Smorgasbord Laughter Academy – A Chicken, A Parrot and an Ostrich walk into a bar!

A couple go for a meal at a Chinese restaurant and order the “Chicken Surprise”. The waiter brings the meal, served in a lidded cast iron pot.

Just as the wife is about to serve herself, the lid of the pot rises slightly and she briefly sees two beady little eyes looking around before the lid slams back down.

Good grief, did you see that?” she asks her husband.

He hasn’t, so she asks him to look in the pot. He reaches for it and again the lid rises, and he sees two little eyes looking around before it slams down.

Rather perturbed, he calls the waiter over, explains what is happening,and demands an explanation.

“Please sir,” says the waiter, “what you order?” The husband replies, “Chicken Surprise.”

“Ah… so sorry,” says the waiter, “I bring you Peeking Duck.”

One day a man went to an auction. While there, he bid on a parrot. He really wanted this bird, so he got caught up in the bidding. He kept on bidding, but kept getting outbid, so he bid higher and higher and higher.

Finally, after he bid way more than he intended, he won the bid – the parrot was his at last!

As he was paying for the parrot, he said to the Auctioneer, “I sure hope this parrot can talk. I would hate to have paid this much for it, only to find out that he can’t talk!”

“Don’t worry.” said the Auctioneer, “He can talk. Who do you think kept bidding against you?”

Here is that ostrich….

A man walks into a restaurant with a full-grown ostrich behind him. The waitress asks for their orders. The man says, “A hamburger, fries, and a coke,” and turns to the ostrich, “What’s yours?”

“I’ll have the same,” says the ostrich.

A short time later the waitress returns with the order.

“That will be $9.40 please,” and the man reaches into his pocket and pulls out the exact change for payment.

The next day, the man and the ostrich come again and the man says, “A hamburger, fries, and a coke.”

The ostrich says, “I’ll have the same.”

Again the man reaches into his pocket and pays with exact change. This becomes routine until, the two enter again.

“The usual?” asks the waitress.

“No, this is Friday night, so I will have a steak, baked potato, and salad, says he man

“Same,” says the ostrich.

Shortly the waitress brings the order and says, “That will be $32.62.”

Once again the man pulls the exact change out of his pocket and places it on the table. The waitress can’t hold back her curiosity any longer.

“Excuse me, sir. How do you manage to always come up with the exact change out of your pocket every time?”

“Well,” says the man, “several years ago I was cleaning the attic and found an old lamp. When I rubbed it a Genie appeared and offered me two wishes. My first wish was that if I ever had to pay for anything, I would just put my hand in my pocket and the right amount of money would always be there.”

“That’s brilliant!” says the waitress… “Most people would wish for a million dollars or something, but you’ll always be as rich as you want for as long as you live!”

“That’s right. Whether it’s a gallon of milk or a Rolls Royce, the exact money is always there,” says the man.

The waitress asks, “But, sir, what’s with the ostrich?”

The man sighs, pauses, and answers, “My second wish was for a tall chick with long legs who agrees with everything I say.”

If you smiled.. pass it on … thanks for dropping by..Sally

Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – Barbra Streisand, The Gospel Truth and Summer Schedule

Welcome to the weekly round up of posts that you might have missed.. It has also been the first week on the summer schedule which will be focused on health, music, book promotions and humour.  Throw in some reblogs of some of the outstanding blogs and I hope that when you have time to come in from the garden you will find something that you enjoy.

Apart from my own garden I will be completing a three R’s challenge.. Reading, Riting and Relaxing..I am of course as keen as always to promote authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and those who receive great reviews and those posts will continue. However the Book Reading at the Cafe will be back in September.

After the series on Barbra Streisand in a few weeks, William Price King will be taking his usual summer weeks off for performing and relaxing with his family but will be back in September with a new series.

