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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.

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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 26, 2016 Leave a comment
By Dick Oakes, Jr.

By Dick Oakes, Jr.

I was minding the Towels by the Pound joint when a couple of sex perverts walked in. You could tell right away.

And the one guy said, “what’s your most absorbent towel?” He was a real fruit, this one.

“Look, they’re all about the same. They’re towels by the pound. There ain’t no varied degrees of quality.”

“But, what about this one?” He picked up a towel at random. “What kinds of fluids will this absorb?”

I looked over in the corner. The other guy was already beating off.

It took me all of two minutes to clear the place.

When I got the doors locked, I lit a cigarette. My hands were trembling.

What’s with you, Oakes? Just a couple of twilighters. Never bothered you before.

I heard a door open and shut in the back.

“I shut it early,” I called out. “I’m going for a drink. Going for a drink.”

She appeared in the doorway.

“Couple of homos was in– one of ’em tried to…well…”

“What, Dick?” The old girl was lit. I felt half-bad about it.

“Skip it.”s-l1600

 

I went out and got in the old car and then I drove for several miles until I came to the edge of town. There was a brown mountain range off in the distance. I pulled into a place called the Skyland. Ugly modern design– nothing but glass and cement. There were a couple of late model sedans parked haphazardly in the lot.

It was hot as hell.

The joint was cool– you could hear an air conditioner running somewhere. They had a twangy guitarist playing over in one corner. There were two guys at the bar. After I ordered, one of them came over and sat down next to me.

“Listen, buddy, I’d just rather sit here alone and…”

He cut me off. “I ain’t gonna’ take up too much of your time but I’ve got something you gotta’ see.”

He produced a suitcase from somewhere. There were books inside.

“Tucker Nightstand. Oh, yeah. Serious stuff right here.”

I looked at him. He had a square face and a bushy mustache and he smelled like cologne.

“Tucker Nightstand, 3000 series. Now, these bad boys will cost you $1.95 in some of the classier adult joints but I’m willing to let them go for $1.50 each. Now, you do the math. That saves you forty-five cents a copy. Whattdya’ think?”

I finished off the bourbon and called for another.

“I know what you’re thinking,” he said. Then he laughed oddly. “You’re thinking, forty-five cents, who gives a shit? Am I right?”

“I’m thinking about this bourbon.”

He ignored it. “Hey, just have a look buddy. Look at what we got here. Campus Tramp, Pound it in Jason, Gas Pump Harlot, Lust Pro. All from the 3000 series.”

“You know about the 3000 series. Tell me you know about the 3000 series?”

I stood up and threw a ten on the bar. I turned to leave but then I thought better of it.

“Alright, let me have one of them.”

“Yessir!” He was god damned happy about it. “Take any you like, any at all.”

I picked out something called Singles Pad and got the hell out of there.

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 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.

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.

Funny Stories by Dick Oakes, Jr.

October 16, 2015 Leave a comment
Dick Oakes, Jr.

Dick Oakes, Jr.

Dr. Yothers was staring at my shins. The light outside grew dim.

“Just marvelous, just absolutely a marvelous sort of thing!” he said finally. He seemed really god damn happy about it. “The sores are completely healed.”

I rolled down my pants.

“Yep, Doc. Now it’s my back though.”

For a moment, he looked like he was going to cry. He was disappointed as all hell. I couldn’t figure on any of it.

“Oh…no…well, I suppose we can find something in the drawer!”

He pulled the drawer straight out of his desk and plopped it down hard on his lap.

“You remember the drawer?” he asked, his head cocked, waiting for the answer. I didn’t give him nothing.

He rummaged through the drawer loudly. It was excessive. He was humming some senseless song. I watched a small hot air balloon fly straight into a billboard on top of one of the nearby skyscrapers. The sound shook the room.

“Whoa ho!” Dr. Yothers called out. “Those people are dead.” He suddenly grew somber and reflective.

Then: “Try these Mr. Oates.”

It was a vial of red capsules. The name on the label read “Rudy Ferguson”. I had never heard of the pharmacy. The expiration date had long since passed.

“Those should ease your pain right away Mr. Oafs. Yes, yes, indeed. You will soon have a back that is limber and lissome.”

I nodded.s-l1600

“YOU’LL BE SOON LIFTING ONE OF THOSE BIG BARBELLS,” he half-screamed. I looked back over to the skyscraper. A big fire had erupted. The upper floor was engulfed in flames. The skeleton of the burned-out balloon was about to tip over the edge, fall 30 stories down into the street. Who knew what the hell to make of it? I huffed it out of there.

I guess I had taken the pills at some point but I don’t remember much after that. When I woke up, it was dark and I was lying in a motel room by the ocean. I somehow made it over to the window and opened the curtains. The big neon sign was right out front– “THE CLOUD. ENJOY THE CONTINENTAL ROOM FOR ALL-LANKVILLIAN ENTERTAINMENT. WE HAVE KING SIZE BEDS. THERE IS CABLE TELEVISION. SUPPORT OUR PRESIDENT”.

I looked down at the salmon-colored carpet. There was no merit to it.

After awhile, I dressed and wobbled out to the lobby. There was an Island guy in a suit staring straight forward. Some tinkly piano music played over a fuzzy intercom. It was all senseless.

