Five Short Shorts

Dan Campbell


Middle-aged Dan sat down for lunch one day and chomped into his 5,000th hamburger. On the first bite, a tail sprouted from his sternum. Horns shot from his brow on the second bite. He tried calling for help when hooves replaced his shoes on the third bite, but all he could do was moo.


"Our daughter sleeps around," she said.
"The garage roof leaks," he said.
"I read her diary, she does drugs, she sleeps around."
"How can I afford a new roof?"
"She might have AIDS; she sleeps around."
"A new roof; that will cost at least $1,500!"
"A damn she new sleeps roof around," they said.


House arrest led me to a new career—collecting yawns. The best yawns, rare as pearls, are kept in Petri dishes and studied by experts on yawn anatomy. The most valuable yawns explode unexpectedly like corks from bottles of wine. When we collect a specimen like that, we break open the champagne and yawn wildly!


Remember those sickos? The anorexic Sprat that ate no fat. The anti-social Horner huddling in the corner. And let's not forget the pedophile that molested Jill on the hill. Grown old, they are drunks now. They like to pass around bottles of homemade brew and whistle at the old lady who lives in a shoe.


Petrified by heights, but in love, so years ago I climbed a mountain to paint the biggest heart ever, fill it with our names so everyone could see. The heart's still there. I often think of when she's out with her husband, she looks up, sees us together again. Yes, love's sweet; so is revenge.

Dan Campbell

Dan Campbell works as a Web Manager for the U.S. State Department's Agency for International Development in Washington DC. He has served in the Peace Corps in El Salvador, and worked in more than 20 countries. His poems have been published in The Exquisite Corpse, Rattapallax, and other magazines. One poem, "The Bus Rider," was written into a song and performed at a chamber opera for the Hirshhorn Museum of Modern Art in Washington DC.