Funny Contemporary Fiction

“Jason, it’s late, hun. Come to bed.”

“I will sweetheart. I’m just leaving a Trip Advisor review on the restaurant we were at tonight.”

“Really, babe? Leave it, please. Is it worth the hassle?”

“Did you like the meal or the experience, Kris?”

“You already know my opinion.”

“I’m nearly done, go back to sleep.”

“I’m awake, now, so read me your review. How many stars are you giving it?”

“None, zero, zilch. I only wish you could give negative stars.”

“Like negative zero?”

“There’s no such thing as negative zero.”

“Then give them a zero. It will be just as effective.”

“Maybe, I’ll leave them ten zero reviews.”

“Jason, that’s silly. What do you get when you multiply zero by ten? You get…?”

“Ten zeros!”

“Do you have time to write ten reviews? Yep, thought not.”

“Maybe, I’ll post the same review ten times.”

“You’re being pathetic.”

“Well, I was upset at the way they treated us, when I refused to pay the bill.”

“Calling the manager, a sorry excuse for a sandwich didn’t help. What does that even mean, anyway?”

“I don’t know, Kris. It slipped out in the heat of the moment.”

“Well, it must have meant something personal for him to throw that glass of sparkling water over you.”

“He added that to the bill.”


“Along with the custard a la tarte.”

“The one you shoved in his face?”


“Did we order that?”

“No, it was on some kind of dessert trolley he was wheeling to the same table he grabbed the water from.”

“So, how did the live lobster get attached to his nose?”

“Well, I grabbed it out of that fish tank, they pretentiously displayed in the middle of the restaurant.”


“I don’t know. Maybe they’re trying to move upmarket.”

“No, why did you grab the lobster?”

“I didn’t like the idea of the poor thing watching all his mates get boiled alive and eaten, so I wanted to set it free. In the heat of that moment, I attached it to the manager’s nose.”

“I’ve never heard anyone squeal like that before.”

“Reminded me of those other lobsters being boiled alive. It was like a scene from Silence Of The Lambs.”

“They never showed lambs getting boiled in that movie.”

“Lobsters, not lambs.”

“They didn’t show lobsters getting boiled either.”

“I was trying to use an analogy.”

“Let’s hope your review uses better ones.”

“You’re not helping, Kris.”

“…If you don’t like the idea of lobsters being boiled alive, why did you book the restaurant?”

“I thought it was just a normal seafood place. Plus, I had a coupon. I didn’t expect to enter an aquatic killing field. And I wasn’t gonna order lobster, anyways!”

“Appeared to me like it was more of a fish and chip shop trying to upscale itself.”

“It was no Michelin Star material. That’s for sure. Greasy food and big fat surly gingers as their waiting staff.”

“It was worrying when three of them cornered you.”

“That’s why I didn’t let go of the lobster. One more step, I said, and your nose will end up looking like Jack Nicholson in the movie Chinatown. Lucky for me, he’d seen the film, because he waved off his tea-towel waving henchmen.”

“It was hilarious when his mother emerged from the kitchen, shouting insults in Spanish.”

“That wasn’t Spanish, Kris.”

“Sounded like Spanish to me.”

“It was Scottish.”

“Then they must use the same swear words.”

“I think Fuck and Prick are universal, Kris.”

“Yeah, well calling you an Effin Prick in her accent, sounded funny.”

“It didn’t help matters when you started laughing at her.”

“Yes, it certainly widened her use of some colourful language. Thinking back, it still shocks me. I’m not going to repeat any of those other words that she said. Couldn’t understand them, anyways.”

“They were in English, Kris.”

“Oh. That makes sense.”

“…At least, I think they were. Hard to tell with her thick brogue.”

“She must have thought your name was Jimmy. Jimmy this, Jimmy that, you effin bazzer, Jimmy. I kept correcting her, but she obviously wasn’t listening to me. His name is Jason, I repeated.”

“Probably couldn’t hear you while she was demanding to know, why there was an effin lobster attached to her son’s nose. I replied, because it wanted out of this effin place and I was helpin’ it cut its effin way out.”