This is the first summer in four years where we have not been doing up a house to sell, or doing one up to live in.  We intend to take some time out to explore and meet up with old friends. I hope to have some photos to share with you of our day trips.  I will still be here once or twice a day but I will be around less on social media.

My thanks as always to William Price King and Paul Andruss for their amazing contributions to the blog..Also this week to guest writer Horatio Grin who has shared his research into the origins of our beliefs in gods and fairies, sometimes revealing where the two crossed paths.

Thanks to you for your wonderful support and feedback.

Here are the posts this week in case you missed them.

William Price King meets some Legends

Writer in Residence – Paul Andruss

The Black Bitch and other Tales by Geoff Cronin

Guest writer – Horatio Grin

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New book on the shelves

The Updates

The Swamp Fairy

Air your Reviews

Personal Stuff

My thanks to Dan Alatorre for a very pleasant interview over on his blog… where I managed to give away a number of secrets.

An Inteview with Dan Alatorre:


Smorgasbord Health 2017

Smorgasbord Health 2017

Smorgasbord Laughter Academy

Smorgasbord Poetry

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and thank you again for your visits and feedback. Sally


Smorgasbord Laughter Academy – Bless little children, and the Scots, Irish, English, Welsh and French!


As the children break up for the summer holidays something for the teacher!

On the last day of kindergarten, all the children brought presents for their teacher.

The florist’s son handed the teacher a gift. She held up the box and said, “I bet it’s some flowers!”

“That’s right!” shouted the little boy.

Then the candy store owner’s daughter handed the teacher a gift. She held up the box and said, “I bet it’s some chocolates!”

“That’s right!” shouted the little girl.

The next gift was from the liquor store owner’s son. The teacher held up the box and saw that it was leaking. She touched a drop with her finger and tasted it.

“Is it wine?” she asked.

“No,” the boy answered. The teacher touched another drop to her tongue.

“Is it champagne?” she asked.

“No,” the boy answered.

“What is it?” she said.

“A puppy!”

Something for mums..

A mother took her three-year old son to a psychiatrist and explained that she was worried that he was becoming too precocious. ‘Right,’ said the psychiatrist, ‘we’ll try a few simple tests.’ Turning to the little boy , he said, ‘just say a few words – anything that comes into your mind.’

The boy turned to his mother and said, ‘Does he want logically constructed sentences or just random and purely isolated words?’

Something for dads

A police officer finds a small boy who has become separated from his father in the middle of a football crowd. “What’s your dad like?” the policeman asks in a kind voice. “Beer and women,” the boy replies.

Something for the rest of us of mixed origins.

An Englishman, a Frenchman (they get everywhere) and an Irishman were in a pub talking about their children.

‘My son was born on St George’s Day, ‘remarked the Englishman, ‘So we obviously decided to call him George.’

‘That’s a real coincidence’, observed the Frenchman’, My daughter was born on Valentine’s Day, so we decided to call her Valentine.’

‘That’s really incredible’, drawled the Irishman, ‘Exactly the same thing happened with my son Pancake.’

All the fun of the fair.

An Englishman, a Welshman and an Irishman were at the fair and about to go on the helter-skelter when an old witch steps in front of them.

‘This is a magic ride,’ she says. ‘You will land in whatever you shout out on the way down.’

‘I’m game for this,’ says Dai, the Welshman, and slides down the helter-skelter shouting ‘GOLD!’ at the top of his voice. Sure enough, when he hit the bottom he found himself surrounded by thousands of pounds worth of gold coins.

William, the Englishman, goes next and shouts ‘SILVER!’ at the top of his voice. At the bottom he lands in more silver coinage than he can carry.

Patrick, the Irishman, goes last and, launching himself from the top of the slide shouts ‘WEEEEEEE!’

Size Matters!

The Englishman and the Scotsman were boasting about the size of their estates.

‘I can get into my car at seven o’clock in The morning,’ said the Englishman, ‘and drive and drive all around my estate and not get back until four o’clock in the afternoon.’

