Winners of the
2013 Mona Schreiber Prize for
Humorous Fiction and
1st Place, 2013: “Placid Grove” © Julian Axelrod, Los Angeles, CA
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Goldfarb,
Welcome to Placid Grove Retirement Home. We look forward to having you join our community. Here at Placid Grove, we pride ourselves on our commitment to giving our residents the best possible care. In that spirit, here are a few rules you should keep in mind during your stay here:
Placid Grove is an eco-friendly facility, so please help us reduce water use by reusing towels. If it’s on the floor, that’s how we know to pick it up.
Keeping with our eco-friendly policy, we ask our residents to make a weekly sacrifice to pacify the Earth goddess, Gaia. Any small children or animals will suffice, but please DO NOT REUSE TOWELS for your sacrifice. Gaia will know. She always knows.
Tuesday night is Bingo Night. Place your bets but watch out. It gets pretty competitive.
Our staff works very hard, so we ask that you refrain from imprisoning, detaining or holding them captive in any way. It’s immoral, illegal and frankly, just plain rude. Plus, if you can’t take care of yourself, how do you expect to keep a hostage in stable condition? Help us help you.
Wednesday night is Hostage Fights. Place your bets but watch out. It gets pretty competitive.
During your stay at Placid Grove, you may hear some residents mention a man named Tom Reynaldo, a former dictionary salesman who died under mysterious circumstances while guarding a terrible secret and is now said to roam these halls at night, hoping to find a respite from his inner torment through senseless bloodlust. Sadly, these residents suffer from serious dementia and are known to make up elaborate stories to spook other patients. It’s best to ignore most of what they say. (The Tom Reynaldo story, however, is true. We have no way of stopping him. Maybe, don’t wear white? He has a thing about people wearing white.)
This should be fairly obvious, but it’s a problem we run into on a regular basis, so we’ll say it again: Bedrooms are for sleeping, NOT for cooking meth.
Please do not set off Civil War era cannons in the hallway. If you must fire cannons, please do it outside in our designated cannon field. (Post Civil War cannons are perfectly acceptable.)
Visiting hours are 10-5 Monday through Friday, 11-7 Saturday and 12-5 Sunday. All visitors are welcome, as long as you sign them in and they’re not my whore ex-wife Cheryl. YOU HEAR THAT, CHERYL? I’M THE KING OF PLACID GROVE AND YOU’RE NOT ALLOWED IN MY KINGDOM. SO WHO’S THE ONE CRYING DURING SEX NOW, CHERYL?
Our tennis court is currently submerged in an unidentifiable toxic waste, so if you see any strange reptiles crawling around by the half-court line, just avoid angering them. We’re not quite sure what they are, but we do know they’re stronger than us and growing more powerful every day.
We think that about covers it. But if you run into any other issues during your time here, just contact one of our staff members. DO NOT alert the police or any government agencies, because they are “tired” of our “shenanigans.” (In this case, “shenanigans” is a polite way of saying “tax fraud.”)
Enjoy your stay here at Placid Grove.
Sincerely, The Staff
2nd place, 2013: “Party Platter” © Christopher Hivner, Dallastown, PA
Notice tacked to the community bulletin board at Fothermucker’s Fine Foods on June 10, 2013
It’s Fun Fun Fun Time
Come one, come all
To the Harper County Fire Hall,
Gene Replacement Clinic
and Motorcycle Crash Museum
to help our little town of Huffmuffen
celebrate birthday 100 on September 13
Food will be provided by
Jack’s Jerky Wagon:
JACK’S, the place to come for meat.
There will be games and prizes
for the kids, plus a live band,
Ken and the Power Tools
Get your tickets
To the year’s biggest party
Right here at Fothermucker’s:
Fothermucker’s, quality food at quality prices
sold by quality people
to other quality people and packed in
quality plastic bags in a
quality amount of time.
Don’t forget Fothermucker’s for
your next graduation, bris or
Notice tacked to the community bulletin board at Fothermucker’s Fine Foods on July 13, 2013
Only 2 months left
until the big day.
It’s our town’s 100th birthday
And you’re invited to the party.
Come out to
the Harper County Fire Hall,
Botanical Gardens and
Superfly Jimmy Snuka School of Wrestling
There have been some changes
in the festivities.
Jack’s Jerky Wagon
has closed down
due to 387 health code violations
including serving snapping turtles
but we are very lucky to have
Grandpa Willie’s Wild West
Wings, Whoopie Pies and Watermelon
step in to provide the food.
Also the band has changed.
Ken and the Power Tools
have broken up
and gone back to their jobs
at the rendering plant so
we have replaced them with
The Mighty Koi Fish Orchestra
Remember to get your tickets
Right here at Fothermucker’s:
Fothermucker’s. We’ll sell anything,
Anytime to anyone for any price and
take anything in payment.
Don’t forget Fothermucker’s
for your next
wedding, retirement party or
lawsuit settlement brunch
Notice tacked to the community bulletin board at Fothermucker’s Fine Foods on August 1, 2013
So what’s the problem, people?
Free food and entertainment
not enough for you?
It’s only a month
until the birthday bash
and only 3 tickets have
Just go up to Mrs. Wimple
at the service desk
and ask for a ticket.
OK, there have been
Grandpa Willie was found dead
on the toilet at his restaurant.
