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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Funny Stories by Dick Oakes, Jr.

September 3, 2015 Leave a comment
Dick Oakes, Jr.

Dick Oakes, Jr.

It was a garage made of unpainted concrete blocks. The foreman stood there with a clipboard. He was a little, good-looking man– probably chased a lot of tail. Probably caught a lot of it.

He pointed to the dishwasher. “Show me how to hook that up,” he said.

I walked around to the back of the machine. Drain lines and wires hung carelessly out the back. I had never owned a dishwasher, certainly never looked at the back of one.

“You hook up the lines there and then you hook up the wires,” I said feebly.

He thought about that and made a mark on the clipboard.

“Very good, Mr. Oates,” he said. “That was the correct answer!”

I couldn’t figure on any of it.

They gave me a tan jumpsuit and put me on a truck that day. There was a patch on the breast. It said “MR. OATS”. I didn’t correct it none.

Barn was the driver. He was trying to eat an ear of corn, trying to steer and shift at the same time. It was all hell ridiculous.

We stopped at an intersection in a suburban neighborhood. “Here’s where you get out,” Barn said. He spit some corn out the window. “You got these addresses.” He handed me a typed sheet of paper. “I’ll meet you over at Pondicherry Park on about five. There’s an area of the park where the land starts to shift gently upwards and then drops off into a series of hills and dells. I’ll be on in there somewheres.”

I didn’t say anything. Who knew what the hell to say? There was no merit to any of it.

I rang the bell of the first place. Little brick rancher, well-tended. There was a sprinkler on the lawn flying around erratically. Water was spraying all over the place. Some pinwheels in the garden spun in the wind.

It was a brunette that answered. She was wearing a little sleeveless number. There was a pin over her ample breast. It was a bear playing with some balloons.

“Do you like my pin?” she asked. She was a little coquette– there was no damned doubt on that one.

“I don’t understand it,” I said.

“Oh.” There was a pause. “Well, the dishwashing machine is in the kitchen.” She seemed disappointed.

“It won’t rinse,” she said. “It idles for a long time as though it’s waiting for…something to happen. You know what that’s like, when you’re…just waiting? Waiting all the time?”

I took her right there. Right on the dishwasher. Later, it was the staircase and then back down to the dishwasher and then upstairs in bed.

We were lying there. “You’re not like my husband,” she said. “He has an advanced degree in economics.”

“Yeah? Fuck that shit,” I said. I was getting a little cocky, I admit to it.

“You’re so…coarse,” she said. She leaned towards me and I got another good look at the cans. They were round and full. It was something.

“I guess the only economics we’re gonna’ need to worry about is how much it’s gonna’ cost to dry clean that blouse of yours.”

“I guess,” she said. “Though that isn’t the cleverest comeback I’ve ever heard.”

“Skip it.”

It was getting on towards five. Ol’ Barn would be standing around in those hills and dells, wondering where the hell Oats was. I didn’t even know where the park was– couldn’t even have guessed on the name of the town.

“Did you still want me to fix the dishwasher?” I asked. I started putting the jumpsuit back on. She tore the comforter off the bed and shoved it into a hamper. We had really worked the damn thing over.

“Can you come back?” she asked. She pulled her panties slowly up her legs. It was excruciating.

“I don’t know.” I thought about going back to the concrete garage. Thought about all the angry calls that had probably come in. I pictured the little foreman wandering around in a sedan, looking for Oats.

“I may have to keep going,” I said finally.

“Well, then…” she said. She was getting bent out of shape about it. “You can go out the back door. The kitchen door. Servicemen go out the kitchen door.” She stormed out. I didn’t see her again.

I walked across the yard and through some hedges and into another backyard. A guy was back there cooking a big ham over a grill. There were pinwheels all over his garden too. Who knew what to make of it?

“Hey! This is a private yard!” he whined.

“Work on your big ham, Joe, I’m leaving.”

He had some beers on a picnic table. I nicked one on the way out.

Then, I kept walking.