‘I can get into my car at six o’clock in the morning,’ said the Scotsman, ‘and drive and drive all around my estate and not get back until seven o’clock in the evening.’

‘I had an old car like that too myself once,’ said the Irishman.


Smorgasbord Laughter Academy – Misunderstandings and hair removal.

Doctors and golden oldies……

On his morning rounds the doctor called in to a little old lady that he was treating for asthma… Having checked her over, he asked a few questions and listened to her croaky replies.

‘What about the wheeze?’ he asked.

‘Oh fine,’ she replied. ‘I went three times last night!’

An older gentleman in his 70s was concerned about his sex drive and went to his doctor.

‘Well not too unexpected at your age.’ said the doctor.

The patient was still concerned. ‘But my neighbour is over 80 and says that he makes love every night.’

The doctor thought for a moment. ‘Well why don’t you say that too?’


The parish priest was a welcome visitor for short-sighted Mrs. Evans and after he had left one day she commented to her daughter how kind he was.

‘But that wasn’t the priest mum that was the doctor.’

‘Oh was it?’ Mrs Evans exclaimed with relief, ‘I thought Father O’Malley was getting a bit familiar!’

A young social worker on her weekly visit to Bert, cut up his steak and watched whilst he ate his lunch. She noticed a bowl of almonds beside his tray.

‘They were given me as a gift, but I don’t want them,’ he explained. ‘You can have them if you like.’

She said thanks and sat there and finished the bowl.

‘Funny present to give a man with no teeth,’ she remarked.

‘Oh no,’ he said. ‘They had chocolate on them then.’

Popes and Lawyers.

The Pope dies and arrives at the Pearly Gates on the same cloud as a lawyer. They are both ushered in and St. Peter assigns the lawyer to a mansion with a golf course while the Pope is confined to a single room with a radio.

Even the lawyer is surprised. ‘How come?’ he asked.

St. Peter replied: ‘We have near on 100 popes, but you are the first lawyer.’

Say what?

Miss Smythe was miffed… Her pet a Chihuahua was consistently second in dog shows throughout the country… One day she decided to investigate by asking the judges why this was happening. It was explained to her that the true Chihuahua breed had smooth coats and her dog, despite being perfect in every other way, had a shaggy coat.

Miss Smythe decided to take action and popped into a local pharmacist to buy some hair remover.

The chemist handed her the latest product. ‘When you slap this on, it’s best to keep your arms up for two or three minutes,’ he said.

‘Oh it’s not for my underarms, it’s for my Chihuahua,’ she explained.

‘In that case,’ said the chemist, ‘don’t ride a bike for 30 minutes.’


Your contributions are always welcome… email me

Thanks for dropping in and please feel free to share.. Sally

The Black Bitch and other Tales – The Black Bitch by Geoff Cronin

The Black Bitch by Geoff Cronin

In Waterford when I was a boy, Ballybricken, which was that part of the city which was home to the pig buyers and the monthly fairs, was also renowned as the home of the most outrageous tall stories and the more their fame grew the taller the stories were. My favourite concerned ‘The Black Bitch’ and here it is – verbatim – as I heard it.

“One Saint Stephen’s day meself and me father went out the country to hunt hares. We had three dogs, a blue terrier, a fox terrier and me father’s pride and joy, a black greyhound bitch. At this time the bitch was past her best and getting on in years but she was as game as ever and could turn a hare, no bother. Of course in those days you could hunt wherever you liked and there was no let or hindrance apart from the odd estates where a gamekeeper was employed, so we had the freedom of the countryside, more or less.

Anyway, we were halfway down The Grassy Road, when the terriers got the scent of something at the gate of a four acre field. We went in quietly and when the terriers got excited, the father slipped the collar off the bitch and held her with his arm around her neck and chest.”

At this point I should tell you that a greyhound has little or no sense of smell and he hunts by sight only and will run down anything he can see.

