Category Archives: Funny

A rare short story: He Will Lead Us

It’s been over a year since I’ve posted a short story here. This is one I kind of forgot about, and had published in a short story anthology called “Something To Take On A Trip,” Volume 1, which is no longer available. People who enjoy fantasy should like it. People who hate fantasy, even more so.

He Will Lead Us

The young warrior adjusted his sword and walked down the long, ancient hall. He’d been called by the Eldin Council on a matter of terrible urgency. Faraway in the distant east, Metadon, the Darkling, was massing his forces for a final assault on the Krazhen Weel, a failing bubble of protective magic wished into existence by a lost race of magical beings.

After a brief hesitation, he entered the dark chamber of the Eldin. There were five of them, chosen among the wisest men and women in the West, each cloaked in a different color: red, blue, yellow, black, and white.

“State your name, young warrior,” Red said.

“I am Aret,” he said.

“Know ye why you were summoned before us?” Blue said.

Aret shook his head. “I … was told it had something to do with the Darkling, councilor. But I am but one warrior.”

“What is more powerful?” White said suddenly. “An earthquake, or a single drop of liquid?”

Aret frowned. He knew the answer must be the drop of liquid, otherwise it’d be too easy. But he wasn’t wise enough to know why.

Resignedly he said, “The earthquake, sir?”

White’s finger shot up triumphantly. “No, you fool, it is the single drop of liquid!”

“Sir, I am sorry, I am young,” he said. “Why is the single drop of liquid more powerful than a mighty earthquake?”

Yellow whispered sadly, “The answer to your question, young warrior, is lost to us…”

A sigh swept through the assemblage of Eldin. A sad, weary sigh.

It was then that Black spoke. “The Mihuru Prophecy states that a young warrior shall come forth who will answer our questions—and that, if he answers them wisely, he will lead us to victory!”

Aret shook his head, and was about to speak, when—

And,” Black continued, “if he does not know the answers, he will be thrown into the Pit of Eternal Nightmare.”


“But before being thrown into the pit,” Yellow said, “he will be tortured to the point of madness. And then he will be thrown into the pit. So sayeth the Mihuru Prophecy.”

Five heads bobbed in unison.

“So please, young Aret, answer the drop of liquid question,” Black said.  “Or … you know, prophecy’s prophecy…”

Aret thought furiously. Now he regretted answering the summons at all. So many young warriors had answered it, never to be heard from again. Now he knew why.  Still, he was young and he was brave. And the Darkling was a threat to all.

“Right,” Aret said. “Ok. A single drop of liquid is more powerful than an earthquake because … um…”

All eyes watched him. He wiped his forehead. His clothes felt sweaty and close. How was he supposed to answer this? It seemed impossible, and yet … and then he had it!

“A single drop of liquid could be Azhnasi poison! Azhnasi poison, they say, can kill a dragon, whereas an earthquake would only, you know, bother a dragon. And hey—I bet that poison could kill Metadon. What do you think?”

The five heads leaned together in conference.

“There’s just one problem with that, young warrior,” Red said, a minute later. “Azhnasi poison is … lost to the arts of men. So even if we could use that on the Darkling, it’s not like we have any.”

“Well, what else could we use on the Darkling?” Aret said, feeling good about this for the first time.

“That’s why you’re here, you fool,” Yellow said. “How indeed?”

Aret thought again—and again, he thought he had it.“What if we use the Sword of Sorrowful Menace?”

An Eldin said, “The sword of which you speak … passed beyond the mortal world, eons ago.”

“Really?” Aret said. “Well then, what if we unearthed the Book of Fell Demise and used that?”

An Eldin said, “The language it was written in, sadly, has been forgotten.”

“What about the Bracers of Purposeful Thought? With a set of those, I could—”

“Lost too,” an Eldin said. “Take my word for it.”

“The Spear of Blinding Light?”

“Lost…” Red said.

“Hammer of Darkness?”

“Can’t find it,” Blue said.

“Cloak of Destruction?”

“It was with the Hammer of Darkness,” White said, “so, you know…”

Aret was getting frustrated. “What about the Ring of Pure Truth?” he said.