“So, who started the food fight?”

“The lobster.”


“In a way. The manager spun around flailing away at this huge claw grappling his hooter and knocked over a table full of tartare sauce condiments that splashed several drunken customers. Well, they got a bit irate, didn’t they – in the middle of downing several pints of beer, so reacted by hurling spoonful after spoonful of mashed potato at the staff. A drunken aim is seldom accurate, so a lot of the mash ended up splattering several tables of other customers. Next thing we knew, the whole place erupted into a scene out of that film, Animal House. Well, I don’t have to explain it. You were there!”

“Yes, that was my cue to step outside.”

“Smart move.”

“Well, I’d only just bought the blouse that I wore to dinner.”

“I don’t think, Kiss Me Quick printed on a t-shirt constitutes calling it a blouse.”

“At least I didn’t ruin my best Fred Perry shirt. I thought the chip gravy was a nice touch, though. Very inventive.”

“He must have been a Cricket fan, because he yelled, Owzat for a manager’s special, while he slowly poured it down my front - catching me off-guard.”

“Yes, I was watching through the window while smoking a fag. Your reply was classic. You squeezed that plastic ketchup bottle dry.”

“I went all Vidal Sassoon on his head.”

“Wasn’t he bald?”

“Yes, it made his jaundiced head look like a tater tot dipped in sauce.”

“What’s a tater tot?”

“It’s what the yanks call clumpy hash browns.”

“When I saw the chef coming through those swinging doors to the kitchen with a meat cleaver in his hand, I thought, what does he need a meat cleaver for in a fish restaurant.”

“Maybe to open the clams, Kris.”

“They were oysters, hun. Horrible things to eat. Anyway, I thought it best to reach inside the door and pull the fire alarm lever. Took me three goes with my stilettos to break the glass on the box. It’s not easy setting off a fire alarm.”

“No, probably quicker to phone emergency services.”

“It worked, though.”

“Still can’t figure out how the sprinklers got activated.”

“I lit me fag lighter under one.”

“I might use that in my review. Fire sprinklers were the only things that worked beyond expectation.”

“So, Jason. Come on. Let’s get this done, so we can get a good night’s sleep.”

“I need a headline, Kris.”

“What about, Something Smelled Fishy?”

“Yeah, good. That’s a start. Now, the review. What should I say?”

“Just say that it’s not a nice place to eat.”

“I might need to expand on that one-liner.”

“I’m being serious.”

“I know. I just need to explain further. Okay, here goes…

Meal took ages to arrive, then when it did, my greasy cod and chips smelled fishy. Explaining it to the manager, he rudely pointed out that the smell was due to the fact that it was a fish, and that fish smell fishy. When I replied that, when I open a box of fish fingers to cook at home, I am not assaulted by a fishy smell. Arrogantly responding, he told me that fish fingers are not fish. After I knowledgably alerted him to the fact that on my box of Bird’s Eye at home, it says that only the finest cod is chosen for fish fingers, but the manager defiantly tried to argue that the fish on his menu was the finest chosen as well. I’m sorry, but for a fish restaurant, they didn’t know much about fish, as their fish smelled fishy with a fishy smell. When I mentioned that fish smelling fishy was a sign that the seafood had gone off, the manager went off like a firecracker, insulting me and my good wife in front of a busy restaurant of customers. Taking unkindly to his attitude, I resolutely told him that I was not going to pay for our meal and that I expected a refund on the several drinks of Fanta and Pepsi my wife and I consumed while waiting so long for our food. His reply was to threaten me with the police, to which I replied, that he was a sorry excuse for a sandwich. It is still not entirely clear to me or my wife what that means, but the intent was to protest our dissatisfaction with the food. Whether it was some form of insult in his home country north of the border or not, the manager became instantly enraged. He grabbed a glass of sparkling water from an adjoining table, then proceeded to pour it over my head, saying like a duck to water, he was putting that on my bill - as well. I can’t tell you how embarrassing a cheap brand of soda water cascading down my face made me feel, nor how un-funny a joke that was, so I grabbed a custard tart from the dessert tray he had been pushing around and shoved it into his face. It was purely a self-defensive move on my part and also a gesture of my defiance in the face of intimidation. However, this enraged him even further, prompting him to pick up a chip gravy bowl - while I was reaching for a napkin, and pour it down the front of my short-sleeve shirt. My only recourse was to return the gesture of victimisation and empty the contents of a squeezy plastic ketchup bottle over his head – rubbing it into his skin like it was shampoo. To cut a long story short, the manager’s subsequent actions incited a near riot in the restaurant, causing a food fight to ensue between some drunken louts, innocent customers, and the manager himself – who showed extreme prejudice toward anyone in the flight path of whatever condiment he could lay his hands on to throw.

