Feeling Flushed- Uncle John’s Book Giveaway!

The good folks at Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader, one of the most consistently amusing and beloved book series, have given me a copy of their latest book to use in a giveaway:

Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Presents Flush Fiction: 87 Short Short Stories You Can Read in a Single Sitting

 ( Amazon * Barnes & NobleWatchung Booksellers )

My story “A Glutton for Punishment” appears in it, with stories by Darren Sant and 85 other people who want you to read their work with your underpants around your ankles. Now, you know I like a good poop joke. And so do you. Go ahead, wrinkle your nose, pretend to be above it. I know from the number of page views, retweets, Facebook likes and shares that CACA is KING. Everyone poops and everyone thinks it’s funny.

I’d rather have a story in Uncle John’s Reader than the New Yorker. You know why? Because I know a story in this publication is going to be read. I’ve got a captive audience, comfortably enthroned in the only room in the house a reader can get any quiet or privacy. A writer strives to share an intimate moment with a reader, and only Uncle John’s ensures it.
Do you want a copy of this landmark publication in the realm of flash fiction? Of course you do. To get it, you need to:

a) live in the United States
b) have a butt you have pooped out of
c) Leave a comment with your favorite word, phrase or story involving bathroom humor.

Oh, and to kick it off, the first poop joke I remember was a fake book title. My mother loves wordplay and did not discourage potty humor, to say the least (as a kid, I watched Buddy Hackett, George Carlin, Richard Pryor, and Dice Clay on HBO with my grandmother). My entry to the poopstravaganza is:

Brown Spots on the Wall, by Hu Flung Pu

Winners will be chosen randomly one week from today when I first visit the toilet. Let the game of thrones begin!

© 2012 Thomas Pluck
I post on Twitter as TommySalami ~ My Facebook Page

The Ten Thousand Pound Banana

This story was written for Patti Nase Abbott‘s A Day at the Zoo challenge:

The Ten Thousand Pound Banana (featuring Candle)
Me and Nige were in the shop talking about potassium when Cy told us we had to break a bloke’s legs.
That’s code for rough him up. If you break a man’s legs he can’t work. He can’t work he can’t pay. Which works cross purposes to the whole point of smacking him around.
I’m good at that and not much else. Cy don’t let me drive no more on account of losing the battery on a bank job.
Codgers. Don’t trust them.
It’s a long story.

Nigel sat on the counter eating a banana. He’s a wee bastard, but he’s not a dwarf. He carries a cosh for fellas who joke about his height.
So don’t do it, if you know what’s good for your kneecaps.
“You ought to eat more fruit, Candle,” he says. “Nothing better for you. You need your vitamins, you know.”
I prefer to get mine from a porterhouse and a pint. Two of the former and a dozen of the latter, but I don’t say so. Nigel usually holds a conversation better by himself, but he’s looking at me to say my piece, start an argument over it, break the afternoon monotony.
Thank heaven Cy roars in and saves me the trouble.
Cyrus is a whiskey barrel with legs, and a mouth like a train whistle. He rushes in the door, slapping his newspaper on the dusty shelves.
He sells novelties. Of an adult nature. But no one comes here, they get it all on the Internet now. It’s all cover for his less than legal activities, and I like it better without the perverts wandering the aisles. We had to sell them the odd item to look legitimate, and I didn’t like taking the bills from their grubby hands. I kept a pair of tweezers for it.
“Candle, get your pet monkey off the countertop, he’s scaring off customers.”
If someone else said that, Nigel would cosh him for certain, but not the boss.
“Cyrus, I was telling Candle here he ought to eat more fruit.”
“What, you think it will stunt his growth? Look at him. He barely fits in the door as it is.”
Cy swats the banana out his hand with the newspapers.
Nigel looks down at the severed bit of banana. “That’s a waste of good food.”
“You’re a waste of food, you idjit. Take the bananas out of your ears and listen. You’re going to break this fella’s legs. He’s two weeks behind, and Calloway tells me he just spotted him at the dog track.”

