A Money Maker
by Michael A.
tavern, I heard the bawdy punch line from a
farmers daughter joke.
guys at the bar howled.
Swaying on a
barstool, the bald one asked, Hey, Pal. Got
a good joke for us?
I said. But I know an interesting story.
hear it, said the bartender.
years ago, I found a red coconut.
so interesting about that? asked a
What did it say? asked the customer wearing
its name was Ralph. Then it started to
quote Shakespeare: To be or not to be.
Beware the Ides of March. So I put a sign
on my house. Hear Ralph The Talking Coconut Quote
Shakespeare. Only 25 Cents.
make lotsa money? asked Toothless.
three dollars. So, I asked Ralph if he could sing.
I couldnt believe my ears when he sang
opera. He sounded better than Pavarotti.
coconut that can sing that good gotta be worth
plenty, said Bartender.
what I figured. I contacted a theatrical agent.
He said, What a fabulous voice! But, I
cant book opera-singing coconuts. I got
some openings for ventriloquists in Las Vegas.
Maybe you could act like youre a
ventriloquist. Paint a funny face on the coconut,
put it on your lap, and have it tell raunchy
do that? asked Suspenders.
But not without a struggle. Ralph refused to be
dont blame him, said Toothless.
You musta hurt his feelings.
furious. He said the only way hed join the
act was if HE was the ventriloquist, and I was
agree? Baldy asked.
were a big hit in Vegas. Made $10,000 a week.
Then suddenly, Ralph got laryngitis. X-Rays
showed hed developed coconut-itis, a rare
incurable disease. Buried him a month ago. Not
far from here. Things aint been the same
dabbed his eyes with a grimy handkerchief.
Give the man a drink on me, he said.
Thats the saddest story I ever heard.
have cognac, I said. Best you have.
its rough not having your coconut around,
said the bartender.
were real close.
whadda ya gonna do now? Suspenders asked.
aint sure. Maybe Ill look for another
pushed money toward me. Looking downcast,
Toothless said, Buy flowers for the
coconuts grave. Just say its from the
boys at Harrys Tavern.
Ralph wouldve appreciated this. He
wouldve sung something nice for you.
another drink on us, Baldy said.
Itll help ease the pain.
When I left
twenty dollars richer, the drunks were brawling
over whether or not coconuts had souls.
It was so easy
to con booze and money from drunken half-wits.
Ill visit taverns and tell the story about
the orphaned elephant I adopted. The one that
read palms. Until he lost his sight because of