Short Story: Frankenhumpty


So, something a little different.

A few years ago, I tried my hand at a little stand-up comedy. I’d sold a few jokes to sketch shows and the like and thought it might be interesting to see how my material played to a live crowd. Believe me, though writing is a solitary, sometimes lonely endeavour, it can feel like a party compared to standing alone on stage in front of a cold audience daring you to make them laugh.

The material was a weird stream-of-consciousness thing which wondered what might happen if – and those of you of a sensitive disposition might want to look away now – an adult movie was created by the cast of Sesame Street and the Mr Men.

Mr Bump and Grind and Mr Slap And Tickle were fun to write. I fully suspect anyone still reading can guess the kind of things the beloved Count was so joyfully enumerating, and even deduce what appallingly inappropriate selection of letters and numbers my imagined episode was brought to you by. What role I speculated that the renamed Cookie Monster might play in these sordid events is perhaps best left consigned to history.

The material got a few laughs, but the guy behind the microphone was an idiot, so I stopped, but as a creative, it’s always fun to take something cursed with sweetness or innocence and twist it into something darker. The stand-up material is long lost but since then I’ve done a few distorted nursery rhymes where the wheels on the bus go round and round and crush the ribcages of unfortunate pedestrians, or even:

Jack and Jill went up the hill

To fetch a pail of water

Both overcome with an urge to kill

They made their plans for slaughter

But onto today’s post. A few years ago, I collaborated on this story for a proposed anthology of microfiction. A string of editorial fuck-ups later, and the antho was stillborn, but the story remains. The words came first, and I was lucky enough to connect with a talented artist called Kiera Bruce, whose work had exactly the cute, storybook vibrancy that I was looking for. There’s a couple of collabs with Kiera that I’ll be posting in the future, but you can see some more of her artwork via her IG page: kizzywiggle – she’s awesome!

So, on with the show …

“One lovely sunny morning

As he practiced his Parkour

Humpty Dumpty missed a step

And scrambled himself on the floor.”

“His reassembly was left

To the King’s armed forces

But they found themselves clueless

And so did their horses.”

“Then a mad doctor said,

This fall may have killed him,

But we have the technology

And we can rebuild him.”

“With his shell glued and bolted,

And his yolk poured back in,

FrankenHumpty was born

In a storm of lightnin’.”

“But the terrified townsfolk

Thought FrankenHumpty a risk

And chased him with torches

And pitchforks and whisks.”

“No-one knows eggsactly

How poor FrankenHumpty died

But the town celebrated with a breakfast

That was poached, and boiled, and fried.”

Thanks for reading!

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