Blue looked up. “That might work. Last I heard it was up on Terror Mountain, guarded by a great and terrible Woggim.”

White shook his head. “That won’t work. The Woggim, sadly, has sailed beyond our realm to a faraway land that has faded from the knowledge of Men. And even if you found him and he gave you the ring, the power to use it requires the wearer know the Chant of Twenty Verses. Do you know the Chant of Twenty Verses, Aret?”

Aret shook his head sadly. “I only know nineteen of them, just like everyone else.”

Blue looked at his fellow Eldin and said, “You know, perhaps we made a mistake in choosing young Aret here. I heard about this other young warrior, over in Ni’jat…”

Aret thought quickly, then pointed behind the Eldin and said, “Oh no, the Darkling has come!”

The Eldin spun quickly to look, then turned back and saw Aret’s young, healthy body sprinting down the hall as fast as his powerful legs could carry him.

“Yes,” Yellow breathed. “It just might work.”

Black nodded, seeing it finally. “Of course! Sheer genius!”

“What is?” White said.

Red scratched his head in confusion. “Metadon the Darkling will be here in less than a week to destroy us all,” he said. “How do we destroy him?”

“We don’t destroy him, obviously,” Yellow said. “The prophecy states that a young warrior shall lead us. So—we follow Aret!”

As one, the five Eldin, wisest of all the land, tore after Aret as if chased by all the demons of the east.



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What’s magical and snooty and read all over?

Witness ye of little faith! Forsooth! The time has cometh for ye to readeth a storyeth of  magical adventureth!

Below you shall find the first part of my glorious masterpiece, “Droll Troll” — one of many stories in the charity anthology “For Whom The Bell Trolls.”

My initial thought was to release but a short selection of punctuation…but I’ve kindly given in to my generous nature and thrown in a few words, too.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Oh John L. Monk, you’re so amazing, so kind and generous to give us this tiny sample for free, because all your other stuff is ever so slightly more expensive, and yes I promise to buy a book one day, I totally swear…”

Forsooth, I say!

I give to you…basically for free…the first 1/4 of the story!!!


droll_troll_acornDroll Troll

Somewhere on Earth, in a dark forest shrouded in mist, hidden inside an acorn that had always been there, a committee of faerie lords convened around a table of polished obsidian to discuss the urgencies of the day.

Lord Snoot banged his gavel and yelled, “Order please, lords and ladies, thank you very much!”

“But I still haven’t made my point!” a very important high elf said. He’d been in an animated discussion with the council’s blue-skinned woggim over whether or not fish smelled fishy to other fish.

“Oh really,” Lord Snoot said to the elf. “Well, we certainly wouldn’t want to interrupt your pressing discussion, now would we? Whatever could it be this time? How heavy is sunlight? Why does celery matter? Why would an elephant ever be in a room? If you gave a shivering street urchin an entire loaf of bread, would he only eat the crust? Or maybe—”

Whatever he was about to say was immediately drowned out by the fairies, who were loudly rushing to tackle these timeless mysteries. Anything to put off “getting to the point” or “arriving at a consensus” or perhaps achieving “relevancy.” Each of which, they collectively agreed, was just a little too much like work, and thus more befitting lesser beings.

The discussion raged back and forth at a furious pace while Lord Snoot, the only elf in attendance with any sense of responsibility, banged his gavel repeatedly on his woggim assistant’s head to re-establish order. There was something terribly important they needed to discuss today, or so the woggim had told him, and it had nothing to do with heavy sunlight or theoretically stinky fish.

Suddenly, just when all looked to be lost, just when Lord Snoot thought they’d run out of time and the world would suffer a terrible fate because nobody was listening to him, out of nowhere, at that exact moment…well, actually, nothing happened. However, about two minutes after that, a heavy gong sounded from somewhere in the great hall, reverberating around the magically reinforced acorn walls again and again and again (and again and again (and then again just one more time)).

Some of the more delicate faeries clamped their pointy ears and squeezed their eyes shut. One beautiful celestial elf fainted and fell to the floor, twitching and sputtering things like “celery” and “urrgle,” while less aristocratorious beings pointed and snickered and poked each other in the ribs/wings/antennas.

