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Funny Stories by Dick Oakes, Jr.

May 17, 2017 1 comment

By Dick Oakes, Jr.

I woke up on a sweat-stained cot in a shed.

There was a little dust-encrusted window. The light coming through made it look like early evening.

I heard a sound outside the door– it was like a balloon slowly being deflated. Who knew what the hell to make of it.

There was a little portable fridge and it was stocked with nothing but cans of FUN BEER and little plastic containers of soup. I drank two of the beers down and felt a little better.

I pushed the door open. It didn’t come easy. The twilight desert landscape unfolded before me. Off about a hundred feet, there was Tibbs, deflating a beach ball and holding it up to the heavens. It was all hell ridiculous.

MR. OATES! GOOD EVENING, MR. OATES! WOULD YOU LIKE TO MAKE AN OFFERING?

“Think I’ll skip it, Tibbs.”

OH, THAT’S FINE, THAT’S FINE. EACH OF US WILL RECEIVE QUITTANCE UPON DEATH, AFTER ALL! I AM MERELY TRYING TO ACCELERATE THE…WELL, EACH OF US WILL FLOURISH LIKE THE PALM TREE, DON’T YOU THINK?

Tibbs suddenly drew a circle in the sand with a stick. My head was pounding.

“What happened last night, Tibbs? What kind of jackpot are we in here?”

He laughed– the loud, weird booming laugh that petered out into hysteria.

MR. OAKES. LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT THE STORAX ROD.

I threw up suddenly against the shed. Tibbs darted forward and held me by the ears, shaking my head from side to side. I pushed him away.

I crawled back into the shed and opened another FUN BEER. I noticed again the open case in the corner– the machine gun and a pile of spent casings. And the thought hit me– maybe not the best idea to hitch your wagon to this guy, Oakes.

After awhile, I went back outside. It was dark now. I saw nothing but could still hear the sound of the beach ball being deflated and Tibbs’ desperate wheezing.

“Tibbs? I…I need to talk.”

OWWWWWWLLLLLLLLLSSSSSSS

“Tibbs?”

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. OOOOOOOOOOOOOO, THE TREASURE OF VIRGINITY, SKY GOD!

Get the hell out of here, get the hell out of here, now I can’t see anything I don’t know where I am I don’t have anything 

THE FIERY PIVOTS ARE TURNING IN MY EARS. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Yes

I took off running towards nothing.

Must have been four hours. Spent and exhausted, I arrived in a sleepy desert town– one main street in darkness with some senseless back roads that went off into oblivion.

Near the end of the town was a two-lane highway that seemed to pop up out of nowhere. And there was a motel with a pool.

I scanned my wallet. $37.

The guy at the counter had a bingo drum and he was spinning it way too fast and calling out the numbers to nobody. There weren’t no sense to any of it.

“Can I get a room for $37?”

He thought about that. It took him awhile.

“Well, on account of us being slow, I guess’n I can accommodate ya.”

“I need…I need to stay for a few days. How about giving me a few chores, little custodial work or something?”

He took his time thinking about that one too. “I guess’n I got some gutters that need cleanin’. Plus, I got this bingo here. Got to keep it spinning but my arms is starting to hurt.”

That wasn’t no good. I had to stay out of sight.

“What about something inside?” I fished.

“Well…I got Mary-Betty for that. She comes five hours a week. Sometimes ten if’n I need help with the bingo wheel.”

“Painting? Interior?”

“Yeah, I guess I could use some painting. Couple of the rooms have mold all over the walls. Tell me, how the hell do you get mold all over the walls in the god damn desert?”

I couldn’t answer that one.

But I slept like a baby that night.

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Funny Stories by Dick Oakes, Jr.

April 4, 2017 Leave a comment

By Dick Oakes, Jr.

Mother had me and Donnie from up the street bring the gun cabinet in through the front door but we couldn’t get it no further on account of the low archway that led to the kitchen. The intent was to get it to the back bedroom.

That’s when Donnie said, “Mrs. Oates, I gotta’ go home. Well, there’s chicken, you see…”

Mother understood completely.

When Donnie left, she said, “well, guess it’s just gonna’ have to sit in the corner.”

“Maybe he won’t notice it.”

Mother looked at me for a long while and then she put on a program. It was something about some guys that was stranded in a boat and they were confessing to different things on account of how they were about to run out of food.

“I killed some prostitutes,” one guy said.

“WELL! This is NOT appropriate for an eight-year old,” Mother said and she went to the kitchen and began writing a letter.

I woke up shortly after that. There was some distant lightning over the mesa and I figured on it being about five in the morning. I had slept in a lean-to that I had fashioned out of a pair of XXL shorts and some sticks. There was the howl of a coyote from somewhere.

From behind me, I could hear a strange rustling. It was something white and big in the sagebrush. Who knew what the hell to make of it.

mr. oates mr. oates mr. oates

“Who’s there?”

The sagebrush moved a little. A flash of lightning came again. It was closer.

The sagebrush was suddenly flattened and when I looked up, there was Tibbs. The customary white suit was slathered in blood.

“MR. OAKES…WHAT AN UNPARALLELED DELIGHT!”

quiet…fer chrissakes tibbs…what in the hell…?

“OH, YES, INDEED MR. OAKES, I HAVE MADE IT AWAY FROM THAT ABOMINABLE ALBATROSS THAT YOU KNOW AS THE MURRAY. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.”

listen tibbs…fer chrissakes…I gotta’ ask you to keep quiet…don’t you know…

“THAT YOU’RE ON THE RUN? OF COURSE, OF COURSE, MR. OAKES. I AM AS WELL. YOU KNOW, I MURDERED ALL OF THOSE AGENTS! WHY, THEIR HEADS LOOKED LIKE BURNED CANDLE ENDS ONCE I COMPLETED MY UNDERTAKING!  WHAT A DELIGHT!”

tibbs jesus h. christ you gotta’

“WHY, MR. OAKES, DO YOU KNOW THAT I HAVE TWO CANS OF SOUP?  WHY, THEY WERE INTENDED AS THE LUNCH FOR THE COUNTER MAN AT THE DESERT DRUG STORE. BUT I HAD OTHER IDEAS…HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.”

please tell me that you didn’t

He ignored the question.

