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Instant Crickets

Last weekend, during a visit to the flea market, I came upon a bizarre booth, run by an old Gypsy man.  There were all sorts of curious items laid out on the table, including a peculiar box.

“How much for this?” I inquired.

“Oh, no, I couldn’t sell that,” he replied in a cynical, raspy accented voice.

“Listen, buddy, I’m not into the whole haggling thing, just tell me what the price is,” I said.

“No, I mean I couldn’t sell that because it’s the cash registered,” he fired back, seemingly annoyed.

“Oh,” I browsed through the booth, “well what about that box?”

“Oh that?” His eyes widened mischievously, a large grin came over his face. “That, my friend, is a device of mysterious power.  A single push of a button can bring your enemies to their knees.  But only if you’re willing to pay the price. A ha! A ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!”

“What’s so funny about that?” I asked, but his maniacal laughter continued.

Curious, I pushed the button on the box.  Instantly, crickets began to chirp.  The Gypsy immediately stopped laughing.

“Oh no,”  the smile disappeared from his face, “maybe that wasn’t funny.  My botched joke has been highlighted!   I am humiliated!”

The Gypsy frantically ran around the table and out of the flap of the tent of the flea market.

Outside, I found him laying by a picnic table.  Apparently he had banged his shin or something.

“How much for the box of crickets?” I asked.

“That, will cost you fifty dollars!” he groaned.

I pressed the button again, activating the crickets.

“Yes, well, it sounds like you’re not going to pay that price.  How about five dollars?”

I hit the button again.

“Fine, 50 cents,” he offered. I activated the chirping once more.

“Just take it and stop making my offers sound ridiculous!” he shouted. “Now get out of here.”

With that, I walked away, eager to take advantage of my new purchase.

I decided to first use it on my archrival at work, Ralph Gunderson.  Ralph was always schmoozing with the boss and had an incredibly annoying catchphrase ‘BAH-ZUING!’

“Way to go out and get that client Gunderson,” the boss walked by, slapping him on the back.  “The rest of the people around here could learn from you.  They’re shakier than a Valverde 9th inning, am I right? Ha ha ha ha!”

But before Gunderson could even crack a smile, I hit the button, and crickets echoed throughout the room rather than laughter.

“So, no longer laughing at my jokes Gunderson!” the boss was now irate. “Making me look foolish in front of my subordinates are you?! Think you don’t need your boss now that you’re landing big clients?”

“No, wait, no, listen boss,” Gunderson panicked, “it’s still me, Ralphy boy. BAH-ZUING!”

I hit the cricket button again.

“My catch phrase!” Gunderson was beginning to perspire.  “It’s been rendered ineffective!”

With that, Gunderson ran to the window (first floor) and leapt out.

“Wow, I hope he’s okay,” one of my co-workers, Monica, said.

I swear, I did not hit the button intentionally, my finger must have slipped, but crickets chirped again.

“Wow, okay, so I’m really the only one who hopes Gunderson is alright?!  You’re all so cruel!” She shouted.

I decided next to take my crickets to lunch.  Taco Bell.  As the cashier was walking up with my food, I activated the crickets.

“Oh my gosh,” she said, “I didn’t realize you had been waiting so long.  Here, your meal’s on the house.”

That night, I was forced to attend  a Katy Perry concert with my wife.  I had been dreading the experience so I decided to bring the crickets to keep myself entertained.

“Are you ready to party?!” she shouted to the audience.

I quickly activated the cricket chirping.

“I said, are you ready to party?!” she repeated.

I hit the button again.  Chirps echoed.

“No one came ready to party?” she now seemed offended, as I hit the button once more. “Fine, I’ll just come back when you guys are a little more prepared!”

And with that she stormed off stage, not one song performed.

This was becoming a fantastic day.

The next day, I brought the box to work again.  Gunderson was back and had called a staff meeting.

“I just want to apologize for my outburst yesterday,” he began.  I hit the button.

“Hoo, hooo,” the box echoed.

“What the…” I opened the lid and peaked under.  Inside was an owl.  It had eaten all of my crickets.

“Damn it!” I said to myself.

“Hooooo,” the owl exclaimed again.

“Well, it’s obviously getting late,” my boss announced.  “Let’s go home and work this all out tomorrow.”

On the way home, I was stopped by some street toughs.

“So, you’re the punk who still uses natural sound effects?” their leader scoffed.

“Why, what do you use?” I asked.

“What do you use?” he mocked, then pulled out a boombox and pressed play.  All of the sudden, studio laughter was heard.

“Studio laughter?!” I exclaimed, threatened.

“It’s called cassette deck – BAH-ZING!” the gang leader yelled.

“Where did you learn that?!” I shouted.

All of the sudden Gunderson emerged from the bushes.  He started laughing maniacally.  He kept laughing while motioning for the gang leader to fast-forward the cassette.  Finally the appropriate sound played, thunder and lightning.

“You win this round Gunderson!” I shouted.  “But you haven’t seen the last of me.”

I turned to walk away.  All of the sudden, I heard a growling noise, along with Gunderson shouting for help.

“Yeah right,” I yelled, not turning around, but then I decided to peek.  Sure enough, Ralph Gunderson was being attacked by a bear.

“Crap,” I said opening the box.  “Quick, go help boy!” I shouted to the owl.

The owl flew out of the box, but immediately started pecking Gunderson.

The owl and the bear seemed to high-five before the owl rode the bear off into the sunset.

Later, I decided the box had caused too much trouble and decided to give it back to the gypsy. When I returned to the flea market, however, he wasn’t there any more.  Turned out he had moved his booth to a different part of the tent.

I don’t have time to go hunting for people in flea markets.

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About Tim Kochenderfer

Tim Kochenderfer is a published and internationally produced playwright and humor writer, as well as a ten time Emmy award winning TV producer. His 22 plays have been performed in every state and in almost 20 countries. For more of his work: http://www.playscripts.com/author.php3?authorid=82 http://www.brookpub.com/default.aspx?pg=ab&afn=Tim&aln=Kochenderfer http://www.cracked.com/members/tim-kochenderfer_contributor Contact: timkochenderfer@yahoo.com

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