H Morning Amusement

Editor’s Foreword

Oh, well, he wasn’t Mr. Garibaldi’s favorite anyway...

Willy awoke and stretched in the darkness of his cave. He was reborn again and feeling the first pangs of hunger.

He slowly stood up and yawned, running his hands down the length and breadth of his tall, slim body. Willy was pleased that the Laughing Ones had once more seen fit to reassemble him without error. Angry stomach music interrupted his hands in their exploration of his body. He folded his hands across his stomach to ease the intense hunger pains with no success. Fresh hunger and old fear motivated Willy to search the dark interior of his cave for any scrap of food. He found nothing.

Willy knew that he would have to go outside and hunt for something, anything, to sate his increasing hunger. He dreaded going outside. Outside meant only certain death and rebirth–all for the amusement of the Laughing Ones.

Finally, his hunger pains forced him to make the reluctant trek outside.

His eyes watered and blinked several times until they became adjusted to the bright, hot desert sun. Willy shaded his eyes with his hands and scanned the desert in vain for some sign of animal life. Nothing existed except for miles of sand, rocks, and an endless ribbon of highway cutting through the sand and rocks. Only stone mountains and a few scattered cacti broke the illusion of a two-dimensional world.

He hunted for endless miles, despairing over the seemingly complete absence of animal life. As he rounded a curve in the road, he heard a faint call and turned towards it.

A blur of supersonic motion and rainbow feathers streaked towards him. Willy spotted a rock near the curve of the road and ducked behind it, crouching and waiting.

The blur turned out to be a bird as tall as he was. It raced past him in a matter of mere seconds. Willy leaped out in an attempt to capture the bird by wrapping his hands around its scrawny neck. He missed and fell face down on the road.

Disgusted with himself for failing to capture what should have been easy, easy prey, Willy got up and began to run after it. The bird could still be made out in the distance. Willy’s hunger motivated him to pray foolishly to the Laughing Ones for the speed necessary to catch his intended prey.

With each word of prayer, Willy felt his legs burn as the Laughing Ones transformed them into powder kegs of speed and energy. He thanked the Laughing Ones as the distance between him and the bird decreased with each passing second. Finally, his prayers seemed answered. He was within reaching distance of the bird. He reached out to grab it, but the bird ducked and stopped.

Willy glanced back to see the bird stick out its tongue and hear it mockingly beep, acknowledging his failure.

He turned back, and to his horror was a sign that read as he passed it: “Bridge Out.”

Willy tried to stop, but he couldn’t slow down his transformed legs. He kept running until he sped off the bridge and was falling down a mountainside.

As he fell, Willy feverishly prayed to the Laughing Ones for a quick and final death. He prayed and begged for a final release from the continuous cycle of death and rebirth.

Before Willy met the ground with the usual hard thud, he heard the Laughing Ones’ continuous laughter, over, and over, and over again.


About the Author

Joseph Baneth Allen has been previously published in the anthologies Amazing Heroes 2, Testosterone, A Splash Of Crimson, and Xoddity and Romance and Beyond magazines.
His feature articles have appeared in People, USA Today, Boys' Life, Girls' Life, Ft. Myers Magazine, Kidsworld, Popular Science, Canadian Geographic, eBay Magazine, Muse, Omni, Astronomy, Pet Life, Business North Carolina, Jacksonville Business Journal, Maxim, Final Frontier, The Retired Officers' Magazine, and many other magazines.
He has also received the Disney Showmanship Award for his work on promoting “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and other animated movies. 


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