Comedy | Thanks For Coming

Spanking the monkey

“How much did you diddle?”

“Excuse me?”

“How much did you diddle?”

“Diddle? Did you say diddle? With all due respect, I’m not sure I understand what you mean?”

“Yes, yes. Diddle. You know fiddle with your diddle.”

“Fiddle with my diddle?”

“Yes, yes. Are you hard of hearing or something? I don’t have much time. Please just answer the question.”

“Sorry. I’ll try, but actually, yes, in the last few years my hearing had started to go. Wore hearing-aids. Hated’em. Always beeping and losing them and the batteries dying.”

“I was being sarcastic. Once you get up here you don’t need hearing aids! Haven’t you noticed suddenly everything sounds clear as crystal?”

“Now that you mention it…”

“Nu, what about fiddling with your diddle…How much?

“Fiddling with my diddle?”

“Yes, yes. You know, choking the chicken. Stroking the pole. Charming the one-eyed snake. Slapping the monkey. Playing the flesh flute. Clearing the snorkel. Polishing the rifle. Burping the worm. Buttering the corn. Buffing the banana. Cranking the pump. Greasing the pipe. Going Hans Solo on Darth Vader’s Head…”

“Never heard that last one before. Star Wars right?”

“Yeah. Love that movie. There are a million euphemisms, or is it metaphors? I always get those two mixed up. Literally a million of them.”

“Well…this is sort of embarrassing…”

“Look, I just need to know how much you did whatever you want to call it.”

“Dated Mrs. Palmer and her five daughters?”

“Yeah. Very clever. Whatever.”

“Over the course of my entire life?”

“Yes. Your whole life.”

“This is soooo embarrassing, I mean…”

“What now?”

“It’s hard to talk about.”

“Why? There’s no one else here. Just us.”

“That’s not it. I mean…I just never expected that you’d turn out to be…”

“Be what?”

“A woman. It’s hard to talk about these sorts of things with a woman.”

“Try me. Imagine that you’re talking to a lady-doctor.”

“I would never have a woman doctor.”

“Well, it’s pretty common these days for men to have women doctors.”

“I would never have one. This is difficult. I mean…It’s not like I ever kept count of my…diddling.”

“Take a guess. Estimate.”

“You really have to know these things?”

“Yes. Absolutely.”

“Going back how far?”

“As far as you can.”

“Like when I was a little boy?”

“Sure. If that’s when you started.”

“Well, that’s a long time ago. Near the end of my life my memory wasn’t so good.”

“Don’t worry. Here you remember everything and in high resolution.”

“Even if, at the end, a person suffered from dementia or Alzheimers.”

“Yup. It all comes back as soon as you arrive.”

“Wow. No wonder I’ve been feeling so different since I got here.”

“It’s all those memories coming back in high-definition detail. For some it’s a blessing. For others a curse. It depends on how you lived your life. Look, I don’t mean to be rude, but I really don’t have all day. Didn’t you see all the people waiting outside to get in? It’s more crowded than a hospital emergency room in the middle of winter flu season.”

“Okay. I’ll do my best. Say, I started…doing it…when I was about eight years old…”

“Eight years old eh? That’s quite early.”

“I suppose. It happened one night, by chance. I was lying in bed innocently touching myself down there, it was dark, my head was clear…”

“If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a million times.”

“And it felt good, you know, to rub it. So I started doing it faster…”

“Spare me the gory details. I’m just looking for a number not a play-by-play.”

“Okay, sorry. I’ll have to guess. Take an average.”

“That often, eh?”

“Not including actual sex with women, right?”

“Right. Just diddling with yourself. That’s the rule.”

“Say, twice a week since I was eight years old. In eighty-six years, that makes…”

“8,944 times.”

“Wow. You calculated that fast.”

“I’m very good at math. Now, what about your church attendance? Or is it synagogue?”

“Synagogue.”

“I figured either/or. I mean to look at you, it wouldn’t be a mosque. Then again, these days you never know.”

“It’s synagogue.”

“So, how many times?

“How many times what?”

“Did you go.”

“To synagogue?”

“Exactly. It counts.”

“Shit, I knew this question would come up. They tell us it will. Oh my God, I didn’t mean to say the s-word. I’m so sorry.”

“It’s okay.”

“Oh, fudge, and I didn’t mean to say that either…the name in vain. I’m so so sorry. I’m really screwing my chances here, aren’t I?”

