Christopher Sebela

writer, wronger, rearranger

A joke

Phineas reached into his pocket and pulled out a handful of tobacco shreds and lint and coins and scraps of paper. He picked through and selected two dimes, which he placed on Christian’s eyelids.

The dead suffer no laughter, he said.

What does that mean, exactly?

Phineas shrugged. Tell him a joke, if you can think of one.

Okay, she said. How many serial killers does it take to change a lightbulb?

Unwavering silence and shards of color now in the sky.

How many? he said finally.

One, she said. But it takes him a long time.

Phineas looked at Christian, then at her. Why?

Because he first has to dismember the old one, she said. Then masturbate on its remains.

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