Friday 29 June 2012

The Beaver Dating Service by K. A. Laity.

It's a hard business getting beavers together, says Beaver Dating Service founder Celia Underhill. And she should know. Celia's been in the beaver business practically since birth.

"Nothing as stirring as the sight of a beaver with a big log clamped in its mouth," she says with a sigh.

Her husband and business partner, Ned Tartan, agrees. "There's just something seductive about watching a beaver waddle."

Why a dating service? Doesn't nature just take care of its own?

Celia shakes her head. "You'd think that, but while it is natural for a beaver to go out in search of wood, they don't always get together with other beavers."

"Lodge culture has a strong hold on the beavers," Ned adds. "But you kind of have to know where they are and they can be difficult to get into. You need to know the right beaver."

"Having a big paddle helps you get noticed," Celia explains, showing off the pictures of some of her best clients. "This one's been in films, too. Nothing attracts a beaver more than a big paddle."

Ned shows his expertise on beaver oil and can't say enough about their webbed feet. They are amazing swimmers. "And let's face it, there are few sights more appealing than a nice wet beaver."

But society still frowns on the BD. Neighbours objected to the discreet sign for Beaver Dating on the front of their house. "We made it as small and tight against the frame as we could. Didn't even spell out our names, just used our initials."

"They called us obscene!" Celia said, with righteous indignation. "The world needs more beaver awareness." She strokes the lovely brown beaver in her arms. "Look at the size of those teeth. This is one beaver who can take care of herself.

Society may mutter about propriety, but it's clear that Celia and Ned are doing a booming business. Beavers are lined up outside their door.

"See you next Tuesday!" Celia chirps, as she waves goodbye to another happy beaver.

All-purpose writer, Fulbrighter, uberskiver, medievalist, flâneuse, techno-shamanka, Broad Universe social media maven, History Witch, Pirate Pub Captain ☠ currently anchored in Galway, Ireland · K.A.Laity 

Monday 25 June 2012

The Crocodile of Corfu by Strachan McQuade.

There I was on holiday in Corfu, enjoying my sixth rum and coke beside the swimming pool, when the crocodile spoke to me. Not a real crocodile of course. It was a bright green inflatable toy that some kid had left beside my sun-lounger. Being in the holiday spirit, I’d been admiring it’s cheeky grin and probably encouraged it by smiling.

‘How you doing, mate?’ it said. ‘Having a good holiday?’

‘Yeah, having a great time. Thanks for asking.’ I wondered if I ought to cut down on the drinking. During the day at least. ‘What about yourself, Croc? How’s tricks with you?’

The crocodile sighed mournfully. ‘To be honest, I’m feeling a little deflated.’

‘Sorry to hear that. Anything I can do to cheer you up? I’ve few good jokes that’ll make you laugh.’

‘No, I really am feeling deflated. I’ve a slow puncture and getting all soft and flabby. Not a good state for a respectable inflatable to be. Listen, I hate to ask, but you couldn’t see your way to giving me a quick top-up could you? A couple of big puffs should do the trick.’

The rum had made me mellow and I was happy to oblige. ‘No problem. Where’s your valve?’

‘Underneath. If you turn me over you can’t miss it.’

I flipped the crocodile on it’s back and sure enough the rubber valve was sticking out prominently. Pulling off the cap, I sealed my mouth around the opening and blew as hard as I could. The crocodile gasped in what sounded like intense pleasure.

‘That’s it, big boy. Don't stop. Don't stop. You’re making me so fucking hard…………’

I removed my mouth from the valve and bunged in the cap, before hastily turning the beast back onto its stomach. My face was burning with embarrassment. ‘Why, you sneaky plastic …….’

The crocodile apologised. ‘Sorry about that. Honestly. Don’t know what came over me. Maybe it’s the heat. You’ve no idea what it’s like lying here all day in the baking sun. I know I shouldn’t ask, but could you help me out one last time?’

I shouldn’t have listened, but there was a note of pleading in its voice that tugged at my heart strings.

‘I’d appreciate it if you could put some sun lotion on my tail. You’ve no idea the agony I’m in.’

So like a fool, I poured a generous dollop of sun cream on my palm and smeared it back and forth along the creature’s tail.

‘What the fuck are you doing with my daughter’s crocodile?’

I looked up to see a beefy, red-faced man with tattoos, glaring angrily down at me.

‘Fucking pervert,’ he yelled as he pulled me off my sun-lounger and threw me head-first into the pool.

As I crawled gasping to the side, coughing up chlorinated water, I could see the crocodile grinning at me and too late remembered the old saying.

Never smile at a crocodile……..

Strachan McQuade is a retired Church of Scotland minister who enjoys cribbage, pipe-smoking and sausages in any conceivable combination. In his younger days he was a highly ranked shinty goalkeeper but missed out on representing his country at the Shinty World Cup due to an scandalous dalliance with royalty at Balmoral. To this day Prince Philp still refuses to play croquet with him.

He is is the author of the much admired shit-lit opus 'Invergallus' which is available from Amazon Kindle and several handpicked thrift shops.

Saturday 23 June 2012

Submissions Are Now Open.

Yes, we're open again!!  

Apologies to anyone who may have had a submission in the in-box.  Please re-send if you did.  All in-boxes have been cleared out.

The magazine is starting afresh.  Please read the submissions guidelines.  Anyone not adhering to them will not get their stories read.

Make us laugh.  Make coffee run out of our nostrils.  Bring it on!

Tuesday 5 June 2012

Sorry - We're Closed For A While.

Unfortunately, due to staff shortages and a busy "real life", I'm closing The Laughter Shack for a short time while I decide what to do with it.

Hopefully this will only be a temporary closure........

Anyone with stories that have had no response please feel free to send them elsewhere.

Sincere apologies and we'll hopefully sees you soon.

B.J. Titzengolf.

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