“PERHAPS WE COULD COOK THESE CANS OF SOUP, MR. OAKES.  WHY, YOU MUST BE DECIDEDLY FAMISHED!”

He produced a cook stove from his rucksack.

where did you get all this stuff, tibbs?

“WHY, AT THE SURPLUS DISCOUNT CAMPING STORE OF COURSE!  SURELY, YOU MUST HAVE NOTICED IT, MR. OATES. WHY, IT WAS DIRECTLY OPPOSITE THE MURRAY. ALTHOUGH THE PHYSICAL, MATERIAL LOCATION STILL EXISTS THE STORE ITSELF, I BELIEVE, WILL NOT BE OPENING AGAIN, MR. OATES. OH NO, IT WILL MOST ASSUREDLY NOT BE OPENING AGAIN.”

He began laughing in his weird maniacal way.

 

Tibbs handed me the bowl of soup and he positioned himself against a rock. He ate voraciously and then produced a cigarette. Dawn was approaching.

“YOU KNOW, MR. OAKES, THERE IS A CERTAIN FREEDOM IN THIS LIFE. WHY, I FEEL POSITIVELY ENLIGHTENED. I FEEL AS THOUGH I NO LONGER HAVE A PHYSICAL PRESENCE BUT HAVE NOW REACHED THE CENTER WHERE I WILL MEET THE STERN PHALANX OF MAGICIANS WHO WILL CARRY ME FORTH INTO INSTANTANEOUS AND COMPLETE ANNIHILATION.”

are you familiar with the thune hexagram, mr. oakes?

“Listen, Tibbs. you gotta’ get out of here…I…”

 

There was a distant shotgun blast. Tibbs smiled.

“OH, MEN. THESE MEN. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.”

He reached into the rucksack and produced a large case. He opened it to reveal an enormous machine gun.

“MEN, MEN, MEN.  WHAT SILLY CREATURES, WOULDN’T YOU AGREE, MR. OAKES?”

He began assembling the gun.

tibbs, you gotta’…you gotta’ be quiet…

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. WHY, MR. OATES, WHATEVER DO YOU MEAN?  DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND THAT THE TIME HAS COME FOR THESE MEN, THESE CREATURES, TO MEET SATAN’S PONY?”

That’s when I passed out. I don’t recall much after that.

Funny Stories by Dick Oakes, Jr.

December 19, 2016 1 comment
By Dick Oakes, Jr.

By Dick Oakes, Jr.

There was a chimney rock on a desert hill and I stood behind it, looking down at the gas station. It was midday. I had been on the run for three days.

It had been an hour and two cars had pulled in. The lot was empty now.

I skirted down the hill and, crouching, made my way slowly towards the back of the place. I questioned why I was crouching. If they see you, they see you, Oakes, and then it’s over but I kept at it anyway.

I made it to the rear– there was a dumpster there and an air hose that was leaking air. It made a sound like a rusty hinge. There was a sign above the hose that somebody had made up in hand-painted block letters. It said, “MERRY CHRISTMAS”. Who knew what the hell to make of it?

I waited there and after awhile, the attendant came around the side and went into the men’s room. That was my break.

I ran around to the front and into the office. There was a rack of chips there and I stuffed my pockets with the bags– they made a queer crinkling sound. Then, I checked behind the counter. There was about fifty bucks in a coffee can and I nicked that. On the counter was a newspaper and some kind of a swinger’s magazine– it was open to a section labeled “ESCORTS FOR PARTIES”. Oh Christ, to hell with it I thought and dumped them both into a plastic bag.

I wandered into the garage. A car was up on a lift. I found the mechanism and lowered it slowly. Still, it made a hell of a noise. Who knew if the damn thing would run?

It started. I backed it out and checked on the attendant. He was still in there. I slammed my foot on the gas and got the hell out of there.

When I stopped, it was night.  I didn’t recall the drive at all.  It was a fuck-all town that was somehow familiar. I parked in the lot of the “El Don Motel” and scanned the newspaper. There it was on page three. FOREIGN PERSON CONTINUES TO ELUDE POLICE the headline read. There was a quote in there from Tibbs, who had been arrested– Mr. Oates was a delightful man! An absolute delight of a man it said.  Who knew what the hell to make of it?

Further down, it said the agents had been killed.  I was sorry about that.  Fuckin’ Tibbs.  That fucker.

Better get out of sight, Oakes.  I thought it over, then I decided to splurge on a room.gas-station

The clerk was sleepy and didn’t pay me any attention– he gave me a place on the end.  It was carpeted in cactus green carpet and the bedspread had two cowboys printed on it.  One cowboy was dishing out some gruel to the other cowboy.  They both had big, shit-eating grins on their faces. There weren’t no merit to any of it.

I slept for awhile and then I woke up and read the newspaper story again.  I broke open several bags of chips but they were all stale.  The expiration date was two years past.  Then, bored, I started on the magazine.  The escorts all had little descriptions of themselves with a grainy, black-and-white picture beneath.  Beneath that was some kind of a testimonial.  Ken from Boot City says, “Katie is everything I was hoping for.  Her body is so smooth!  She knows a lot about art too!” 

As it grew later, I got a little more desperate.  Don’t do it, Oakes.  That’s king hill stupid.  But I picked up the phone anyway and dialed one of the numbers.

She answered.  For a minute, I almost hung up.

“I saw your advertisement in Considerable Seats,” I finally eked out.  “Can you come over?  I’m at the El Don.”

“It’s $200 for an hour,” she said.

My eyes suddenly ached.

“I’ve got a car.  I’ll give you my car.”  I wasn’t stopping at nothing.  Still, I couldn’t believe what I was doing.

“What kind of a car is it?”

“I don’t know, one of them big gold shitboxes.  It’s got an interior like red velvet.”

“That’s probably a Neptune Holiday.”

“Right.”

 

It took her about a half hour.  Somebody dropped her off.  That worried me.

“Where’s your friend going to wait?” I asked.

“He’s just a ride.  Don’t worry about him.  He listens to the radio all day.  That’s all there is to him.”

I looked her up and down.  She was built, no question about it.

“You have a title to that car?”

I couldn’t see any reason to lie.

“Nah, I stole it.”

She removed a gigantic pink pouch from her purse, drew a long cigarette out of it.