But to return to my story… The next thing was that a huge buck hare exploded from his resting place in tall grass and headed for the ditch at the far side of the field. I tell you now, as true as I’m drinking this pint, this was some hare. He was dark brown with white tips to his ears and as big as the two terriers put together. Anyway me father let off the bitch the minute the hare rose and be God she turned that hare before he got to the ditch. Now the hare headed for the open field, twisting and turning every which way with the bitch hard on his heels. Well he tried every trick in the book as he crisscrossed the field for the next quarter of an hour and finally when he was nearly ‘bet’ didn’t the bitch slip making a tight turn and the hare escaped through a hole in the fence and off with him through the next field. The bitch however, was showing signs of exhaustion and the father was quite concerned.

“I think son,” he said, “she’s failing,” and we decided to go back home.

Well the next morning I found her dead in her kennel and I told me father. He took it badly and thinking to ease the situation, I said “I’ll bury her in the garden for you.”

“You’ll do no such thing,” he snapped. “You’ll take her down to my friend Watty in Stephen’s Street. Tell him to skin her and tan the hide and when ’tis ready to give it to Walsh the tailor and tell him I want a waistcoat made of if.”

So I carried out his instructions and the first week in June the tailor came to the house with a parcel under his arm and asked for me father. I told him to come in and I would get him and when the father saw him he said.

“I hope you have something nice for me Mikey?”

“I have indeed,” said the tailor opening the parcel and producing the sleek black waistcoat.

“Here,” he said, “try that on ye and tell me if it’s OK.”

Well my father put on the waistcoat and stroked it as if the black bitch was still in it.

“Be god Mikey,” he said, “you’ve done a beautiful job and I’ll be proud to wear it.”

He was smiling as he stroked the silky black fur and I hadn’t seen him smile like that since the bitch died.

Well, he wore the waistcoat constantly and only took it off when he went to bed and he never got another hound. All went well until the following Stephen’s Day when the father said. “I’m takin’ the two terriers out the country for a run – will ye come?”

I agreed and off we went and I knew before we started that it was going to be The Grassy Road. Sure enough, when we got to the cross we turned down that road and we stopped at the gate of the four acre field. Immediately, the two terriers dived into the long grass and before you could say Jack Robinson, our friend the big hare with the white tipped ears, broke cover and the terriers took off after him. Well that hare sailed off in ‘second gear’ and made rings around the terriers who just hadn’t a hope of catching him. But then to my amazement me father took off his coat and then his black waistcoat and threw the waistcoat in the field shouting “Get him girl.” And be god didn’t the waistcoat take off after the hare, turning him every time he got near the fence. This went on for ten minutes or so until the hare managed to get close to the top of the field and he dived through the hole in the hedge where he escaped before. But this time didn’t the waistcoat follow him through and then… Silence.

Well me and the father and the two terriers went up the field and out the gate at the top end and we weren’t gone fifty yards into the next field when we found the hare, dead as a doornail with the black waistcoat on top of him. The Black Bitch got her revenge in the end!”


About Geoff Cronin – 1923 – 2017

There were few jobs that Geoff could not turn his hands to, and over the years he mastered an impressive number of professional undertakings. Master baker and confectioner, mobile cinema operator, salesman, band leader, senior executive and master wood turner, storyteller and writer.

Geoff Cronin published his first book in 2005 at age 82. The Colour of Life is a collection of stories of life in Waterford during his childhood and early adulthood in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. This was followed by two further books that related tales of further adventures in Waterford and Dublin.

Thank you for dropping in today and you can read the The Colour of Life and the previous stories from the Black Bitch in this directory:

Smorgasbord Laughter Academy – Elderly logic, dating, pack behaviour and squirrels…from Tina Frisco

As I get back into blogging mode, Tina Frisco stepped up with some more of her classic laughs for your benefit…More about Tina after the post.

