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“All right that’s it folks, thanks for coming out,” Dan Markinson shouted in a treacley Archie Rice-like display of showmanship to the eager crowd.

He turned to Rajnahish, his dummy.

“Say so long to the nice people.”

“So long to the nice people,” Rajnahish uttered back in that annoying colonial supplicant-lilt.

“That’s enough out of you, Rajnahish.”

“That’s enough out of me Rajnahish.”

“What have I told you about ending the shows nicely,” Markinson shouted at the dummy.

The two argued their way behind the curtain amidst uproarious applause.

Markinson continued to wrestle with Rajnahish backstage. When he realized no one was paying attention he stopped and headed for his dressing room.

“Hey Dan, you going to Small Talk for a few?”

Small Talk -- the premiere ventriloquist club in the city. Only the best made an appearance at Small talk.

“Not tonight, Tommy. I’ve been having terrible headaches lately,” Markinson lied. “Going home for a nice, quiet night with the family. That is if I can get this guy to shut up,” he laughed awkwardly, motioning to Rajnahish.

Markinson opened the back door of his Ford Taurus station wagon and hung Rajnahish from a grocery bag hook. Markinson’s mind wandered into the past as he drove home.

In the Markinson family you were either ventriloquist or you were little people. All the greats went on to believe their puppet had come to life -- from his great-great-great grandfather to his own father, Marty, who was found swaying in the living room hanging limp from a noose next to his puppet Yuckers, a big chair kicked out beneath his dad, a little one next to the puppet.

Markinson shot a furtive glance in the rear view mirror. Rajnahish hung lifelessly. Who was he kidding. He wiped a tear from his cheek.

The Markinson family – wife Shelly, son Peter, and Rajnahish, ate dinner in silence. As usual Rajnahish did not touch his chicken makhani.

After dinner, Markinson walked into his den/studio and slumped into his chair.

“What have I done to deserve this,” his subconscious said without his subconscious moving its mouth.

Then it happened. Rajnahish jerked to life.

“Dan Markinson, pick me up Dan Markinson, right now, or else I will be filled with great disappointment Dan Markinson,” it started in with a full blown sub-continental staccato. “Can I help you Dan Markinson thank you very much Dan Markinson this curry it is so hot it will most certainly catch my mouth on fire for it is dry and brittle and made of wood and thus very, very flammable Dan Markinson!”

Markinson’s jaded heart filled with joy. He had been waiting for this moment since he was a little boy. He’d finally be able to follow in his father’s footsteps, and his father before him.

But just as suddenly, Markinson’s jubilance evaporated. He noticed a pair of feet sticking out of the closet. He leapt from the seat and reached in and pulled out his son.

“I did it for you daddy,” Peter cried, hugging his dad’s leg. “Please don’t be angry.”

“You little bastard,” Markinson slapped his son in the face. “You think this is a joke.” Slap. “You think your old man’s a joke, huh son? Is that it?” Slap.

“I just wanted you to be happy, Pop. That’s all.”


“Stop it daddy!

But he didn’t stop. Not, for like, a half-an-hour, at least.

Date Written: February 18, 2005
Author: scoop
Average Vote: 4.4545

02/25/2005 Ewan Snow: Hey, what about this one. We can vote on this one, right?
02/25/2005 TheBuyer (5): Revenge 4 plus one so that you will like me.
02/25/2005 Jon Matza (4): Some Wgsjklijhcdi moments in this
02/25/2005 Dylan Danko: I like that Rajnahish is a gollywog.
02/25/2005 qualcomm: i have a problem here. as soon as you laid out the vital issue --that markinson had failed at going crazy with his dummy-- i knew you were going to have it happen, then yank the rug out. am i genius or are you an idiot? listen, it's one or the other.
02/25/2005 Ewan Snow: I would have thought you'd allow for the possibility of both...
02/25/2005 qualcomm: no no no
02/25/2005 Mr. Pony (5): 4.5, KotC!
02/25/2005 Litcube: KotC?
02/25/2005 Jawbreaker (4):
02/26/2005 Mr. Pony: Yeah, I mistakenly thought this was TheBuyer. Pretty clearly not, now that I see it. I must learn that a collection of details is not the big picture!!
02/26/2005 Phony Millions (4): There's a lot to like here. It's a little to long for me, although: Don't see how it could be shorter. The ironic casualness of the narrator's tone at the ending did not work with me. Still a really good, original premise with some funny details, and I didn't guess, like Qualcomm, that Dan would fail at going crazy.
02/26/2005 The Rid (5): Length and set-up necessary. Last line top-notch. Really enjoyed this from start to finish. And "his subconscious said without his subconscious moving its mouth"? Clutch.
02/26/2005 Litcube (5):
02/26/2005 Streifenbeuteldachs (4): Very enjoyable. The reward didn't quite merit a fiver, though.
02/26/2005 John Slocum (5): Ladies, I think I can say with confidence that this short edges out any short by 25squared, but only just! Therefore, I declare that Scoop is officially the second worst writer on Acme, not the worst!
02/26/2005 Benny Maniacs: Lots of cheering and applause. Good dummy humor. I also liked that little part about the subconscious in there.
02/26/2005 Benny Maniacs (5): I was sure the dummy would take it in the ass at the end, but this went places.
02/26/2005 Benny Maniacs: Thanks Slocum. 25 times four = 100 squared = ten thousand = maniacs, I get it. Fucking har har. Well I'll tell you this - everyone gets their turn in the barrel. And in the words of the great Robert Plant, your time is gonna come.
02/26/2005 Streifenbeuteldachs: That analysis was stunning, but I think he was referring to this guy.
02/26/2005 Benny Maniacs: Yeah, I know. But in my subtle, extremely funny way, I have to make it all about me.
02/26/2005 John Slocum: This is about you, Maniacs, but your math is questionable. 25 squared is 870.
02/26/2005 Litcube: What'd I tell ya, Buyer?
02/27/2005 Dylan Danko (3):