“I don’t want to get involved in anything like that.  I’ll…just go tell Kevin that it’s off.”

“You’re beautiful.”  I meant it.

“Thanks.”

She left.

I spent the rest of the night awake, staring at the picture window.

Funny Stories by Dick Oakes, Jr.

October 12, 2016 Leave a comment
By Dick Oakes, Jr.

By Dick Oakes, Jr.

It was somewhere, a long time ago– some stray memory of a goofy-looking guy hovering over me. He had what was it? some kind of a filthy white apron on, stained with tomato sauce.

Mr….Mr….you can’t sleep here….you’ll….the boss….he has guns!”

Then there was the piercing ring of the telephone on the side table. I was sweating through the imitation wool blanket. Everything was in darkness.

I managed the light somehow and lit a cigarette. The phone was still ringing. Must have been 15 or 20 rings. I thought about that and then picked it up.

It was Tibbs. He was whispering.

“Mr. Oakes…Mr. Oakes…they’ve come for you, Mr. Oakes…”

“Who, Tibbs? What are you talking about?”

There was a long pause. “Mr. Oakes, they are examining your vehicle in the parking lot. They are taking prints just as they always do…it won’t be long now.”

There was a chill that went up my back.

“But…who…?”

Tibbs interrupted me.

“Mr. Oakes (he took a deep breath), Mr. Oakes, I am ready for the final standoff. I knew it was coming, Mr. Oakes. If you please, I’m happy to take two or three of these men out. I know that I can get into the pantry, slide open the casement and blow all of their heads off.  Have you ever hit a pumpkin with speedball shot at 10 feet, Mr. Oakes?  It will be like that– it would give me great pleasure…”

“Just hold off there, Oakes. Maybe I can get out before…”

“I would then turn the gun on myself, of course. But I’m willing to do that for you, Mr. Oakes. You have been such a loyal guest of the Murray.”

He began tittering lowly, strangely.mvbutte2

“Please…(I was panicking)…please don’t Tibbs….” I quietly hung up and began dressing in the corner shadows.

I ditched the elevator and tried the main staircase. It was deserted. I could hear Mrs. Stocksdale coughing and retching in a nearby room followed by a strange muffled squeal. There weren’t no merit to any of it.

I reached the lobby. The desk was dark and nobody was around. I stood for a moment looking towards the rear hallway that led to the parking lot. I could see something moving out there through the glass of the door.

I couldn’t move. Tibbs, you motherfucker. Don’t do nothing stupid…please Christ, don’t do nothing stupid. 

I saw it out of the corner of my eye. More movement– maybe a voice, two voices. And then it happened.

I was out the door before the last shot woke everybody in the place.

 

Must have run a couple miles. I used the back streets and the alleys. Town was dark and dead. And then, a couple of strange fast-moving black sedans. No sirens, no lights but they moved with purpose. There could be no question about where they were going.

 

I made it to the desert area and couldn’t see my own hand in front of me. I looked back at the town. There was nothing to do.

I walked another mile and my eyes starting adjusting. There was a butte and I headed towards it. There was something familiar about it but I couldn’t place it none.

God damn it, Tibbs. 

It was all you could say really.

Funny Stories by Dick Oakes, Jr.

September 2, 2016 Leave a comment
By Dick Oakes, Jr.

By Dick Oakes, Jr.

It had been months of driving back and forth from the Murray to the Towels by the Pound joint. Months of collapsing into bed with a skull-cracking headache, months of nausea, months of thinking about that straight razor on the sink edge.

Then, suddenly, I felt pretty good. Felt like eating, maybe taking a walk in the sun.

I went downstairs.

Tibbs was there. He was in the process of dumping an entire container of bleach on the front counter. There was strange electronic music issuing from the speakers in the ceiling.

“MR. OAKES, WHY, WHY, IT’S A FINE DAY, ISN’T IT? HAHAHAHAHAHA. ARE YOU HAVING BREAKFAST WITH US TODAY?”

The bleach was dripping off the counter and onto the carpet. Who knew what the hell to make of it?

“Listen Tibbs, I was thinking of maybe taking a little walk somewheres. Maybe getting something rich and sweet to eat. I’m sick to Christ of those saltines you’ve been leaving by the door.”

“INDEED, MR. OAKES! HAHAHAHAHA”.  Tibbs started trying to collect the bleach in a bucket with a large squeegee. There was no merit to it.

“DO YOU KNOW OF THE KRAZY KOLOR KANDY KORN HOUSE, MR. OAKES? WHY IT IS A DELIGHT! JUST A MAGNIFICIENT WHIMSICAL DELIGHT FOR ALL THE SENSES, MR. OAKES!”

“Sounds alright. I mean, the kandy korn. I could skip the whimsical delight for all the senses,” I said.

“HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.”

The laugh got crazier as it progressed. I figured on trying to cut it off.

“Say, Tibbs, where’s this Krazy Kolor Kandy Korn house at?”

He was trying to wind it down– it was almost as if he couldn’t. The bleach was running down the counter in long, thin lines. A phone was ringing somewhere.

“OH, MR. OAKES, MR. OAKES. YOU ARE SUCH A DELIGHT. MY FAVORITE GUEST IF I MAY SO, NOW THAT MRS. STOCKSDALE HAS DIED.”

Don’t ask about that Oakes. Don’t touch that one with a ten-foot pole.

“ANYWAY, MR. OAKES, YES– THE KRAZY KOLOR KANDY KORN HOUSE IS ON HALSTEAD STREET. WHY, IT’S JUST A QUICK FIVE-MINUTE STROLL. WHAT AN UNSURPASSED DELIGHT!”

I got the hell out of there.s-l1600

The day was warm but comfortable. I passed a couple of gun shops, a hardware store with a guy standing outside wearing a sandwich board sign, a couple of half-empty pool halls. I came to Halstead but didn’t know which way to turn. At first I went left and it was just a bunch of sprawling houses ending at some kind of strip mall. I doubled back and came to a public park.

There was no missing it– the place was decorated in jagged colored shapes and sat off in a dirt lot under a tree. Strange streams of smoke, accompanied by occasional bursts of fire, emerged from the chimney on top. The whole place reeked of candy corn.