Lord Snoot banged his gavel harder on his poor assistant’s head. And the high elf from way back at the beginning of all this stated firmly and loudly, “I have forgotten what I wanted to say,” and sat down in a huff.

When everyone had calmed down enough to look up, they saw their number had grown by exactly two trolls, who were standing near the entrance to the hall.

“Ahem,” one of the newcomers said. He was a bark-skinned wood troll with a mouthful of needle-sharp teeth.

The other one, a shorter, somewhat cute troll with a shock of fiery red hair, smirked and cocked his head toward his partner.

“What he said.”

Silence descended upon the room so suddenly that all in attendance could now hear the meaty clunks of Lord Snoot’s gavel whacking the poor woggim’s head for order. But nobody much liked the woggim, so that was fine.

“And just who the keebler are you supposed to be?!” Lord Snoot shouted down at the trollish intruders.

“I’m the guy,” the wood troll said, “with the solution to your little problem.”

“And together,” the shorter, cuter one said, “we shall solve your problem—”

“—shortly!” the wood troll shouted, pointing at his companion and grinning madly.

The short troll turned angrily and said, “Listen, elf face, if you insist on this constant mockery of my perfectly normal height, you’ll regret it!”

Some of the elves in attendance bristled at the epithet elf face, but because bristling is a rather silent sort of reaction to an insult, nobody actually noticed.

“Never mind that,” Lord Snoot said. “What are you doing at my committee meeting?”

“My name’s Oaky Doaky,” the bark-skinned troll said.

“And you may refer to me by my ancient trollish name,” his short, yet perfectly normal sized partner, said. “William Molehill Dew. Or Will Dew, for sh…uh, hmm…”

Oaky Doaky leered at him. “You were gonna say ‘for short,’ weren’t you?”

Will bit back a retort and just glared. Because there’s nothing worse than being trolled by a wood troll.

From the obsidian conference table, the sound of gavel-whacking suddenly died off, as there was no longer a woggim to whack anymore—he’d fallen to the floor, semi-conscious.

Lord Snoot placed his now useless gavel down and said, “Well, well, even trolls must have names, how wonderful for you. But we have very important business to attend to, and you weren’t invited, and nobody here likes trolls at all, so you really should be off to your bridge or billy goat gruffing or whatever it is you do, or should I say Dew, thank you very much.”

“…shshn shivished shmm…” his woggim assistant muttered from his prone position on the floor.

Sorry, what did you say?” Lord Snoot said, leaning over him.

“…sashi I isvitedsh tham…”

“Come again?” Lord Snoot said, scratching his head, a study in befuddled poise.

The blue-skinned woggim lurched unsteadily to his feet, adjusted his coat, picked the gavel up from its resting place on the council table, and smashed it over Lord Snoot’s head.

“Because I invited them, you simpleton!” the woggim roared.

The other council members stewed in outrage over the woggim’s behavior, but stewing was just as silent as bristling, so again nobody noticed.

“What do you mean you invited them?” Lord Snoot said, rubbing his head. “And why do you have my gavel? I’m the only one who gets to use it!”

Ignoring him, the woggim turned to the motley assemblage and said, “Lords and ladies of Faerie. I invited these industrious trolls here for a very important reason. There’s an asteroid heading for Earth and it will destroy the world, and our little acorn home, in three days time.”

This time the assemblage of fairies neither stewed nor bristled—they shrieked and cried and swore and moaned and made a terrible ruckus. The blue-skinned woggim raised the gavel and was about to use it, then thought better of it and whistled loudly for attention.

“You there,” he shouted to a particularly obnoxious sniveler. “Shut up, you. Everyone, shut up or there won’t be any refreshments later, not for anyone!”

Well that did it. With their refreshments in jeopardy, those fairies capable of high order spells quieted the room with a shimmering cone of silence. The acorn grew so magically quiet, in fact, that if a tree in the forest outside fell over, the acorn would have remained just as noiseless—because the one had nothing to do with the other.

A minute later, Lord Snoot began yelling and yammering at everyone to reverse the spell—in pantomime. The spell-casters mouthed words that didn’t word, shouts that didn’t shout, and calls to the elements that couldn’t have called back even if they wanted to. It was hopeless. The world was in danger, and even if someone knew what to do, they couldn’t tell anyone what it was.

