DR. RED: a short story



I see someone has promptly raised a hand.

This is very good.

Because I want to ask a question. A kind of a technical question about law. You really are a lawyer, then, right? And so you’ve probably studied some law. Right?

People are already laughing. Nice. Nothing easier. What a pleasure. And your easy laughter has nothing to do with the fact that you’re all here on complimentary tickets and the food and drinks are free, too, right? Nothing to do with that.

I could be wanking into a blind old beloved school teacher’s half-good eye and you’d be laughing your tits off. Her eyelids could be held open with those little… what do you call those? You know, those special… what do you call those? You know. The tiny scary clampy thingies. From that movie. You know. For eyelids. A Clockwork something. Something about citrus fruits. What do you call those thingies, holding the beloved old blind school teacher’s eyelids open while I wank into her half-good eye? To your uproarious and untroubled laughter. Full as you are with free food and drink.

So, this guy has identified himself as a lawyer. This guy over here.

I mean, I’m sure he really is one. He wouldn’t claim to be a real lawyer in a comedy club audience if he weren’t, would he? What are the odds? I mean, of a lawyer impostor who goes from comedy club to comedy club just waiting for…

Can you see him there?

About five rows back, to my left?  He has a beautifully-shaped head. I’m sure he would normally have a full head of thick blond hair but he shaves it all off every morning. Takes an hour. Purely a style choice. That wasn’t meant to get a laugh. Save some up, will you? How do you people run a marathon? Run as fast as you can as soon as they say “go” and collapse in nine minutes? Pace yourselves. I’m literally begging.

Can you see the lawyer there? He’s under the AUSGANG sign.

I hope there aren’t any Germans in the audience because I know I just said AUSGANG wrong. What? You’re all Germans? Oh God, the worst kind. You all speak several languages and you can quote more English Grammar rules than I can, right? Because you studied Latin in kindergarten.  Is it “kindergarten” or Der Kindergarten? Oh, God. I said AUSGANG in front of you and you’re all thinking, how hilarious, that is not how one actually says it. Is that why you’re all laughing with careless abandon instead of pacing yourselves like a seasoned Anglophone comedy audience?

Come on now. Pace yourselves. Don’t you know how to titter and smirk? You seriously think you can guffaw the whole set? Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Ten minutes from now you’ll be able to hear a pin fucking drop and guess who’ll get the blame? Certainly not the poly-lingual German businessmen. I just saw a guy slap his knee. Madness.

I usually play in front of drunken Brits who speak one language. Or drunken Americans who speak point seven. Don’t laugh at that. Stop laughing, please. This is like having sex with a bunch of poly-lingual German businessmen who don’t ask permission before prematurely ejaculating. I’m up here screaming my “safety word” and you don’t even care.  You’re all just humping away and correcting my German pronunciation and my English pronunciation and coming in my half-good eye,  having a helluva good time.

I need to ask a question.

I want to ask the lawyer with the beautiful head, under the AUS… I mean, the EXIT sign… look at his beautiful head. It’s glowing a little, isn’t it? It’s slightly red, reflecting the light from the Aus… from the Ex… from the sign. Am I hallucinating? Do the rest of you see him? His beautifully-shaped glowing red head that he shaves twice a day because his thick blond hair grows back so quickly? It’s such a nuisance, that hair. He spends half his life removing it.

This joke… I call it The Supermarket Joke… I’ve been doing it for about a year, by the way. Something like a year. It gets a little better every time I do it.  Which means that every time I do this joke I get a little closer to the last day I’ll ever do this joke again and then die.  Listen. Seriously. Can we be serious?

Sometimes, you know, I ask if there’s a lawyer in the audience and nobody responds. Right? So I’m forced. It’s horrible.

I’m forced to pretend to interact with an imaginary lawyer to make the joke work. 

Like, I’m yelling, like a crazy person, like, at an empty seat near the back of the room. Literally yelling.