I have also raided the archives and found some images that you might enjoy…

Dog Pack Attacks Gator in Florida

At times, nature can be cruel. But there also is a raw beauty, and even a certain justice, manifested within that cruelty. The alligator, one of the oldest and ultimate predators – normally considered the ‘apex predator’ – can fall victim to the canine’s survival-of-the-pack mentality, evidenced by the strategical team work of their tight-knit social structure.

See the remarkable photograph below, courtesy of Nature Magazine.

Note that the alpha dog has a muzzle hold on the gator, preventing it from breathing, while another dog has a hold on the tail to keep it from thrashing, and a third dog attacks the soft underbelly.

This is not for the squeamish!

Touching Story of an Old Woman

This letter was sent to the Principal’s office after a school had sponsored a luncheon for the elderly. One of the women had received a new radio as a door prize and was writing to say thank you.

Dear Kean Elementary:

God bless you for the beautiful radio I won at your recent senior citizens luncheon. I am 84 years old and live at the Sprenger Home for the Aged. All of my family have passed away. I am all alone now, and it’s nice to know someone is thinking of me. God bless you for your kindness to an old forgotten lady.

My roommate is 95 and has always had her own radio, but before I received one, she would never let me listen to hers, even when she was napping.

The other day, her radio fell off the night stand and broke into a lot of pieces. It was awful, and she was in tears. Her distress over the broken radio touched me, and I knew this was God’s way of answering my prayers. She asked if she could listen to mine, and I told her to kiss my ass.

Thank you for that opportunity.



Squirrels vs Churches

The Presbyterian church called a meeting to decide what to do about their squirrels. After much prayer and consideration, they concluded the squirrels were predestined to be there, and they shouldn’t interfere with God’s divine will.

At the Baptist church, the squirrels had taken an interest in the baptistery. The deacons met and decided to put a water slide on the baptistery and let the squirrels drown themselves. The squirrels liked the slide and knew instinctively how to swim. Twice as many squirrels showed up the following week.

The Methodist church decided they were not in a position to harm any of God’s creatures. They humanely trapped their squirrels and set them free near the Baptist Church. Two weeks later, the squirrels returned when the Baptists took down their water slide.

The Catholic Church came up with a very creative strategy. They baptized all the squirrels and consecrated them as members of the church. Now they only see them on Christmas and Easter.

Not much was heard from the Jewish synagogue. They circumcised the first squirrel and haven’t seen one since.

Dating Ads for Seniors, found in The Villages,
the Newspaper of a Florida Senior Retirement Community

Fashion-conscious blue-haired beauty, 80’s, slim, 5’4′ (used to be 5’6′), searching for sharp-looking, sharp-dressing companion. Matching white shoes and belt a plus. —————————————————-

Recent widow who has just buried fourth husband, looking for someone to round out a six-unit plot. Dizziness, fainting, shortness of breath, not a problem. —————————————————-

I am into solitude, long walks, sunrises, the ocean, yoga, and meditation. If you are the silent type, let’s get together, take our hearing aids out and enjoy quiet times.

Active grandmother with original teeth seeking a dedicated flosser to share rare steaks, corn on the cob and caramel candy.

I still like to rock, still like to cruise in my Camaro on Saturday nights and still like to play the guitar. If you were a groovy chick, or are now a groovy hen, let’s get together and listen to my eight-track tapes.

I can usually remember Monday through Thursday. If you can remember Friday, Saturday and Sunday, let’s put our two heads together.


A lady and gentleman in The Villages are sitting on benches opposite each other.

Lady: Are you new to the community?

Gentleman: No, I have owned a condo here for 20 years.

Lady: I have been here for 15 years, and I have never seen you around.

Gentleman: I have been in prison for the last 17 years!

She was stunned but finally asked him what he had done.

Gentleman: I murdered my first wife!

She was stunned again, but after a long pause . . .

Lady: So, you’re SINGLE?

