Lockdown Fiction: Punch line

This story was written for an Improbable Press blog prompt. If you need to give your writing mojo a leg up, give the Improbable Press and Clan Destine Press writing prompt posts a go!

This story is very silly but hey, it’s what my brain gave me. Sorry/Not Sorry.


Punch Line

The legend of the Loch Ness monster hides a truth behind the lie. Underneath that deep and murky water is a joke waiting to happen.

P’neth-ac’c cannot describe what a disappointment it is that nobody on Earth has figured it out yet.

(For the record, to pronounce the name P’neth-ac’c correctly, you require a lot more teeth than you currently have, plus four extra oral appendages and a tonal range only dolphins can hear, but that’s by the by.)

P’neth-ac’c is considered a genius by his peers, in case you’re wondering.  They, too, are waiting for that ripe and perfect punch line to finally hit the beat.

It’s become the thing to act out the expected denouement at gatherings.  That is, at hatchings, matings, poetry duels, and on the high holy days when fledging art is exhibited and the most artistic achievers watch with pride while their work is eaten by the runners up: Absorb the art, absorb the talent, as the Creator says.

With tentacle, tooth, song and sonnet, mime and dance, the great enactments are performed, and the funniest rendition of the exact same story wins the prize. (No person is eaten, of course. They’re not barbarians. The winner’s set, however, is an open smorgasbord.)

It boils down to this. Humankind, determined to solve the mystery of the Loch Ness legend, will either send a sophisticated submariner device into the murk, or they’ll drain that mighty lake. Settled into the mud, the human explorers will find a large metal orb covered in green algae. The preserved wreckage (note, it was never wrecked, it never flew) comes complete with dead engines, defunct wiring, a suggestion of desperate last days.

Inside that slime-coated orb, that sphere of a space ship, they will find a smaller articulated vessel, shaped like a ripple, like a row of hills, all rises and falls, the skin of it dark, the head of it a peculiar periscope.  The sight of it, in the plays, is always greeted with a sudden silence, gravid with anticipation.

‘Aha!’ the humans cry, alarmed and yet satisfied that the mystery is at last being solved. ‘Aliens!’

That’s not the joke.

The joke is that the rippling serpent-shaped exploratory craft is full of skeletons.

Chicken skeletons.

(That’s still not the whole joke.)

And no matter how hard they look, the humans will never find a single egg. Because all the chicken skeletons are roosters.

(Still not the punchline.)

The human explorers will, however, find a star map and they’ll believe that the Space Chickens traversed the great expanse of space only to reach this lonely death.

And once the humans translate the language, they’ll discover that the putative Chicken People called this great expanse…

The Road.

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