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Paying Your Dues

by Steve Shrott

About the Author: Steve Shrott’s mystery short stories have appeared in sixteen anthologies as well as numerous online and print magazines. He has written two humorous mystery novels (Audition for Death and Dead Men Don’t Get Married,) as well as a “how-to book” on comedy-writing. Some of his jokes are in The Smithsonian Institute.


I stood in front of Chapter two-thirty-one of “The Mike Association,” and welcomed everyone.

We hold meetings the third Friday of every month in the back room of Mike’s Beer Emporium. During most of our sessions, we discuss the charity events we’re organizing.

Mike Wilson, the bar owner, lets us use the place because he knows how important our work is, and he’s pretty certain that after the meetings we’ll order up some liquid refreshments.

Oh, I’m Mike Connolly, by the way.

Today’s meeting began with Mike Flanagan reading aloud the minutes of the last session, and addressing the current state of our operating budget (negative, if you must know.)

Then I moved onto the tragic news about one of our newer members.

“As you’re aware, Mike Cooper was murdered, and I’m sure some of you would like to say a few kind words about him.”

I waited for what seemed an eternity, but no one stepped forward. Not even Mike Deluca, who got along with everyone.

“Mike Reynolds?” I asked with pleading eyes.

He shook his head.

“How about you, Mike Cummings?” He wouldn’t even look at me.

The truth is that most of our members disliked Mike Cooper. He didn’t have the gentleness of spirit that Mikes are known for. Sure, all our tempers flared on occasion, but generally we sauntered down the good path.

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