Needless to say, my wife and I will not be returning to that restaurant ever again. I also urge all advertisers to cease printing discount coupons for the restaurant, as they don’t take too kindly to coupons that expired the previous day. Furthermore, a family-run business should lead by example. There was no sense of feeling welcomed at the erroneously named, Deli Lama Seafood Bar and Grill Plaice. This was clearly confirmed by the lack of Plaice fish available as an item on the sticky menus and the noticeable absence of a welcoming host to escort you to a table. Self-seating is not the benchmark for friendly dining hospitality.

Furthermore, when me and the missus want to dine out at a family restaurant, we don’t expect the manager’s mother to burst into the seating area verbally attacking some poor soul named Jimmy with a tirade of expletive insults that clearly demonstrated her affinity to a sailor's vocabulary and the many ports of call she must have gotten stranded at in her many years at sea. If only the food was as fresh as her language, the Deli Lama Seafood Bar and Grill Plaice might get more customers, less character poisoning, and better reviews on TripAdvisor. If my taste buds ever recover from their paralysis, I hope to once again, enjoy smell-free fish fingers at home, without the fear of insult. Until then, starvation beckons this unhappy customer.

What do you think, Kris?”

“Are you writing a book?”

“People need to know.”

“You left out the lobster attack.”

“And the cold chips, the chef slipped on, causing the meat cleaver he was waving about, to slice into his thigh.”

“Attention to details, Jason. Engage with your audience.”

“They don’t have to be told everything. It’s a review, not a police witness statement.”

“…You might need to save it in case you do you get interviewed by them. They’ll want to know why you fled the scene.”

“I was hungry, that’s all - and I remembered there were some complimentary biscuits back at our room that I could eat.”

“Ah, yes. Free treats.”

“Okay, let’s sort out the big zero review. Hey, that’s not right.”

“What is it?”

“Tripadvisor won’t let you leave a zero rating. You can only leave a one to five rating!”

“Well, just click one for each category.”

“Okay, but I’m adding to the review.

Forced to leave at least a One rating, I would like to add that if I could, I would leave a big fat

negative zero for this restaurant – ten times!

Well, my love?”

“Still zero, Jason.”

“Value… One, Service… One, Food… One…! And sent!”

“I must say, darling. The whole evening felt very sensory.”

“How so?”

“Smells, tastes, sounds, tactile, and visually stimulating.”

“I’m not adding that to my review. It will make the place sound attractive.”

“Jason, what’s that splashing noise coming from the bathroom?”

“It’s the lobster.”

“What’s it doing in there?”

“My flippant nature wants to say the backstroke, but he’s upright and happy. I couldn’t leave him dangling from the manager’s nose and I didn’t want him to be on the menu anymore, so I slipped him into my coat pocket and brought him back here. He’s in the bathtub in some shallow water.”

“Do lobsters survive in fresh water?”

“I grabbed a couple of saltshakers from a table on my way out and emptied them into the bathtub while you slept.”

“How do you know it’s a He?”

“The females have wider tails.”

“Where’d you read that?”


“What are you going to do with him?”

“Oh, I’ll put him back in the sea in the morning.”

“That’s what I love about you, Jason. You’re always kind to animals.”

