Dan is finalizing a collection of politically incorrect and sometimes raucous (not really risqué) original humor short stories, jokes and all around silliness. The collection is titled Profiles in Stupidness: Politically Incorrect Thoughts on Encounters with the Ridiculous & Irritating. Perhaps we will see this from Skyhorse in the fall of 2018; cross your fingers and toes with me (oww!). Each of these ultra-short tales has dramatic reading audio files you can play. For “Daniel’s Dear”, the narrator has an Appalachian accent (use the audio if you’re unfamiliar with that).
by Dan Gallagher
Do you know what a fire hunter is? Well, that’s a dogged hunter who don’t even let darkness keep him from gittn’ his quarry, that’s what! And if you still ain’t too sure, let me tell you ’bout the gitt’n’est fire hunter that ever got game: Daniel Boone.
Now, ever-body from the Alleghenies to the Mississip knows Daniel was a big man, and a hunter who wouldn’t ‘a thought nothin’ bout wrastlin’ him a ‘bar’. But what some don’t know is that he had the keenest eyesight of anybody in Ken-tuck! And he never gave up, not even fer dark. Why, he used a pine knot burning lantern to dazzle deer at night and take his quarry when’ere he had a notion tuh. But one night, his quarry got him!
On that night, near a ol’ crick bottom, Dan’I had his lantern up and spied him a pair o’ eyes of such warm brown that he was the one dazzled. But he shook his head to git him back his presence of mind and raised his musket tuh far. There was a blur, and a rustlin’ in them woods that told him the deer had a’ taken off quick. Now, ol’ Dan’l weren’t one ‘o them give up ‘ers, no. So off he took, just as fleet footed as a deer.
With the leaves a’ splashin’ loud ahead of him, and his own steps ‘a swishin real quiet – on account of he was more stealthy afoot then most deer – Dan’l began to close the gap round about a clearin’ up ahead that held a farm house in its middle. He raised his musket on the run, feet a’ flyin’ but sight posts nary ‘a bobbin ‘, just as the moonlight revealed the angelic form of a young woman a’ sprintn’ and a’ leapin’ toward that house.
Well, on account a’ ever-body knew Dan’I was a fine upstandin’ young man, that girl’s father didn’t shoot him dead. No sir, that ol’ boy even introduced Dan’l to his daughter, name o’ Rebecca Bryan, in a flurry of talk and friendly fuss that you’d ‘a thought would tie a tongue and bend an ear. But ol’ Dan’l, his ears weren’t a’ workin’ right, and maybe not his mouth neither, ’cause when his lantern shined off Rebecca’s hair… Well, it was like gold dust a’ fallin’ and a ‘ flutterin ‘ down into a breathless prospector’s eyes. Yep, all Dan’l could do was a’ babble and a’ stare like a rut-smitten buck after a hot doe standin’ next to a flame.
And so it was from that day on: The sharp-eyed hunter who always got his quarry… done his-self got gotten.
“Death of a Nameless Roach”
by Dan Gallagher
The roach died alone, unsung, unconsoled, in the dankness and weak light of our sons’ bathroom. No one cared that he had died, nor cared for him in life. Indeed he felt, most of his days, in danger from rolled newspapers crashing from the sky. He had fathered countless larvae. But insect divorce had deprived him of his right to watch them hatch, to bounce the growing nymphs upon his thorax, to feel pride at watching them progress to pupae and into adulthood. These were the saddest of the injustices he endured.
She had blamed him for scant and poor quality meals, not caring how he scrambled just to make a living in the dangerous trash bin. He had seen others enclosed within the trash bag, left as a trap for his kind. Yet he braved this horrific risk to bring her something that would mollify her; please her enough that she would take him back.
For a time he believed that Matthew and Joe were his friends. That is, until he ventured down the perilous hall to feasts of fuzzy peanut butter or “chocolated” Fruit-of-the-Loom left periodically beside or under my young men’s beds. “Now,” he must have whispered with quivering mandibles, “someone cares for me. I have friends and – dare I let myself hope in it? – love.” But he was only to suffer food poisoning and the stomp of a giant foot, a near-miss, deeply saddening clues that what appeared to be kindness and charity were falsehearted ploys.
