Friday, September 25, 2009

Bathroom Monologue: Guerrilla Smile, OR, Possible Origins for Him. 2.

Handy eyes-free audio edition:

Nobody likes a happy man when it’s somber, and to somebody it’s always a bad time. Seems there are so many bad times and things are so seldom improving that if you’ve had a good year in your life, it’s long past. That’s a stupid thought driven deep into the head of too many a man, and it spawned the Happy Man.

Every free hour he had he’d find unhappy places. If it was gloomy in a hotel lobby, he would come on in, loiter and laugh. He’d tell bad jokes at a funeral until you told him to shut up. He honored requests like that. Yet if he shut himself up, he’d grin deep enough to scare off Daniel Boone. And because there’re so many people who think times are eternally awful in their own way, he was a hated man. They sniffed at his clothes, his wife and his church. Some would even get to slapping him.

He spent too many days near a particular deli and found the worst of it when an individual took to him with a crowbar. Broke five ribs and dared him in front of all the patrons to laugh. The Happy Man couldn’t even simper and was carted to the hospital. Suggesting the mood and morals of the establishment, despite three teens working the counter, two locals gabbing and two more playing chess, no one could identify the assailant. There wasn’t even a crowbar by the time the law arrived.

The Happy Man arrived again some five days later. No one answered his knock-knocks. His diaphragm was so contused he could not take even half a breath, and so could neither tell the whole of a joke, nor laugh at it. Yet he could smile. He bought a sub and sat right in the window, in full view of any passersby, and grinned. He grinned at every patron and tipped his hat to every lady. He applauded the chess games as best as he could, but was never invited to join. The crowd did not appreciate his jests about horses galloping in L-directions.

Every day from opening to closing he sat in that window, grinning with intent. He knew who’d hit him, yet set that grin on everybody in the establishment equally. No, he didn’t want trouble or to file a suit. Weeks passed and no lawyer papers came. Only the Happy Man with a smile and an appetite for an excuse to sit in the window.

He didn’t shy from eye contact a wink until that one morning. He came in with a crowbar, and all the usuals stiffened. They knew it was a different morning because his vest was buttoned, something he couldn’t muster until then on account of his ribs. He let them all see all those done-up buttons, and when their eyes rose to his again, he tapped his lips with the crowbar. Then he coughed. Then he chuckled. Then he laughed in all their scowling faces.

Maybe they would have done something about it, but the law drove by the window. Then they could do nothing save wince and watch him slap his knees. He laughed until a girl he knew walked by. He waved to her down, got up and left his sub behind, using the crowbar like a cane.


  1. some just see the glass half full..well done john..well done.

  2. The first paragraph was a perfect set up for this tale. Very well done, John.

  3. The character's voice is impeccable. This cowboy's tales is so fun, especially read by you. I can't wait until you start narrating full time. ;) ;) Hint Hint

    There were so many great lines in this, John. It was really hard to pick one out. Finally, I decided on this

    "he’d grin deep enough to scare off Daniel Boone."

    I always look forward to reading your stuff, but especially your friday flashes.

  4. This is really good, and well read. Great voice. I'm looking forward to more.

  5. This actually made me feel..well, happy! It's all in the attitude. Thanks for the reminder.

  6. Good, Shannon! That's all I could want for you. Thanks for stopping by!

    And thanks to everyone else who commented on Friday. I got a little indisposed with illness. Not crowbar-related.

  7. haha, I'm having a dreadful Monday at the office and could quite cheerfully murder your Happy Man chap :)
    Very good read :)

  8. Despite my innate distrust of the perpetually gleeful, I enjoyed this. Loved the Daniel Boone line, and the image of crowbar as cane.

  9. This was so wonderful. I just loved it. I just want to pat him on the back, and say Good on you!

  10. The dark subtlety in this is engrossing.
    Adam B @revhappiness

  11. Yep, ain't that the way of the world. Glad the Happy Man had the last laugh but curious how he connects with the maniac from episode 1 ...


Counter est. March 2, 2008