This Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore

Ricardo Galvez

Flash Fiction by Kevin Munley 

U-district alley
U-district alley

The last time I saw my Daddy was during the summer. We had gone for a walk in the woods together. Jonathan was walking beside us, smiling up at me. We always let Jonathan off the leash once we were on the trail. Daddy told me Jonathan smelled stuff I couldn’t, like other dogs and squirrels. I could only smell the pine cones- sticky and sweet. Mommy was at home cooking dinner for us. Dad had said it would be yummy- maybe mac and cheese. I loved being with Dad. He always knew how to make me laugh. He would talk in Jonathan’s voice and say funny things about Mommy’s dinner. He would do his monkey dance and go “Eww, Eww” while he scratched under his arm. He told me about his Dad and going for walks in the woods together when he was my age. He knew everything about trees and animals. When we came upon the brook, there was a tree branch hanging over the trail and Daddy wanted to play the monkey again. “Watch this,” he said and while he climbed up on it and did his “Eww, Eww,” but the tree collapsed. I don’t remember what happened next. They found me running through the woods. I always wondered why Jonathan didn’t go get Mommy like Lassie does in the movies. I guess real dogs don’t do that.

Mommy brought me to Doctor Jenkins afterwards. Doctor Jenkins never made me laugh. He only asked lots of questions. Sometimes he looked worried and concerned. He’d watch me play with Jonathan and asked about the woods. He said he was sorry for my loss, but I didn’t know what that meant. I told him about how Daddy was still telling me jokes, like “what happens to a frog’s car when it breaks down?” I always liked that one, but Doctor Jenkins didn’t know it. He didn’t even laugh when I told him Daddy said it got “toad” away. Mommy was there too. She didn’t say much those days. She looked sad since she didn’t get to talk to Daddy still. I think she missed him, because sometimes I heard her cry. I would be sleeping and I would wake up to Mommy sobbing in the kitchen. It made me feel weird to hear her cry like that. It didn’t sound like her. Mostly I was ok. I missed seeing Dad, but he still told me jokes. Doctor Jenkins was always asking me what jokes Daddy told me. I guess he couldn’t hear his Daddy anymore.

Ricardo Galvez
Ricardo Galvez

Daddy didn’t just tell me only jokes though. Sometimes he would talk about heaven and what it was like to be with Jesus. He was happy there and could go for walks in the woods with his Daddy again. He asked about Mommy and Jonathan and told me I had to look after them now. He said he was sorry for climbing up on that tree, but he wouldn’t leave me again. If I didn’t hear from him, I would get sad and lonely. Some of the pills Doctor Jenkins gave me made it hard to hear him, so I listened closer and closer. He was still there. Have you heard the one about, “what the duck said when it bought lipstick?” Put it on my bill! I always loved that one.

They switched my school and I was around some strange kids. One of them would just rock in his chair like he was on an imaginary horse. Everyone liked me there though and no one made fun of me. Sometimes I missed the old school. I always liked this girl Kim with freckled and blond hair and now I didn’t get to see her.

  ”  Mommy always made sure I took the pills Doctor Jenkins gave me. She’d wake me up in the morning for cartoons and I would have cookies and milk and some red and blue pills. They made me tired and sleepy and they made Daddy quiet.”

Mommy always made sure I took the pills Doctor Jenkins gave me. She’d wake me up in the morning for cartoons and I would have cookies and milk and some red and blue pills. They made me tired and sleepy and they made Daddy quiet. I started playing basketball, because Mom said it would be good for me. I was a forward. They said I was in the retard class, which meant the other boys never passed me the ball. I didn’t hear Daddy for a while. I missed him, but I didn’t have to see Doctor Jenkins so much, which made me happy. I never understood why I couldn’t laugh around him

It was spring and I was done with basketball till next winter. Mommy had made me mac and cheese, which was always my favorite. I had taken the pills for almost a year now and I hadn’t heard his voice anymore. I still thought of him often, but he wasn’t there. Suddenly, from nowhere I heard his voice, same as always, “What do you call a fake noodle?” I missed him so much, but it made me sad to hear him again. It would just mean more Doctor Jenkins, more of my mom crying. “It’s an impasta!” I didn’t laugh. I felt tears trickle down my eyes onto my dinner. Mom asked what was wrong. I was scared she would be mad at me again, but I just told her that I missed dad. She came over and held me in her arms and said she loved me. I’m glad I didn’t laugh. I’ll never laugh at Daddy’s voice again.



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