"The Fiona Apple of Comedy"

I dreamed a dream…

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Back when I was in the war, the guys in my platoon and I used to daydream about what life had in store for us when we got back to the states. You know: the hot wife, the white picket fence, 2.3 kids and a dog, the whole shebang. I remember this one time, we were pinned down by the Confederates during the battle of Iwo Jima. We were taking napalm from all sides. The villagers had given our position to the French and we were taking heavy fire, hunkering down behind a stone wall. Still, when things got quiet, we turned back to our favorite pastime of daydreaming, even then. Sometimes when you’re surrounded by so much death, it’s the only thing that keeps you sane. So when the shells stopped, I turn to Moriarty, the loud-mouth, Irish son of a bitch who was always one-upping everybody and I said, “hey, you dumb Mick, I got one for you,” thinking there was no way in hell he could possibly come up with a fantasy life as rich and fulfilling as the one I was about to grace everybody’s ears with. He just looked at me with that skeptical look of his, so I went on. “When I get out of this shithole, I’m going to open up my very own Chili’s Too; you know, the ones they have in the airports.” A hushed silence went over the assembled group, followed by a low whistle from Jackson, the lone Negro in our squad. “That would be sweet,” he said. The other guys all voiced their agreement; even Moriarty had a smile on his face. But not for the reasons that I thought. He cleared his throat and when he had all of our attention, paused and then in a low voice he dashed all of my hopes and dreams of winning my comrades’ respect forever. “A Chili’s Too in the airport would be very sweet indeed, but I’ve actually got my sights set on a full-size, stand alone Chili’s, like the ones you might find in a high end shopping center, or mall.” Stunned silence. Then the soldiers broke into applause, momentarily forgetting our position and the situation we currently found ourselves in. They stood up and circled Moriarty, slapping him on the back and shaking their heads in admiration. A great cheer went up and they even hoisted him up on their shoulders. I approached him, intending to concede defeat, when we were all brought crashing back to earth by the sound of the sniper’s 50 mm round that exploded Moriarty’s head and brought bits of skull, brain matter and blood, so much blood raining down on us. His corpse was hastily and unceremoniously tossed aside as we all hit the deck. Down in the mud, Sanchez turned to me and whispered, “so let’s hear some more about this Chili’s Too.”

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