The fellow’s name is Ellis and he’s a haberdasher. When he wanted to expand, he approached Cy for a loan. Which is all fine and good. When he’s late on a payment we all get new hats.
On the drive, Nigel crunches away at an apple he found under his seat. “They keep the doctor away, you know.”
The dog track’s across from the zoo. I wonder if sniffing the lions makes them run faster. I haven’t been to a zoo since my father took me. Good man, he was. He liked the apes. Said they reminded him of people.
Nigel takes a harsh turn into the car park and his apples careen off my ankles like billiards. He picks a fedora from the pile in the boot, a green one with a purple feather, and we shoulder our way in.
It’s between races. Some are buying for the next, rest are cashing in.
“I’ll take the seats, you look by the ticket counter,” Nigel says.
I’m a head above the crowd. But I don’t see nothing but a positively rotund child cracking candies between his teeth. His piggy eyes follow Nigel’s hat.
I know what he’s thinking. Nige looks like a leprechaun. A leprechaun eating a banana at the dog races. That’s pretty funny, but I’ve got other things to worry about.
I remember Ellis when he measured me for my suit. You don’t find my size on the rack. He reminded me of a squirrel, how he darted around the shop. With stubby little fingers. Wondered how he held onto the pins.
It was those fingers I saw first, shuffling notes at the payment window. Then I noticed the whole squirrel. Bouncing on the toes of his shoes, the fancy kind with tassels on.

I’ve have trouble hiding behind a giraffe, but Ellis was all caught up in his winnings. He bounced right past. I followed him toward the exit and figured I’d pick him up by his little neck until he passed out, and deliver the goods to Cyrus. Get on his good side. Maybe get to drive again.
Then Nigel goes and ruins it. When he spots Ellis, he drops his banana peel. Then he slips on it. Right on his arse. Knocks his hat off, which rolls on its brim in a circle.
The fat kid runs up and grabs his cuff. “Give me your pot of gold!”
The crowd laughs and points, and my father’s right. They do look like monkeys.
Then Ellis spots me, leaps three feet straight up, and bolts for the car park.

The crowd slows me but I manage to spot him fumbling with his keys. I shout a few choice words and charge. He drops his keys and runs cross the road, dodging traffic. Right for the Zoo. He hops the turnstile, and I nearly get flattened by a bus.
Nigel catches up to me, his little legs pumping. We meet at the turnstile. The ticket lady is out of her booth, having none of it.
Nigel pays for us both with a tenner. “Don’t tell Cy about the banana.”

The place is near empty but Ellis has a head start. I find myself looking up the trees, like he’s a real squirrel. Then Nigel sees a family pointing, and we run over.
It’s by the monkey house.
The apes have a pit, real nice down there. Lots of grass and a playground to climb and swing around on. The gorillas are all riled up. Pounding on their chests, like two blokes over a bird.
And Ellis, squatting in the middle of them. His suit’s all torn up, and he’s clutching his winnings like his favorite acorn.
Me and Nige look down, then at each other. What was our boy thinking?
“Job well done then?” Nigel says.
“What if they tear him limb from limb, what do we tell Cyrus then?”
“Well, you go in. They’re practically relations.”
Right then, I get an idea. Not often that happens. I pat Nigel’s pocket. “Hand it over.”
“It’s my last one, Candle.”
“Don’t be a prat.”
I climb over the meager fence and hang down, waving the banana at our little squirrel among the apes. “Nice fat envelope you have, Ellis. Care to trade?”

And that’s why I drive the car, now. Still smells like a fruit stand, though.


© 2012 Thomas Pluck

I post on Twitter as TommySalami ~ My Facebook Page

Phil’s Last Stand

For the Flash Fiction Friday prompt “Groundhog Day.”


Phil’s Last Stand

Phil was scared.

Not of his own shadow, but of the three men from ConAgra who’d dropped a duffel bag of green outside his den the week before.
“Six years of long winters, Phil,” he’d said. The man with no neck, and no ankles.  “We’ve had enough. It’s no good for the growing season.” He deposited the bag, then jerked a thumb at the men behind him. One had a shovel. The other wiggled a hose that trailed back to their Cadillac’s tailpipe.
“Our boss, he’s nicer than me. I said to gas your whole family. And I’d love to do it, Phil. When I was a kid, I had a pony. Used to ride him around the back yard, in my little Lord Fauntleroy suit. Broke his foreleg in a gopher hole. The old man made me pull the trigger. Said it would build character.”
Phil wanted to mention that gophers were a different species entirely, but the words wouldn’t come out of his mouth.