Gump Penetrates

August 25, 2015 Leave a comment
Gump Tibbs

Gump Tibbs

It’s time for another penetrating interview with Gump Tibbs. Today, Gump interviews Dick Oakes, Jr., Lankville Daily News columnist and author of the bestselling short-story collection No Merit in It.

GT: So, you have that little area in the paper where you write about some of your exciting adventures?

DO: Yeah. I mean, I don’t know how exciting they are. My life is a sort of hell, Gump.

GT: Marvelous! And you’ve just released a new manual?

DO: It’s a collection of short stories.

GT: What an amazing endeavor! What is the manual about?

DO: I don’t know, Gump. Fer chrissakes.

GT: Such a delight! Will you be releasing any more manuals?

DO: Yeah, I guess. I got a trunk somewhere with a bunch of stories in it. Might be in a locker down at the bus station. Damned if I know where the key is.

Dick Oakes, Jr.

Dick Oakes, Jr.

GT: Sounds like a cat’s pajamas!

DO: The cat’s pajama’s?

GT: Really fabulous! Let’s move on to sports. You like wrestling?

DO: Yeah, I mean, it’s fine. Hell, they get a couple of big corn-fed girls in a small motel room and a lot of things can happen. Who can figure on any of it? Does anybody really give a damn? Tell me, Gump, does anybody give a damn?

GT: A remarkable endeavor! I’m going to fire some guns into some small bushes. Want to come along?

DO: Skip it.

Tibbs bounced away and the interview was ended prematurely.

Funny Stories by Dick Oakes, Jr.

August 21, 2015 Leave a comment
Dick Oakes, Jr.

Dick Oakes, Jr.

Dr. Yothers peeled off the gauze bandages. I let out a muffled cry. Then the air hit my legs and I let out another.

“Chrissakes, I’ve tried everything, Doc. Gone near to broke with these creams and lotions from the god damn pharmacies.”

He poked the weeping sores with a tongue depressor. He leaned back in his little swivel chair and thought about it. Then, he leaned too far and fell flat on his ass. The chair went scuttling off into some dark corner of the filthy office. Who knew what the hell to make of it?

“Mr. Oakes, the pharmacies– they deal in mere parent medicines. They are the snake charmers of the modern era.” He giggled strangely.

“You mean patent medicines, Doc?”

“No matter.”

He was a squat shithouse of a man in a worn white lab coat. There were bleach discolorations all over the damn thing. But he moved nimbly.

He tore an entire drawer straight out of the battered desk. It was full of pills.

“The mind is set at ease Mr. Oates on the fate of humanity when one contemplates the great work of the pharmaceutical companies of Lankville.” He giggled again strangely. “Just think of the selfless research that went into the creation of all these marvelous concoctions.” He ran his hand over the pills. I stared down at the myriad of colors. Many weren’t even in bottles. I couldn’t figure on any of it.

“You got anything in there that’ll clear this up, Doc?”

“Oh, there MUST be,” he said. But he continued to hold the drawer in his lap, staring mindlessly out of the long-uncleaned picture window. You could see the tops of the skyscrapers far in the distance.

I picked up a bottle. Some long senseless brand name. The expiration date was November of 1998. I read the patient name– Herm Mount-Vince.

“Oh, he died,” Yothers said. “There used to be a file on him but I believe it was swept away. We have these foreign people that come in and clean up.”

I looked around. There were ancient sauce spots on the linoleum floor. There was an area in the corner where it looked like a cat had thrown up.

“Yeah, when the hell was that, Doc? November of 1998?”

He giggled.

“Anyway, Mr. Oakes. These are what they call “antibiotics”. I prefer another term but that’s another story. I would try these for two weeks. The sores will clear up and you will find that you have clear, rubbery skin again. It will be good for you. And for me.”

He handed over the bottle. There was no label at all on this one. The pills were green.

“Do you have twenty dollars?” he asked suddenly.

It had been awhile since I looked in my wallet. I decided to bluff.

“I’ll pay you next time, Doc. Let’s see if this horse medicine works first.”

“Fair enough.” He giggled. “I wonder what became of my little swivel chair. Do you remember?”

I stared at him a moment. “Over there, Doc. Remember? You fell clean off it.”