Which only works in a larger club. It can be kind of awkward in a twenty-five seater with all the lights up, you know? Like, everybody is watching me address myself to an empty seat that everybody in the room can clearly see is empty because they are right next to it.

People give you the benefit of the doubt if you’re famous and people have seen you on Television because they assume you know what you’re doing and it isn’t just a sad bit that you’ve ill-advisedly attempted with an audience so small that the statistical likelihood that there will, in fact, be a lawyer in the audience is close to nil.

You’d be more likely to get a positive response if you asked if there’s anyone in the room who’s bored and depressed and tired of life and resents the fact that they’ve blown the price of a cheap dinner in a bad brothel on some deluded fuck who thinks he can make people laugh by interacting with imaginary lawyers in the audience. Right? Some whistling. Are you whistling for bad brothels or deluded fucks? Or both? It’s not an either/or.

Tonight we’re lucky, we have a real lawyer with a beautifully-shaped head. And I have a question for him. What’s your name? Wait, no, forget I asked. I’m going to call you Red, if you don’t mind. Red or Mr Red? Mr Red? Okay, I have to admit that I didn’t expect that. It’s a little formal, isn’t it, Mr. Red? Well okay, then.

Mr Red, I was wondering.

This is a question about Supermarkets. Supermarket law, specifically. Is that a thing? Have you studied Supermarket Law? Well, would you consider studying it in the future? Will your answer even count, now? Shouldn’t I get an expert in Supermarket Law to answer this question instead? No? I can trust you, Mr. Red?

Okay, then. My question regarding Super Market Law. Please think it over before blurting out a flippant and entirely disrespectful answer.

Here’s the question.

Is it actually illegal to take, uh, something out of someone else’s, uh, you know, shopping trolley before they have, uh…  paid for it?

Why are you laughing, Mr Red? Because maybe the answer is laughably obvious to you, as a lawyer,  sure, but the rest of us…

It’s a bit of a grey area, isn’t it? I’ve stumped you, haven’t I?

Hundreds of thousands of dollars for a Law School degree and fresh out of Law School you’re stumped by a Law Question from a Stand Up at a place called Yuk Yuk’s. It’s not exactly To Kill a Mockingbird, is it? Great: you’re laughing. Because you’re incredibly well-educated, poly-lingual German businessmen. If I tried that joke on Americans, do you know what would happen…? Not a fucking thing. The calming silence of an aggregate IQ of exactly 100.

Okay, another question.

Another highly technical question in Super Market Law for Mr. Red. Dr Red?

By the way. Are you charging me for this or is it pro bono, Dr Red? Well, bill me. Yes, of course, just send the bill to Sadly Funny Man at Yuk Yuk’s. Y-U-K, Y-U-K apostrophe S. My secretary will see to it immediately.  I get all my important mail here.

Okay.  Where was I? Technical question number two.

You’re in the supermarket and you find, like, a box of cookies that someone has left, for some reason, who knows why… they’ve left this box of cookies where the cucumbers are. Right?  So, technically speaking , should you put it in your trolley? Some weird box of cookies looking totally out of place where it never belonged. Somebody just put it there,  it’s sitting in the totally wrong place. Right? Disgusting. Somehow the molecular properties of the contents of the box have irrevocably changed, right?  You don’t even want to look at it. Right?  This cookie box is unclean.

Now you can laugh. We’re at the half-way point. Let it out. Laugh at the man with the funny religion, it’s cathartic.

In fact. Wait. That should be a supermarket rule. This is an important new theory in Supermarket Law. We are at the forefront.  New Rule.

You find something in the wrong place in the Supermarket, it’s yours.

Right? I think that’s fair.

But if they catch you putting something in the wrong place, you should have to pay for the misplaced item…  plus the pro-rated portion of the hourly wage of the minion whose task it is to restore order to the aisle you have willfully violated. Does that sound technical enough to be a law, Dr. Red?

