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The Last Laugh

by Lightning Bolt 4 months ago in fiction · updated about a month ago

The Perpetrator's Confession

Let’s get something straight right from the outset, okay? I had no intention of killing Roy! I just wanted to make him stop laughing! That’s it!

I JUST WANTED TO MAKE HIM STOP LAUGHING!

Sorry! Sorry! I didn’t mean to yell like that. But you gotta understand…

LeRoy laughed like a heckling hyena, like a braying donkey, like a monkey in a Tarzan movie. He laughed like a merry lunatic, like a drunken jester, like an insane clown. He laughed like a winning game show contestant having a million-dollar orgasm. He laughed like Barney the Dinosaur starting a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood with some really kick-ass weed. He laughed like Ed McMahon jacked up on Johnny Carson crack. He had a different laugh for every occasion. He chortled and snickered and tittered and howled and guffawed. He could giggle like a giddy politician on payday. He laughed like a hiccupping harlequin, like a madcap cutup, like a humorist having his leg pulled. He laughed like a Robber Baron laughing all the way to the bank. He laughed like the perfect buffoon.

He laughed like he owned the fucking world!

He laughed like laughter was cheap, like it was easy, like it was fun!

He laughed at every lame comedian on the planet. He laughed at puns and pratfalls and just seemed to think certain words were funny. He laughed in the morning, when he first showed up at the office. He laughed in the evening as he was leaving the office. He laughed like a birdbrain during lunch!

I know I wasn’t the only person who started avoiding the break room at noon time. In there, sandwiched between the sandwich machines, his laugh would echo off the walls, making it even more nettling. I know I'm not the only one. Ask the others. Ask my coworkers– his coworkers.

It happened all the time. He’d enter a room and others would leave. And those that stayed and tolerated his presence? They’d be fine until the laughter started. But then of course, they'd try to get away! Of course, they would! Roy would laugh that Santa-Claus-from-Hell 'HO HO HO' laugh of his and his victims would run like frightened babies. And that would make LeRoy laugh even harder! He’d go into spasms, wailing these body-quaking, belly-shaking chortles, and then suddenly he’d switch to head-thrown-back through-the-nose cackling. Often, when he jerked his head back like that, he would get unbelievable distance with his spittle! The laughter and the head roll created a kind of catapult.

Everyone in the office was repulsed by Roy. Ask our coworkers. Ask them. They’ll tell you!

Everyone wanted to do something about LeRoy. You could see it in people’s eyes. It was particularly evident after he left a room. As soon as he was gone, there was this palpable sense of relief when quiet normalcy returned.

He had a way of drawing you in, too. What I mean is: once he learned what you liked, what you found funny, he catered to that. For the guy who liked dead baby jokes, Roy had a hundred of them. For the woman who preferred men-bashing jokes, he had a thousand. And I swear, he had about a million dumb blonde jokes.

He was like a thug doing a drive-by shooting, only Roy would waddle by and strafe you with quick jokes. In my opinion, bullets would have been preferable to the crap he told. Junk like…

Two fonts walk into a bar.

The bartender yells: “Hey! We don’t serve your type here!”

Or…

A minister, a priest, and a rabbi walk into a bar.

The bartender says, “Hey! What is this? Some kind of joke?”

Stupid shit like that. All around bad jokes. A jest for every occasion, a quip for every coworker— that was our Roy. Receptive audience or not, Roy was never deterred. He played the fool and he played it well. He liked being a fool, particularly if it meant he could get you to laugh.

You think I’m belaboring this point, don’t you, Detectives? Well, I’m not! I could talk for weeks on this subject and you’d still never, ever truly grasp the tediousness of Roy’s daily, incessant, continual, perpetual hilarity!

Roy had been a fixture in that office for twenty-seven years. He had more seniority than anyone. He wasn’t going anywhere. Me, I’ve worked there only seven years, twenty goddamn years less than Roy... Damn, it seems a whole lot longer! I was tired of Roy’s laughter after my first week of orientation. After seven torturous years of being subjected to that man’s guffawing— well, is it really any wonder that I finally tried to put a stop to it?

The only surprise is that I lasted seven years before I snapped!

Listen... I came to you guys today. Remember that. I’m making this confession freely, of my own will. I don’t feel good about what happened to Roy. Obviously. I didn’t get any sleep last night at all. I kept hearing… well, never mind that. All that matters is I’m here to take responsibility for my actions.

So when you ask why I did it, I’m trying to be totally honest here! And you need to understand there were other catalysts... recent events in my life that caused me to develop this plot to kidnap Roy.

Two weeks ago was the anniversary of my grandfather’s death. He passed away five years ago, when I was twenty-two.

My mother died from cervical cancer when I was three. My father then abandoned me. I was raised by my mother’s parents. When I was fifteen, my grandmother passed away, leaving just grandpa and me in the house.

