View Full Version : *Empty Cooler* short/ slight colorful language

June 20th, 2015, 06:46 PM
This is my first attempt at writing humor...please feel free to offer comments...

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Empty Cooler
by C. Riley

Once the cooler was empty Joe knew what he had to do.

First he wandered around the garage searching for a few hot beers to wedge down in the ice. He came up with nothing. After several more minutes of stumbling and falling around past his guests he made his way to the fresh air of the driveway.

Somewhere deep in his fogged brain he knew the store was only a few blocks away. A quick glance at his wrist and he knew he'd have to hurry.

His keys were nowhere to be found so walking became the best means of getting to the store he could think of.

Half a block away, as sweat poured down his face, he realized he was walking the wrong direction. His stumbling walk now became a bumbling run back past his house.
The guest in the garage watched as he stripped his shirt off and jogged down the block. The men offered cheers as Derek and Chris hummed the theme to Rocky.

The store parking lot was empty as Joe stepped onto the sidewalk just outside the store. A pull of the handle and nothing. Joe looked up at the three signs that glowed the word closed in a soft blue. He blinked hard to make the three become one.

Another look at his wrist revealed he wasn't wearing a watch at all. The sweat ran down his back passed the edge of his pants into his exposed buttcrack soaking his underwear in the process.

He cursed the store and its owner. Referring to them as motherfucking goat herders and terrorists bastards didn't make the doors magically open. Imagine that.

His walk back home was a somber journey. The small crowd that was had now dissipated. He was all alone and sweaty in his garage.

The smoke began to clear as Joe walked to the only cooler left. Just on a whim he opened it to find one more cold Bud Light. It appeared as a ray of hope with the sound of angels singing surrounded by a glowing light. The glow was from a neon above his head and he was the one doing the singing.

As he twisted the top to hear that oh so familiar pssst he loved so much, he passed out face first on the sticky garage floor.

As the mid morning sun roasted him where he lay, he stirred enough to spill the open beer. The lukewarm beverage ran across the floor under his already wet body just enough to make him piss his pants.

Joe's loving wife came out to find him in his puddle of warm piss and beer. She gathered the empty bottles and dumped the overflowing ashtrays as she did each time after Joe had his friends over.

Joe lifted his face from the floor as he smacked his lips and attempted to rub the dirt from his cheek. A bottle cap clung to his forward as he opened his eyes. The light was like a laser from a science fiction movie melting his brain.

"What happened," he said.

"Saturday night, dear," his wife said.

"Oh yeah," he said as he grinned.

Joe tried to produce a smile but the effort made him fart instead. The smell made him gag a little as he rolled onto his back.

The family went about their normal Sunday routine. They held their noses as they stepped over him. The children snickered and pointed at the cigarette butts stuck to his belly. They laughed harder when he'd wiggle a little and fart some more.

After a good twelve hours Joe stood up and surveyed the area. The bottles were in the trash and the cigarette ashes had all been swept up. His shirt was missing and his pants smelt of urine, but in his head he'd managed to keep the place fairly clean. He knew his wife would be happy about that at least. He waddled inside to the shower and then to his bed.

A week of work went by and Joe's phone rang.

"We on for Saturday," the voice asked.

"Yeah, why wouldn't we be," Joe asked.

"Well, after last Saturday I just figured you'd want to take it easy," the voice said.

"Why, what happened last Saturday," Joe asked.

The End

July 2nd, 2015, 01:08 PM
Some of this is great, and some of this comes off as cheap slapstick. The farting and the peeing, in particular.

Also, it seems strange that some of the questions don't end with question marks. Probably you are aiming for dead-pan delivery but the last line for example would benefit from that, because the character just comes off as wooden and emotionless instead. There's nothing funny about watching a plank of wood falling over. The subject should show an emotional capacity without displaying too much sentimentality.

When you say 'Imagine that', you are breaking the fourth wall which cheapens the effect of the narrative. It seems like you've invented Joe here simply to bully him, because you haven't divulged any hopes and fears; he doesn't seem real. Some readers may even find this man, this disheveled alcoholic, utterly depressing.

Otherwise, it was well written. The prose is pretty lucid, the sentence rhythm works well, and the scenery is described adequately.

I hope this helps. Good luck!

July 28th, 2015, 01:41 AM
I have to agree in that although there are funny things happing in this story, cigarette butts on belly and stuff, the underlying subject matter is no joke. I was this man once and looking back it wasn't funny, fun, but not funny.

August 22nd, 2015, 09:07 PM
Good read. I found the quirky little things funny, but I felt more sympathetic for the character, rather than I did humorous.

Green Rabbit
August 31st, 2015, 01:01 AM
Comedy's tough to write, that's for sure. One of the things you have to do is keep the tone consistent throughout the work, which is what I think some of the other reviewers are saying. The story kind of jumps from serious to silly to angry to slapstick and back a few times. The insults Joe hurls at the convenient store owners comes off as pretty racist, which may or may not be the intent.

The biggest problem with this story is that you have a funny scene followed by a scene where a wife has to deal with the aftermath of an alcoholic husband, which is then followed by the story's punchline. I was feeling so sorry for the wife that when the punchline came I didn't feel like it was a funny story anymore. I almost feel like you are conflicted about Joe, or at least as a reader I was conflicted about it. You could just as easily tweak this story into a somber one as you could a funny one, but it needs to go one way or the other.

If it were my story and I were wanting to make it funny, I'd cut the wife completely out of the story. I'd have the party and then have Joe wake up the next morning in his garage and see the aftermath. You could set up a good joke by having Joe break something in his garage earlier in the story, and then the next morning have him picking up the pieces and complaining about his careless friends. It would be good foreshadowing that he doesn't remember the previous night. After that he could go in the house, take a shower (which would be like "washing off" the night before) and have him come out and answer the phone and take the call from his friends.

I thought for sure when he got to the store he was going to see a "No shoes, no shirt, no service" sign.