Truncated Tales

Humorous Short Stories for the Time Challenged

In Search of Inner Peace

Inner Peace

President Obama’s recent visit with the Dalai Lama in San Francisco reminded me of the journey a close “friend” took to see a yogi master in India back in the late ’70s. Fortunately, he took a cassette recorder with him and was able to tape the conversation. It went something like this:

Yogi Master:  Come in, sit down my friend.

Sam:  You mean on the floor. At these rates I was expecting at least a bean bag.

Yogi Master:  I find that humorous, albeit disturbing, because your soul is trapped in the physical rewards of comfort and consumerism.

Sam:  Never looked at it that way. I mean, I’m just getting over a hemorrhoid and I thought ……………………………

Yogi Master:  Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Don’t think. Let whatever enters your mind flow in and out with your breath. Don’t hold on to any thoughts or images; set them free. Your bills, your regrets, your concerns about the future ………….. let them go.

Sam:  I was wondering if I brought enough cash today to pay for the full session.

Yogi Master:  Don’t worry, we take MasterCard and Visa; American Express was killing us with the fees. And no checks!

Sam:  Good, I could use the air miles.

Yogi Master:  What, my dear friend, do you feel is lacking in your life? Why have you journeyed across continents to seek answers you can find from your basement in Bayonne?

Sam:  Well, Yogi Master, though I make a decent living, I feel empty, lacking, like this daily grind is futile. I want to end poverty in the world, I want to bring countries and religions together, and I want to be able to reflect on my life when I’m old and feel it meant something.

Yogi Master:  Deep shit.

Sam:  What?

Yogi Master:  I said saving the world is a noble cause, but first you must save yourself. You need food to eat, clothes to wear, and a roof over your head.These things cost money, so don’t feel guilty or ashamed to make some gelt. It’s the bigger and better aspirations that get you in trouble and rob the soul.

Sam:  But how can I relax or feel good about myself knowing there is so much suffering in the world?

Yogi Master:  Look, the suffering will still be there tomorrow. You get home, have a glass of wine, maybe a few carbs, and suddenly the world doesn’t seem so bad. In the morning, you can write a check to UNICEF, if it makes you feel better.

Sam:  But Yogi Master, I was expecting something more spiritual, like decompressing in a darkened quiet room as the energy of good fills my being with the power of light, or something like that.

Yogi Master:  Oh, you’re old school, eh. My path is not the only way to joy, but it seems to work best with you westerners.

Sam:  What about following my bliss?

Yogi Master:  Bliss schmiss, first you pay the rent, then you find yourself.

Sam:  Yogi Master, how have you arrived at such great powers of insight into the human soul?

Yogi Master:  I drove a cab in New York City for six years, you want to hear stories. People think you can’t see through plexiglass, or that the partition was a window into their fears and insecurities. Don’t get me wrong, I made good money, but this here’s a better gig and, to tell you the truth, New York winters suck.

Sam:  Yogi Master, is there any other advice you can give me before I journey home?

Yogi Master:  Yeh, don’t use New Delhi Cab Service; their meters run fast, and they always take the long way to the airport. Here, take this card. My cousin owns the company and I validated the back so you’ll get a 10% discount.

Sam:  May I embrace you before I leave?

Yogi Master:  Look kid, for a photo op with George Harrison, maybe, but a kid from Jersey? I mean it’s hot, the AC is down and, quite frankly, I don’t know where you’ve been.

Sam:  But …….

Yogi Master:  Only kidding, kid, come give ol’ Yogi a hug. That’ll cost you a ten spot — only kidding. Get home safe.

Sam:  Thank you, Yogi Master.

Yogi Master:  Oh, and kid, take care of that rhoid.

The Sloshed Chef

Wine smashed against head

“There is no love sincerer than the love of food.” Sounds like something I’d say, but those are the immortal words of George Bernard Shaw. When life craps on your head, what better comfort than a little bread, a bowl of pasta, and a large glass of wine. On death row they don’t ask with whom you’d like to have your last phone conversation, they ask what you’d like for your final meal. Let’s face it, food satisfies. Imagine having that last phone conversation with your spouse, and he or she says something to really piss you off. Next thing you know, you’re being strapped to a table and readied for the death IV, and all you can think about is: I‘m dying here, and she wants to know where I put the title for the Dodge Dart.