Yes, the roach lived and died alone. No one named him or cared about the name I imagine he gave himself in his death throes. The roach died alone, destitute and abandoned by family, but never betrayed by friends: for never had friendship or compassion been offered. And when he died, no one interred his body; days passed as he stuck to a toothpaste spot near the sink. Finally, in tears and with aching heart, I could bear the sight no longer. “Matthew, Joe!” I sobbed. “Somebody flush this poor waif away, and please: have some respect for the d-, the d-, the dead.”
As Matt folded toilet paper for a makeshift coffin, I stayed his hand. “Do his six lifeless limbs reach upward to heaven,” I stammered, “or does a higher and unconditionally loving Mind pull his legs thither?”
The Origin of Road Art
by Dan Gallagher
In driving around my neighborhood and all around town, for that matter, I kept seeing long feather-looking paintings on the streets. At first, I thought these must have been commissioned by the city to beautify the dull gray-black roads. Then came the day when I chanced to spy two gentlemen in a tattered, spattered old pick-up truck with its tailgate down. As it rounded the curve, a five gallon can of red paint fell over, draining through the already multicolored gap at the hinge. The occupants were oblivious. It was then that it hit me (well, it did not physically strike me). I didn’t get a good look at them, but they must have been a couple of those messy British guys speaking English with funny accents. I imagined their conversation before departing the previous job site must have gone like this:
“Reginald, dear boy, please place the paint in the truck in safe preparation for our further travels. There’s a good apprentice. We wouldn’t want expensive paint to spill and also cause a frightful mess on the road now, would we?”
“Why, Mr. Mortimer, that’s a precaution quite considerate of the public, and prudently economical as well. I’ll just press the lid on tightly like so. Oh, dear! I’ve inadvertently closed my sleeve in the can. Silly me. But, I find myself dismayed: The bungee cords we acquired yesterday in that tool establishment are missing.”
“Give the matter not a thought, good fellow, for the principal of gravity will secure this paint in the truck bed. This phenomenon is because, as you will observe, most of the paint is at the bottom of the can thereby avoiding the precarious condition of top-heaviness. Rest assured, young man, it will be fine. Oh, Reginald: You will wipe off that sleeve, won’t you, before joining me in the cab? Thanks so much.”
“Brilliant again, sir. And may I say, I’m learning quite a lot under your tutelage?”
by Dan Gallagher
“Good afternoon, Watson. I see you’re awake.”
“Barely. I’m really tired from yesterday and this morning.”
“What have you been doing that has made you so exhausted?”
“I’m not sure. I slept through it all. But would you do me a favor, Dan?”
“Sure, Watson. Your wish is my command.”
“That’s much better, thanks. Could I get some salmon, please?”
“Smoked or canned?”
“I don’t know what ‘smoked’ means. How about the same salmon that Rocky-the-dog stole yesterday, the Friskies?”
“Are you sure he knew it was yours?”
“Well, he smelled my butt, so he must have known I eat that brand. You will speak with him about inappropriate behavior, won’t you?”
“Sure, Watson, I’ll have a talk with him.”
“And would you please bring the salmon here? I am so starved of nutrition because of Rocky that I’m not certain I can make it to the food bowl.”
“I’m very sorry to learn of your debilitation, Watson. It is temporary, no doubt.”
“You’re always so kind and reassuring when you’re not irritating me enough to make me bite and scratch. And would you put a little cranberry powder in it; you know what happens if I get a bladder infection.”
“Thanks for reminding me. Anything else?”
“Turn down the computer volume. You know what a light sleeper I am.”
“Yes. Quality rest is important for kitty health.”
“Oh, and Dan: Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you need a favor, too. I’d be glad to suggest to Rocky that he assist you.”
“You’re really much too generous, Watson.”
End, until our next encounter!