William Molehill Dew looked at the fairy lords in disgust, shook his head and pulled out a glittery, pink wand. Then he tapped-out three glittery taps in the air as if knocking on a door—and a freestanding, inter-dimensional doorway fell open!

Before anyone could overreact, Will pointed his wand at Oaky and swished him through the door. Then he did the same to the woggim and Lord Snoot. The other fairies were only marginally less useless, so he left them there to argue in silence.

Free ride’s over! Download “For Whom The Bell Trolls” and read the rest.  All net profits donated to “Equality Now,” a charity organization that helps women and girls around the world.

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Trixy Chestity: Zombie Apocalypse

I almost decided not to publish this story or make it available. Mainly because it departs somewhat from my other Trixy Chestity story, which I published in Stories On The Go.  The Trixy in the Zombie Apocalypse is a bit more mercenary, to quote Awesome Indie Lindy Moone.  Still, I think it’s a fun little story.  I decided to offer it free on Amazon’s brand new site “Write On” — essentially, their answer to Wattpad.



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Sunday Word Count: 8,000

ralphieWoot, I broke through my 7k resistance barrier. I’ll go back and remove that 1000 word string of “…very very very…” later when I start my rewrites. For now, I’m just happy to have what continental philosophers call a gasundheit moment.

And would you look at me with the fancy philosophy stuff? I say a lot of clever things like that, and the world is a better place for it.

Just the other day I was shopping for red meat and whiskey when a man stormed in with a gun and demanded everyone hand over the cash. Know what happened next? He took one look at me, with my red meat in one hand and whiskey in the other, and said, “John L. Monk…oh my gosh, I’m sorry…if I’d have known you’d be shopping here I wouldn’t have…”

I just stared at him, not saying anything.

“Please don’t hurt me John L. Monk!” he cried. “I’ll just leave, ok? Just like I was never here! Please don’t hurt me!”

I kept staring, still not saying anything, but I did give the red meat and whiskey a slight twitch.

“Aaaaaaaahhhghhhhh!” the man screamed and dropped the shotgun.

The shotgun went off. The slug went flying toward a set of Siamese orphans, but I jumped in the way and deflected it using a kung fu move I’d seen in a movie one time. The bullet’s trajectory adjusted such that it split the orphans in half, freeing them instantly. And because I’d added a little extra English to it, the slug’s rotation cauterized the wound.

Two childless couples standing nearby adopted the lucky kids on the spot.

Everyone crowded around me and asked for a speech but I didn’t say anything.

Why? Because sometimes the cleverest thing you can do is say nothing at all. I think we’ve all learned something today, now haven’t we?


Filed under Funny, Word Counts

The feel of paper under my fingers, the romance of the written word…

1378342_1425347107686913_1509716899_nMy wife bought me some new things to read for Christmas, and for the first time in about a year and a half, I found myself curling up with an old-fashioned paperback book. Ah, the thrill of the paper under my fingers, the romance of the written word wafting up like printed perfume for the soul, carrying me blissfully from page to page and…

Hmm, where did my bookmark go? Oh, there it is. I’ll just bend over and pick it up from where it… Oh dear, it’s under my seat now. That’s fine. I’ll simply get up, move the chair…

Now, where was I?  I remember: the winsome susurrous of pages leafing through my tired fingers in a murmured conversation between de and light, and…hmm, my eyes aren’t what they used to be. May as well tap the screen and adjust the font size — woops, ha ha, silly me, it’s just a book. Ah, but such a book! A lovingly crafted tribute to ancient times of hand-ground inks and mysterious sigils scrawled on papyrus scrolls. What a joy it must have been to read those things.

Give me the heft of a good tome any day of the week. This is the way literature was meant to be consumed: clutching the floppy thing in one hand while applying just enough pressure on the spine to read without feeling like I’m peeking around a corner at something naughty.