My grandfather was a good man, a simple man. But he was also a hard man. I loved him dearly and I believe, at the end of the day, maybe he did love me? Certainly, he never said it. He never showed any kind of affection whatsoever… except for that goddamn basset hound of his.

When grandma was alive, she said it for him. When I was a kid, she would take my hand and she would say, “You know your grandfather loves you.”

I always said, “I know.”

But the truth is: I never knew if he loved me. I never will.

When I was about six or seven years old, I started experiencing night terrors. To this day, I have no clue what caused them. I would wake up in the middle of the night, scared to death. I’d have no memory whatsoever of any bad dreams. But I sometimes wet the bed. My grandma hid it from my grandpa for quite some time, but he eventually found out.

My granddad was a big believer in what he called “aversion therapy.” To this day, I don’t know if this was some legitimate therapy or if it was just something he made up. All I know is that, at least in my case, grandpa’s aversion therapy usually worked.

When he found out I wet the bed, he started tying me down at night. He used some of his old belts, as well as a long coil of nylon rope. He would bind me so securely to the bed, I couldn’t even roll over. I was forced to sleep all night on my back. If I woke up and had to go to the bathroom, I could call him, and he’d come in and untie me. But if I wet myself in my sleep, I had to lay in my piss all night long, until the next morning.

And yes, I did wet myself the very first night he tied me down. And I wet myself two more times after that. But after that, I learned. I didn’t get much sleep for about a week but the sleep I did get was dry.

After I went two weeks without wetting the bed, my grandpa stopped tying me down at night.

Grandma said he believed in, “old world justice.” I’m still not sure what that means.

Throughout my life, grandpa used aversion therapy on me several times, whenever the need arose. For instance, when he caught me smoking cigarettes when I was seventeen— nearly a man— he went out and bought three packs of the brand I was smoking. That happened during the summer between my junior and senior years. He took me out into the backyard behind our house and forced me to chain-smoke all three packs, one cigarette after another.

I got so sick!

And he was relentless. Halfway through the second pack, I was puking ill but he didn’t let me stop until I’d smoked all three.

And guess what?

I never smoked again.

My granddad was a hard man, yes, but he wasn’t a cruel man. He taught me things. His methods were effective.

Aversion therapy works.

On the anniversary of his death, I went to visit grandpa’s grave. And, in the days that followed, I thought a lot about the lessons he taught me.

Here’s another thing you should know about my grandfather. He didn’t go around chortling all the time. He was a serious man.

Whatever happened to all the serious people? You guys seem serious— and I appreciate that— especially since most average Americans are swaggering, sniggering fools!

Why don’t men wear hats anymore? Why don’t all women wear skirts? The world is going to hell in a hand-basket! Yeah, I know. I sound like an old geezer and I’m not. But I grew up with one. And I’m acutely aware that this country used to be better than it is now!

This world used to be better!

So anyway… a few days after the anniversary of Grandpa’s death, I went to my dentist for my annual check-up.

The day before my dental appointment, I mentioned to someone at work that I was going to get my teeth cleaned. When I said it, I didn’t see LeRoy, who was lurking behind me at the time.

He immediately broke out the dentist jokes.

And laughed.

Shit like...

“Dentists get on everyone’s nerves,”

...and…

“Did you hear about the dentist and the manicurist? They fought tooth and nail,”

...and…

“If you’ve been to the dentist before, you already know the drill.”

I’m telling you guys, I swear to God by all that’s holy, that laughing bastard had prepared jokes for every occasion!

So when I finally did see my dentist, I found out I had not one but two cavities. When Doctor Eaton prepared to work on my mouth... he broke out the nitrous oxide!

Laughing gas!

Immediately I thought of Roy!

Doctor Eaton is great. He puts you under the influence of the gas before he uses the needle to numb your gums. I swear, you still feel the pain, but you just don’t give a damn.

After my dentist was done with me, I asked him about how the nitrous worked. He showed me the tanks, explaining he didn’t give patients straight nitrous oxide— he mixed it with oxygen. I asked him casually what would happen if he gave me straight laughing gas, without the oxygen mixed in. I even specifically asked him, “Could it kill me?” He said there was a danger of oxygen deprivation, yes, but, no, it probably wouldn’t kill me.

So then, as I was leaving, the receptionist was talking to another patient about how the office was going to be closed the following week while the dentist was on vacation.

That’s when everything fully crystalized in my head! That was the moment when I decided to do something about Roy’s laughter. I decided to do it because I knew I could.

LeRoy needed aversion therapy!

I know that nitrous oxide doesn’t really induce laughter. Not generally. But with Roy? That madman wasn’t normal! There was something wrong with him!

