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Deplorable Limerick

Scalzi Story

Wherein I take a band name from Scalzi’s Next Band Name list, and spend no more than 20 minutes writing the story with the band name as a title. Current one is Deplorable Limerick, which I am unable to find on the tumblr blog. You can read the full story archive, if you'd like.

"There once was a hole that was glory,
And wow could it tell you a story.
'Bout the things that went in..."

Michael leaned over to his brother, Cain, sitting next to him on the bleachers and commented, "He uses this one every year."

The crowd erupted into cheers as the middle aged man on the small stage in front of the bleachers grinned up at the cheers. He took a small bow, as much as his large stomach would let him. He scrambled to keep his trucker hat on his head as it slipped, even with the small bow.

Michael leaned back into his brother to be heard. "We think he lost his virginity in a glory hole, back in high school." He sat back straight and lifted the long neck to his mouth, taking a deep drink.

"His wife must love that rumour."

Michael gestured with the bottom of his bottle. "Oh, she does."

Cain followed the direction to see a stiff backed woman on the second set of bleachers looking down on the stage. She was clapping properly, her smile more of a grimace. Cain snorted. "Right."

The crowd slowed its cheering as the man walked off the stage, while an old woman walked slowly across to the microphone in the middle of stage, two spotlights illuminating it only barely more than tape surrounding, also brightly lit stage. A dark haired round man in a cheap business suit sat on the stage to one side, clipboard in one hand, pen in the other, a giant sash reading, "MAYOR" across one shoulder.

"They do this every year?"

Michael smiled as he looked around. "Yep. Every year. Been going on since two kids in the fifties tried to top each other with bad limericks. Became a town obsession. Now it's a contest to see who can come up with the most deplorable limerick. The mayor," he pointed to the man on the stage, "judges and has the final say. Jean down there," he gestured to the woman with the blue hair on stage, "she's entered most of them. Hers are pretty good. As librarian she keeps up with current events."

The crowd hushed, as it did for every speaker, giving the respect each entry deserved. Michael grinned at Cain, then turned back to the stage.

"There once was a cup and two girls
Who wore nothing but elegant pearls
When the crowd watched a bit..."

Cain's head whipped around to look at his brother again, shock on his face. Michael was gripping his stomach, holding in laughter. The crowd wasn't as well disciplined, bursting into thundering applause filled with laughter when Jean finished. Even the mayor was clapping enthusiastically.

"You didn't."

Michael was shaking with laughter. "I did!"

The crowd eventually calmed, as Jean waved and walked off the stage. A small teenager walked onto the stage after her. The girl's hair was in pig tails, braces on her teeth. The waif of a girl seemed lost as she stood in front of the microphone waiting for the crowd to quiet.

"What's the minimum age?" Cain leaned in to ask.

"Thirteen. She's old enough, or they wouldn't let her up there."

Cain shook his head.

"There once was a girl with a duck."

The girl's voice, barely a whisper, was clear in the microphone.

"Who said that she just liked to suck.
But when asked what she'd thought..."

Her voice grew stronger, until the last word of her limerick boomed out over the crowd. The crowd was even louder than after the librarian. Cain and Michael joined in, standing and cheering for the girl, as she seemed to fold back into herself, smiling as she walked off the side of the stage.

Sitting back down and laughing a bit, the brothers watched as a frail old man shuffled across the stage. He didn't move quickly, and seemed in no rush. Murmurs and talk continued in the crowd during the couple minutes it took for the man to cross to the microphone. Again, the crowd grew silent when it became apparent he was ready to speak.

The old man looked across the crowd. He adjusted his glasses as he leaned into the microphone.

"There once..."

He paused, looking around. He started again.

"There once was a ..."

He stopped, and looked back towards the mayor. After a moment, he seemed to make a decision, and started shuffling towards the seated man. The crowd started murmuring. Cain looked at Michael, who looked back and shrugged.

When the old man arrived at the mayor, he gestured for the seated man to remain seated. He then leaned over to whisper in the ear of the mayor.

As he whispered into his ear, the mayor began blushing. The old man paused, took a breath and kept speaking. The mayor shifted in his seat, looked around at the crowd, but didn't stand or stop the old man.

When the old man finished, he straightened, and turned to face the crowd. He didn't look back down at the mayor as he grinned, his smile growing bigger and bigger as the mayor shifted in his seat, a deep red blush still across his face. He seemed to be in some distress, looking down at his clipboard, his sash, back to the clipboard, and his feet.

Suddenly he stood up and rushed to the microphone.

"Mr. Dale Johnson is the winner!" he called into the microphone. Johnson, still standing next to the now empty mayor's chair, raised both arms into the air, pumping them slightly. The mayor hurried off the small platform, to disappear behind the bleachers.

"That's a new one," Michael commented, as the raucous laughter and confusion sent the crowd into cheers.

Cain looked at his brother. "What just happened?"

"A limerick too deplorable for our ears," he answered.

Cain smiled, "Clearly," and toasted his brother before finishing his beer.

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