Listen, you’re all laughing, but I’m serious. Think about it.

How long have supermarkets existed?

Like, hundreds of years, right?

Or something like that. Okay,  ten. More than ten. Twenty five? Were there even supermarkets when we were kids? There must have been because I remember riding around in shopping trolleys… but maybe my folks owned a trolley-like object for transporting children on Formica tiles years before the supermarket was invented. Maybe we have it backwards. I vividly remember being pushed by my mother in a supermarket trolley before I could talk. Well, wait, that’s misleading, because I couldn’t talk until I was fifteen. I could kind of talk. Just like today. American is my second language, I’ll have you know. These jokes are way better in Yiddish. If I spoke Yiddish I could prove that for you. How many people here speak Yiddish?

What, no laughs on that one?

Uh, okay, let’s say people invented supermarkets in the ’50s,  to keep housewives off the streets. Let’s say it was ’45. Or, no, they invented supermarkets so sexually frustrated moms could have somewhere to read National Enquirers under fluorescent lighting to Zamfir’s version of a Carpenters song without making a mess in the 1970s. If mom suddenly snaps in her beehive wig and bashes the baby’s head in with a frozen dinner, right? Which is exactly what happened to me, by the way, only I survived… consider that a disclaimer for all the laughs you will fail to achieve on my watch. The supermarket aisles, unlike shag carpet,  they were easy to mop up.  Minion with a sponge mop appears out of a trapdoor near the fruits and vegetables. Minion in the cucumber aisle, please! Code word Spaghetti-Os!

I guess that’s was what they considered violent back then, right? Ha.

Bashing a baby’s head in with a TV dinner. Don’t make us laugh, right? That was before things changed and everything got worse… vandalism, violence, sexism, racism, everything… everything got worse by adding porn to it. You know?

Disgruntled coffee shop workers no longer simply pee in your coffee, right, now they have to get an orgasm out of your gustatory defilement, too? And remember before they went and pornified rape… it used to take less than a minute, didn’t it? I think that’s factually correct. The traditions of another era. Police arrive at the scene of a robbery these days and all the victims are wearing cock rings. The Klan don’t burn crosses any more, they waggle giant black dildos.  They joust disrespectfully with big black studded dildos. It’s both awful and hot at the same time, like a Happy Meal. You don’t even know what I’m talking about and neither do I but you’re laughing your Teutonic asses off because at some weird subliminal philosophical level we all know it’s true.

What is a joke but nonsense that is so true that it renders us helpless in its gaze? That’s a quote from Heidegger, for my overwhelmingly German audience.

You like that, don’t you?

Yeah, I know what you like.

Americans like cock rings and Germans like Heidegger.  That’s the cultural difference in a nutshell. It should say that in all the travel books. That would be helpful. Do you even know what a cock ring is? Of course you don’t, you’re all overwhelmingly German businessmen. But you laughed anyway. I guarantee you not one American would have laughed at the Heidegger reference. When I want to cut the night short in a comedy club in Hydrocephalus,  Missouri I get out one of the Heidegger jokes. I got ’em from my grandfather. My Opa. I am a sad, sad man. I just had a thought. More like an image. A vignette. A Feminist Klanswoman burning her bra on a cross. Even more random. Is there any woman on Earth more interested in the art of faking orgasms than OJ’s current girlfriend?

Speaking of women.

Whoo-wee, the Berlin girls, eh? A round of applause for Berlin girls please.

Yes indeed.

What a feast. Next best thing to a Thai Ladyboy for a heterosexual German businessman on a tight budget. Are you married, Dr. Red? Dr. Red is blushing. Keep your composure there, Doc, I’m going to need to pick your ultra-efficient brain for a legal definition.

Now, don’t be shocked, because they amended the relevant laws quite a while ago, but I slept with a Berlin girl once. German, I mean. Yep, I defiled a Rhine Maiden.

Calm down.