I walked over. A girl came to the window. A brunette with huge eyes and a sweet face.

“What’s the options?” I asked. I didn’t see a sign anywhere.

“We have Krazy Kolor Kandy Korn in three sizes. We also have sno-cones.”

“Is the Krazy Kolor Kandy Korn pretty sweet? Melt in your mouth?”  Cool it down Oakes, careful here.

“It does melt in your mouth,” she shot back. “Every time. That’s Sammy’s guarantee.”

“Who’s Sammy? Husband?”

She laughed. “No, my God no. He’s…well…I just work here.”

“Well, gimme’ the large size.” I started fishing around in my wallet.

She disappeared and there was a weird sound from the back. Then the window opened again and she pushed a bucket the size of a car tire towards me.

“Jesus Christ. I’ll need a god damn dolly to cart this thing around.”

“I could help you with it. I’m on my break.” She smiled. God damn Oakes. God damn.

A kid with acne and a paper hat appeared at the window. “This guy bothering you?” he asked.

“Shut up, Skip,” she said.

 

I found a bench nearby and started watching some guys out in a field throw a ball around. The ball was some lightweight plastic affair and eventually it got stuck in a bush. They gave up on it and walked away. I couldn’t figure on any of it.

The girl came over with a smaller bucket. We both tried to dump some of the candy corn in there but a lot of it didn’t take. Ended up in her lap.

She stood up and shook it off.

God damn Oakes. God damn.

“I think I’m pretty glad that I came to get this candy corn,” I said.

“This place used to be a hot dog stand,” she said. My God, she’s cute Oakes. “I came here once with my father. We expected some hot dogs, a few laughs, maybe some buns. But it turned into a nightmare.”

I let her go on.

“I don’t care to talk about it. But I’m here…I’m facing my fear.”

“Good for you. Christ, this is good candy corn.”

“Oh, yes. Sammy makes good candy corn. He really does. He has many business ventures.”

It hit me. “Little fat guy, built like a brick shithouse?”

“Yes, that’s him exactly. Yes.”

“Yeah, hell. I know him.”

She didn’t say nothing on that. I could hear her crunching on that candy corn.

Twenty minutes passed.

“I have to get back to the Krazy Kolor Kandy Korn House. Maybe I’ll see you again?”

“Maybe.”

I watched her walk across the dirt lot.

Funny Stories by Dick Oakes, Jr.

August 3, 2016 Leave a comment
By Dick Oakes, Jr.

By Dick Oakes, Jr.

It was two in the morning when I woke with a start.

I didn’t know what it was. The Murray was quieter than hell. Then, suddenly, I heard it. Some kind of low moan coming from the back parking lot followed by a high-pitched slow squeak.

There was a little bit of the gin left on the nightstand and I finished it off.

Go back to bed Oakes.

But I was up now. I threw on a pair of shorts and went down the back staircase. Tibbs hadn’t even bothered to put a light on. I had to feel my way down four floors.

A dim hallway led to the rear door. I passed the kitchen and the laundry– both had a stillness to them that bothered me but I couldn’t make nothing of it. I reached the door and threw it open.

Tibbs was out there in his white suit, drenched in sweat. His back was to me.

“What do you say there, Tibbs?”

He turned. He was terrified, there was no getting around it. There was some kind of an inflatable beach ball between his legs and a bicycle pump in one of his hands.

“Mr. Oakes,” he said in a voice not his own. He was breathing heavily. “I have, tonight, reached the seventh emanation of the divine hierarchy between Earth and the Godhead.”

I watched the sweat pour off his face and spot the white suit.

Tibbs, Sr.

Tibbs, Sr.

“Each of the twenty-two letters of the ancient Lankvillian alphabet have their own number and are added together in words to make metaphorical sympathy, you understand, Oakes.” He bent over suddenly and squeezed the beach ball between his knees. That was the high-pitched slow squeak, I realized.

“It’s nearly there now, Oakes. Nearly to the…”

He exhaled a series of increasingly urgent breaths.

“Nearly to the eighth emanation.”

He bent over and used the bicycle pump on the beach ball until it was full. Then, he held it up to the pale moonlight. The pump fell to the ground.

“Here. Here. Take it.”

He stretched the ball towards the sky.

“Take it. Please. Please take it.”

He must have stood like that for five minutes.

Finally, he dropped the ball.

“It’s not to happen tonight.”

He bent to one knee and began sobbing. Then, he stood up and angrily threw the pump over into the next yard.

I slipped back to my room.

Funny Stories by Dick Oakes, Jr.

July 20, 2016 Leave a comment
By Dick Oakes, Jr.

By Dick Oakes, Jr.

It was right before I crossed over that I began to get skull cracking headaches and a general feeling of depression.

“I can see that Mr. Oates,” Dr. Yothers said. A child’s toy oven had been moved into the dim office and was humming lightly. Who could figure on any of it?

“It has a syrupy look, this malaise you speak of. It’s like syrup. Visible syrup. Or non-visible syrup intended to convey a metaphor.”

“I got it Doc. Can you give me something for it?”

“Well CERTAINLY!” he announced loudly. It was then that a light went off on the oven and a ding was heard.

“That will be my little cakes,” he said excitedly. “Why, you came at the perfect time Mr. Oakes.”

“Skip it. Let’s have a look at them pills.”

He yanked the old drawer out of the desk. “Oh yes, there are several. These were prescribed for an old patient of mine, a Mr. Fosdick. My Lord, he was crazy. I believe he committed suicide.”

“Yes, it’s sad,” Yothers added. He bowed his head but tilted it in such a way that he could observe the little oven.

“Anyway, Mr. Fosdicks never picked these up so his tragic death is a boon to you, Mr. Oates!”

I took the little orange bottles in my hands. There were four of them– all different sizes and names.

“Which should I take, doc?”

“Why, all of them, of course! Four are better than one!”

He suddenly darted over to the oven and greedily removed the cakes.

“Stay where you are, Mr. Oakes.”

It was the last time I had seen him.

And now I was lying in bed at the Murray, my head afflicted with hundreds of little bolts of pain. The pill bottles lay empty on the unmade bed. Somehow, I managed to reach the service phone. As usual, Tibbs snapped it up with uncanny speed.

“MR. OATES! WHY, HOW ARE YOU TODAY?”