“Where’s the Continental Room?” I asked.

He looked at me. “It’s closed for the season.”

“Yeah? What about some packaged goods? Now, where can a guy get any packaged goods?”

“This is a dry county, Sir. Pondicherry’s orders.”

I kicked the front of the paneled counter lightly but ended up putting my foot straight through it.

The Islander leaned over. “Well, that will require some maintenance.”

I was still pretty lit. “How about some company? Where can I get some company? You got any corn-fed girls in this dry county of yours? Any of them big folksy girls?”

He was still staring at the big hole in the paneling.

“Huh?  Any of them big naturals?”

He looked around. The lobby was dark and empty.

“I’ll slip something under your door,” he whispered. “Go back to your room.”

I figured on the Islander coming up with something good so I put on the cable and kept an eye on the carpet in front of the door. There was some show on about some people on a big boat. They were all tanned and happy and they wanted everybody else to be happy. There was a guy in a red suit that had some hand gestures that everybody seemed to like. The studio audience went god damn nuts whenever he made ’em. Who knew what the hell to do with it?

A card slid under the door. I could hear the Islander’s footsteps retreating down the causeway.

NUDE ENTERTAINMENT. CALL ERIC.

There was no number listed. I huffed it back to the lobby.

The Islander was gone and the lights had been put out. Some tape had been put over the hole in the counter. There was a little sign that read, “HELP YOURSELF”. The tinkly piano music had switched over to upbeat patriotic anthems. I had the feeling I was being watched.

I left the card on the counter and walked out into the night.

Funny Stories by Dick Oakes, Jr.

September 20, 2015 Leave a comment
Dick Oakes, Jr.

Dick Oakes, Jr.

I was pissed off my ass and hanging around outside the supermarket. They had posters up in the windows but when you took a closer look, there were giant mountains of styrofoam inside. That’s all it was– just a closed market full of styrofoam. Who knew what the hell to make of it?

There were a couple of bums sitting there with me. It was getting chillier.

One said, “Although she is flat-chested, you will find the curves of her luscious rump ample to satiate your desires.”

The other one thought about that. Then he said, “Thank you, Bill.”

I decided to get the hell out of there.

By the time I found a place, I was downright cold.

“Winter’s coming,” said the chinless specimen behind the counter at the Rancher Motel, some jagged modernist dive with a drive-in and a dark-looking coffee shop. He seemed real pleased with his observation.

“What’s it to you?” I asked. I tossed a twenty across the counter. He seemed hurt.

I lit a cigarette and stood there for a second before I realized I had burned the wrong end. I crushed it into the carpet and cursed.$_57

“Tell me about your little shitbox next door,” I said. “Can a guy get a cup of coffee and maybe a plate of eggs without running into a bunch of Lankville color?”

“Oh, yes!” For a round little sexless gnome, he was shoveling out the enthusiasm in spades. “The coffee shop got four stars in The Lankville Daily News!

“Let me tell you something about that paper,” I said. “Bunch of sex perverts, lunatics, and guys that live with their mothers. I should know.”

I walked out. Don’t be an asshole Oakes. Why be an asshole? There ain’t no merit in it.

I couldn’t help it though. I sat down at the empty counter and lit another cigarette. Your nerves are shot, Oakes. 

I figured on something to eat helping. It took forever for a little blonde in a white uniform and paper hat to come out of the back. She had crazy eyes. Keep away, Oakes. Keep away.

“Gimme a plate of eggs, scrambled and a coffee, make it black. But bring a little dish of creams.”

She sauntered off but as she got to the kitchen door, she put some hips into it. It was some fair business.

 

I ate and the girl stood behind the counter, occasionally rubbing down some piece of kitchen equipment in a senseless manner. She’s crazier than all hell Oakes. Just batshit crazy.

“Room 121 is completely empty,” she said suddenly. “They’re renovating.”

I looked up. I didn’t know what to make of it.

“You ever sat entwined with another person in the middle of a stark empty room? An empty room in the darkness?”

“Look…I…”

“It’s like sleeping with death.”

I was plum out. I kept eating. Looking up at crazy eyes, looking down at my plate.

“Here’s your check, mister.” She dropped it face down on the counter and disappeared into the kitchen. There was no bill. Just the number “121” written in large, uneven ballpoint.

 

I showered and changed into a fresh shirt. It was dark now and the courtyard was quiet. I wandered down to 121. The door was pulled shut but not latched. I pushed it open.

The room was empty and smelled of paint. A ladder had been shoved into one corner. The naked windows let in a little moonlight.

Crazy eyes sat cross-legged in the middle of the room, straight on the floor. She had taken off the white uniform and had on a light fabric turquoise shirt– loose and informal. She had trimmed her hair short– it was ragged along the edges. There are an awful lot of signs here Oakes. 

I kissed her anyway. She locked her legs around my waist and pulled the shirt over her head. She wasn’t wearing a bra.

“I have a husband,” she whispered. “He is a very tall auto mechanic who keeps to himself. Our bodies are not compatible. He is too big.”

I didn’t have any idea what to say. It was senseless, all of it. The floor was making my back ache.

“I’ve got a room…there’s a bed and everything. Why don’t we get out of here? They don’t even got the heat turned on.”

“No…no. This IS the room. It can be the only room.”

The night passed.

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.