The Unicorn in the Big City
By E. Mitchell
One bouncy spring day the unicorn in the garden sprang from its pedestal like a coiled snake from a magician’s bag of tricks.
“Where are you going?” said the dog atop the garden fountain to the unicorn springing in the spring flowers. The unicorn confessed he was going to Broadway to break into show business.
“Why do you have to break in?” the dog inquired, “are you a burglar?”
The unicorn explained the door was locked and the key was connections.
“Don’t you have connections?” asked the dog.
“I will build connections like a bridge and cross over into the magical land of glitz and glamour.”
“You look pretty glamorous right here,” said the dog “why do you need to go to Broadway? Can’t you just be glamorous here?”
“I could be glamorous here but it would be like writing a book that never gets published. I want to share my glamour for all to enjoy.”
“Is there much demand for the glamour of unicorns on Broadway?”
“Even if they need only one and I am the only one then I might break in. Of course if you have connections you don’t need to break in you just walk in. If you have connections you don’t even need to have glamour. The truly glamorous often languish unnoticed in gardens just like this.”
“Why do they languish?” the dog asked.
“Because they can’t get an agent,” replied the unicorn.
The dog seemed puzzled. “Don’t agents like glamorous unicorns?”
“Agents like people who have connections. They don’t like connecting people who aren’t already connected.”
“I understand,” said the dog who didn’t understand but didn’t want to appear unworldly. “Can I be your agent?”
“You can pretend to be my agent and I can pretend to be connected and you can pretend to be the one who connected me.”
So off they went to the big city. The dog rode on the back of the unicorn and the unicorn carried the dog which was the perfect logistics for an agent and his client.
When they got to Broadway the door was locked just as the unicorn had said. They tried getting in through different doors. First they went to the door marked “Sardi’s.”
“I would like to have my picture on the wall like the glitzy and glamorous stars,” said the unicorn. “Can you get my picture on the wall at Sardi’s?”
“Sure Babe,” said the dog with an agent-like flourish as he drew a sketch of the unicorn on a cocktail napkin and stuck it to the wall with chewing gum.
Next they went to the door marked “Winter Garden Theater” and the unicorn said, “I would like to appear in that theater. Can you get me to appear in that theater?”
“Sure,” said the dog and he swindled two tickets from a scalper who was trying to swindle him. The unicorn made an appearance in the upper balcony.
Next the unicorn said “I want to be photographed with stars. Can you photograph me with stars?”
“Sure,” said the dog who hit the unicorn over the head with a camera and snapped a picture with stars floating around him.
When the unicorn recovered in the emergency room he had one final request. “You have shown me glitz but what about glamour? I want more than to be in a theater, I want to be on the stage. Can you get me on the stage?”
“Sure, do you know how to use a mop?”
“Let me clarify,” said the unicorn. “I don’t want to mop up or appear in the balcony I want to be in a Broadway show on the stage. I want to display my glamour for all to see.”
“Glamour is harder to sell than glitz but let me see what I can do.” When the dog returned he said “I can get you in a show but you’ll have to cut off your horn.”
The unicorn protested. “Didn’t the great playwright Lillian Hellman say ‘I won’t cut my conscience to fit this year’s fashion’?”
“Sounds more like Edith Head,” quipped the dog, “but I’m not asking you to cut your conscience just your horn.”
“If I cut off my horn I’ll look like an ordinary horse. I’ll be like everyone else.”
“They want you to be like everyone else.”
“But I’m unique.”
“Unique isn’t selling tickets on Broadway this season.”
“Okay,” said the unicorn resignedly lopping off his horn and taking his place in the chorus line just as the star of the show entered stage left.
Said the unicorn, “the star looks like a horse with a snow cone glued to his head.”
“He is a horse with a snow cone glued to his head,” said the dog.
“But I’m a unicorn,” said the unicorn, “and he’s just a horse pretending to be a unicorn. If they needed a unicorn why didn’t they choose me? What makes a fake unicorn better than a real unicorn?”
“His uncle is financing the show,” said the dog. “That makes him a better unicorn.”
The horse went on to win an award for ‘most authentic portrayal of a unicorn’ and later wrote a bestselling book despite his inability to read.
The unicorn glued his horn back on and abandoned the stage returning to the garden from whence he came. Before he ascended the pedestal he threw his last dime in the garden fountain as if it were a wishing well, a final connection to a dream that wouldn’t die. “Someday the whole world will appreciate my glamour,” said the unicorn as he dove unglamorously in after the dime realizing it was his last coin. The dog dove in after his ten percent commission. The unicorn learned he didn’t have to travel all the way to the big city to make a big splash.
NSNC Will Rogers Writing Contest – 2nd place winner
Sick of Germs
By E. Mitchell
It seems you can’t open up the papers nowadays without reading about some new disease they discovered somewhere out there. Crazy kinder mysterious germs floating around that you never heard of before. You’d think doctors had nothing better to do than spend all their time thinking up ailments to scare folks with. Now if they would just spend a little more time coming up with the remedies, in particular, the kind where the cure ain’t worse than the condition.
