATE - Apologies!

OK, things have been busy with other projects and "real life", so please accept my apologies for the lack of activity with the magazine.

Starting this week, stories will be published every few days.  Comments and feedback are more than welcome and encouraged.

Thanks to those who have sent stories in and had them accepted.  Your patience is very much appreciated.

Come back in a day or 2 for a new story.

BJ Titzengolf and gang.