Photo by Bruno Nascimento on Unsplash

Welcome, YMCA patron! We’re thrilled to see you’ve reinstated your membership after cancelling it 15 months ago. We’ve modified our guidelines in this semi-post-COVID limbo so you can safely return to your inconsistent pre-pandemic self-torture routine.

Although state health and safety requirements are mostly a thing of the past, our gym facilities remain closed due to understaffing and cost reductions established when 90% of our members jumped ship in 2020.

Our facility management company claims the elevator is out of order (we think they’re just trying to save money by leaving it powered off) so you’ll have to hoof it…

Keep the kids focused and occupied with a useful chore.

Photo by Andres Siimon on Unsplash

Step 1: Shut off your house’s main circuit breaker

Cutting the power will immediately get their attention. Run into the family room where they’ll be complaining about the TV suddenly turning off. Tell them the electric company is after you because you couldn’t afford to pay your bill, so it’s time to dig up Great Uncle Wallace. Point to the backyard and shout, “The secret of our family’s fortune is buried with him out back. It’ll be like Minecrafting for real. Let’s go!”

Step 2: Regale them with the story of the Darnell Family Fortune while you help the smaller kids tie their shoes

Mention some obscure relatives they’ve never heard of; excite them with the legend of Paw Paw Darnell’s hidden treasure; sell them on the urgency of finding…

Don’t listen to those haters who say social media can’t bring you real happiness.

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Don’t listen to those haters who say social media can’t bring you real happiness; I’m happier and healthier than your wildest dreams could ever dream of being, thanks to constant validation. Those quack specialists may call it “textbook narcissism” but my guru calls it mindfulness, because my mind is full of me, and I’m my own guru. That’s true self-actualization.

Here’s how it works: I post a delightful Facebook selfie every morning with an empowering aphorism like, “Life is a mirror: if you smile at it, you get constant validation!” When my post gets a few Likes, my eczema clears…

In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except dying in a mass shooting and taxes.

Three may keep a secret if two of them are dead from a mass shooting.

Lost time is never found again when you die in a mass shooting.

Work as if you were to live 100 years, pray as if you were to die tomorrow in a mass shooting.

He that lies down with dogs shall rise up with fleas and die in a mass shooting.

Blessed is he that expects nothing, for he shall die in a mass shooting.

Love your…

I put my pants on one leg at a time.

Photo by Joshua Woroniecki on Unsplash

Look, I’m just like everyone else — I put my pants on one leg at a time. And by the time I get to the twelfth pant leg, I usually have to switch on my Gravity Girdle™ so the temporal distortion field doesn’t make my pants slide back down when I try to pull up the hard-to-reach rear pant legs. …

Photo by Jimmy Dean on Unsplash

Dear Andy,

After careful consideration, the editors of Sweet Buddy Bunn’s Chili Roundup and Flash Fiction Review have selected the following short story and chili pairings as the winners of our spring Five Alarm Fiction Rodeo contest:

First Prize: “Hunting at Night” by “Hollerin’” Hank Hennessy of Langley, Washington and his “Cluck of the Irish” white chicken chili

Second Prize: “Abstract Heckhole” by Kenny Wishbone of Mooresville, North Carolina and his hybrid black bean Cincinnati chili “Shazazmo!”

Third Prize: “Stuckey’s Napkin Manifesto” by Betty Van Specht of Huntington, West Virginia and her goat-based Texas-style chili “Chunky Chupacabra”

All prizes will be awarded upon publication.
All chili has been eaten and the bowls cleaned and returned to the submitters.

Thank you for entering our flash fiction contest and chili cook-off. …

Photo by Chris Hardy on Unsplash

“Is fishes?” She arched an eyebrow and cocked her head to the opposite side. The other restless passengers bristled past us to the baggage carousel like water flowing around a rock.

“I’m sorry, is what fishes?” I said, hoisting an attaché strap over my shoulder and contorting my neck to look behind her.

“For when you go bathroom. Is fishes?”

I saw my bag emerge from the yawning mouth of the conveyor chute and motioned toward it. “I’m afraid I don’t understand.” I twisted away to make my escape, but her raised hand stopped me.

“I ask how you say…

Finding a snake in your yard isn’t necessarily cause for alarm, but copperheads are venomous and should be approached with caution. Follow this handy guide for proper identification and handling.

Does the snake’s body have brown and orange coloration with a dark hourglass pattern?

Yeah, I think so.

Drop to your knees and slide toward the snake with your hands out, palms up, as if making an offering.

You sure?

Don’t worry, it’s safe as long as you breathe slowly and don’t blink.

Uh, okay.

Gently caress the snake and whisper, “We are not at odds; I have only come…

Photo by Maksym Kaharlytskyi on Unsplash

The Immortal

An Instagram influencer buys a sourdough starter from an eBay seller in Jerusalem who claims the wild yeast comes from the dinner table at the Last Supper. The starter grows rapidly and threatens to overtake the influencer’s entire apartment. She gives dozens of pieces to friends and family but still, it keeps growing. She sells the starter online under the name “The Bread of Life.” The sourdough’s popularity increases exponentially until it becomes the only food source available on earth. Those who eat it gain immortality but grow to hate the taste so much they would rather be dead.

The School of Forking Paths


Photo by Jan Střecha on Unsplash

‘Sup, guys! Rob here. Yeah, I go by Rob now even though my home improvement show is called The Vanilla Ice Project. Ten seasons and still going strong on the DIY Network, boy-ee! Yo, but it is a real network!

All right, stop. Can you believe I dropped “Ice Ice Baby” 30 years ago? A lot has changed in this crazy world since then, but there’s been one constant the Ice Man wants to educate y’all on just in case you didn’t know it:

If there was a problem, yo, I’ll solve it.

Word up. Here in 2020, we got…

Andy Spain

Video editing/motion. Humor writing @ McSweeney’s, Weekly Humorist, Points in Case, et al. Debut novel CASH GRAB forthcoming this fall from Humorist Books.

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