About Tina Frisco

Tina Frisco is an author, singer-songwriter, RN, activist, and student of shamanism. Born in Pennsylvania USA, she attended nursing school in New York and lives in California. She began writing as a young child and received her first guitar at age 14, which launched her passion for music and songwriting. She has performed publicly in many different venues. Her publishing history includes book reviews; essays; articles in the field of medicine; her début novel, PLATEAU; her children’s book, GABBY AND THE QUADS; and her latest novel, VAMPYRIE. She enjoys writing, reading, music, dancing, arts and crafts, exploring nature, and frequently getting lost in working crossword puzzles.

Find out more about Tina Frisco, her books and read the reviews:

Here is how you can connect to Tina on her website and social media.

Website ~
Amazon ~
Facebook ~
Twitter ~
LinkedIn ~
Google+ ~
Goodreads ~

Thank you to Tina for her wonderful laffs and to you for dropping in and please feel free to share the smiles. Sally

Normal blog service will resume tomorrow.


Smorgasbord Health 2017 – Laughter the Best Medicine – The health benefits and the Laughter Academy!

Smorgasbord Health 2017It is very important that as well as feeding the brain nutrients and supplying healthy fats, oxygen and fluids, you provide it with stimulation.

One of the causes of dementia is lack of stimulation.  Visual, aural, verbal. For elderly people the world begins to shrink back until they are restricted in movement within a small space, with perhaps just the television or radio for company.  Even with the television you will find that eventually there will only be one or two channels watched; the news, soap operas and more than likely Midsummer murders!

This is why any social interaction is so important as we get older. For most, not all, our natural instinct is to recede to a safe zone but those who do stay in the world and continue to laugh, enjoy new music, movies, plays and group activities, stay mentally and physically healthier.

About 12 years ago my friend and radio producer Kelli Brett and I put together a couple of programmes on the subject of laughter as one of our regular health segments. We called it the Laugh Academy and it went down a storm.  It was intended to show how laughter is one of the most beneficial exercises you can participate in without spending a fortune or damaging a muscle – well I believe that there were one or two cases where someone laughed themselves into a heart attack but it was nothing to do with our show – honest.

Laughter is universal – every culture will have its particular funny bone that others would not see the point of, but put most of us in a room with other nationalities and eventually someone will start us off.  It might be a stand-up comedian in front of a packed theatre – or it might be round the dinner table after a couple of glasses of good wine.

Children have a natural ability to laugh from a very early age – they are not afraid to express themselves – they do not have years of conditioning about what is appropriate or not.  I remember getting a fit of the giggles at my mother’s funeral – imagining her reactions to the proceedings.  I only managed to hang onto my decorum by severely grasping my husband’s left thigh in a death grip which to onlookers might have looked equally inappropriate!

It is very difficult to keep a straight face when someone else is hysterical and I dare you not to start laughing when you watch this baby giggling so naturally.

There are actually laughter clubs around the world where people gather and start a voluntary laughter cycle rather than a spontaneous one.  No humour or jokes involved, just a steady Ha,ha,ha.  Hasyayoga is performed in groups with eye contact and you will be surprised how soon the deliberate laughter turns into the infectious kind we are used to in a crowd.  The belief is that forced laughter holds the same benefits as the naturally occurring variety and a brief look at those before some links to the most viewed Time for Some Laffs from the current series.

I hope that the last thing I do on earth is to go laughing at one of my husband’s jokes – well some of them anyway!

Health benefits of laughter.

  • When we laugh we tend to increase our rate of breathing inhaling more oxygen which gets pumped into our bodies filling us with energy and at the same time reducing stress.
  • As we laugh heartily, nearly all of the 400 muscles in the body will come into play, which is a form of internal aerobics.
  • If you laugh throughout an hour-long comedy show, or at someone’s jokes, you will use up 500 calories.
  • The act of laughing causes our blood vessels to dilate reducing blood pressure and stimulates the production of more T-cells in our immune system helping us to fight infections.
  • The act of laughing releases endorphins and neuropeptides into the bloodstream which have a number of measurable effects on us. These either act as painkillers or improve your mood.
  • The types of problems that seem to respond well to laughter therapy are stress, asthma, arthritis, insomnia, depression, frequent infections and recovery from cancer.
  • Laughing with others strengthens social bonds, attracts people with similar senses of humour, helps relieve tensions in relationships and illustrates a level of trust where you are willing to share something trivial or amusing with another. Laughter is as contagious as a cold or flu and there is actually something very satisfying about reducing someone to tears with laughter.