So as I left the dentist’s office, I walked around to the back of the building. You’ve been there so you know what it’s like. Behind the office is that little grove of trees— no other businesses nearby. It didn’t even occur to me to that Dr Eaton might have some kind of alarm system. I guess I got lucky on that score. Or maybe I should say, Roy was unlucky. If I’d broken the window and an alarm went off, it would have spoiled all my plans.

You pretty much know what happened next, right? The physical evidence at the scene pretty much told the story, I’m guessing. I watched CSI. I’m no idiot.

So my dentist is on vacation this week. And on Monday, I caught up with Roy during lunch. I made up a job-related excuse, telling him that I had an idea that would improve efficiency that I wanted to run by him in detail. I offered to buy him a drink at a neighborhood bar after we got off work.

Now, I know Roy was married and that he very rarely went out drinking with the other guys. And Monday night, as it turned out, he had other plans. So I asked him if we could do it Tuesday... yesterday.

At first, he suggested lunch. Naturally. But I kept after him about having a drink with me after work. And I suddenly realized I had an ace in the hole, something that would entice him. In all the time I’ve worked with him, LeRoy has never been able to make me laugh.

Never.

So when I told him, “You can tell me some of your best jokes,” I knew he’d see that as a challenge. He saw me as a challenge.

He was dying to make me laugh.

No pun intended.

And I was right. He agreed to go out with me after work.

It was a long day at work yesterday. But it was a special day, a peaceful day, if you want to know the truth. Roy was still his usual laughable self, but for the first time in years, I wasn’t disturbed by his chortling. Knowing it would be the last day that I’d ever have to listen to that irritating laughter was a tremendous relief.

When I suggested we ride together in my car, he was fine with that. I drove all the way to the bar... and only as I drove past it did I take out my gun. He was laughing when I pulled out the pistol and his laugh immediately died in his throat. God! I loved that moment! I’ll relive that moment until I die: that glorious sound of Roy swallowing his own laughter!

You pretty much know the rest, right?

I took him to my dentist’s office. I parked behind the building. I had a little talk with Roy before we went inside. I put the fear of God into him, I can tell you that! I made it very clear I had no qualms whatsoever about shooting him in the head if he so much as snickered.

Forgive me for putting it this way, Detectives, but Roy realized this was no laughing matter.

So I shattered that window in back and broke in. I had Roy climb in ahead of me and for just a moment when he first got inside, I thought he was going to _bolt.😁👍 But he looked 👀 past the gun leveled at him through the window and he saw my serious face. He saw me watching him, aiming lethal force at him. So he didn’t try anything.

Once we were both inside, I herded Roy into the examining room and secured him to the dentist’s chair using lots and lots of duct tape. He was blubbering by then. There was only one moment— when I first told him to sit in the chair— that he actually showed some backbone. For some reason, he thought I’d brought him to the dentist’s office so I could drill on his teeth... without anesthetic!

Who knows where he got that crazy idea! Maybe he saw that old Dustin Hoffman movie. What’s the one with Laurence Olivier as a Nazi?

Yeah. Marathon Man. That's right. Granddad loved that film.

So after I listened to Roy beg me not to drill on his teeth, like I intended to torture him, I decided to set the record straight. I told Roy exactly what I had in mind. I explained to him that I would administer a predetermined kind of "aversion therapy", not just for his own good, but for the betterment of all mankind!

Here’s another thing about me, Detectives: I hate the Three Stooges! I mean to tell you guys: I loathe the Stooges with an all-consuming passion! I never have and never will understand what’s funny about supposed-friends who are constantly slapping each other!

I’d heard LeRoy say around the office that the Three Stooges were his favorites.

So after I had him securely duct-taped to the chair— after I hooked him up to the nitrous, I brought in the flat-screen TV that my dentist kept in his lobby. The DVD-player I brought with me; I rented it from Family Video. That’s also where I got the Three Stooges DVDs.

It was unbelievable too. Absolutely unbelievable! Roy was trembling uncontrollably when I taped up his arms and legs. He was sweating like a pig. His eyes were gigantic. He looked perfectly terrified! But once I gave him the gas and then turned on the Stooges? He was back to being himself again!

Laughing LeRoy!

I told him then what I was doing. I told him I intended to make him laugh so hard and so long that he would never feel like laughing again. Even as I talked to him, he was laughing, and it was one of his loudest, most boisterous laughs— that evil Santa laugh!

I stayed with him for quite a while. I wondered how long he’d be able to laugh. I figured I was in for a very long night. But after about forty-five minutes or so of his caterwauling, I was so agitated, I had to take a break.

Laughter seemed to possess Roy with demonic jolliness. It was like listening to a psychotic moron or an overexcited dolphin. It was like the entire studio audience for a hit television sitcom had been swallowed and was somehow still laughing— Live and In Living Color— from inside him. It was like the Imbecile Force was using the Dark Side to create a cackling Mirth Lord right before my eyes. Roy was like a stooge on steroids, like a goon on giggle juice, like a damnable fool on drugs!