“Of course.” He smiled mildly. “What an affair this has been.” He giggled again.

I got the hell out of there.

Funny Stories by Dick Oakes, Jr.

August 7, 2015 Leave a comment
Dick Oakes, Jr.

Dick Oakes, Jr.

We were sitting at the end of the bar near the jukebox. The old drunk had the corner.

“We’re all dying,” he said. “But man, Oakes, you show it like nobody I ever seen.”

I looked up at the mirrors behind the bottles. There, on my forehead, were the distinct red splotches. They had appeared overnight. Several teeth throbbed mercilessly. My legs were covered in sores. The blood came through the bandages, through the pant legs. It was all a hell of a mess.

“Your face looks like my piss in the morning, Oakes.”

That was it. I started unbuttoning my shirt. “Let’s settle this outside in the weedy area.” The bartender stopped buffing a glass. “On the lot behind the knives and puzzles shop, boys, not on my lot, not on my god damn lot.”

The drunk got up. He had a huge head and squinty eyes. He was a big guy but I figured I could get a knock in. A bunch of people materialized out of the shadows– followed us out.

Some guy came over and drew a circle in the dust with a stick. He had a huge head too. I couldn’t figure on any of it.

A couple of hours later I awoke in some motel room. There was a dull ache on one side of my head and in my belly. When I tried to sit up, the pain knifed me back down.Howard_Johnson's_Motor_Lodge_-_Penns_Grove,_New_Jersey

The room was done up all in brown. There were two queen beds with white vinyl headboards. There was a giant picture on the wall of the exact same room but with a family in it. The father was on the phone and the mother was standing around in a blue dress. The father looked like a drunk. A couple of kids were lounging on one of the beds. Below, in bold letters, it said AMPLE FREE PARKING. I thought about that for awhile but came up empty.

There was a TV and I struggled over to it and pushed it on. A blue glow came up, then some assholes were standing around talking bullshit. I tried another station and it was the same assholes. Then, there was a station that came up that just had the word “ADULT” on the screen. Below, there were instructions on a number to call. I called it.

A female voice answered. “What’s all this about, this adult business?” I asked.

“We have movies for men,” she said. She had a deep, sultry voice– I thought about messing around with myself but figured on it being indecent. “Your bill will be charged at the end of your stay.”

“Alright, then, give it to me, who gives a damn.”

The screen changed. It said, “NEXT UP: RUBBEROUS BUTTOCKY PUMPING. “What the hell?” I thought, “that don’t sound bad.” Some music started up and then there was a couple walking down a sidewalk towards a house. Then, they went inside the house. The camera remained on the house for a long time. Fifteen minutes passed, maybe twenty. Then, the couple came out of the house. The woman’s hair was all tussled. Then the movie ended and the same ADULT screen came back up.

“What the hell is this?”

I called the girl back.

“That wasn’t nothing,” I said.

“Well, it was implied sir. Didn’t you understand the filmmaker’s implication?”

I was too tired for an argument. They all wear you out and then they get you one way or they get you the other way.

“I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy the movie,” she said. She sounded legitimately sorry.

“Skip it. There ain’t no merit in it.” I hung up.

I lied there awhile. Started to think that maybe I really was dying.

Funny Stories by Dick Oakes, Jr.

August 4, 2015 1 comment
Dick Oakes, Jr.

Dick Oakes, Jr.

I was waiting for a bus when I saw her. Across from Grant’s they had a closed car dealership and she pulled in there. I leaned back a little against the front window. Grant had a bunch of old cakes in there that had melted and some patriotic bunting that was creased and tattered to hell. I couldn’t figure on any of it.

It was hot and the little bit of breeze did nothing but blow dust everywhere in this fuck-all town. I looked up at the little faded bus sign and wondered if the damn thing was ever going to come.

I looked back at the girl. She had put on an enormous straw hat that hid her face but was really selling a black strapless number and she had great legs. You’re a bum Oakes, a bum with fucking sores on your legs and nine dollars in your wallet. I thought about the night before, in the motel room. Couple of foreigners screaming at each other upstairs and me in the bathroom with a razor to my neck. Easy now. Easy. I had backed away, gone upstairs and told the assholes to can it. They did.

