The Short Humour Site

Home : Writers' Showcase : Submission Guidelines : A Man of a Few More Words : Links

Writers' Showcase

by James P. Wagner

Maggie’s middle-aged reflection frowned back at her. She turned her head from left to right, examining her face.

“There they are,” she said with a sigh. “Just like my mother’s.”

“Don’t be ridiculous, your mother has thirty years on you!” her husband had said before leaving for work. “And you’re gorgeous!”

“I’m getting old.”

“No you’re not!” he’d assured. But it was no use. There they were in front of her, proof of her age.

“Mommy?” a soft voice asked.

She turned to her seven year old, smiling. “What is it Tammy?”

“What are laugh-lines?”

“What do you mean, honey?”

“I heard you and daddy talking about laugh-lines, what are laugh-lines?”

She smiled, wrapping her arm around her daughter’s shoulders. “Nothing important, sweetie.”

“Do I have laugh-lines, mommy?”

“No honey, luckily, you don’t have them yet.”

“Why not?”.

“Because, they’re only something you get when you’re older.”

“But that’s not fair!”

Maggie laughed. “No, it isn’t fair.”

“I want laugh-lines mommy!”

“Trust me honey, you don’t.”

“You have them, Mommy! I want them too.”

Maggie sighed, looking back and forth between the mirror and her daughter. “You know what, honey? Come to think of it, little girls have laugh-lines too.”

Tammy stood up straight. “We do?”

“That’s right.”

“Where are they? Show me!”

“Hop up on the sofa,” she instructed.

Eager to comply, Tammy ran to the living room couch and jumped up on it. Maggie followed. “Give me your foot.” Tammy stretched out her short leg, and her mother caught her by the ankle. “You see all these lines, here on the bottoms of your feet? These are your laugh-lines,” she said coyly.


“Yes, those,” she nodded. “Do you know why they’re called laugh-lines?”

“Nuh-uh,” Tammy shook her head.

“This is why!” Maggie said as she gently ran her fingernail across the little crevices on the bottom of Tammy’s foot. There was a shriek and a giggle. Tammy recoiled slightly. Maggie held a gentle, but firm grasp on her daughter’s ankle. “See?”

“Yes!” Tammy giggled as she squirmed, never pulling her leg too hard, not really trying to escape.

“Do you know what laugh-lines mean, honey?” Maggie asked, still tracing patterns on her daughter’s foot.

“What, Mommy?” Tammy asked, laughing earnestly.

“They mean you laugh a lot,” Maggie replied, sighing gently. She smiled at her daughter. Her laugh-lines were showing.