So it strengthens your immune system, increases your cardiovascular flexibility, makes you think clearly, improves your mood, releases stress, relieves pain, lowers your blood pressure, boosts the entire body and if it is shared with a friend doubles the effects.

There is no doubt that attitude does make a huge difference when you are battling a serious illness and laughter plays a major part in turning infusing the body with a positive energetic and healing environment.

Here are some of the most viewed Time for some laffs from the current series


So what is the Laughter Academy and how can you join us.

Well you may have noticed that one of the leading lights of the Smorgasbord Laughter Academy is author Tina Frisco who often feeds me some great gags and images that I then share with you. Here are a couple of posts as an example.

What I would love you to do is send me your jokes, Youtube links for funny videos or amusing images so that I can share them with everyone. I will put a link to your website, Amazon and your books along with a credit.

So, do you have a funny bone? Have you got some great jokes that are suitable for a wide ranging age group? 

Just send them to me at… looking forward to it and burning up 500 calories reading them.

Smorgasbord Short Story Festival – 9th June – 12th June – Albert the Perfect Candidate by Sally Cronin

I am off to the #BloggersBash and making a weekend of it in London including going to see The Mummy and a visit to TGI Friday’s for some Fajitas….probably with a margherita… or two.  In the meantime I am going to leave you with some entertainment… I hope you will enjoy and please share the guest authors who have contributed stories.. thanks very much Sally.

Welcome to the start of the Smorgasbord Short Story Festival from today until Monday 12th. We have short stories and poetry from some wonderful writers including John Howell, Robbie Cheadle, Mary Smith, Philip T. Stephens, Wendy Janes and a few more from me from various collections.

Here is one from my first collection Flights of Fancy. Set a little time in the future.. but not by much!

Albert, The Perfect Candidate by Sally Cronin

On Friday night, Albert sat in the white walled room, his eyes closed against the glare from the fluorescent lighting and his hands over his ears to shut out the infernal racket from the wall-mounted television. He did not have to watch the screen to see what images it displayed. Twenty-four hours a day, it brought the fear and disasters of the world into each room in every house and workplace around the country. Terrorism, financial and natural catastrophes and of course superbugs were all guaranteed to make the headlines. He shook his head. Where did all the ‘good news’ stories go?

His mobile telephone had rung several times in the last hour and he knew that it was Marjorie, his partner, no doubt reminding him for the fiftieth time that he must not be late for dinner.

He opened his eyes, switched off his phone and thought about the pile of folders still unopened on his desk. There was also an e-mail from his boss demanding that he should be in his office first thing on Monday morning. Why do they do that? Under normal circumstances Albert would have spent the whole weekend desperately worried in case he was going to be fired. He had every reason to be stressed out anyway – he was late with this month’s mortgage payments, his doctor had told him his cholesterol and blood pressure were through the roof and his blood sugar was not far behind.

He didn’t need the doctor to tell him he was six stone overweight, needed to give up smoking and drinking and was a candidate for a heart attack. He only had to look at his face in the mirror every morning to see that he fell neatly into the 95% of the population who suffered from a lifestyle induced health crisis.

Everyone he knew amongst family and friends was equally unfit. Most of them were on pills of one sort or another and it seemed that once you were put on medication you were on it for life. Sure, most of the major diseases had been eradicated in the last fifty years, but it was easier and quicker to give you tablets to control your blood pressure and cholesterol than go to all the trouble of showing you how to change your lifestyle.