And now here I was, in the daylight watching a pretty girl with amazing legs cross a baked desert road at high noon.

She stopped under the overhang and looked at the cakes. I turned around and as I did, one of the cakes collapsed into the bunting.

“What a queer event,” she commented.

“Something you don’t see everyday, a cake collapsing into some bunting.” Oakes, you stupid shit. You got nothing else to say to this woman?

“How is the food here?”

I got a look at her face then. It was an exotic face, only pushing thirty but there was pain on it. The eyes were large and distant.$_57

“It says good food on the banner.” Oakes, for fuck’s sake, you’re one king hill asshole.

“Do you suppose they mean it?” she asked. She eyed the cake again– it was melting quickly into the bunting. Nobody gave a damn.

“I figure they might. Why don’t we see about that?”

“What is your name?”

I thought about that. Dick Oakes– not a strong name someone had once told me.

“It’s Buck…” I was floundering. “Buck Tubbs.” You Christ-all stupid shit. You shoulda’ done it last night, Oakes. You shoulda’ done it.

“Buck…Tubbs?” she said. She removed a cigarette from a little pink case and lit it. The smell was agonizing– it had been days.

“What sort of last name is Tubbs?” she said. A little wry smile appeared at the corners. She offered me a cigarette and I could have married her right there.

“Skip it. Let’s go inside.” I thought about the nine dollars in my wallet, the bus ticket that was only good for the next ride, whenever the hell that came. I thought about how the bus would slow down and there wouldn’t be anybody and it would pick up speed and bust off in a fury of dust and smoke. It didn’t matter none though. Here was a girl that didn’t come along everyday.

We got a booth in the back by the air conditioner. The waitress was wearing a white uniform with a giant stickpin shaped like a basketball. I couldn’t figure on it. We ordered and she went off somewhere.

“You married?” I had noticed the ring on her finger.

“No. Well, yes.” She took out another cigarette. “My husband was killed in a challenge six months ago. I can’t get the ring off.” She looked down at it. “I think my hands have grown fatter.”

“Everything else looks just right.” Steady boy, steady.

She tossed me a little smile. A garden salad was brought.

“He was kind of a turd. He threw trash everywhere. Toilet, kitchen sink, behind the radiators. I don’t miss it.”

“Sounds like a Class-A asshole.” I took a cigarette from the case and sat back in the booth. I glanced down and got a good look at my slacks– they were bright orange and stained to hell. You got no business sitting here, Oakes. No business.

“He was terrible in bed,” she said suddenly. She stared out the side window at a parking lot alongside a hardware store. Some guys pulled up and quickly unloaded a piano against the store. Then they peeled out of there. YOU MOTHERFUCKERS, the hardware store owner screamed, running after them. I couldn’t figure on any of it.

“He was interested in everything in the world but me.” She crushed out the cigarette. “A little crack in the ceiling could occupy him for hours. I’d just be lying there waiting and he’d be worried over that little crack. It grew tedious.”

“A slob and fastidious at the same time, huh? What do you call that, a conundrum?”

“Yes, yes, a conundrum!” The steaks were brought.

We ate. I thought about asking her to marry me. You gotta get some high-end pants first, buddy. 

I excused myself and went to the counter. The waitress was back there fooling around with some ketchup containers that were shaped like tomatoes.

“Where’s a men’s store?”

“What, you mean, like a place that sells them magazines?”

“No, no, a clothing shop. For men.”

She thought about it. It wasn’t coming easy.

“Maybe two, maybe three towns over.”

“Alright.” I went back to the table.

I didn’t have no money anyway. I looked at her gnawing the tough steak. Made me start thinking about a job.

Funny Stories by Dick Oakes, Jr.

July 13, 2015 Leave a comment
Dick Oakes, Jr.

Dick Oakes, Jr.

Sammy Cummings was a big-time small motel girl wrestling promoter primarily working the Southern circuit. He was known as “the Cylinder”, I suppose because of his squat brick shithouse appearance though I never heard no account of the origins of the handle.