So here’s a recipe (sort of) that, when combined with a little ….. no, a lot of wine ….. will prepare you to meet your maker:

You’ll need oil, garlic, onion (if you have), pasta, and lots of wine.

"You can never have enough garlic. With enough garlic, you can eat The New York Times." -- Morley Safer

“You can never have enough garlic. With enough garlic, you can eat The New York Times.” — Morley Safer

Saute the oil, garlic, and onions till the house smells like your Aunt Rosa. If you don’t have an Aunt Rosa, just keep the garlic from burning and use your imagination. Oh, it helps to take a few sips of wine to release your creative juices.

"I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food." -- W.C. Fields

“I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.” — W.C. Fields

Okay, slow down on the wine. Turn the range to low as you run for a band aid and antibiotic ointment. If you don’t have antibiotic ointment, flush with wine and, yeh, you can take a sip.

"The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude." -- Julia Child

“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” — Julia Child

Check your cupboard fast for some bottled sauce ….. just in case. No, catsup won’t do (I’m only half Irish). If you can’t find any, get the number of your local pizzeria on speed dial.

"In case of emergency, open lid." -- Vincent Borgese

“In case of emergency, open lid.” — Vincent Borgese

Bread is the new spoon. Nothing pushes pasta onto a fork, or cleans a bowl of sauce like a freshly baked piece of Italian bread. If you have to put butter on it, then close up shop and head to the Olive Garden.

"All sorrows are less with bread." -- Miguel deCervantes Saavedra

“All sorrows are less with bread.” — Miguel deCervantes Saavedra

Now, pour yourself a bowl ….. I mean ….. a glass of the remaining wine (if any), sit your ass down, and enjoy the fruit of your labor. And if you see redness traveling up from the wound site, I’d get it checked.

"Life is a combination of magic and pasta." -- Federico Fellini

“Life is a combination of magic and pasta.” — Federico Fellini

And so, I leave you with the insightful words of preeminent food writer M.F.K. Fisher:

“There is a communion of more than our bodies when bread is broken and wine drunk.”

Enjoy! And change the dressing on that wound twice daily.

How to Be a Motivational Speaker

Chris Farley - Motivational Speaker

So, you feel lost and drifting in your life. You find yourself surfing the channels from one get rich quick scheme to the other at three in the morning. Do you blow your life savings on a marketing from home idea, or would you rather buy abandoned real estate in Detroit and hope you live long enough to get your original investment back. If this is you, you don’t need a job or investments, you need to  M-O-T-I-V-A-T-E. No one knows what it’s like to be a slug more than you. What you need to do, my friend, is to release that inertia on the world and show them what failure really looks like.

I’m sure you’ve seen the cookie cutter types like Tony Robbins and Joel Osteen. Good looking, dynamic, with positive energy shooting out of every orifice. Let’s face it, that’s not you, and it never will be — so why even try. Remember, if you try and fail, you’re a Loser with a capital “L” — so why put yourself in that situation. Now, before you go all suicidal on me, think, and think hard. What qualities are you best known for? What  is it about you that really pisses people off. What makes them say just looking at that idiot makes me want to vomit. Good, I’m hope you’re writing it down because you, my friend, are on your way to M-O-T-I-V-A-T-E.

If you’re still with me at this point, you have the right tools — I just have to show you how to use them. You’re going to need a mirror — full length, if possible. If you don’t have one, the one on your medicine cabinet will do. Oh ………… do you have a toaster, aluminum foil, anything shiny for God’s sake. Okay then, grab a hairbrush or cucumber — either will do — and hold approximately six inches from your lips. It’s not what you’re thinking, but hey, your rent is due when? Only kidding. Now I want you to speak slowly and clearly, “Hello,  my name is (fill in the blank), and you sure as hell don’t want to be me.”

