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Family Announcements & Joke, Two Stories by Beau Golwitzer

     Family Announcements
     The father stood up at the dinner table one night with a look of expectation on his face. Then he sat back down. A few moments later, he stood back up. He announced, “I have an announcement to make.” Then he sat back down.
     The mother stood up. She said that she had an announcement to make. There was a look of expectation on her face. However, after a few moments, she sat back down.
     The son stood up, so hastily that he broke apart near his middle. The son, shocked by his sudden dismemberment, announced, “It appears I was more egg than man.”
     The father corrected, “More eggshell than man, if the fact that there is no egg stuff running from your wound is any indication.”
     The sister stood up, with great trepidation. “It appears,” she whispered, “that there is some danger in standing up.”
     “What is your announcement?” the father demanded.
     “I demand to take the part of the father,” the sister announced.
     “This means there will be some kind of duel between the father and his daughter,” the mother announced. And then she died.
     “Oh, why did the mother have to die?” the brother insisted. And then his head cracked in half.
     “Brother, my brother, an eggshell, and then what are we?” the sister demanded.
     The brother insisted his last breath without any assistance which made his life a grand success.
     “My son lived as he died, that is, alone and unassisted, as any man would wish.”
     “Where will we meet, father, for this duel?” the sister demanded.
     The father attempted to remand the daughter with the handcuffs he had procured. “I am afraid you are under the arrest instead,” the daughter said.
     So the father put the handcuffs on his own hands instead. “Whatever for?” the father wished aloud.
     “For the death of your son, for passing to him an outer shell so fragile that he fell apart before he was supposed to,” the daughter said.
     “What will become of me?” the father said.
     “The term of your imprisonment will be spent inside the son’s former egg shell, once what remains of him is eased from there,” the daughter informed the father.
     “That seems only fair,” the father said.
     The mother came back to life, briefly. “What has gotten into me lately?” she said. And then she passed again.
     “Mother,” the daughter said.
     The mother said, “Yes, dear?”
     “Go to sleep.”
     And so the mother did.


     At dinner one night, a man said, “I have a joke to tell.”
     His dinner companions, or associates, straightened up in their chairs.
     The man, sensing their attention, grew very afraid. All of a sudden his face felt warm and his hands began to shrivel up into the sleeves of his jacket, like hands suddenly dried up by lack of water.
     The man said, “I’m not sure of my joke, and I don’t want to tell it.”
     One of his dinner companions said, “He should die for this.”
     The other dinner companions agreed.
     The man decided to tell his joke—“A moose, and then a tree, and then a fire, and then the Lord.”
     There was silence in the room, and then one of his dinner companions said, “That is not a joke!”
     Another dinner companion was sharpening his knife.
     “Tell a joke, tell a joke!” they were shouting.
     The man attempted to flee, but they barred the doors. The man sat back down, but then he attempted to flee again, but they blocked the doors. The man sat back down, played as if he was falling asleep, and then attempted to flee again, but they were blocking the doors again.
     “Tell us the joke!”
     The man began, “The heart . . .”
     One of the dinner companions whispered, “It’s a promising premise.”
     The one sharpening his knife ceased his sharpening.
     The man continued, “. . . and then a river, and then a mountain, and then a flock of geese.”
     The man who had been sharpening his knife, but who had recently ceased sharpening his knife, began to sharpen his knife again.
     And then the prospective joke-teller became encircled by the serious people, who needed a joke to become less serious, because they were about to become very serious, unto the ultimate seriousness.
Beau Golwitzer’s writing has appeared in Kugelmass, JMWW, and Hobart, amongst other journals. He lives in Chicago.