Sammy was going to be touring the Outlands for about a week, in search of the next great small motel girl wrestling star. “They always come from the Outlands,” he said. We were driving at a steady 90 MPH clip along a straight desert stretch; the air-conditioning was running and Sammy and I had tied a few on and were both feeling pretty good. “How do you account for them all coming from the Outlands?” I asked. Sammy seemed confused by the question and didn’t answer; I didn’t make nothing of it. Then he turned on the radio full blast and some loud, base-heavy nonsense filled up the car, burying the comfortable hum of the air-conditioning.

We were heading out to a parcel of land deep in the desert that Sammy had put a trailer on some years back. I was going to be staying there for a week, looking after the place. It was going to be nice, I thought, to have a regular place for awhile, if even for a week and to ditch that cardboard shitcase that passed for my luggage under a bed or in a closet.

About an hour passed, then Sammy turned off the main highway and onto a dirt road framed on either side by split-rail fences. After awhile, the fences disappeared and it was just open desert land. The trailer sat by itself on a flat barren parcel pounded by the sun. Off in the distance were the Sierra Pondicherry Mountains.

Sammy threw open the door of the sedan with the motor still running. He unlocked the trailer– a 44-footer set up on concrete pillars and battered and dented to hell.200098_m

“Just look after them cactuses in the back fields. See that they don’t lean,” he said. I couldn’t make no sense of the request but before I had a chance to clarify, he threw his stubby frame back into the driver’s set. I barely had time to grab my suitcase. “You’ll find everything,” he called through the window. “See you in a week.” And with that, he squealed off, kicking up dust and sand.

I walked inside. The place was surprisingly clean and spartan. A bedroom in the rear with one long window, covered by a curtain in floral patterns, a little kitchen, little breakfast nook and a small living room with a couch and a chair. Sammy had propped a portable television set on the chair and there was a note taped to the top, scrawled on a piece of scratch paper. This TV ain’t no good but you can get one or two stations. Open the box for a laugh. I looked around and found a little black plastic snap box that had fallen to the floor. It said The Golden Tool on the front in gilt letters and when you popped it open there was a plastic novelty wrench beneath which was printed– For the Man with Tight Nuts. I pictured Sammy getting a big kick out of that and showing it to just about damn near everybody but it didn’t appeal to me much. I closed it and put it back on the TV.

The days passed. I ate two meals– one in the mornings, another as the sun was setting, took long walks in the daytime, drank during the night, watched a couple of half-scrambled channels from the east, read a couple of Cust Shirley novels that I had picked up in a secondhand bookshop in some forgotten town and checked on the cacti (they weren’t leaning at all, so I figured Sammy’d be alright with it). The nights were long and silent– occasionally you could hear a Super Coyote off in the distance. There are no characters I thought and I realized how sick I was of the god damn characters. No assholes screaming down motel corridors at 2 AM, no crazy women, no scam artists, no hustlers. I began to feel some anxiety at the thought of Sammy’s return– I wanted to stay here awhile longer at least and maybe forever.

On the fifth day, I was sitting in a lawnchair out front near dusk, just staring off at the sky and the sunset. You’ve become some kind of nature nut, Oakes I thought. Indeed, I had passed many hours this way. I had found a pair of peepers in one of Sammy’s drawers and had been glassing the mountains and the distant strange fauna; not looking at anything in particular, just admiring it all generally and aimlessly.

I had gone inside for a minute– you had to get out of the sun occasionally, even at dusk. When I returned, armed with a mixed drink from Sammy’s bar, I saw some dust kicking up in the direction of the highway turn-off and was instantly gripped with the fear that the Cylinder was returning early from his Outland sojourn.

I put the glasses on the spot where the road sloped upward and waited. The sun had nearly disappeared behind the Pondicherries and it was growing dark.

A black pickup came into view. It wasn’t Sammy, I knew that right away. The truck was swerving all over the place, crushing the living Christ out of the road border scrub bushes and kicking up all hell in dust and dirt. I glassed the cab and the driver came into view. He was an old man with trimmed but wild white hair being thrown all over the place by the wind. He had a crazed expression on his face and seemed to be screaming out the window backwards at some helpless bush or creature he had just crushed on the way by. I glassed the passenger seat. There was a long leather case. It was either a pool cue or a shotgun and I was aiming on the latter.

