‘Sense Of Humor’ by Damon Runyon

Sense Of Humor by Damon Runyon, 1934

The magic trick:

Cooking up a funny, dark hardboiled noir thriller

There is joy in the characters here, in their language, even their names. It’s all Depression-era New York City crime clichés. But it’s the real deal, so that there’s probably more than a little truth to the clichés. Runyon was covering these characters as a journalist. He knew this world.

So it’s all fun and local color. That is, until it’s not.

Things get dark. Real dark. One man’s practical joke is another man’s murder. Quite literally.

Runyon blends those tones seamlessly, showing how people laugh to cover for horror. The hardboiled noir stuff is really ace too. This would make for one hell of a Sopranos episode. The cross goes to a double cross to a triple cross. And that’s quite a trick on Runyon’s part.

The selection:

Well, naturally when I see who it is gives me the hot foot I join in the laughter, and go over and shake hands with Joe, and when I shake hands with him there is more laughter, because it seems Joe has a hunk of Limburger cheese in his duke, and what I shake hands with is this Limburger. Furthermore, it is some of Mindy’s Limburger cheese, and everybody knows Mindy’s Limburger is very squashy, and also very loud…”

As always, join the conversation in the comments section below, on SSMT Facebook or on Twitter @ShortStoryMT.

Subscribe to the Short Story Magic Tricks Monthly Newsletter to get the latest short story news, contests and fun.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s