“Listen, Tibbs. You know a good doctor? Somebody who doesn’t nose around with a lot of questions?”

Tibbs quieted. “I believe I do, Mr. Oakes. I believe I know exactly the type of man you are looking for.”

He hung up. I started to call back but collapsed back into the pillows. I thought about Yothers and them little cakes. There was no merit to any of it.

About fifteen minutes passed before I heard a little knock at the door. I staggered over to it and threw the chain.

He was a little balding man in a lab coat carrying some sort of strange oversized suitcase with a mysterious apparatus that extended out of the side. He seemed to have a habit of staring directly at the floor.

“I’m Dr. Cannons,” he said in a barely audible voice. “My fee for this is $100.”

“Jesus H. Christ,” I said. “If you can cure this then I guess I got no choice.”

“Go over to the bed.”

Dr. Cannons

Dr. Cannons

I did as I was told. He put the weird suitcase on the end table. There was a knob there and he turned it. A whooshing sound filled the room.

He started fooling with the apparatus. It had some kind of a mask at the end made of clear plastic. He still had never looked up.

“You have the $100?”

I drew out a couple of fifties and threw them on the end table.

“Good. Now, I will place this mask on your face and within about ten minutes, you will be dead.”

I sat up.

“I don’t know what the hell Tibbs told you but that ain’t what I’m looking for.”

He still didn’t look up.

“I’m just looking for something to cure these headaches and these blues, Doc. I’ve felt like hell for months now.”

“I…I’m not that kind of doctor,” he said. “I can recommend someone else…”

“Nah, let’s go ahead and skip that.”

He turned off the suitcase and was gone in less than a minute.

About twenty minutes later, Tibbs let himself into the room. He was pushing a cart full of sheets and towels and had a huge black canvas bag draped across one shoulder.

“OH MY! MR. OATES, YOU SURPRISED ME!”

“What the hell kind of thing was that, Tibbs?”

Tibbs looked befuddled. “MR. OAKES, YOU MUSTN’T THINK! WELL…I…”

“Skip it. Bring me up a sixer of FUN BEER would you? Tallboys?”

I figured on drinking it away.

“YES, MR. OAKES, OF COURSE.”

He pushed the cart back out.

Just a little off the head, it’ll help just a little.

The day passed that way.

Funny Stories by Dick Oakes, Jr.

July 12, 2016 Leave a comment
By Dick Oakes, Jr.

By Dick Oakes, Jr.

It was morning. There was a massive clock radio on the bureau (it glowed a sickly green color at night) that read: 8:07. There was something about that time.

C’mon Oakes. What the hell is today?

There was a little leather bound notebook in the side table. It was mostly just pillow counts and there was a little chart about different qualities of firmness that I couldn’t seem to commit to memory. I flipped to the front where there was a calendar.

It’s another birthday, Oakes. 8:07: The time of your birth.

I counted off the years and realized I was 58.

I picked up the service phone. Tibbs was there instantly, as though he were waiting. There was some sort of strange slow bubbly electronic noise behind him. I couldn’t figure on any of it.

“GOOD MORNING MR. OAKES! WHAT A LOVELY SUMMER DAY IT IS TODAY! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!”

“Yeah, listen Tibbs. Send up a case of FUN BEER and maybe a bottle of gin, whatever’s cheapest.”

“OOOH, MR. OAKES! IT SOUNDS AS THOUGH YOU’RE PLANNING A PARTY!!!” He started laughing so hard I thought he had dropped the phone for a minute.

“It’s my birthday, Tibbs”. I instantly regretted the announcement.

“WHAT AN OCCASION, MR. OAKES! WHAT A DELIGHT! AN ABSOLUTE DELIGHT!”

Tibbs, Sr.

Tibbs, Sr.

He was gone from the phone for a few seconds and when he came back, he blew one of those plastic party horns in my ear.

“THIS IS SOMETHING TO CELEBRATE, MR. OAKES! LET ME CALL ALL THE ROOMS!”

“No, no, no,” I stopped him. “Listen, Tibbs, I just want to…I want to stay here and just drink and…maybe you could roll a teevee in or something.”

“WHY, I WOULD BE DELIGHTED TO ROLL IN A TEEVEE!” he said. “I WILL EVEN MAKE SURE THAT YOU GET OUR COLOR SET, MR. OAKES!!!”

He was suddenly quiet.

“Even if I have to kill Ms. Stocksdale to get it.”

“Listen, Tibbs, take it easy. Just, just bring me whatever you got. Let’s…leave Ms. Stocksdale alone, alright.”

“OF COURSE, OF COURSE, OF COURSE, OF COURSE, MR. OATES. WHATEVER YOU WOULD LIKE! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! WHAT AN ABSOLUTE, OUTRIGHT DELIGHT TODAY IS!!!”

“Alright, listen, connect me with an outside line.”

I called the towels by the pound shop. I let it ring about 15 times. Finally, the crazy old broad answered.

“Listen, I ain’t feeling too good today,” I said. “Musta’ been them shrimps from last night.”

“We’ll get along,” she said. I could hear a lighter going, another cigarette. She smoked them like they were going out of style.

“Alright, then. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Dick…?”  I paused a second. I could hear her exhaling.

“Happy Birthday, Dick,” she said.

God damn, she’s a sweetheart, Oakes. Too bad she’s so fat, there just ain’t no desire there.

“Thanks. I’ll…I’ll see you tomorrow.”

 

I don’t know what it was, but I broke down then. Just started crying lightly. There wasn’t nobody that had wished me an unsolicited Happy Birthday in years.

Funny Stories by Dick Oakes, Jr.

July 3, 2016 1 comment
By Dick Oakes, Jr.

By Dick Oakes, Jr.

It was evening. The crazy old broad had called my room at the Murray. I was about halfway to a drunk.

“A guy came down from the north, an important client,” she said. “Bring your case.”

She hung up. I sat there a minute and then Tibbs came on the line.

“HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! ARE YOU DONE WITH THE LINE, MR. OATES?”

“Yeah, Tibbs. Take it.”

I splashed some water on my face and straightened my tie. I went out the staircase.

There was a couple crossing the back parking lot– big blonde guy, football player type, and a tiny redhead with a complicated sculpted hairdoo.

