Does Anybody Remember Laughter?
My subject line is something that Robert Plant, lead singer for Led Zeppelin, sang in a live version of Stairway to Heaven. I heard it years ago, but its impact remains strong. I sometimes forget about laughter.
My last few entries have plumbed the depths of some dark subjects. Indeed, it’s been a period of reflection and soul searching.
Can I just turn on humor, like a faucet? I have often wondered. My best humor has usually been off the top of my head, spontaneous. Or shamelessly cadged from a professional comic.
So, there is this poker table. The game is Texas Hold 'em.
Seated at it are Bob Seger, Bruce Springsteen, and John Mellencamp on one side.
On the other side are Prince, James Brown, and Snoop Dogg.
Snoop: bets $245,098 on 2 sixes. "Gimme that blunt, JB. Damn, brother, you still doin' animal tranquilizers? South Carolina Five O done softened yo black ass. Gimme that bad boy."
JB: Folds, then takes a lengthy hit from something that looks like Castro might enjoy, passes to Snoop, saying " Negro, why you bring that shit up. Butanol, when you work as hard as I do, comes in handy. Race horses use it; the hardest workin' man in show bidness uses it; damn, what's the difference? And you can't act your way out of a paper 'Papa's Got a Brand New' bag."
Snoop: Mumbling as he wipes the tip dry, "Yeah, I got yo paper bag, right here. And that leather mat you call hair's gotta go. Shit, you sweat like Pavarotti when he gots to send his entree back 'cause it's under cooked".
Seger: "I'm from Detroit. I understand the brothers. You need to get along. Snoop...pass it?"
Dogg: Nodding knowingly, exhales a huge plume of smoke. "Sho nuff, MoTown man. 'Like a Rock'" he sings, busting up in laughter as he fakes to Seger and passes back to JB.
Springsteen: "We all need to get along. I don't care about Mellencamp's greasy-haired look from 1987. And Princey? No one holds it against you that you've never dressed like a man. We look at the women you've had, and they all look the same. They look like YOU! Now THAT’S narcissism."
Mellencamp: "Let me weigh in here. How does Seger get a pass on his "Like a Rock" Chevy commercials? Is that not the ultimate sell out? How does he skate past that?”
Snoop: "Easy white boy, you've done enuff selling out, Indiana home slice. You and Slick Willie trying to bail out the farmers who were getting government subsidies anyway? Shameless, Indy."
Prince: "Yo. Minnesota is a great place for a brother. Well, at least for this brother, being that I'm the ONLY brother in the state."
JB: "Ooooh, I feel goooood", palms a small syringe out of sight.
Springsteen: "You know, Jersey isn't all that bad. We got all kinds of things........."
Mellencamp: "Yeah, Boss...like what.....?"
Springsteen: "The Sopranos".
Prince: "That's a TV show, you trouser trout."
Seger: "Well, downtown Detroit has turned into a beautiful place".
Snoop: "Shit, yeah, like downtown Beirut. MoTown ain't what it used to be. And the only white boy who can keep it real about Detroit is my man Marshall."
Prince: "Where is my boy Eminem? These old school rockers are boring the hell out of me."
Springsteen: Standing, threatens to overturn the table. "What did you say, Crying Dove Boy?"
Prince: Still sitting. "Sit down, Mr. Boss. This ain't about that....just try not to fold too soon. I want your money."
Springsteen: "Yeah, well, they don't call me the Boss by accident. Watch your step, Paisley Pants."
Mellencamp: On his second pack of Marlboros. "Hey Princey, you should cover 'Small Town'. Minnesota makes Indiana look like Vegas."
Laughter all around as Prince blushes like a 14 year old girl at the prom.
Snoop: "Leave my boy be. The musical genius can't be blamed for where he from. But, that symbol shit, man, you was trippin'. What were you thinkin'?""
Another blunt the size of South Carolina is passed from Snoop to JB.
JB: "Thank you brother. It takes a righteous black man to roll one in the shape of my home state. Now if I could just get SC PD to understand the need, you know what I mean....?"
Seger: Showing two kings, croons, "Like a Rock" as he slaps them on the green felt. "Read 'em weep, brothers," and then turning toward the lengthy locks of Mellencamp, "and sisters", as Snoop goes into a laughing fit, spewing noxious smoke everywhere.
Springsteen: Finally sitting down, glowering toward all 3 black men. Takes a sip of his Jack Daniels, neat. "You know," he says toward JB, "my sax man is black".
Snoop: "Some of my best friends are white. In fact, I don't have no college degree, but I got a bunch of white dudes workin' for me that got 'em". He convulses in laughter as the air craft carrier he and JB are sharing is passed back to him.
Mellencamp: "Wait a minute. Were you implying that Indiana folk are unsophisticated?"
Snoop: "Well, yeah. Or at least very white."
Seger: "You know, downtown Detroit is going through a renaissance."
Snoop: A long, drawn out, 10 second "Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit". Passes what is now shaped like Rhode Island back to JB.
JB: "Damn, Negro. You done sucked out half a Carolina. Don't you know, this is a man's world", and he breaks up into convulsive, torso-shaking laughter.
Prince: "Hey, whatever happened to MC Hammer?" More laughter, even from the white guys.
Mellencamp: Smoking two cigarettes at a time, "I hear he's parking cars, and when a thief shows up, my man says, 'You can't touch this'".
Springsteen: "Break it down!"
Snoop (finally): "Uh, Bosso. Stay white my man, stay white."
Mellencamp: "I can dance better than Paisley Boy over here."
Prince: "Did he just say what I think he said?"
Snoop: "He did."
Mellencamp: Running greasy hand through greasy hair. "Hey, twin cities boy. Bring it. I will dance your 12 year old girl sized ass under the table."
JB: "Hey, what happened to poker?"
Snoop: "Damn. Look at JB the voice of reason???????????????????"
JB: "Negro, you have no idea."
All five other players (in synch): "Obviously."
© Copyright 2016 Bill Rayburn. All rights reserved.
Short Story / Literary Fiction
Short Story / Literary Fiction
Short Story / Literary Fiction
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