Jack was the joker in their relationship. From the moment they started courting, his sense of humour was one of the things Edna loved best. 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 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. 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 Edna started to tell a joke Jack would interrupt her at some point, telling everyone that she always mucked up the punch line. She’d blush and stumble over her words and Jack would take over.

Of a Sunday afternoon, after the roast lunch, they’d often 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. 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 to be posted into the radio station. Edna 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. So she wrote down some of her own. Some were short, others were stories based on things she’d seen and heard. Edna sent them off under a nom de plume.

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?’

‘Seldom Heard’.

‘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.’

This piece was written to a prompt on the Writer’s Digest website. Side Character: write about someone who’s not used to being in the centre of the action.

Photo: old-fashioned radio