“Hey, lookit’ that guy would you Cindy? His head looks like a grey egg!”

I put down the case full of towel samples and went straight over to him. As I did, I could see it in his eyes– he was chickenshit.

“Say that again, dandelion.”

He paused and then he puffed his chest. “You wanna’ fight mister- you’re going to get killed.”

“Let’s go.”

He threw a wild haymaker that clipped my left shoulder. I threw a quick jab that landed square on the nose. There was a squishy sound and then the blood came running.

“Oh, Brad!” the redhead said.

I started to move in for an uppercut and the next thing I knew, Tibbs’ big body was between us. He was laughing.s-l1600

“HAHAHAHAHA, oh, there’s no need for VIOLENCE!” he boomed. He pushed us each a few steps backward. “HAHAHAHAHA, why anything CAN BE WORKED OUT!”

Suddenly, his face grew somber. “Except during the finality, when you will meet Satan’s pony.”

There was a long pause. I couldn’t make anything of it.

I drove over to the Towels by the Pound shop feeling pretty good. I cracked open a FUN BEER and took the slow way.

The crazy broad was waiting for me along with some delicate-looking dandy. I parked the car up on the side lawn.

“This is Mr. Oakes, our lead salesman,” she said.

The guy had a little limp handshake.

“Whyn’t we go inside?” I said.

“No, no, no, I would prefer to do business right here,” the dandy replied. I didn’t see no merit in it but I held the sample case open for him in the dull sunlight.

“Well, these are certainly inferior,” he said, after fingering a few cuts of towel. “But, I suppose they will do for my project. After all, we’re only building a series of training program food huts.”

“How wonderful,” the old broad said. She was wobbling a little– probably had already tied one on.

“Send along a thousand,” he said. He took an envelope from his inside jacket pocket. It was stuffed with crisp bills.”

“Mr. Oakes will have them sent tomorrow.”

He disappeared. It was just in time. I vomited into some tall grass.

The old broad looked me up and down but didn’t say nothing. Then she peeled off a couple of hundreds.

“Good work, Dick. You can have these as a bonus.”

I pictured a steak dinner at the Murray, couple of more tall boy sixers, maybe a new suit, a little ass. It would be a good night.

“Send them out tomorrow, now. Don’t forget.”

“It’s in the bag.”

I popped another FUN BEER in the car to celebrate.

She was alright, the towels by the pound shop owner.

Funny Stories by Dick Oakes, Jr.

June 10, 2016 Leave a comment
By Dick Oakes, Jr.

By Dick Oakes, Jr.

I headed down for breakfast at the Murray.

I was hungover to hell.

Tibbs was in there– a splattered tan apron around his ample belly. He smelled like beer.

“GOOD MORNING, MR. OAKES!” He started laughing hysterically, even ended up bent over at the waist. Who could make anything of any of it?

“Morning Tibbs. Let’s have biscuits and gravy and a cup of that mud you’ve been peddling as coffee.”

“HAHAHAHAHAHA, OH, WHAT A DELIGHT! WHAT AN AMAZING DELIGHT YOU ARE, MR. OAKES!”

My temples throbbed.

I read an old local paper somebody had left in the booth. There was an article in there about some donkeys that had pulled a cart up a hill. The writer went on and on and on about it. Took up 3/4 a page. They had quotes and everything. There weren’t no merit to it.

Tibbs came back. The joy on his face had disappeared. There was a shadow over him.

“Mr. Oakes– have you ever slept with faith and awoke with a corpse in your arms?”

I just sat there. What could you do? He leaned in closer.

“YOUR BREAKFAST WILL BE OUT MOMENTARILY, MR. OATES! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! WHAT A DELIGHTFUL MORNING!”

He bolted over to the counter and deposited a basket of rye toast into a nearby booth. There wasn’t anybody sitting there.

I kept up with the paper. The towels-by-the-pound lady had taken out a little ad. There was a pennant that went across the bottom. It said: “Ask for Dick Oakes, Head Salesman.”

“Chrissakes,” I said aloud.s-l1600

“That’s right, Mr. Oates,” Tibbs said. I jumped a bit. He was right behind me. I hadn’t heard a thing.

“That’s right, Mr. Oates. Flames will burn up all the trees of the fields; even the animals will pant for you.”

I was starting to figure on some kind of a jackpot but Tibbs was blocking me in. I didn’t know where the hell to go.

“You read about this donkey, Tibbs?” I finally countered.

“OH YES! YES, YES, YES, YES, YES, and YES, MR. OAKES. WHAT A DELIGHT!”

Some more rye toast appeared on the counter. Tibbs brought it over to me and then bolted outside.

I could hear him out there.

“ALL YOU RAVENOUS CUNTS! YOU WANT A LITTLE TIBBS IN YOUR BASKET DON’T YOU? I’LL FIGHT ANYBODY.”

He nattered on insanely until finally a couple of detectives plowed up onto the curb and took him away.

I never did get my biscuits.

Funny Stories by Dick Oakes, Jr.

June 1, 2016 Leave a comment
Dick Oakes, Jr.

Dick Oakes, Jr.

It had been a couple of weeks sleeping on a cot in the office of the towels by the pound joint when the crazy old broad that owned the place came in one morning.

“My husband died on that cot,” she said.

“Yeah? Somebody died just about near everywhere. What’s the difference?”

“I’ve got a room for you at the Murray. We’ll take it off your pay.”

I didn’t argue none.

I drove myself downtown in the ancient old car with the big rusted fins off the back. It was a five-story brick structure of another era but they had fashioned one of them angular neon signs out front and had fixed up a little cafe next to the office.

The owner was a friendly-looking older guy with a beard and a booming laugh who was already a little bit drunk.

“You Murray?”

“NO SIR! MY NAME IS FRANKLIN TIBBS! I BOUGHT THIS VERY HOTEL FROM THE MURRAY FAMILY. WHY, THEY ALL WENT IN FOR THE GOVERNMENT TRAINING PROGRAM! WHAT A DELIGHT!”

“You got a place on an end? Overlooking something? Maybe a little cross breeze?”

“WHY, ABSOLUTELY! WE HAVE A DELIGHTFUL ROOM FOR YOU MR. OATES. THE VERY TOP FLOOR!” He gave out a thunderous laugh that I couldn’t figure on none and took a sip from a gold flask that was shaped like a bowling pin.

