Steel and gold towers gird a Manhattan sunrise. Mahogany desks and patent leather chairs furnish high ceiling offices. Bejeweled men in bespoke suits and silk ties sip rare tea from cream ware porcelain with filigrees of gold.
"First, this is what we do." The CEO of Meanness says. "We round them up. We tie them to one another. Each corner of the world they are--the comics, the clowns, the punch line princes of humour and jest. We parade them through city and village. And then what?"
"Kill them!". One man yells."They are a threat to social order. Their mirth, their jokes are like parasitic viruses that infect the world with joy and nonconformity, not to forget the rebelliousness of the mind and spirit."
"No!" A man crys out, his handle bar mustache wagging like a squirrel's tail. "Think of Stalin. Think of his prisons. Think of this as a great source of forced labour. Yes, we can imprison these men in a Gulag of comics."
So it was decided. Funny persons were to be taken away in their clown uniforms and Hawaiian shirts. Sent to northern prisons where they stitched "Union Made" labels into counterfeit clothes.
What is the world like without humour? Like a government town. But wait. Some men, those brave men with darkened smiles, with their hopes nearly shuddered, speak to one another in whispers. They speak in one-liners, puns, riddles and put downs. In basement meetings, secreted away, they practice the ancient double take. The prat fall. The rim shot. The set-up. The riposte to the heckler's invective. Stand-up men, they are. A band of brothers they become. Soon exploding cigars will be sent to the those in high towers. Cream pies will stain the rich men of sour face, lemon filling rolling down their bespoke suits. In the stealth of night they will strike with buzzer handshakes and running clown's feet. The group of laughing rebels will fight power like the resistance cells of the last world war. There is hope they will come back. From the prisons of the north they will march freely with open mike in hand. Brothers in jest to once more bring the guffaw to the great and small.
Poetry Pantry #392
2 hours ago