In the meantime what expert advice do the docs give? Stay away from the germs. Where do the little pests live? I mean the germs, now, not the docs, and it turns out they just live in the food we eat and the air we breathe, that’s all. So stop eating and breathing and you’ll be fine.
Of course, these new germs have the darndest names.
Now, Lime tic disease is a new on me. Who knew limes could carry tics? I thought that was just for dogs. The next thing you know they’ll be telling us you can catch citrus from old Rover. It turns out man’s best friend is just a ticket to the hospital. Maybe the doctors ain’t making enough dough off the taxpayers so they’re hoping to get their hands on the rest of Mother Nature too.
Well, Mad Cow disease was a devilment. I don’t know who was madder, the cows or the folks who had to cancel their barbeques. I always figured cows were crazy anyhow, the way they stand around in the rain eating grass. Now that they got a special disease named after ‘em they’ll probably demand spinach.
Of course you can’t eat spinach anymore either without risking your life. Pretty soon they’ll be nothing left on the dinner table but the empty plates. They’ll probably find a way to make that dangerous too.
Bird flu is raising quite a flap. I guess our feathered friends were jealous of all the press the cows and tics were getting and decided to stand up and be counted. They’re easier to count than the tics but just as dangerous.
Who thought the day would come when a fellow would be chicken of a chicken? Makes you feel like a dumb cluck. And with all the tasty new ways to get sick it’s hard to choose. Now you can get your disease served up Southern fried or oven roasted. I’ll have a helping of both with some mad cow and corn bread on the side.
If the chickens and cows don’t look out, pretty soon the pigs will be hollerin’ for some attention too. Old fashioned trichinosis won’t be good enough anymore and the doctors will discover something worse like bubonic hog jowls.
Funny how the fancy new diseases never showed up on the ark? I’ll bet poor Noah never dreamed he’d be sending us off to the hospital when he was rounding up those animals out of the rain. Now we’re the ones getting soaked, by the health insurance companies. With tainted meat and the high cost of health care, only rich folks can afford to eat steak these days – ten dollars for the steak, ten thousand for the hospital visit. That’s progress for you. If you ask me, if city slickers hadn’t muscled into the farming business we wouldn’t be in this mess.
In the good old days cows roamed the range, chickens scratched in the dirt and pigs rolled in mud. Nowadays you can’t tell a farm from a maximum security prison. In the old days animals lived in pens now they live in a penitentiary. All locked away behind bars with no possibility of parole. Even criminals get time off for good behavior but not those poor cows and chickens. No wonder they’re getting sick. Serves us right if we turn our backs on Mother Nature she’s bound to turn her back on us. I suppose it’s something we ought to take up with the politicians but those hams are already spending our money on pork.
2007 Will Rogers Top Ten Finalist
An Oklahoman in
Some folks have asked, how did an
A fellow could argue the movies haven’t changed much over time. The boy gets the girl, the cops get the robbers and it all ends in a car chase same as always. Well, love and larceny still sell tickets after all these years but nowadays they throw in a few eye openers just to keep you from falling asleep in the balcony.
Sometimes the boy gets the boy and you can’t tell the good guys from the bad guys and the car chase costs more than the whole budget for General Motors. The big ballyhoo don’t come cheap so the ticket prices keep your eyes a-popping if nothing else does. Not to mention the candy counter. You could feed a family of four on what it costs for a bucket of popcorn, why, you could house a family of four inside one of those buckets! Since when did they start using barrels instead of paper sacks?
And who would of thought an actor could get elected President of the
But politicians ain’t the only ones full of applesauce around town, not since the powder puff was replaced by “plastic surgery.” You could build a whole new race of people with the spare parts they got scattered around
Spare parts is something you see plenty of in those “slasher” movies. In the old days it was a scandal when a tough guy like James Cagney pushed a grapefruit in someone’s face. Nowadays if somebody isn’t butchered like a steer it’s considered a family picture.
And everybody is in their birthday suit. With the big budgets you’d think they could afford costumes for the actors.
It seems to me the ladies are getting the worst of it. They used to have what they called “a woman’s picture” where the queens of Hollywood like Joan Crawford and Bette Davis would build empires and pretty much put the menfolk to shame with their brains and courage. Nowadays the queens have been replaced by pawns in the
Now realism is all you hear tell about. In the old days if you wanted to make a movie about
Special effects is the topper. Nowadays they wouldn’t let you spin a lariat if it wasn’t strung with lights and plugged into an electric socket. Not that I ain’t been plum tickled by some of the fireworks I’ve seen on the screen. What makes the movies tick is still kinder mysterious.
By E. Mitchell
I remember a glorious time in the not so distant past (alright it was plenty distant and not all that glorious) when an evening at the musical theater meant song, dance and entertainment, most notably the martini at intermission.
What remains today is the martini and it is not all that entertaining anymore (unless one is concealing a flask).
