September 9th: Humour!
, by Gary Clifton

Finnegan, a devout soul, strong of back, hearty of spirit, but a trifle slow on the uptake had labored 22 years at McGonagall’s Brewery.  With the bulldog dedication of Elmo, Patron Saint of the Brewer’s Union he mixed, brewed, guzzled the one free beer provided each hour, plus an occasional extra or two, then staggered home to his wife drunk each night.  Life was grand.  But into every struggling soul’s path often drifts the cloud of ugly misfortune.  Poor Finnegan developed a great pain in his private area.

Embarrassed, with nowhere to turn, he reluctantly confided to his co-worker, next-door neighbor, and close pal McDuff as they stumbled home in the cold wind one evening.  “Liam, old friend, wouldya be knowin’ a wanger doc?  I’m besot with a hell of a problem.”

“Can you be tellin’ me the nature of the ailment, Jimmie?” McDuff slurred drunkenly, greatly concerned.  McDuff, a large, somber man already burdened with a wife who was very fat, very lazy, and had more body-moles than teeth, was anxious to help his friend.

A proud man and loving husband to a sweet young thing, Finnegan was wont to reveal his difficulty.  “I’ve looked in the dictionary and memorized the word for what’s needed, Liam.  It’s a very difficult and sensitive term to repeat.  I just need you to take me to the pecker checker.”

So the very next day, Finnegan and McDuff called in sick and rode the bus to St. Mary’s Hospital.  “I’d be needin’ to know the problem, Finnegan?” asked Doctor Flauntjohnny.  A declared and widely renowned specialist in disorders of a delicate nature, the learned doctor considered himself ready for any contingency – or so he thought.

“I need to be castrated,” Finnegan blurted.

The Doc gasped.  “Mother of pearl, man, that’s…”

“Faith and Aunt Sara’s underwear, don’t do it, Jimmie,” McDuff implored.

“Boys, I’m workin’ in the brewery 22 years and have the finest young wife a man could desire.  She was in a fine humor when I left this morning and I’d be needin’ to hurry back to her side.  I know what I want.”

A man with a schedule, the Doc rolled his eyes and over McDuff’s frantic pleas, hustled Finnegan to the rear.

“Great Scott and the love of Irish whiskey.” McDuff, slouched on a plastic chair and wringing his calloused hands, declared over and over.

In an hour, the Doc assisted the groggy patient back to the waiting area.  “Finnegan, while I was snippin’ your ‘nads in there, I noticed you needed an additional, minor surgery.  Since you were already out, I just went ahead and circumcised you.  It looked to be a very painful constriction.  I’d be hoping you don’t mind.”

“Castrate?  On the sacred cloth, both them words was in Webster’s.  Circumcise?  That’s the word I meant to say.  I’m needin’ you to tell me they’d be meaning the same, wouldn’t they Doc?”

“Oh my,” Macduff and Doc Flauntjohnny exclaimed in reverent unison.


Gary Clifton, forty years a cop, has over sixty short fiction pieces published or pending with various venues.  He published a novel in national paperback and is currently discussing a two book deal with a New York literary agent.  He’s been shot at, shot, stabbed, sued, lied to and about, often misunderstood, and is currently retired to a dusty north Texas ranch where he doesn’t give a damn if they mow the roadside weeds or not.  Clifton has an M.S. from Abilene Christian University.

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