“I know one thing for sure, my love.”

“What’s that?”

“I’m never coming back to Margate again. Give me Hastings, any day.”

“But this was our honeymoon getaway re-visited.”

“Kris, we’re much more sophisticated these days and Margate does not fit into our new standing in life.”

“Okay, Lord Muck. Get into bed.”

“I will, my love. I most certainly will. But in the morning, I’m leaving a negative review on the saggy bed and the stale chocolate digestives left on the tea tray…”



October 06, 2023 03:53

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Amanda Lieser
04:00 Oct 20, 2023

Hi Chris! Not only did you manage to create several stories within this one piece but you also had a delightful portrait of marriage. I adored the way that we slowly got a single puzzle piece with each paragraph to this insane evening that your characters endured. I also appreciated there a genuine affection for one another. The 10×0 comment is just wonderful. That meat cleaver hit made me gasp! Nice work!!


Chris Campbell
05:47 Oct 20, 2023

Thanks, Amanda. This was a journey into that fish and chip shop that I made while writing this piece. I immersed myself into it and the result came humorously out. I too would save that lobster, if I saw it. Researching funny Tripadvisor reviews online, certainly helped this piece grow. Wonderful feedback from you again. Many thanks.


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Martin Ross
19:34 Oct 11, 2023

Hilarious, and now I want either fish and chips, lobster/lamb surf and turf, or liver with fava beans and a nice Chianti. Or merlot. Nicely done!


Chris Campbell
22:48 Oct 11, 2023

Thanks, Martin. I'm for springing the lobsters out of jail.


Martin Ross
23:43 Oct 11, 2023

You are right, of course. I hate to see them awaiting death in one of those seafood restaurant tanks. They are delicious, but eating them especially under those circumstances is pretty cold.👍


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Mary Bendickson
16:52 Oct 06, 2023

Fun and then some. Clamped down hard on funny bone.🦐 Thanks for liking my Gift


Chris Campbell
09:08 Oct 07, 2023

Thanks, Mary. A little bit of farcical comedy goes a long way.


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Kevin Logue
13:24 Oct 06, 2023

A giggle fest throughout, had pangs of 70's British sitcoms, I can see faulty towers in there. Was the three gingers a throw back to your previous story? This back an forth really got me chortling- “That wasn’t Spanish, Kris.” “Sounded like Spanish to me.” “It was Scottish.” “Then they must use the same swear words.” “I think Fuck and Prick are universal, Kris.” And the sarcastic nature of - “My flippant nature wants to say the backstroke.." So good!! Great piece Chris, thoroughly enjoyable.


Chris Campbell
13:59 Oct 06, 2023

Thanks, Kevin. Yes, a bit of a throwback to 70s British humour. I aimed for farcical. The ginger reference seems to be a thread with me. A cheap laugh, I know. But if it works, then, why not. Thanks for the great feedback.


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Wally Schmidt
06:16 Oct 06, 2023

Such a laugh! Thanks for posting.


Chris Campbell
13:56 Oct 06, 2023

Thanks, Wally. Happy to have made you laugh.


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Myranda Marie
15:57 Oct 09, 2023

Hysterical! Kris and Jason reminded me of characters from the Christmas Vacation movie, Margot and Todd. I can imagine the entitled couple having this conversation. So entertaining!


Chris Campbell
02:35 Oct 10, 2023

Myranda, Thanks for your great feedback. So glad you liked it.


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Michelle Oliver
03:50 Oct 07, 2023

As always your witty dialogue is superb. I chucked all the way through. I loved the scene with the lobster and wonders how on earth it didn’t make it to the review, but the end was perfect. Lobster in the bath, liberally salted with table salt. “That’s what I love about you, Jason. You’re always kind to animals.” Haha I want to read his review of the hotel next. Great read, great fun and so much sensory detail in dialogue only story.


Chris Campbell
09:07 Oct 07, 2023

Thanks, Michelle. I was saving the lobster review for the police statement. 🤣 Thanks for your great feedback.


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