Some of you might, quite ignorantly, have defined me as a virgin before the night I experienced the mitigated charms of that alluring Berlinerin.

Doc? The legal definition of  “woman” is any person or thing with a vagina, right? Scattered applause from the Ladyboy aficionados among our businessmen.

Thank you.

And vagina, Doc. The legal definition for “vagina” is anything I can’t stick my semi-tumescent, foreskin-free penis in without touching at least one of its interior walls on the way out again, right? That’s in the 1936 edition of the Oxford Dictionary of Law, I checked. So, technically, I wasn’t a virgin the night I slept with Ficka von Besserwisser.  But wait. Why the snickers? I swear that was the lady’s name.

We met on the murky premises of a famous nightspot of legendary Weimar-like decadence. The place was practically satanic with cigar smoke. Indistinct couples in black corners at tables decorated with dozens of sticky Sekt and luminous absinthe rings committed half-heartedly erotic acts with the distracted languor of lebensmude demons. Again applause? Applause but no laughter? You like it purple, my post-barbarian friends? I’ll bear that in mind.

Ficka took one look at me in my formal attire… wait… do I detect an undercurrent of dismissive giggles out there in the audience? You’re saying I don’t look like a guy who owns formal attire? You’re saying I don’t look like the son of a son of a son of a Shtetl Jew who knows how to dress to attract a diamond-jawed Aryan maiden with phosphorous-blonde hair like a comet’s tail and a cunt as hard and cold and tight as a fresh grave dug in February? Some cold cruel, beautiful-as-a-new-knife,  crypto-racist daughter of the shiny-boot-tribe who came that close to making German the official language of Nebraska… you’re saying I could never be suave nor slick nor put-together  enough to score a self-shamingly sick fuck with a demon-haunted, ancestrally-Jew-skinning, disease-riddled Wagnerian hottie like that?  Is that what you think?

Fucking Krauts.

Laugh all you want, har har har, but I’m up here slicing off your nut sacks in my mind and it’s giving me a leeetle beeet of an erection. Slightly embarrassing. Can you see it?

You can’t?

Even more embarrassing.

Jesus, what’s a Jew gotta do to make you twisted fucks hate him?

Thank you.

Thank you very much. What a crowd.

But, um, how am I going to steer this back to the topic of supermarkets? I seem to have wandered off piste.

How abruptly non-sequiturial  am I allowed to be up here in the fantasy revenge of my hostile narrative space?

Suppose you get robbed in a supermarket.


You call the cops with your… what you German businessmen call a “handy”. You call the cops. No, make that your wife. Your wife is funnier. Your wife calls the cops.

The cops show up.

Your wife Ficka, she’s hysterical in the cucumber aisle. She feels so violated. Last Friday night she picked up a filthy Jew in the disco and he rode her like an old horse in his depressing flat, fucked her in the ass unprotected and made her apologize in a language in which she is somewhat less than proficient. Right? Terrible week, now this:  robbed by a refugee in the cucumber aisle.

Make it a fucking Syrian.


Your wife Ficka calls the cops and they hurry to the grocery store… make it Lidl because why not… and the cops finally show up and with quite a bit of sincerely sympathetic effort they manage to calm Ficka down…

What’s the first philosophically significant question the cops have to ask when she’s coherent again?


2 thoughts on “DR. RED: a short story

  1. Sehr Geheertes Herr Aug: I’m sure I speak for us all when I say, sehr Unterhaltsam. However, were you aware that during the performance your fly was open? We were as a result quite unable to take it very seriously. Also, the sudden appearance in your monologue of a box of cookies, which you had placed in a Supermarkt section where only produce is allowed? Please. You strain to produce credulity here. As they say, “Your cookies were lost with us.”

    You of course understand and best wishes for any future success.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dearest Mongo:

      Stimmt!* (but that wasn’t me on stage, of course, although any mail meant for him will, obviously, pass through me first).

      *Yes, I know. Mispronounced!


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