So, here, take a gander at "Laughter."
By John Claude Smith
Laughter is the best medicine, thought Carl. And he desperately needed a dosage of giggles and guffaws about now. It’s the only thing that deterred the desire to kill.
Well, most of the time.
He entered the ironically titled Laughing Hyena Comedy Club seeking to suppress what his body ached to become, shuffling to a stool shrouded in darkness at the back of said club. Looking to the stage, he listened to the fidgety comedian.
“So my wife, um…she got pregnant—”
“No fault of yours, eh?”
Carl glared at the heckler. He hated hecklers. They were never funny. And Carl needed funny right now. He needed to laugh. He couldn’t help himself, the acid roiling in his belly like a tsunami trapped in a water balloon: “Shut up!”
Everybody gazed into the darkness at the back of the club; the darkness disallowed their perusal. The heckler waved his hand, a mocking hello. Carl ignored him.
Undeterred, the comedian continued: “Yeah, it w-was my fault. Anyway, when she had the baby there were…complications.”
Carl felt it in his bones, felt it scratching under his skin…
“So, um…m-my wife asks, ‘Can I see my baby?’ and the doctor says, ‘Yes,’ and leads her into a room where there’s a baby on a bed with no arms and no legs…and she asks, ‘Is that my baby?’ and the doctor says, ‘No,’ and she says, ‘Oh, what could be worse?’”
The heckler peered pensively into the darkness, itchy to respond.
“So they go into the n-next room and there’s a head on a pillow, and she asks, ‘Is that my baby?’ and the doctor says, ‘No,’ and she says, ‘Oh, w-what could be worse?’”
Carl felt it rising in him. He liked sick and twisted humor. But he needed the comedian to get to the punch line quicker. He felt himself changing, his snout elongating, and the pin-pricking rash of bristly hairs pushing through his skin, shredding his clothes.
“So, um…yeah…they go into the next room and there’s an eye on a p-pillow, and my wife asks, ‘Is that my baby?’ and the doctor says, ‘Yes,’ and she says, ‘Oh what could be worse?’ and he says--"
The heckler blurted through his invisible muzzle: “He says, ‘I suggest you name him Cyclops because—’”
Carl pounced on the heckler, tearing out his belly, pressing powerful forelegs into the man’s chest while his short hind legs sat clumsily on the man’s lap. The abrupt attack nailed everybody to their seats. The comedian’s face went white.
Carl turned, snout moist and dripping red, and said, “Punch line.”
The comedian stammered illegibly.
“Now!” barked Carl.
“And the doctor s-says, ‘It’s blind.’”
Carl emitted a growling hiccup of joy, of laughter; everybody joined in. The comedian smiled.
Naked and satiated, Carl sprinted out the exit as his transformation from laughing hyena back into man had commenced, derailing the desire to kill…for now.
After all, laughter is the best medicine.
There, that's just a tiny snippet of my writing. Want more? The bigger chunks get deeper, darker...more perverse and weird. You can find some in my collection, The Dark is...er...yeah, you probably know. Check around the blog, it's obvious.
You still laughing at the flash fiction or just shaking your head?
"Charging Werehyena" by Cara Mitten. Cool stuff, I'm sure Carl can relate...