Anyway, what pleasure was there in life if you couldn’t eat a whole pizza with a bottle of wine two or three nights a week? Besides Albert hated fruit and vegetables. Who needed to stand out in a crowd? When all your friends and family and even your doctor were fat and unhealthy too, why change? Still, he wished he could remember a time when he had felt well enough to get up in the mornings.

He looked around him and smiled wryly. At least in one very important aspect he had been extremely successful. He was a perfect example of modern man and this was precisely what they had wanted. All his financial problems would be solved now that he had been accepted into the programme. Marjorie would be well taken care of should the worst happen, and best of all, he was contracted not to make any improvements to his lifestyle for the duration of his lifetime. Bring on the Pizza!

Animal testing had finally become redundant. Eventually it became impossible to recreate, in animals, the levels of physical, mental and emotional stress that humans suffered after prolonged exposure to their modern lifestyle and diet. Scientists could no longer manipulate the gap between species to obtain reliable test subjects without compromising the safety of human trials. Medical records were accessed, and from the millions of suitable candidates, the most qualified specimens were recruited.

The door opened and two lab technicians wearing masks and surgical scrubs walked in wheeling a trolley containing medical instruments.

“Hi Albert,” one of them smiled at him. “This is not going to hurt a bit.”

© Sally CroninFlights of Fancy 2008 :

Tomorrow – the new serialisation of the second book by Geoff Cronin. Followed by two short stories from John W. Howell and one from my second collection The Tales From the Garden.

Thanks for popping in and please feel free to share.. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Short Stories Festival – 9th to 12th June – The programme of events.

As you may have already heard there is a #BloggersBash going on in London this weekend and having been unable to go the last two years, I am delighted to be heading off tomorrow.

As usual when taking a break I invited some guest writers to contribute their fiction short stories to keep you entertained while I was offline. And I am very grateful to Sheila Williams, John Howell, Phillip T. Stephens, Wendy Janes, Mary Smith and Robbie and Michael Cheadle for their wonderful tales.

There will  also be the regular posts from Paul Andruss and the start of the serialisation of Geoff Cronin’s second book written when he was 84 years old with more stories of life in Ireland in the 1920s onwards.

On Monday morning I have also scheduled a health post and an introduction to a new series.. The health benefits of laughter and the Smorgasbord Laughter Academy.

The Programme – Friday 9th June

Thomas the Rhymer


Paul Andruss with the background to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Boy with a Harmonica

Sheila Williams with a story set in France during World War II with a supernatural twist.


Sally Cronin –  Meet a man who was the perfect candidate for the job set in the near future.

Saturday 10th June.

The Matmakers

Geoff Cronin – As a boy Geoff befriends the travellers who come to the beach near his home every summer.

The World Darkly

John Howell with a story that makes you rethink your approach to finding lost property!

The Last Emperor

Sally Cronin with a story of redemption and loyalty in the Magic Garden.

Sunday 11th June


Geoff Cronin explains the old country ways of bird catching.

Search and Seizure

Phillip T. Stephens with a futuristic look at border and customs control.

From Hackney to Hollywood

Wendy Janes takes us on the trail to stardom from Shakespeare in Hackney to the chat show sofa in Hollywood.

Monday 12th June

The health benefits of laughter and an invitation to join the academy with your favourite jokes, videos or images.

Sir Chocolate and the Stolen Moon and Stars

Robbie and Michael Cheadle bring us another adventure story starring Sir Chocolate in verse and also Michael’s original concept for the tale.

Trouble with Socks

Mary Smith with a story of how simple things can become very important to us.


Sally Cronin with the story of a woman planning to surprise her husband on his birthday.

I am sure you will enjoy the stories from my guest authors, and as I shall be offline completely for the weekend from tomorrow, I will catch up with you on Monday evening. 

As I will not be here to click the share buttons.. I would be very grateful if you would do so for me.  Thanks Sally.