School was done, and it was time to go home.
Sam and Joe dropped off their bags, took off their masks, and went back to Old Man Jasper’s.
The trees groaned in the breeze.
“I don’t like this,” said Sam. “Let’s go.”
“He gave out crappy candy,” said Joe. “He has to pay for it.”
Joe tossed a roll of toilet paper over a tree branch.
“See?” said Joe.
Suddenly, the tree reached down and hauled Joe up by the leg.
“HELP!” Sam screamed. “HELP!”
The tree shook him like a ragdoll.
The old man looked out the window, laughing.
Abe woke up, rubbed his eyes, and stared at the words written in blood on the ceiling:
A HOUSE DIVIDED AGAINST ITSELF CANNOT STAND
Abe leaned over and shook his wife.
“Wake up! Wake up!”
“What is it, Abe?” asked Mary Todd. “The words again?”
“Yes!” shouted Abe. “Look at them! Omens!”
Mary Todd looked up.
“I know what you’re up to,” she said. “We’re not putting a mirror up there.”
She rolled over and went back to sleep.
Abe, on the other hand, stared at the words until the blood began to rain down from the ceiling.
Mary Todd looked out the kitchen window. Abe was crawling around the lawn again.
Mary Todd shoved open the window and yelled: “Are you plucking weeds again?”
“I most certainly am,” Abe yelled back. “And I’m planting flowers to replace them, too.”
“Well, I wish you wouldn’t crawl around in your best suit while doing it, you crazy old fart,” said Mary Todd. “The cleaning bill is killing us. Grant says we need every penny for the troops.”
“Grant,” muttered Abe. “Stupid drunk bastard.”
So the next time Abe went weeding, he did it naked.
“Much better,” yelled Mary Todd.
“Barbaras! You’re free!”
The soldiers cut Jesus down.
“But I’m not Barbaras,” said Jesus.
“Get lost, Barbaras,” said the soldiers.
“GO!” they shouted.
Jesus ran for the hills.
“I’m Barbaras!” shouted the thief from his cross.
“Liar, Nazarene!” said a soldier, spearing him in the gut.
“I guess they got us mixed up,” Jesus mumbled, rubbing his aching palms.
Jesus looked at his reflection in the pond. What a bloody mess.
“The guys are never going to believe this one,” he said. “It’ll be as if… as if…”
“I came back from the dead!”
Ever seen the monk?
He looks like a burlap-wrapped lump with darkness in the openings of his dirty robe.
However, if you offer paper to the monk, he’ll twist and shudder for a few moments before placing an intricate origami sculpture on the sidewalk.
These aren’t just swans and horses and crabs. No, these are amazing things he folds into existence, like merry-go-rounds and jugglers – they actually move.
Unfold them, and they’re just sheets of paper. No magic at all.
Once, I reached in his robe. It stung, and my hand came away bloody.
Just like a paper cut.
Dr. Benway held his face in his bloody hands and moaned. Another surgery was over.
The patient was in recovery, still unconscious.
Sadly, that wouldn’t last. And then…
“This is going to be expensive,” said the hospital administrator. “Very expensive.”
“You know, I used to get angry when patients marked their healthy arm with DO NOT AMPUTATE in magic marker,” said Benway. “Where was the magic marker on this one?”
“On his left arm,” said the administrator. “But you cut off his left leg.”
“So I should have cut off his right leg?” asked Benway.
“Go home,” said the administrator.
Hans hated tulips. He had a special pair of tulip-stomping boots he wore when he went on his tulip-stomping walks.
“Why do you do this?” said his neighbors. “Tulips are beautiful.”
“Tulips are Satan’s handiwork,” growled Hans, stomping.
Hans’ neighbors replanted the tulips.
And Hans kept stomping them.
The neighbors were worried for Hans, so they asked the mayor to pay Hans a visit.
They argued, Hans stomped the mayor (with his mayor-stomping boots), and the neighbors began to worry for themselves.
That night, an angry mob killed Hans.
I bet you can guess what flowers were at the funeral.
In a little less than three years from now, the killer will sweep away the pile of flowers on the grave, left behind after the memorial service.
He picks up his shovel and begins to dig.
The shovel strikes something. He taps. Twice.
He breaks the vault, leans up the coffin, and rips it open.
“Hello darling,” he croaks. “Missed me?”
Then, he lights a candle, sticks it in a cupcake, and places it in her rotting hands.
A gravely “Happy Birthday” echoes across the moonlit graveyard.
He checks his watch. Then the headstone.
“You’re legal now,” he grins.
You won’t find Mohowuku on a map. It doesn’t exist yet.
Well, it exists, but not as an independent country.
The ink is still drying on their constitution. The thatching on the Parliament Hut is fresh and tight. The god-totems have been polished to a luscious shine. Even the flag has that new-flag smell to it.
Minor problem with the anthem, though.
Oh, it’s breathtaking. Majestic strings, soaring flutes… to hear it is to know the angels’ laughter.
Sadly, the Mohowuku only know how to play steel drums.
The composer was absolutely furious.
And, according to the Mohowuku, delicious.
Scrooge looked at the anonymous headstone and laughed.
“Is this what you brought me here for, Spirit?” he cackled. “Who in blazes is this?”
Death’s skeletal hand reached into his robe, pulled out a dusty ledger, and shrugged.
“Ummmmmmmm,” it said. “Dunno. Sorry.”
“This means nothing,” said Scrooge. “I can afford the best doctors. The best of the best. I’ve got plenty of sand in my hourglass, asshole.”
When Scrooge woke up, he hired a few men from the docks to pay Cratchitt’s family a visit.
Let’s just say that Tiny Tim wasn’t the only one who needed crutches.