“What are your resolutions?” he asks, and Dollar replies with a look that says, “I’m a dog. I have no goals beyond eating, sleeping, shitting, and–until you had my testicles removed–fucking.”
“We’re not so different, you and me,” Scott says, and occupies the open spot on the sofa.
He tries to watch John Mulaney’s latest stand-up, but he can’t. Debra has made his brain uninhabitable to humor at the moment, which is really inopportune, because he managed to land a five-minute set at The Laugh Factory tonight and he needs some inspiration. He also needs her kids to stop watching Veggie Tales–or whatever the fuck they’re into these days–so he can login to her Netflix account. Little shits.
Scott’s thumb and pointer finger shoot up to his beard and a eureka moment chugs to life like the engine of his 93’ Toyota Camry. He grabs his phone, brushes off his missed call notification like a fly on a sandwich, and opens up his Jokes document.
Scott laughs until he realizes that joke will only eat up approximately thirty seconds of his set, laugh break included. He looks at Dollar and Dollar looks back at him like, “I’m a fucking dog. When’s lunch, btw?”
“Honestly,” he types, “those kids are such pieces of shit, you would think she had an anal birth. (Pause for laughter.) And they’re just like her. The first time I saw them I said, ‘Debra, they have your eyes,’ and she said, ‘You don’t know what my eyes look like,” and I said, ‘Yes huh,” and she said, ‘What do they look like?’ and I said ‘Judgmental.’”
“Today, she asked me, ‘Have you made any New Year’s resolutions?’ and I said, ‘Yes,’ and she said, ‘What are they?’ and I said, ‘To be a better uncle,’ and she said, “And how do you intend to do that?’ and I said, ‘Stop visiting.’”
Scott laughs so loud Dollar looks at him like, “DUDE, shut the fuck up. And feed me.” Scott returns the glare like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator–the first one, when he’s the bad guy–and his thumbs continue crawling across the screen like the fleas on Dollar’s belly.
At the sound of his name, Dollar springs into what he would consider action. He props himself up on his front paws and lifts his ears, listening for a one-syllable, four-letter word that starts with an “F” and ends with the first letter of his most worthless appendage.
“Why did I name him Dollar, you ask?”
THERE IT WAS AGAIN, his name. Dollar sits up even straighter and bends his hind legs like he’s preparing to either take a dump, rub his a-hole on the cushions, or jump over the armrest.
Scott laughs and Dollar howls, collapsing back into his sleeping position. “That’s right, buddy, Scott says, ”there are no friends in comedy.” Dollar snarls back like, “No shit, that’s why you’re so lonely,” and Scott says, “Zing.”
He goes to his phone’s home screen, finds his stopwatch app, and recites the insults that poured out of his fingers.
Scott looks around the living room for more family pictures–aka targets–but his lack of interior decorating skills and sentimentality comes back to bite him. Rapid-fire round; Scott goes to Debra’s Facebook page and begins picking apart her photo albums like a buzzard on a zebra carcass.
“My niece is so ugly, Jared Fogle wouldn’t touch her.”
“My sister is so pretentious, even her farts have accent marks.”
“Their Christmas postcard was so bad, my mailman walked into oncoming traffic.”
“Their smiles are so fake, they look like Tom Cruise’s new family.”
“She posts so many pictures, even the NSA blocked her.”
“She is so desperate for attention, she changed her last name to Kardashian.”
“She is so pleased with herself, she has a permanent handprint on her upper back.”
A red notification bubble pops up in the top-right corner of his screen, clogging his stream of quips like a knot in a garden hose. He clicks it, and it reads, “Debra is attending your event, Laugh At Me With The Laugh Factory.” “FUCK,” Scott screams and squeezes the backspace button of his Jokes document so hard he nearly breaks his phone. “Dollar,” he yells towards the bedroom. Dollar sprints down the hallway, too dumb and hungry to realize this is probably another red herring. “It looks like you’re my muse tonight.”
Written by: Mark Killian
Photograph by: Garrett Carroll