Tomorrow was the big day. He could feel the crowds stomping around the otherwise forgotten burg of Punxsutawney. The town depended on him, he knew that. He’d had the job since he was a pup, inherited it from his old man. Also named Phil. Who’d gotten it from his father, and so on, all the way back as far as he could remember. They had the gift, maybe it was merely a thin winter coat, as some grumblers said. But Phil knew he had it, that chill in his flanks that didn’t simply mean frost on the grass outside the den. It meant six more weeks of winter. His first two years, it hadn’t been there. He’d watched his old man waddle out, raise his gray-whiskered snout, and settle down to nibble the grass. People cheered, and sure enough, the crocus blossoms peeked from the snow, and winter was soon nothing but a forgotten harbinger of hibernation.

The name was an honor. Every other guy was named Chuck, or Woody, and liked it. Same as they liked sweet alfalfa, and shagbark hickory nuts. Even the odd Charles, who put on airs, had never tasted treats from a top hat-wearing mayor’s hand. And they sure had never tugged a gym bag full of heirloom alfalfa sprouts down into their den, and watched their mate and pups stuff themselves silly on it. No, only a Phil could get in that kind of trouble.

There was no returning it. The kids were cuddled up in the duffel, now chewed clean through. His mate watched him from atop the pile, her liquid dark eye blinking every few seconds, as he nibbled on dry shells to wear his teeth down.
“What’s on your mind, Phil?”
“You know. The job.”
She laughed, her brown belly jiggling. “It’s been what, eight years now? It always goes off without a hitch. Why worry this time?”
“It’s a big responsibility.” He couldn’t tell her. She was liable to panic, dig another burrow. Maybe eat the children. “It’s a heavy burden, sometimes.”
“Why don’t you meet me in the escape tunnel, and I’ll see if I can ease it.”
“Mating season’s not for another month,” he muttered into his paw.
“Maybe that salad’s bringing my heat early,” she whispered, and wiggled her little wedge nose.

He knew from experience they would come long before sun-up. The crowds arrived early, stamping their frostbitten toes, looking to get a good spot. The Mayor tapped his loafer in the grass, tossing a couple of roasted peanuts, in the shell, down the hole. One rolled in front of Phil’s nose. He’d wake to that rich shell, usually. This time, he’d been up all night. Thinking of his old man shaking his distinguished furry head, and begging his flanks to not feel so cold, so cold.

“Ready for the show, kid?” The mayor said.
The escape tunnel beckoned. Rank with the scent of their mating, its exit was clear across the field. He had a running chance. Maybe the man with no neck wouldn’t see him, wouldn’t squash him like a fat furry grape under the front tire of his Coupe DeVille.
He could just be another Chuck, a Charles, even, and make a new life, in a new hole.
They’d back the Caddy up to the den the same evening, feed the hose down, and let it do its work. The kids could escape, Phil thought. No. They’d fill in the exits, once they knew how he’d make his escape. His mate would die choking, curled up in the shreds of the gym bag with the gasping pups.

Phil placed his paw outside his den. Acid in his belly, where tasty peanuts should have been. The crowded sighed, held a breath. All he had to do was nibble on the grass, ignore his instincts telling him to waddle back to the warmth of his hole.

But he couldn’t.
No, he wouldn’t drop pellets on his good family name. He’d take his lumps, when the men returned that night. Send his mate and the pups running.
Phil turned his back on the crowd, and with one dramatic look over his plump shoulder, waddled back toward his den.
“That’s it, folks! He’s seen his shadow,” the Mayor announced. “Six more weeks of winter!”
The crowd issued a collective groan for the cameras.
Phil knew he’d done the right thing. He felt courage swell in his heart.
Then he felt the bullet burst his body apart, to the crowd’s shrieks and panic.


© 2012 Thomas Pluck