You see, I’ve read enough articles in Psychology Today to know the mind  is malleable and gooey, and responds to negative stimuli even more than positive. I remember reading one study out of Finland that used a control group of one hundred 18-year-old men. They were seperated into two groups of 50. They were asked to remove their pants and underwear, and told to wait with their hands by their sides After ten minutes, they were down to two groups of 30. Both groups were shown a buzzer and told to hit it whenever and as often as they wished. The first group had young women there to pleasure their privates when they pushed the buzzers. The second group were hard wired to car batteries, and also told to hit the buzzers whenever they wished — which was usually when the full current was conducting through their testicles. What the study showed was the group with the electrified pistachios were more likely to hit the buzzer with greater force and rapidity then the group being pleasured.

Get the picture? Just by being the pathetic slacker you are, you have the potential of motivating hundreds, if not, thousands not to follow your path. Until you get your feet wet, I would recommend not charging above $9.99 for a one-hour session. Check out where your local AA meeting is held (like you don’t know), and see if you can get a cheap rental for, say, a Monday evening or Tuesday afternoon. As you build your audience, you can gradually increase your rates and move from the Church basement to, perhaps, the back room at The Sons of Italy lodge. This CAN happen to you, my friend. And it won’t be long till you’re closing your shows with chants of: “My name is (audience fills in the blank), and I sure as hell don’t want to be him.”

Now go M-O-T-I-V-A-T-E!

Mr. President, You Can Sleep on My Couch Till This Blows Over

Obama in Dog House

Mr. President, I have six words for you: “What the hell were you thinking?” I agree, Kamala Harris is attractive; pretty, if you will (and you did). But man, either you’ve got a pair of steel ones, or you just let your friend Edgar there do all the talking. You’re the leader of the free world with press coverage up the wazoo, and you have to blurt it out like a teen smitten by his first love. Throw some water on it jack, and get ready to part with some big bucks for the First Lady. You may want to rethink that five percent cut you just took.

Look, Mr. Pres, if you want to go all gaga over a female’s abilities, she’s gotta look more like Janet Reno and less like Halle Berry ………………… more like Moms Mabley and less like Beyonce …………….. you get the picture. As a man, I understand you were all caught up in the moment, but Michelle’s got her mom and your kids in the picture, and unless Bo is willing to share, you’re sleeping on the proverbial couch.

You could have said Ms. Harris is smart, intelligent, even wise,  but you used the term “brilliant.” You know what that means? It means you can kiss golf outings with Tiger Woods goodbye, and start chauffeuring Sasha and Malia to soccer practice. And you went on to use terms like “dedicated” and “tough” — qualities once reserved only for Michelle. Do you think it was an accident your wife — on the same day — referred to herself as a single mom?

Look, you can’t walk it back, but if I were you I’d schedule a schmooze fest with Janet Napolitano, and delete all calls and emails to and from “by far, the best looking Attorney General in the country.” Look, Mr. President, we have missles pointed at us from North Korea, we don’t need any going off from within our own borders — if you know what I mean.


Kim Jong-un and Dennis Rodman

Was it the STD he was left with after Rodman’s visit, or the fact that at 5′ 3″ and portly, maybe standing next to a 6′ 6″ black man in great shape wasn’t the best photo op for someone who would — one day — like to rule the world. Perhaps, he just ran out of his dad’s good brandy and bad porno. Anyway, little Kim Jong-un does not look like a happy camper these days. He seems to be going all gangnam on the USA as of late. And all we did was send a couple of little gliders by to check out the territory.

Bush had no success with his dad, and it seems the “O” man isn’t faring much better. Is it time to call in the troops? I say, “Hell, yeh!” and I want Dennis Rodman to rally them together. For his Joint Chiefs of Staff, I suggest Snoop Dog, Dave Chappelle, and Madonna — what better ambassadors for the United States. Can’t we face the fact that old, boring white guys have a bit of a hard time getting the party going with dudes like the “un” man. Isn’t it depressing enough for “un” seeing his people starve and go bump in the night  just ’cause he wants to save a few bucks on the utility bill.

Let’s face it, Snoop has a way with people, and I’m confident he can come up with a solution to make Spanky relax. Chappelle? Now there’s a comedian you can hang with. You don’t want some neurotic Woody Allen type in that part of the world. Kim Jong-un seems just a bit removed from the comedy of New York angst. Anyway, Woody doesn’t play well that side of the Hudson.