Then he handed me a key on a plastic fob.s-l1600

We took an elevator up. There was a sullen teenage kid dressed in a bellhop’s getup. He threw the gate and pushed one of the numbers.

“THIS IS GUMP! MY SON! GUMP, MEET MR. OATES. HE IS EMPLOYED AT THE TOWELS BY THE POUND CONCERN! WHY, MR. OATES, THE MURRAY BUYS ALL ITS TOWELS FROM YOUR DELIGHTFUL ESTABLISHMENT!!!”

The kid didn’t say anything and the elevator lurched and started going up slowly.

“You like them towels by the pound, huh, Tibbs?”

“OH YES!  MY GOODNESS!  THEY ARE AN ABSOLUTE DELIGHT, MR. OTTS!”

The elevator spilled out onto a depressing hallway decorated in dark greens and browns. There was a shit-colored carpet on the floor and strange paintings depicting women dressed in aprons and holding up kitchen appliances. There was no merit to any of it.

“WHY, HERE WE GO, MR. OTTS!  ROOM 526!  THIS IS, IF I MAY SAY SO, A DELIGHTFUL ROOM!  WHY, JUST SEE FOR YOURSELF!!!”

The door swung wide revealing an ordinary bed, nightstand, brown wagon wheel rug and peeling green wallpaper.

Tibbs took a hefty swig from the flask.

“Mr. Otts,” he said in a low voice. “Have you ever spun a wheel of fortune?”

“What?”

“NEVER MIND, MR. OTTS!” Suddenly, Tibbs bent over at the waist and started laughing in his weird, booming way.

When he finally stopped, he stood up and wiped his eyes with a handkerchief.

“OH MY, MR. OAKES.  OH MY!  WHAT A DELIGHT!”

“What the hell’s so delightful, Tibbs?” I put down my battered paper shitcase of tattered clothes.

“LIFE, MR. OAKES.  LIFE IS JUST…SUCH A DELIGHT.  DON’T YOU THINK? WHY, LOOK AT THE BIRDS OUTSIDE, MR. OAKES!”

He pulled me over to a muslin-curtained window and threw up a yellowed roller shade. There was nothing but a cracked parking lot and a fire escape out there.

“WHY, IF YOU LOOK CAREFULLY, MR. OAKES, YOU WILL SEE THE BELTED KINGFISHER SO COMMON TO OUR REGION.  LOOK!”

I thought about letting him know that there wasn’t anything out there but I ditched the idea.

“Yep, look at that Tibbs. Hell of a thing.”

“OH YESSSSSSSS!  IT IS AN ABSOLUTE DELIGHT.”  He emptied the flask in one final paroxysmal swill.

He pitched the flask into a dark corner. “I WILL FIGHT ANYBODY AT ANY TIME!”

“Alright, Tibbs. Alright. Let me get some rest, wouldja?”

“OF COURSE, MR. OATES. OF COURSE.  I TRUST YOU FIND THE ROOM TO YOUR LIKING?”

“It’s a good damn palace, sure.”

“HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.   OH, WHAT A DELIGHT!  WHAT A DELIGHT!”

 

I made sure the door was double-locked after he left.

Funny Stories by Dick Oakes, Jr.

February 25, 2016 Leave a comment
Dick Oakes, Jr.

Dick Oakes, Jr.

I had put in a couple of weeks at the towels by the pound joint when the crazy old broad that owned the place asked if I wanted to go down to the shore. “We’ll get a motel room on the beach,” she said. “You can get drunk.”

I figured on that being alright.

She had an ancient old car painted gold with big rusted fins off the back. The seats were torn to living hell– you sank about two feet when you sat in them.

“I don’t know how to drive,” she said, standing there holding a battered cardboard suitcase and a bag full of towels. “My husband did all the driving but then they murdered him. He went quickly.”

Who knew what to make of it?

I took the wheel and she guided me south through a bunch of fuck-all towns. There was a place called “Memory Pool” and another one called “Budget Pillows”. Nothing but highway and mean stone structures– lived in but with the appearance of dereliction.

“Who came up with the name for these places?” I was trying to figure out what was going on with the speedometer. It would spike up suddenly to 90 even though I was keeping it at a steady 55.

She lit one cigarette right off the last. “Who knows? There ain’t no history here.”

After awhile, she asked me to pull into a gas station so she could pick some suntan oil. “Let’s have a tallboy wrapped in brown paper,” I said.  I watched her waddle off.

There was a guy in the next lane, filling up a pickup whose bed was full of pumpkins. He saw me glance at him.

“Did you want a pumpkin? Maybe one for your wife, there?”

“We ain’t married.”

“You can give a pumpkin to her. It’ll be nice.”s-l1600

I looked at the guy a second.

“You like living here,” I asked. “This country?”

He ignored the question. “Be real nice. Nice picnic on the beach. Pumpkins.”

There weren’t no merit in any of it.

 

After awhile, the crazy broad wandered back with a big bag of junk. She had picked up three tallboys, all wrapped in paper. Shit, that’s about the nicest thing anybody’s done for you in a long damn time, Oakes.

I looked at the can. FUN BEER.

“Who came up with this name?”

She was opening a bag of chips and smoking a cigarette at the same time.

“I don’t know. My husband drank it. It’s made in the East.”

I cracked one open and pretended it didn’t matter none.

 

We pulled into the Tropic Shores around dinnertime. It was another one of those disjointed modernist places painted a bright blue. There were a couple of palm trees in the grassy yard and a bunch of lounge chairs scattered about. She gave me a couple of twenties and sent me towards the office. I watched her stare at the sea.

It was a little balding guy behind the counter. He had a bunch of horse racing programs spread out all over the counter. There were a couple spent cans of beer. FUN BEER.

“Well, now, we only got the one room that faces the parking lot. Ain’t no kind of view really.”

I threw one of the twenties at him. “That seal it?”

“Well, now, no, we usually ask $27.50.”

“What kind of bed you got in there?”

“It’s got two singles. But you can push them together. If you stand on the left side of the left bed and your wife there stands on the right side of the right bed and then you both…”

I cut him off. “We ain’t married.” I threw the twenties at him. “How about getting me a couple of six packs of that Fun Beer? Tall boys?”

