“The doors are locked, and you don’t have the keys. All the shades are drawn, and all pointed and sharp instruments have been put away and hidden. Now, pay attention?”

“By all means,” Attention said. “I’m at your service. Please, pay me.”

“Well, actually, I wasn’t really talking to you. I was talking to Paul. He was supposed to give me his attention.”

“Why his? Am I not good enough?” Attention shot back in a hurt tone.

“Yes, you’re great, but I need Paul’s right now.”

“What’s going on?” Paul said.

“He wants your attention,” Attention said.

“Yes, you never pay attention,” I said.

“Pay, pay, pay—that’s all I’m good for, aren’t I?” Paul shouted. “I paid for lunch yesterday, didn’t I?”

“Yes, you did,” I replied. “But you didn’t pay any attention then either. That’s more important.”

“What?” Paul yelled.

“I know where he hid the sharp instruments,” Attention said. “I paid attention. Cost me an arm and a leg.”

“Oh, really?” Paul’s tone became more menacing by the minute.

“And I also took the keys and hid them,” Attention added. “No one can get out of here.”

“Damn,” I said. “I admit, I should have paid attention before.”


Jennifer looked up briefly. “What do you want?” she asked brusquely, as she tightened the chokehold on her husband.

“Well, I’m your new Mr. Perfect,” the man said. “And I’m here to provide you with never-ending bliss and happiness.”

Jennifer released her husband from her grasp and stood up.

“Did you hear that, Walter?” she shouted at her husband who was still lying on the ground, vigorously massaging his neck. “Another Mr. Perfect.” Then, addressing Mr. Perfect, she said, “Well, Mr. Perfect, you don’t look so perfect to me.”

“If I may be permitted to disagree, Jennifer, but according to all the stats, I am a specimen of perfection—everything one could want in a member of the male species.”

“Do you leave the toilet seat up?”

“No, never.”

“But you don’t squat properly, do you? You stand there, right?”

“Well, I’m a member of the male species.”