I scurried inside and locked the door to the trailer. I seated myself quietly in the breakfast nook, where I could watch the man’s approach through the drawn curtains. I could hear him now– he was cursing maniacally– piercing the silence. I had been through Sammy’s closet and the couple of drawers in the bedroom and I knew he had left no weapon. It didn’t matter none anyway– I didn’t have no stomach for firearms, had always dodged them.

It was dark now and the man’s headlights lit up the land surrounding the trailer– passing right over me. But then they were gone– he had continued on towards the back field. He was on no road now– just driving by chance across open land. He came to a stop a hundred yards down. I tried to glass him from the living room. For a minute, I couldn’t see anything but then I found his headlights. He had stumbled out of the truck, leaving the motor running and the lights on. He had a shotgun across his shoulder.

YOU GOD DAMN SONOFAWHORE I heard him yell and the darkness was again pierced by the man unloading the shotgun into one of Sammy’s cacti. Still cursing madly, he returned to the cab and I glassed a box of shells in his hand.

LOUSY MOTHERFUCK JERKOFF DESERT SLUT he screamed and unloaded again. I could see the smoke off the gun. He was breathing heavily. FUCKING CRACKED BROWN BULLSHIT. His voice was now high-pitched and frenzied and he had torn off his western shirt revealing only a sweat-drenched tank underneath.

IN HELL, YOU ASSHOLE. IN HELL he screamed, firing off a couple more shots. But then, suddenly, he seemed to lose the heart for it. He dropped the shotgun in the dust and leaned, exhausted, against the running truck. A good fifteen minutes passed with him slumped there, his breathing eventually settling and his head slowly rising. And then he got back in the cab, leaving the shotgun.

He drove slowly by. Driving straight and with purpose. I watched him disappear over the slope towards the highway.

***

Sammy and I were standing out by the cacti. “He must have shot it about twenty times,” I said, pointing to the wounds.

“Who the hell was he?” Sammy asked. He couldn’t believe it none and I had nothing to tell him.

“Jesus H. Christ on a pig,” Sammy finally said, spitting off into the dust.

He drove me back to town later that day.

Funny Stories by Dick Oakes, Jr.

June 30, 2015 Leave a comment
Dick Oakes, Jr.

Dick Oakes, Jr.

I was squatting in a dirt lot behind a trailer park. The heat was terrible.

There was another guy there– drawing meaningless figures in the dirt with a stick.

“Used to own the Pelican,” he said. “You know it?”

I spit off to the side and said I didn’t.

“Christ, we had everything to flatter your taste,” he said mournfully. “Seafood, fresh from the Lankville Gulf, rib-eyes, package goods, two parking lots, a faggot piano player. It was a hell of a joint.”

It suddenly seemed hotter.

“It was a place where you could meet friends and make friends. It was a place that people remembered. I pissed it all away.”

I was intrigued in a minor sort of way. “What happened?”

He continued drawing in the dirt. “Down at the Tropic-Air they had these efficiency apartments. That’s where Dolly lived.” He trailed off.

“Cutting a little slice on the side?”

He looked up. He wasn’t long for it, I knew it. A fire alarm went off somewhere. He vomited a bit into a soiled handkerchief.

“Find another dirt lot to squat in,” he said suddenly. “This here is my dirt lot. I squat here.”tropic

I didn’t feel up to a rumpus so I walked out. And I thought about the Tropic-Air and Dolly– wondered if she was still around.

A few hours passed before I found the place. It was off on its own by some abandoned piers. By then, I had finished off a six-pack. You could walk around with a six-pack dangling from your hand– nobody gave a damn.

An old couple was sitting out under the office awning. I staggered up.

“Hey, you got a big girl here named Dolly?” I said. I was feeling a little unsteady. “Probably a big god damn girl, some piece of god damn arm candy?” I couldn’t make anything of what I was saying and I started to feel dizzy.