Hmm, what’s that word there? I don’t recognize it, don’t know the meaning of it: f-e-a-r. I’ll just click that little word to find out…

Woops — got me again!  Fool me once and all that. Easy enough, I’ll set the book down, being careful to avoid that tiny drop of coffee I’d spilled so it doesn’t form a giant brown crater across the next 15 pages. Now I’ll rush upstairs to the “bookshelf” where I keep my 8-track tapes and trusty 30 pound dictionary. By the time I’m back in my cushy chair, I’m sweating and tired and in need of a nap.

It’s tough work being American, but someone’s gotta do it.


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Fireworks, as an adult with money

fireworksLast year, my wife got us one of those horrible packs of fireworks with sparklers and snakes and little swishy spouts of colored flame.  As a kid, I always wanted rockets and firecrackers and M-80s and pipe bombs.  This year, she went to a bloggers’ conference in Savannah, and when she got home she had rockets and firecrackers and M-5000s and this enormous thing in a box.  I would have loved this stuff when I was a kid.  And when we lit that box, fire rained down from the sky, banshees screamed into the air and terrifying explosions rattled the bones in my chest.  It was awesome…if I was a kid.  But as an adult, the only thing I could think was, “I’m so going to jail for this shit…”



Filed under Funny, Just Cool

American Glory

 The following story first appeared in the charity anthology “Authors off the Shelf”.  If you enjoy it, please consider purchasing a copy of the anthology, which is filled to overflowing with stories and poems and even dinner recipes.  All proceeds go to charity.


American Glory

by John L. Monk

There’s a town in America few people outside of a hundred miles ever heard of. It had never won an award for the prettiest flowers in the state or grown the biggest pumpkin or squash or had the biggest pig at the state fair. One of the fifth-graders went to the national spelling bee once, but she couldn’t spell “chauffeur” and got sent home. Not even an English word, the locals said.

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A Rant On Being An Author

Russel Blake rants, love it:

A Rant On Being An Author.

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Short Story: The Emperor’s New War

I won the flash fiction competition for my Goodreads group.  To do it, I had to follow a number of guidelines in constructing this story.  Here are a few:

  • Had to be a scene involving battle
  • couldn’t use the words: night, dark, die, fight, angry.
  • someone had to die
  • I’d get extra points for using the words “sandwich” and “brother”

If you’re interested in a Goodreads group with a wide range of interests and who do a lot of cool things like quizes, reading/writing contests, giveaways, etc, I can’t recommend Pro-Active Destruction enough.

The Emperor’s New War

The Imperial Legionnaires had been bombarding the planet for three days, reducing most of the buildings in the planet’s six population centers to rubble, with one exception: the rebel headquarters. General Foxworthy had whole star systems of ordinance available at his fingertips, but he’d spared the troublesome base.

“General Foxworthy?” his assistant said. “The rebel leader Carter is waiting to see you.”

“Thank you Eliot, please send him in. Oh, and would you ask Rose to make me a sandwich?”

“Certainly sir.”

Moments later, Elliot escorted in a young man dressed in a Mark-3 Zherun war suit. Capable of withstanding impossible compression ratios, the suit could survive almost any sort of conventional attack. Standard-issue suits also came with a complement of sophisticated weaponry molded into the frame. Foxworthy knew about the suit, and the weapons, but had said nothing to Elliot about disarming the man.

Carter surveyed the lavish cabin, his eyes finally drifting to the enormous viziframe covering the wall. It showed the rebel planet C3JU625-Andrew-Prescott. Five hundred standard years previous, the legendary Captain Prescott had discovered the remote little world during his famous exploratory voyage. He’d named it according to the imperial planetary classification system. Two weeks before the General’s bombardment, the planet had been renamed “The Emperor’s A Big Fat Donkey” by Carter, who transmitted news of the change by a looping broadcast throughout Occupied Space.

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Short short: The Emperor’s New War

I belong to a Goodreads group called “Pro-Active Destruction”. Please don’t worry, we’re only in the planing phase of pro-actively destroying things, so it’s cool.

Anyway, we’re doing a flash fiction contest for authors in the group (still open for new members). You can see my entry where I posted it in my author thread:

Just scroll down to “Emperor’s New War”  for a very short 800-word read. If it seems a little weird here and there, it’s because we had to include words like “brother” and “sandwich” and “twilight”, and names like “Carter” and “Foxworthy” in the story to get points.

Good fun.



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