Jack was the joker in their relationship. From the time he started courting her, his sense of humour was one of the things Edna loved best about him. He was good at not only telling jokes but making them up, or spinning out funny stories to an audience that would hang onto his every word.
But whenever she tried to tell a joke, he’d smile at her and tell her to leave the funny stuff up to him. Edna didn’t mind at first, but over the years it started to grate. She had a sense of humour too and when she said something witty, Jack would nod and sometimes tell her it was a nice try. As if he had the monopoly on all things funny. When she said the same things to her friends, they’d laugh along with her, which only encouraged her to more hysterical heights.
When they were out together with friends or family, if she started to tell a joke Jack would interrupt her at some point, shaking his head gently and telling everyone that she always mucked up the punch line. She’d blush and stumble over her words and Jack would take over at some point, drawing in their attention.
It wasn’t fair.
No matter how Edna tried, she couldn’t shift him.
Of a Sunday afternoon, after the roast lunch, they’d sit in the lounge room. Jack would read the paper and she’d do some mending or knitting. They had the radio on in the background, listening to music and local news. One of the segments was called ‘Tickled Pink’, and it was an assortment of jokes and funny stories sent in by listeners. Whenever this segment came on, Jack would turn up the volume and settle into his chair, a look of expectation on his face. And the jokes were good. Lots of word play and innuendo, and there were always a few that made them both laugh.
One week there was a call for contributions. They could be posted into the radio station. Edna thought about it throughout the following week. She even suggested to Jack that he should send in some of his jokes, but he shook his head and said that his jokes were too good to share. She knew he just couldn’t be bothered writing them down. So she wrote down some of her own. Some were short, others were stories based on things she’d seen and heard. She changed the names and sent them off under a nom de plume. She found herself looking forward to Sundays with a new interest.
Listening to ‘Tickled Pink’ the following Sunday, she could barely contain herself when all of her jokes were read out by the announcer. She watched Jack closer than usual. His eyes began to twinkle at the corners, his lips widened in a smile, and by the end of the segment he was slapping his thighs and howling with laughter. She joined in, laughing with relief.
When the segment was over, Jack wiped the tears from his eyes and looked over at her. ‘I’d sure like to meet him.’
‘That joker. What did he call himself?’
‘That’s right. He’s that funny I’d buy him beers all night just to hear his stories. I can hardly wait till next week – hopefully there’s more of his jokes then.’
She smiled softly. ‘Someone as funny as that is sure to have lots more to say.’
Inspired by Discover Prompts – April writing prompts