“Alright. I’ll send them up. But that about kills your change.”

I nodded and looked out through the blinds. The crazy broad was still staring at the sea. A bunch of seagulls flitted around.

“The room got heavy curtains?”

“Yessir, it sure does. My wife made them herself. What you do is you take fabric and you allow for 10 inches to account for the hems. Now your length is going to depend on where the rod is hung. With that room, we went with a…”

“Alright, you get those tallboys for me, right?”

 

I figured on it being a hell of a long evening.

Funny Stories by Dick Oakes, Jr.

January 8, 2016 Leave a comment
Dick Oakes, Jr.

Dick Oakes, Jr.

It was one of those towels by the pound joints. Some fuck of a town beyond the Outlands.

I was in the back room, in a cramped office. I had to fill out a bunch of strange forms, all yellow and in duplicate. I couldn’t figure on any of it.

The owner was odd-looking. She had big bunches of hair wrapped up in a lazily-built bun. She wore no bra and she wasn’t selling it much. She chain-smoked.

“Make sure you fill out all those forms,” she kept whispering softly through the cigarette haze.

“Never seen forms like this,” I said. They were asking for all kinds of crazy shit– they wanted months and years on everything.

“Where are you from?”

“Lankville. Eastern.”

“You’re not in Lankville. You’ve crossed over.”

“Into what?”

She didn’t say anything for awhile. Then: “Didn’t you notice all the big walls? All the checkpoints? How’d you get through?”

I thought about the previous night. Nothing came. I dimly remembered the afternoon– cases of beer in a shopping cart. That was it.

She stubbed out her cigarette and lit another. s-l500

“I need someone,” she said. “I haven’t had anyone wander in here looking for work in years. Everyone in Cotton Cones thinks they’re above this work. Ever since that government training program. They didn’t miss very many people.”

I didn’t know what the hell she was talking about. I was signing my name for the hundredth time.

“They came along out of the west,” she said, looking off distantly. “They came into churches and schools and said, let’s have these boys and girls. And they took them out of the schools and they trained them for the Initiative. Capitol “I”, small n, small i, small t, small i…”

“Skip it,” I said.

“They trained them all up,” she said, dreamily. “And now nobody wants to work in some sweet fuck-all towels by the pound shop.”

There was a long silence.

“My husband was murdered,” she noted suddenly.

I didn’t have nothing to add to that.

“I’ll give these forms to the Sub-Committee,” she said. “You can come back in five days.”

I hit her up for a little advance. I was thinking about those beers in the shopping cart again. She gave me a couple bills that I didn’t recognize. They were bright pink.

“Take a towel with you. Study it,” she said.

She didn’t walk me out.

 

Funny Stories by Dick Oakes, Jr.

December 4, 2015 Leave a comment
Dick Oakes, Jr.

Dick Oakes, Jr.

For about three months, I passed her every day at the corner of Pondicherry and Pendleton.

It was nearing summer when she spoke to me.

“Don’t I see you all the time?”
“Yep.”
“What do you do?”
“…I…I do some writing. Freelance.”
“So, you’re a bum? You loaf?”

I had to give it to her. Plus, she had a hell of a set of legs.

She looked between the office buildings where a lonely farmhouse, about to be bulldozed, sat forlornly.

“Because of a lingering pro-rural bias in the scholarship, studies have revealed more about the mid-nineteenth century Lankville farmhouse than about these office towers.”

I nodded senselessly. I had been on my way for some beers. All I had been thinking about were those beers. And now, this.

She stretched and gave me a good look at the cans.

“So, I suppose you’ll write about me, then?”

“Maybe. Mostly, I just cover the Small Motel Wrestling circuit. In the West, at least. They got another clown in the East…” I trailed off.

“I don’t care for Small Motel Wrestling. It’s base.”

“Well, I guess they’ll probably just shut down the whole operation now that that’s out.”

“You’re teasing me.” The sun hit her face. It was god damned glorious.

“Maybe I’ll talk to you again,” she said after a time. The lunch crowd was spilling out of the offices.

“Maybe so.”

I didn’t see her again but I did get those beers.

Funny Stories by Dick Oakes, Jr.

November 14, 2015 Leave a comment
Dick Oakes, Jr.

Dick Oakes, Jr.

It was a windowless, brown-paneled office lit with glaring fluorescents. The battered steel desk was piled high with papers. The brick shitbox of an owner had leaned back in his chair and eyed me over.

“What’s it say on that sign out there?” he asked. He lit a stub of a cigar.

I thought about it for a minute. I hadn’t even noticed.

“Says your name, don’t it?” I ventured.

“Yeah, it sure does. But what’s it say below my name?” He brought an ashtray up from somewhere.

“Says CARPETS don’t it?”

“THAT’S RIGHT!” he exclaimed. He was damned excited about it. Who knew what the hell to make of the whole jackpot.

“What’s a carpet?” he asked, reflectively.

Oh Jesus, we really gonna’ do this? I fingered the little badge on my unpressed white button-up. It said “MS. OAKES”. I watched the myopic geriatric in the green visor make it up but didn’t correct it none. I didn’t figure on it mattering much.

He picked up the slack. “A carpet can be indoors. But a carpet can also be outdoors.” He let that sink in. It didn’t get that deep.

“Now, tell me, what did you walk on ‘fore you opened the door to my place?”

I racked my brain. I could feel the sweat on the back of my neck. What the hell is this gonna’ be worth to you, Oakes? What the hell.

“Was there some kinda’ fake grass, like astroturf or something?”

“THAT’S RIGHT!” He got up out of his seat and the chair skirted off into some corner. “That’s right, astroturf. You know, I gotta’ special ordnance to put that out there, over the city sidewalk? Now, did you know that?”

I admitted that I didn’t.

“Now, how many sidewalks have you seen that are carpeted? Huh, fellow? How many?”

“None, sir.”

“YOU’RE GOD DAMN RIGHT, none. Now, get out on that floor and sell the ass out of those carpets.”

I opened the door and looked out at the showroom. There were five or six customers– two of them seemed to be arguing over something while a woman stood by helplessly. One of the other salesmen went over and broke it up. I couldn’t figure on any of it.

I lasted a day.