Listening to him laugh was like hearing every village idiot throughout all time!

I knew that I created this laugh track! I was the nitwit’s pusher! The enabler! I was the drug dealer! As it turns out, I was a Nazi villain, a younger and meatier version of Lawrence Olivier!

I never realized how hard it had been on my grandfather when he forced me to undergo aversion therapy. That man was a saint.

Roy’s mad cackling drove me crazy! It was beyond disturbing! I couldn’t take it anymore! I just couldn't! So I left him alone, after putting in a fresh 3 Stooges DVD. And I cranked up the nitrous, with no idea that action would kill him.

I went down the street to Burger King for supper. And when I got back... he was dead!

Believe it or not, Detectives, that’s the God's honest truth!

I didn’t know so little oxygen and so much nitrous could make a man nauseous. Doctor Eaton hadn't told me that! I never dreamed Roy would throw up like that! I wouldn’t wish that death on a mad dog, or even LeRoy. To die choking on your own vomit must be horrendous.

But you know what? I’ll bet you he was laughing right up to the very end. I’ll bet you he was! Even as he was gagging, I’ll bet he was laughing too!

So there I was, with a Whopper in my belly and half a large Coca-Cola in my hand, and there Roy was, still hooked up to the laughing gas, but with a plastic face-mask full of puke. Before I’d left, I’d duct-taped the mask to his face, just to make certain he couldn’t somehow shake it off. That nose-and-mouth mask was something I had to jury-rig in the first place. I bought it at the medical supply store out by the hospital. All Doc Eaton had was, like, this tubing that goes up under your nose. That wasn’t good enough for my purposes.

I wanted to make certain that Roy breathed in his own stupid laughter!

But honestly... I had not planned on killing him! Any therapy— including aversion therapy— that results in the patient’s death can’t really be considered a success, can it?

All I wanted to do was to stop all the damn laughing in the office!

I never intended for him to DIE!

But when I then saw him there, dead, horrifically dead, this man who’d laughed at me for the better part of a decade, I couldn’t help but smile. And you know what I thought, Detectives? I’ll tell you what I thought... I thought...

I didn’t kill him. The Three Stooges did!

😂

Now, that’s funny!

I started to laugh and I couldn’t stop. I haven’t laughed that hard in years. Hell, I don't think I’ve ever laughed that hard in my whole life!

Then, suddenly, I realized something that instantly sobered me up. It surprised the shit out of me, truth be told! Roy had done it! He’d won after all!

He'd finally made me laugh at him!

I guess you could say that: Roy had the last laugh.

Pretty ironic, huh?

Oh, come on!

You guys have no sense of humor!

😂_______⚡_____________🤣

The two Detectives who listened to the killer’s confession took statements from all the co-workers in question. Everyone they spoke to confirmed that Roy was the most likeable person employed at the office. He was a positive ray of sunshine who could always make someone feel better, no matter what was troubling them.

The murderer, on the other hand, was characterized as quiet, dour, sometimes sullen, and never cheerful. He did his job and he did it well, but he wasn’t sociable. And he wasn’t popular.

No one ever saw him laugh.

More than one person theorized that the real reason LeRoy was killed was because Roy sometimes teased the murderer about being so serious.

⚡___😂😭🤣😥😭😭___⚡

At Roy’s funeral, as one person after another came forward to fondly remember him with comedic eulogies, they all laughed and cried at the same time.

The epitaph on LeRoy Larson’s tombstone read...

HE MADE EVERYONE LAUGH.

I hope you enjoyed that deadly laugh riot! ☝🤣⚡

If you did, might I suggest you check out this next horror story of mine? It's the tale of a haunted Crimson House where a tragedy took place this last Halloween, on 11/31/21! Do you believe in serial killers? 👇 If so, this short story might just give you a chill.

ABOUT ME: I’m sixty-years old. A year ago, I started suffering from seizures. I haven’t worked since, and I can no longer drive. I have meds that mostly protect my brain from these assaults, but every so often, without warning, I’ll have a ‘breakthrough seizure’… and they wreak havoc on my memory. Since I can’t work and haven’t been able to secure disability, I currently have no income. If you felt inclined to tip or make a pledge to me, I would be eternally grateful… and I pledge to you to do my best to entertain!

Thank you very kindly for your readership!

________________Bolt

[email protected]

fiction

Lightning Bolt

From out of the blue,

Bolt writes horror galore, as well as Sci-fi, Superheroes & more Superheroes,

FYI prophets, Poetry, Parodies & Pride.🌈

#Commit2Comedy!

Click HERE for a handy Table of Contents.

⚡😁👍

Happily engaged to a gorgeous man! ❤️⚡

Read next: Movie Review 'Devil's Path' Is a Throwback Drive in Thriller

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