“Relax. I’m very forgiving. They make a huge deal of that name in vain sin when in truth, it’s the least of my worries. Doesn’t actually bother me at all. Except when they use it to do something really stupid like terrorism. But let’s not get off topic. Back to church attendance. Sorry, I mean synagogue.”

“How often I attended synagogue?”

“Yes.”

“That’ll be easy to figure out.”

“You didn’t attend much then?”

“No.”

“A High-Holiday Jew?”

“Not even.”

“Sabbath services?”

“Only for special occasions. Bar-mitzvahs and the like.”

“The Day of Atonement?”

“A few times. Out of guilt.”

“Obviously.”

“No, I meant when I was forced to attend by my parents as a kid.”

“What about as an adult? Ever attend?”

“No.”

“Never?”

“Maybe a couple of times over the years.”

“A number. I need a number.”

“Maybe…Twenty.”

“Twenty eh? Is it maybe, or is that your final answer?”

“Okay. Yes. My final answer is twenty. Wait a minute, shouldn’t you already know these things. I don’t mean any disrespect, but isn’t it sort of your job to keep track of these things? Your raison d’etre? Again, no disrespect.”

“Well, actually. Yes. You’re right. I knew all along how many times you diddled and attended religious services.”

“So what was that all about?”

“I was just having a little fun with you. I like seeing people squirm. A bit of a prankster I am. Anyway, our time is up. Thanks for coming.”

“Nice pun.”

“Pun?”

“Yeah, you said thanks for coming. We’ve been talking about my diddling. Diddling, cumming.”

“Hah. Totally unintended. I love the way an unintended pun makes me smile. Listen, I don’t mean to be rude but there is quite a mob waiting outside.”

“It’s all right.”

“Anyway, you’re in. Mazel tov! Just head on through that door over there and enjoy yourself. You may even see one or two people you know.”

“I made it?”

“Yup. Your score is 8,924. Actually quite an excellent score.”

“Wow! That wasn’t so bad! I thought for sure, with the number of times I, as you say, stroked the pole, and didn’t go to synagogue…”

“Your score is calculated by subtracting religious attendance from diddling.”

“Why?”

“It’s a relatively reliable way to indicate how much you enjoyed your life.”

“And in the end, that’s all that counts?”

“Sure. Why else would I make diddling so much fun?”

“And what about synagogue and church attendance?”

“Why do you think I made that so boring?”

“Boy, do people ever have it backwards.”

“I know. Like most things. I had high hopes for people but I’ve regrettably come to the conclusion that they aren’t very smart. If I have to be perfectly honest, in spite of what it says in the bible, as it turned out evolutionarily-speaking, I actually prefer animals. They turned out much more likable. Dogs and cats are okay. But birds and aquatic mammals are my favourites.

“And the priests and rabbis are preaching that we shouldn’t diddle and must attend their services.”

“Completely wrong. And people listen to those guys in droves. Like I said, not too smart. I must admit I really enjoyed watching you squirm answering those questions. Religion and diddling combine for some very good laughs.”

“So that’s it?”

“Pretty much.”

“What about love thy neighbour, and giving charity, and altruism?”

“Those count too. It’s just that the diddling-religion ratio tells the whole story in a nutshell. And also, people often lie about those two things. When they do, well, let’s just say they go through another door and end up meeting a lot more people they knew from the olden days.”

“So the point of this exercise was to make you laugh? I don’t get it.”

“Why not?”

“I mean a whole difficult life, and those are the two questions we have to answer. Doesn’t make sense.”

“Explanations. People always want explanations. Boy, if you only knew how much I hate explaining myself. Okay, I’ll bite. You seem to be a nice, honest fellow. More than most.”

“Thank you.”

“The bottom line is to enjoy yourself. Have a few laughs. It’s why I gave you your most important attribute.”

“Which is…”

“The only true aspect that differentiates humans from animals.”

“And that’s…”

“A sense of humour.”

“A sense of humour?”

“Sure.”

“You’re kidding.”

“Most of the time. By the way, I should tell you, I’m not really a woman.”

“You’re not?”

“No, not really. I just appeared that way to you. It’s part of the act. Made the situation funnier.”

“Oh.”

“You’ve been a swell audience. Again, thanks for coming. Ha ha, funny pun. Go in peace, blessings on your head my son, yadda, yadda, yadda, you know the rest. Now, if you’ll excuse me. Next!”

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B. Glen Rotchin is a Montreal writer. His debut novel The Rent Collector was an Amazon.ca/Books in Canada First Novel Award finalist. His second novel Halbman Steals Home will be published early next year. His blog can be read at http://therentcollector.blogspot.com/