An Evening of Mad Libs

"Okay, Royce, from you we need an adjective."

"Royce, you got anything in the fridge? I'm starving."

"Pollyannaish. Just a sec, Arela, I'll check."

"Arela, an item of food."

"I'll wait and see what Royce finds."

"Sorry, nothing but potato salad."

"Potato salad it is, then."

"Okay, Ram, from you a noun."

"Ummm...ruby. No, wait, rube."

"Can he change his mind? You wouldn't let me earlier."

"That's because you were being such a pain about it, Denzil. Just write it down."

"Aquilina? A verb."

"Menstruate. And before anybody asks, no, it is not that time of the month."

"Nobody was going to ask."

"Yeah, I bet."

"Name of a person in this room, Royce."


"Oh, yeah, sure, pick on me. Go ahead."

"Jesus Christ, 'Lina. What if it's nice?"

"That's Aquilina to you. Only my stepdad calls me 'Lina, just 'cause he knows I hate it."

"C'mon, guys, let's get on with it."

"Arela? A town."


"Where the hell's that?"

"Georgian Republic, in what used to be Russia."

"Can you spell it for me?"


"Thanks. Ram, a river."

"A river? I don't remember this on any of them."

"So I made up my own. A river?"

"Say the Ob."

"You had your turn, Arela."

"No, that sounds good. The Ob it is."

"Aquilina, a colour."

"Blue. Don't anyone say it."

"Is that how you're feeling, 'Lina? Ow! Hey, let go!"

"You fucking asked for it, Royce."

"Let him go, Aquilina, and let's get on with this. It's starting to sound cool."

"Thank you, Arela. Royce, if you're finished checking your hair, can we have a place?"

"An elevator."

"What kind of stupid place is an elevator?"

"It says you can do whatever you want within the category."

"It'll probably sound stupid."

"You don't think 'menstruate' is going to sound stupid?"

"Arela, a fruit."

"An apple."

"My God, am I hearing things? I thought for sure she'd say kumquat, or bok choy, or something. But apple?"

"Bok choy's not a fruit, Aquilina. It's a vegetable."

"Oh, excuse me for living."

"Who pissed in your cornflakes this morning, Aquilina?"

"Fuck you, Ram."

"No, I'm serious. Is something wrong?"

"Yeah, something's wrong. Jamie's moving out, that's what's wrong. Fuck. Three years, and she tosses it away like it doesn't mean a thing. Says she really likes the guy she's been seeing, and that he's weirded out by me, so she's going straight. Can you believe it? Jamie going straight? She'll get tired of male libido real quick, and come crawling back in no time."

"Ram? A month?"

"June at the latest. They're planning the wedding already, and I'm not going to be invited. She's not even going to tell me where it is. Fuck that--I'll call her sister and find out. Hulse'll tell me. And I'll gate-crash the thing in my best bulldyke leather and chains and carry her back over my shoulder and fuck her until she comes to her senses."

"Aquilina, please! Ram, a month?"

"Ah--June. Shit, Aquilina. You're worth twelve of her anyway. It's not worth getting worked up over. If she loves you, she'll come back. If she didn't, maybe it's better that it's over."

"Um, Aquilina? An occupation?"

"Hell, if she comes back I'll turn her out. She'll have to go work as a fucking street sweeper. You write that down, Denzil--a street sweeper. It's almost enough to make me start smoking again. Anyone got a cig I could bum?"

"Sorry, Aquilina. I don't think smoking will solve anything, either."

"Royce, a phobia."

"How about androphobia? Fear of men?"

"Fuck you, Royce."

"I wasn't talking about you. Geez, some people are sensitive."

"Alena, a question."

" about, 'What place does it have in the meaning of life?'"

"Ha, ha--that's heavy."

"I don't think that'll fit in the space I left for it."

"What, you wanted something more like, 'Who is it?' or, 'Got a light?'"

"Well, just write it in the margin or something."

"Ram, how about a date?"

"I didn't know he was your type, Denzil."

"You know what I mean."

"How about...May 16th, 1973."

"Hey, isn't that--"

"Aquilina's birthday. Yeah, it is."

"I can never remember her birthday."

"Okay, Aquilina--a small object. Aquilina?"

"Huh? Oh. An ashtray."

"We've got a one-track mind, here."

"Shut up, Royce."

"Royce? A noun."

"Any noun? A pack of cigarettes."

"Are we almost done?"

"Just a few more. Arela, a verb."


"Hey--it rhymes with menstruate. Coincidence? I think not."

"Ram, an adjective."


"And finally--Aquilina, an adverb."



"Never. That's an adverb, isn't it, Arela? And your question, 'What place does it have in the meaning of life'? None. No place whatsofuckingever."

"Where are you going?"

"I don't know. Maybe the Pinson Bridge. I hear that's a good choice this time of year."

"Shit! Come back! Damn, she's gone down the back stairs. Arela, Denzil, come with me--we'll see if we can catch her. Royce, you call 911 and see if they can at least get an ambulance or something out there, or a suicide counselor or something."

"Suicide? Shit!"


"Doesn't anyone want to hear my mad lib?"

"Not now, Denzil."

Mark Beirne Lively gave me the assignment:

potato salad
mad libs :)

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The Den of Ubiquity / Aaron V. Humphrey /