Okay, so Snoop has him relaxed, Chappelle has him laughing his balls off ……………. where’s this headed? Well, it seems Rodman did do a little undercover work when he was there last, and found the “un” man has all these MILF videos. Enter, Madonna. Nothing says, Do to me what you plan on doing to my country like a night with the material girl. I mean, afterall, why the hell stockpile all that penicillin if you’re not going to use it. Madonna was never one to run from a good cause, and if she can get behind Pussy Riot, I don’t see why she wouldn’t get in front of Jong-un.

So you see, we have learned from our recent wars that, oftentimes, violence begets violence. Why blow up a nation just to rebuild it. I say medicate ’em, give ’em a few laughs, strip them of all morals, and hopefully, replace their naked aggression with apathetic compliance. I mean, we’ve worked so hard to get where we are as a nation. Why not export our excesses and decadence, and show the world that America knows how to chill when she wants to.

The Killing Fields of Suburbia

Bill Murray Gopher

     The feel of soapy water caresses my well-veined hands as I methodically scrape last night’s pasta sauce from a bowl. Out my kitchen window I can see sparrows, a family of blue jays, and one lone cardinal all sharing bird seed left in hanging feeders; some placed neatly on a dry birdbath. A birdbath once treasured, not for its design, but for its practicality. A prefab concrete mix light enough to carry from Home Depot, easy enough to assemble (none required), and around 40 bucks …..  till those damn turkeys got to it. Small piles of seed placed a few feet apart would surely make my large feathered friends happy. But no, they weren’t content with just that seed, they had to have the seed in the feeders and on the birdbath. The grass is always greener, but now I’m seeing red. I crank the window open giving a caveman-like yell hoping to scare them back to the piles. Pow! Something got me on the back of the neck. It was big, it buzzed, and I wanted it dead. Precious time was lost deciding which magazine to use, then, bam! squish! done! It looked like some kind of a flying beetle: brown, spotted, lifeless. Then crash! The turkeys had broken the birdbath in two, and were now aimlessly pecking at the feeders. Shards of plastic exploded in all directions as, one-by-one, the feeders ripped open spilling seed like Niagara Falls. And I laughed, and thought — for some strange reason — of Schindler’s List.

     Buddhists believe all animals sacred; Hindus will feed rats like pets, and let cows roam untouched as stomachs growl. Why did I save the turkeys, but kill the beetle. Why do I love those little chipmunks putting holes all over my yard, but have traps set in my basement and attic to kill grey mice of the same size. How do I decide who lives and who dies, and why? Is it an inside/outside kind of thing? I’ve had grasshoppers inside on many an occasion, and fought hard to capture and release them to the yard, yet I see an ant and immediately sentence it to death. After fourteen years in the suburbs, have I developed my own death panel of one? Termites, kill; ladybugs, set free. Mosquitoes, splatter; fireflies, catch and release. And why have I become their executioner? It seems I’m on 24-hour call in my house whenever a silverfish or daddy long legs shows up in the tub. Grab a tissue, crunch! Burial at sea, as I watch my prey spin swiftly down the toilet to its final resting place somewhere between here and the water treatment plant next town over. The deer destroy my hosta, and teemed with rabbits, I have no chance seeing a vegetable garden to harvest. Squirrels? Nothing more than rats with bushy tails, and yet I let them feast on the birdfeeders, at times, just so they can enjoy. Am I picking and choosing on cuteness, some societal conditioning, or primal instinct? Have I grown drunk with power, creating my own natural selection in this grassy sphere? If I cut them, do they not bleed?

     One day I will meet my maker, and have to atone for these transgressions. Hopefully, I’ll be tried by a jury of my peers and not a swarm of yellow jackets. I can see it now, termites, ants, mice, and Rachel Carson ………….. oh, and a representative from the EPA. I throw myself at the mercy of the court, show remorse, and pray for twenty five to life (or, I guess, death). I get fifteen, and have to share my cell with a guy from Terminix named Jed.