“Get him a room,” the old man said. “Bring the wheelbarrow over.” I collapsed into it.

When I came to it was dusk. The room was decorated in pile carpets and plastic molded furniture. They had thrown up some paneling but it was worn through in places. Nothing moved in the stale air.

I propped the door open and some sand blew in. I couldn’t figure on any of it.

I was just about to shut myself in for the night when I noticed a girl lounging on a patio chair two rooms over. She was tanned and exotic-looking; brown-eyed.  A book was in her hands. I squinted for the title– Better Crop Yields. There was a photo of a harvester kicking up dirt on the front.

Look at her Oakes. Everything you always wanted.

I stumbled over to the office. The old couple were still there– playing a board game I didn’t recognize under the awning.

“I need a six-pack Johnny. Run and get me a six-pack.” I handed him a crumpled bill. The old man whistled between his teeth and a kid appeared from around back.

“You go on back to your room, mister. Gustavus will bring it to you.”

I passed by the girl on my way back. She was really focused on the crop yield book. I couldn’t account for any of it.

I sat down inside the room and took out some stationary. There was a little drawing on the top showing the motel– next to that it said “YOU ARE ALWAYS WELCOME– GOD BLESS”. I figured on slipping a note under her door but couldn’t think of nothing. I wrote, “I think you’re beautiful. Do you want to watch TV?” but tore it up. I wasn’t no wordsmith, I knew it.

Gustavus left the six-pack outside. I sat down on a patio chair a few seats down from the girl. It was nearly pitch-black out. They hadn’t flipped the lights on yet.

“These beers…they’re cold,” I said, idiotically. “God damn asshole,” I cursed myself silently.

She looked up. Her eyes were huge– there was a certain radiance even in the darkness.

“Ancient beer was unfiltered,” she said. Her voice was hard to classify– it was musical, almost. “Ancient beer would have included various herbs and spices, uncommon today. And it would not have come in cans. The ruination of your beverage is nearly complete.”

I shrugged. “Goes down fine.” I threw an empty can into the parking lot.

“Some will tell you it’s a feat of industrial chemistry unmatched in the world,” she said. I could see she was looking towards the office. “You are drinking industrial chemistry.”

I suddenly pitched forward in the darkness and vomited. They still hadn’t put the damn lights on.

“It’s true that I’m beautiful,” she said. I looked up but couldn’t see her. “That is merely a confluence of biological forces. However, I’m not interested in watching TV.”

She shut the book and walked into her room.

It was a fitful night’s sleep.

McLemore to Defend Small Motel Girl Wrestling Title Tonight

June 25, 2015 Leave a comment
Dick Oakes, Jr.

Dick Oakes, Jr.

Small motel girl wrestler Tandy McLemore, who has successfully defended her title six times this past year, will meet the Sensational Xenith in a one-fall finish title match at the El Patio Motel in Capital City tonight.

Tandy McLemore, Champion.

Tandy McLemore, Champion.

Miss McLemore has defeated every small motel girl wrestler of note since acquiring the crown earlier this year. The Sensational Xenith figures to test the champion to the limit tonight and an exciting match is in prospect, with all the hair-pulling, punching and nudity usually in evidence when two members of the deadlier sex collide.

“I don’t think I’ll have too much problem with Xenith,” McLemore noted at a press conference held this morning in the office of the El Patio Motel. “She’s a good [small motel girl] wrestler but she doesn’t have that sixth sense one needs in this game. She tripped over a hassock in her last match– that’s a rookie mistake, we all know it.”

Xenith, either 20 or 35, believes she will win.

“Tandy is a good [small motel girl] wrestler but I’ve studied the films and I believe she can be beaten. If you get her in a corner by a floor lamp, she can’t get out.”

Promoters have asserted that both [small motel girl] wrestlers are virgins.

“Yep, both virgins,” noted Sammy “The Cylinder” Cummings. “Got the papers and everything. They’re in the car though. I’ll get ’em later.”

Cummings wandered off and the interview ended prematurely.

Three one-fall preliminary bouts featuring local bone benders, will complete the program. Tickets still remain although most are limited to standing room against the wall by the bureau.