Gone are the hummable tunes of yesteryear replaced by doleful melodies resembling funeral dirges and painful dental procedures. Moaning, groaning and other wailings that sound like someone with their arm caught in a wheat thresher. Often the show is based on a story about someone with their arm caught in a wheat thresher.
In the old days (or perhaps you prefer the more politically correct term “historically challenged” days) music and comedy went hand in hand (followed by a shotgun wedding and bitter divorce.)For example, in a show entitled “The Most Happy Fella” one might expect, and rightfully so, to see a play about a fella who is most happy. The potential for merriment abounds!
A musical entitled “Les Miserables” (roughly translated to mean someone with their arm caught in a wheat thresher), does not particularly lend itself to an evening of snappy tunes and exuberant dancing. More like lamentable howling and depressing lyrics of the “Ouch, my arm is shredded” variety and chorus members who don’t so much dance as tiptoe gingerly around the wretched wheat threshed soloist.
Without going out on a limb (not unlike the one caught in the thresher) it seems safe to say source material might be to blame. A play about a spunky matchmaker named Dolly might be transformed into an upbeat musical entitled “Howdy Matchmaker” or “Don’t Trip Down the Staircase, Dolly.” The same can’t be said for musicals based on leprosy or other misfortunes so popular in the theater today.
Catchy tunes about disfigured sewer dwellers don’t readily spring to mind yet “Phantom of the Opera” did brisk business. There was even a Broadway show about sweatshops called “Rags.” But what’s next? Why not a musical based on the Irish potato famine called “Spuds” - all eyes are on Broadway’s latest smashed hit!
If the cycle continues perhaps a reworking of the more mirthful musicals of the past to the contemporary tragedian trend might be profitable (the hanky industry certainly stands to gain.)
“Kiss Me Kate” could be revived as “Kill Me Kate” a woeful story of a taunting misogynist. “The Sound of Mucus” might weave the musical tale of bubonic plague in the middle ages with arias about respiratory calamities of that entertainingly disease ridden era. And what theater season would be complete without a musical about head lice? “Top Hat” could be adapted and the “I’m in Heaven” lyric would take on profound new meaning if infection set in.
As for me, whether it’s a tragic tale or a toe tapping triumph, I prefer a flop to a hit any day. The lines at the cash bar are shorter. Have flask, will travel!
© Copyright by author, used with permission by Humor Press.
|"AMERICA'S FUNNIEST HUMOR"TM SHOWCASE|
|August / September 2006 Contest Results|
By E. Mitchell
I’m a good writer – how do I know? I’ve been plagiarized by the best. Well maybe not the best, but at least the recognizable. We’re not talking Pulitzer Prize winning publications here, but on the pop culture map, enough on the map that I wanted to be included as a rest stop but now I hope they crash and burn. Have I mixed my metaphors? In any case the analogy has taken a wrong turn and run out of gas. Okay, maybe I was hasty about that good writer remark.
But the plagiarism part is all too true. The problem of plagiarism has been around since the Stone Age. One guy draws a woolly mammoth on a cave wall and the next thing you know everybody’s drawing woolly mammoths. Shamelessly plagiarized woolly mammoths.
I remember hearing Bob Newhart (not a caveman) talk about how he was plagiarized (no woolly mammoths involved.) He started out as a writer trying to sell jokes to other comedians who rejected his material and then used it as their own. The exact same thing happened to me except I’m not a stand-up comic, have never sold a joke and am not Bob Newhart. But there are other similarities.
I submitted material to a well known humor magazine that I once enjoyed but now hope is plagued with painful boils (no hard feelings here.) I satirized the decay of society using such examples as a decline in canine pop culture icons from loyal Lassie to beer swilling Spuds McKenzie. They rejected the concept and article - not funny enough for their magazine. Several months later they ran an article about the decay of society characterized by the decline of canine pop culture icons from loyal Lassie to beer-swilling Spuds McKenzie. I guess it suddenly became funnier when one of their staff writers got the paycheck and byline. I’ve often remarked how hilarious petty thievery can be. I’ll refrain from naming the publication except to say that when I saw my work reproduced like a woolly mammoth, I was mad. Mad with a capital M, capital A, capital D.
I’m also a successful television writer except for the fact that I’ve never received a screen credit or salary. A minor detail. I launched an info series for a big cable movie channel. I submitted to them a previously published article of mine i.e., it appeared in a magazine and I was given compensation and credit for my work (you know, the good old fashioned ethical method.) I suggested the concept might make a good recurring column for their cable magazine. It was entitled Real to Reel, in which real life incidents made their way to the silver screen. My article and idea were rejected. Several months later the cable channel ran a series entitled Real to Reel which explored how real life incidents made their way to the silver screen. Again, I’ll refrain from naming the cable channel but would like to mention, for no particular reason, that I was driving an AMC car at the time of the incident.
For my next big project I intend to write a screenplay that earns millions of dollars, none of which I will ever see, and catapult someone other than me to fame and fortune. I know I sound ambitious but the rewards are so great. I can’t wait to get started – wish me luck!
© Copyright by author, used with permission by Humor Press. No unauthorized reproduction or redistribution is allowed.