SEQUESTRATION HAPPENS — Time to Take Matters Into Your Own Hands


The end is near and the doom is clear. Our Federal Government is being forced into cutting 2.3% from an increase in next year’s budget. At the same time, Senator Rand Paul has voluntarily cut $600,000 (17%) from his Senate office budget of $3.5 million and returned it to the US Treasury. Last year, he returned $500,000.

As a good citizen of this great nation, I want to do my part. I have several suggestions to get our Government through these tough times and save taxpayers some money in the process. I hope you will also add your suggestions in the Comments section, and maybe we can right this sinking ship.

Airport Security – I’m not a big fan of having a middle-aged, slightly overweight guy prodding and groping me with latex. You’d think I’d at least get a voucher for a beer. Instead, I’m left feeling used only to be told to pick up my shoes and go. No cab fare …………… nothing! The solution? Self-checks. Let’s put everyone on the honor system and have them feel up their own bodies. Men, there’s that annual check for testicular cancer; why waste the moment. And women, well, you don’t need me to tell you how to check for lumps.

Federal Employee Conferences — Our Federal employees work hard and do deserve to blow off some steam. However, not on my tax dollars. I’ve grown a little tired of seeing these guys and gals whooping it up in some sun-filled resort on the Government (our) dime, while the only tan I have is on the left side of my face and forearm from driving to work. It’s 2013, ever hear of teleconferencing? I say, give ’em each a six pack and pillow mint, and throw them in room with comfortable chairs.

The FDA — Look, we have the FDA and still we’re eating e coli-ladened beef treated with ammonia at many of our fast food restaurants. And you’re more likely to die from bacteria in spinach and sprouts than you are from a  Big Mac. So heat up the stove, boil some water, or char that sucker to death. And ask yourself this: “How many vegans do you know in their nineties?”

These are just some of my recommendations to get us through these tough times, and I look forward to yours.

I Can Be Bought

In case you haven’t heard, President Obama will now lend you his ears if you can come up with a cool half-billion. Why you ask? Because he can. Since he’s now a lame-duck President with the election cycle behind him, there is no limit to what an individual can contribute to a 501 (c) (4) corporation. In this case, it’s called, “Organizing for Action,” formerly “Organizing for America.” After four years of his leadership, I have a few things I’d like to share with him, and was curious what was open in my price range. The short answer is nothing, but here’s what you can get if you’d like to forgo your kid’s college education:

$500,000— Quarterly meetings with the President, becoming part of a National Advisory Board, along with other meetings at the White House.                    

$250,000 — Two meetings, one breakfast, and a lunch with the President.

$100,000 — One meeting, and an Egg McMuffin with Joe Biden.                        

$50,000 — You get to pick up Sasha and Malia from soccer practice and drive them to the orthodontist.

$25,000 — Four poop bags, and a chance to walk the first dog, Bo.                   

$10,000 — A live phone call from the President, and a gift certificate to the Olive Garden.

$5,000 — A letter and signed photo of the Obamas, with your choice of Michelle with or without bangs. Also includes a bag of sun baked salt free chips.

$2,500 — A taped robocall from the President, and a coupon for Taco Bell. 

$1,000 — An Obama pull string doll that says, “I really love millionaires and billionaires.

$500 — Air Force One will fly over your house and dump waste from the President’s personal toilet.

This Is What I Wanna Do ‘Cause I’m Gonna Die in Three Months Anyway

1966 Corvette

As I anxiously await the earth to explode — taking with it my family, pets, and possessions — I’m torn between selfishness and selflessness. I mean, don’t I have the right to be selfish if my ass is going to be vaporized in 90 days? But then, how much could I eat, how much wine could I drink, how many women, how many cars, how many, how many? That’s it, I’m bored after the first week. So here’s my list of three things I’d like to do with the time I had left after providing for the financial needs of my family:

1. Rent a ’66 Corvette convertible, light blue preferably, for a week. I’d start in San Francisco, hit Napa Valley for food and drink, and take a slow drive south along the Pacific coast. That’s it! It’s out of my system.

2. For the second week, I’d like to match ALL my organs and body parts with those on waiting lists. If I could help some stranger live without pain for the remaining 83 days, or, perhaps, see after a life of darkness, that would make me happy.