Apparently he’d been there for 11 days
and no one noticed, so they’ve
gone out of business.
The food will now be provided by
The Beefaroni Brothers Deli,
although we can’t afford
the pastrami and salami and such.
The menu will be ham salad
and bologna sandwiches
and I don’t want to hear complaining.
This is your fault for not
giving to the birthday fund
when I asked you to six months ago
or 5 months ago or 4 months ago.
The band has changed again.
The Mighty Koi Orchestra
all have hepatitis.
Gee I wonder how that happened?
Maybe Justine Myers knows something
about it. Just sayin’.
The Filthy Butt Nuggets.
They’re only in the 8th grade
But they can play.
Get your tickets at Fothermucker’s:
Fothermucker’s. They sell crap and you buy it.
Don’t forget them the next time
you need a cake or a quart of wine.
Notice tacked to the community bulletin board at Fothermucker’s Fine Foods on August 21, 2013
Why do I bother?
That’s how many of you are coming to the party.
Well, we’re going to have
a great time.
Tiki’s Tamales is providing the food
since the Beefaroni brothers were deported.
Also, The Filthy Butt Nuggets
have all been grounded so
my Uncle Dave
is bringing his guitar
for the music.
TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE
Notice tacked to the community bulletin board at Fothermucker’s Fine Foods on September 17, 2013
I hate this town.
Yesterday was the party
For Huffmuffen’s 100th birthday
and NO ONE showed up.
I have 10% beef burritos
And turkey tacos
going bad in my fridge,
the ice sculpture
of the town’s mascot,
Frack, the rabid racoon,
Melted in my backyard
and my Uncle Dave
I found his guitar
in a pine tree but haven’t
seen him since Tuesday.
I think he may have
been abducted again.
If anyone knows anything
please call me at
no one reads
the frickin’ bulletin board.
3rd place, 2013: “Thy Kingdom Comb” © Kerreanna DiMauro
There was some miscommunication regarding the haircut I got at your salon, Knock Knock Whose Hair, last Thursday. You probably don’t remember me. I asked for a pixie crop. I provided a visual of actress Jennifer Lawrence from a lady magazine for simple and easy reference. Ring any bells? I wanted short and chic. A fresh, low-maintenance ‘do. What I got was fuzzy coconut style with horrible Joan of Arc bangs. I’m anxiously waiting for hat season and only venturing outdoors when it is absolutely necessary.
What happened? I thought you, my trusted stylist, understood my hair needs. I’m rocking the look of a slightly demented, ill-kempt sheep. I’m assuming you deliberately meant to give me this style and that this style is hot. No? Didn’t think so.
Call me a sappy, sentimental fool, but people just look better with a good haircut and sometimes looking better helps you get laid.
You see where I’m going with this, Nikki?
My extreme cut paved the way for some very interesting OKCupid dates. Before heading out to meet my dates, I cranked up the makeup and pretty jewelry that were fruits or birds or something. (I don’t really know. I had the lights off.) One date made a joke about my rebel haircut, remarking that I looked like his handsome Dad back in 1976. At least I think he was joking. Another guy said, “Your neck has never looked better.”
It’s bad enough you made one side of my head consist of too many asymmetrical layers, but now it seems I’ve got a rogue little mullet growing in the back. I essentially have two different haircuts at once. Guess I don’t have to worry about untangling my cascading, curly locks any more. All my curls are gone. Every. Last. Curl. My fears of rowdy kids pulling on my flowing mane on the subway have now subsided. And I’m definitely saving money on shampoo, so thank you for that. I’ve dubbed my haircut Librarian with a Tousled Bedhead Mohawk. It currently has one thousand followers on Twitter. #HockeyPlayerHaircut
Naturally, what troubles me the most is that I paid big fat bucks for this hair-chop. No less than 4 pieces of heavy equipment and 3 tubes of creams were used to create this “effortless” look. Just playing Devil’s Haircut here, but couldn’t you have put down your lit cigarette and cell phone and paid more attention to your creation? I’m just thankful I turned down your offer for a free eyebrow waxing.
The hair wreck you gave me is worse than the uneven pageboy I got at Clippity Do-Da, not to mention the hair disaster I paid for at Ooooh Girl Who Did Your Hair salon. And let’s not forget going in for the dreaded routine pap smear. My visit to your beauty salon was far worse.
If it’s beyond repair and you cannot magically reverse my hair buzz, then I will need NASA-approved styling products right away. I’m open to daily hair vitamins. If you try to offer me sparkly hair clips or bobby pins, I hope you can run like Usain Bolt.
I know, I know. It’s only hair and it will grow back, but I also know it takes a while and our hair is our crown and glory. Still, I should put this experience into perspective. I have my health, my family and my friends (for now).
I need a brand new activity to minimize my discomfort during the awkward grow-out stage. Any suggestions? Maybe I’ll volunteer at a homeless shelter or nursing home or the local hospital. Nah. I need a change. I need more edge. Stalking sounds like fun.
Hey, you’re the one who wisely stated, with a smirk, “Change isn’t always a bad thing.” Regretting those words now? Ahh. You DO remember me.
I’m glad you’re scared, Nikki.
Oh, don’t worry. I’m harmless. Although my hairstyle says otherwise.
a.k.a. “Cat in the Hat”