3. With the remaining money after my family was provided for, I’d have my estate free as many dogs and cats from kill shelters to live out their remaining 83 days uncaged on a farm with plenty to eat, and droves of kids to play with.

Yeh, I’d like that!

(The above was a response to a DP Challenge.)

Why I Refuse to Read “Fifty Shades of Grey”

Old Women Reading Fifty Shades of Grey

     As I near the end of my most recent Kindle download, a slight panic sets in. What next? A thriller, more humor, a classic, maybe another book about stock market trading, or anything that looks halfway decent for 99 cents. Perhaps I’ll hit the lists like the New York Times bestsellers, or Amazon’s ratings of four stars and better. How ’bout Goodreads? Wait a minute, what about that “Shades of Grey” book . Got so-so reviews on Amazon, but everyone’s talking about it. And by everyone, I mean mostly upper-middle aged plus-sized grandmothers, abandoning their Martha Stewart cookbooks for some baking in the bedroom. The problem is, I can’t get their images out of my head. I have nothing against grandmas, I mean, I had two. But the thought of drooling senior citizens spread eagle on my bed, bound and gagged? You mean to tell me those quilting grandmas from Ohio care less about warm apple pie and more about hot sex?

     I guess you’d call me more of a traditional, easy-going kind of guy, falling somewhere  between a hearty breakfast and a comfortable pair of shoes. In my sexual encounters, I was a bit daring (I like to think): a moonlit beach, an inner-city parking lot, while driving on a major expressway. But this binding thing. The idea of tying someone up for pleasure? First off, I take my knots seriously. I’ll have you know, I took and passed a motor boater’s course at our local high school when I was 12. I didn’t have a boat, but boy was I ready if I ever got one. But I came away with a basic understanding of knots, like the anchor bend, the clove hitch, the bowline, and the cleat knot. My dilemma, you see, if I did choose to tie up a lover, would be deciding between the anchor bend or the clove hitch. So while my lover was getting excited with the prospect of me — shall we say —  restricting her movement, I’d be thinking about the old sea salt Fred who taught the course, and which knot would work best on ankles and wrists instead of anchors and pilings. I’ll be honest with you, the only reason I’d want to tie someone to the bed is to either get control of the remote, or make a mad dash for the last Dove Bar in the freezer.

     And I’m told there was a contract. I have a contract, it’s called a marriage license, and the only thing it obligates me to do is pay the mortgage and utilities. If I had to draw up a contract every time I had a sexual encounter when I was single, I’d have had  to set up a legal defense fund. Contract? Here’s what I’d have her sign: Number one, if you’re going to talk about my package with your friends, you must refrain from using: a. Your pinky, b. A french fry, or c. Any measuring tool under six inches. Number two, it must never leave the room that I like to watch The Food Channel during foreplay. And number three, no one has to know I yodel during orgasm. Anything else you’re free to talk about — after I’ve left the state.

     Do the words organic and sex toy even belong in the same sentence? I mean, didn’t God give us everything we need in the form of appendages and orifices to have a good ol’ time? Do you really need a device to make her think you’re the greatest thing since bruschetta? And I hear this Mr. Grey went shopping in a hardware store. A hardware store? “Excuse me, I’d like some non-allergenic clothesline, about three feet of anchor chain, and a roll of that duct tape with the zebra pattern. And, oh yeh, a 6 mil drop cloth. That’ll be charge, please.” If I were to purchase a device, wouldn’t it seem more fitting to shop at stores with names like The Love Zone, or The Pink Pussycat, instead of the painter’s aisle at Home Depot? Are you telling me I have to trade in my Speedos for a tool belt? I don’t think so.

     What bothers me most with this Grey revolution is it gives too many women ideas. When I have sex, I want to make love, and not feel like I’m the main attraction at a calf-roping tournament, or starting the afternoon shift at a welding plant. If I have to work that hard, then, quite frankly, I’d rather be at work. I mean, isn’t there something to be said for having a nice meal, engaging in the abridged version of an all-night sexual romp, followed by a quick rollover to catch the opening monologue of Jimmy Kimmel Live? Am I being selfish if I don’t leave you with rope burns? Is that too much to ask? Anybody?


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